Campus & Community

Conference: Pioneer of the Millennium Development Goals: Atatürk

Stevens Institute of Technology will host a gathering of distinguished diplomats and academics for a conference on “Pioneer of the Millennium Development Goals: Atatürk” on April 19-20. The conference is co-organized and presented by the College of Arts and Letters at Stevens and the Light Millennium, directed by Bircan Ünver.

The United Nations' 2000 Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, the attainment of universal primary education, the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women, the reduction of child mortality, the improvement of maternal health, the combating of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, the attainment of environmental sustainability, and the development of a global partnership for the development of international peace.

The conference’s Inaugural Session on Friday evening, April 19, is dedicated to Millennium Development Goal #8, “Global Partnerships and International Peace.”

Scheduled speakers that evening include H.E. Halit Çevik, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations; H.E. Pajo Avirovikj, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Macedonia to the United Nations; H.E. Carlos E. Garcia Gonzales, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the United Nations; H.E. Ms. Byrganym Aitimova, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the United Nations; Philippe Kridelka, Director, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, New York UNESCO Office, and a representative to the United Nations; and Stephen Kinzer, Professor of  International Relations at Boston University and renowned author of “Crescent & Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds,” who will be the keynote speaker.

Selected papers will be presented in the second day of the conference, which will be dedicated to “Empowerment of Women and Gender Equality.” Scholars and authors will include scholars and other speakers from various universities, organizations, and countries.

Speakers scheduled for the April 20 include Sally Shatila Kader, Co-Founder and President of the United States Federation for Middle East Peace; Hüdai Yavalar, founding president, and Mirat Yavalar, Founding Member and Treasurer, Atatürk Society of America; Augustine G. Johnson, Executive Director, LCA-Global Initiative of Liberia; Dr. Hamid Akin Unver, Kadir Has University, Prof. Christopher Vassilllopulos, Connecticut State University, and numerous distinguished historians and scholars from universities in the United States and abroad. The program will be moderated by David Cuthell, Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia University, and Dr. Gul Celkan, - Middle Georgia State College, Atlanta.

The conference will conclude with a concert by the celebrated musicians Aysegul Durakoglu, pianist, and Yigit Karatas, violinist.

The conference will be held in the Burchard Auditorium, 6th and River Streets, on the Stevens campus in Hoboken. Registration, which is free, is required. Simply send an email by April 17 with your full name along with your affiliation, and indicating that you will attend to [email protected] or [email protected]Please also indicate if your RSVP is for both days or not.

For further information, see /cal/,,, 917-554-5836 or 718-441-3816 (the Light Millennium) or 201-216-5399 (Prof. Edward Foster, College of Arts and Letters, Stevens Institute of Technology.)

Additional information:

Atatürk regarded universal education and equal rights for girls and women as pillars of the society he wished to building in the 1920s. He established the Turkish parliament and constitution to advance his ideals. He created institutes in villages for poor children and universities where women would be encouraged to study. He adopted the Roman alphabet for the Turkish language and introduced western values, culture, and lifestyles.

Atatürk advanced the notion of “Peace at home, peace in the world.” According to the executive board of UNESCO in 1979, “Atatürk set an outstanding example in promoting the spirit of mutual understanding between peoples, and lasting peace between the nations of the world.”

In the following paragraph, Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon, urges achieving Millennium Development Goals by 2015:

"Eradicating extreme poverty continues to be one of the main challenges of our time, and is a major concern of the international community. Ending this scourge will require the combined efforts of all, governments, civil society organizations and the private sector, in the context of a stronger and more effective global partnership for development. The Millennium Development Goals set timebound targets, by which progress in reducing
income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter and exclusion ‘while promoting gender equality, health, education and environmental sustainability’ can be measured. They also embody basic human rights’ the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter and security. The Goals are ambitious but feasible and, together with the comprehensive United Nations development agenda, set the course for the world’s efforts to alleviate extreme poverty by 2015."

The conference will contribute to the discussion of the Millennium Development Goals on the academic and global level as well as examine one of the most prolific world leaders of the 20th Century and founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's (1881-1938) visions, principles, and their implementation from the 1920s until his death in 1938.

For further information, please consult