I TOO NOW STATE THAT I AM A FEMINIST WITH THE HOPE THAT MANY OTHERS WILL ALSO FOLLOW

CONFERENCE ON
PEACE, WOMEN, SECURITY & SECULARISM
Towards the 19th Anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women and Peace and Security
and
in support of SDGs #5, #16 and #17
by Sevgin OKTAY, Representative of The Light Millennium to the UN Department of Global Communications

I am writing this not only  because I happen to be a representative of The Light Millennium organization to the United Nations Department of Global Communications (UN-DGC-CSO; formerly UN.DPI.NGO), but also  I got inspired by a recent conference entitled  “PEACE, WOMEN, SECURITY & SECULARISM” organized by Founder-President of The Light Millennium Bircan Ünver, who has shown a well of energy in organizing the conference almost single-handedly thanks to  co-organizer/co-sponsors along with the volunteers Müjgan Dönmez, Müjgan Hedges, Khady Sylllaba and Mine Takıl.  A well-deserved kudos to them  all!

What was unique about the conference was a clever conjointment of the upcoming Anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (declared in 2000) on Women and Peace and Security in support of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) #5, #16 and #17 called out as “Gender Equality”, “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” and “Partnership for the Goals”, respectively  to be achieved by year 2030.

After the well-received Welcoming remarks and introduction of the concept by Bircan Ünver and Opening Remarks by Mr. Tareq Md Ariful ISLAM (on Peace, Women and Security), Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations, New York. Followed by the first Keynote Speaker Ambassador of Bangladesh Anwarul K. Chowdury (on UNSCR 1325), former Under-Secretary -General and High Representative of the United Nations gave a very impressive back-ground of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women and peace and security by boldly stating that that he is a feminist which speakers after him followed the same mantra.  After that very convincing speech, I too now state that I am a feminist with the hope that many others will also follow suit…

The second keynote speaker Mr. Sean Faircloth (on secularism), author of “Attack of the Theocrats: How The Religious Right Harms Us All and What We Can Do About it” & Former Mayor and State Senator of Bangor, Maine talked about the vanishing democratic secularism of yesteryears to authoritarian exploitation of religion of the 21st century.  His was a most inspiring talk which beseeches especially the young to literally rise up, organize and work towards rebutting the tweets or lewd videos of the likes of Brazil’s far-right President, Jair Bolsonaro, which brings me to the point that I would like to discuss here.

Acknowledging first that the United Nations is the crucible for amazingly humanistic ideas and approaches given the sad state of the wars and killings that are still taking place in our world, my wish is to make possible for public at large to have the benefit of those ideas such as the SDGs touched upon at the beginning here through the use of social media, thanks to the innovations of technology. 

Speaking briefly of technology as the by-product of physical sciences, it can be said that physical sciences have made advances exponentially (curve A), especially more recently, while the social sciences have been relatively flat (curve B) with undulations as shown figuratively in the schematic on the left. 
Curve A represents technological advances in general, and the internet in particular.  C represents the relative knowledge-based gap between physical and social sciences at this time, where the gap is widening.
The gap may be construed as that relates to the human condition in terms of human well-being. 


One measure maybe World Happiness index report conducted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Another measure could be the number of deaths caused by wars and violence as a function of time.  In the millennia of the past more than 10% of deaths were the result of one person killing another according to the website (https://ourworldindata.org/causes-of-death. During the first half of the 20th century we witnessed the advent of mass killings by the mechanized war machines of the First and Second World Wars.  Although, the number of people being killed by wars has been diminishing during the second half of the 20th century, mass killings have morphed into mass shootings at individual levels, which are now taking the lives of masses of people by mechanized rifles as well as hand-guns.  Technology in general and internet in particular is bringing these events even into our living rooms instantaneously through advanced broadband technologies.  At the same time, the same technology is making possible for people to discover their roots and pushing them towards clannism by differentiating themselves from other clans-may it be on religious bases such as Jews vs. Moslems vs. Christians, etc., or through nationalism or racism.  This in turn is causing conflicts between different clans of different groups of people and most often ending up in deadly clashes- take the white supremacists that we have been witnessing lately.

Should the differentiation process continue, then gap C in the figure above is going to continue increasing with attendant human suffering unless the social sciences come up with solutions towards promoting sustainable development goals for integration rather than differentiation.  Once such goals are developed by the social sciences as depicted by line D as a break from the past, then with sustained effort people will tend towards integrating together to create unity with diversity while technological advances reduce the gap designated as C’ by lifting  up the solid blue line B to become dashed line B’ of progressive social sciences.

The conclusion can be drawn  that the technological advances represented by red line A will help lift up the social efforts represented by the blue line B also becoming exponential as depicted with dashed blue line B’  as long as the social sciences is sensitive to develop mechanisms to affect differentiation towards cooperation through integrative methods instead of confrontation pumped up through differentiative techniques.   

In short, technology at this time is helping people discover their differences from others through the internet and hence help form groups on the basis of peoples’ similarities with each other in a group different from other groups.  The internet also shows stark conflicts, more often deadly conflicts between groups. But in time, as SDGs, that is  Sustainable Development Goals are formulated by important institution such as the United Nations, then they too can be spread about and brought to the living rooms of people at large by the same technology, namely, the internet and other social media, thus contributing to a more sensible world at peace with itself. 

Hence, the conference on “PEACE, WOMEN, SECURITY & SECULARISM” certainly provided the seed of ideas that can germinate more SDGs to come forward indeed to achieve the concept of Sustainable Development Goals by year 2030 and beyond.  Many kudos go to Ambassador Isaiah Zimba Chabala, Former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Zambia to the United Nations and Humanitarian and Founder and President, Visionary Empowerment & Divine Empowerment Mission, who was the last speaker of the Opening Session, which also played a transition to the Multi-Participatory Session with the very meaningful words “I am, because you are.”  Tha Multi-Participatory session focused on PeaceorWoman or Security orSecularism” or one of the relevant SDGs (ref#5, 16, or 17) that each speakers brought in their organizational’s stand-point on one of the above key themes. The speakers in this session were as follows:

Collaborative Organizers:
• Ms. Fatma AYTAÇ
, Co-Founder & UN Rep., Red Pepper Association (Kırmızı Biber, ECOSOC)
• Ms. Sermin ÖZÇİLİNGİR, President, Turkish Women’s Leauge of America (TWLA)
• Mrs. Mirat YAVALAR, Co-Founder & Treasurer, Ataturk Society of America (UN-DGC-CSO)
• Dr. Ada OKIKA, UN Coordinator, Africana Women Working Group at the UN–1000 Women in Religion for Global Peace
Thiola OGUNREMI, 9th Grader at George Westinghouse Technical and Career High School, Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Jared CAIN, 9th Grader at George Westinghouse Technical and Career
High School, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Diverse presentations by Civil Society Representatives
• Dr. Wale Idris AJIBADE, Founder and Executive Director, African Views, UN Representative (ECOSOC)
• Ms. Abaynesh ASRAT
, Founder-President, Nation to Nation Network, Inc. 
• Ms. Nermin BEZMEN, Author

• Mr. Jonathon CUMMINGS, Partnership Manager, World Human Accountability Organization
Ayşegül DURAKOĞLU, PhD, Pianist and Professor of Music, Stevens Institute of Technology
• Denise SCOTTO, Esq. Attorney at Law & Policy Advisor, V.P. & UN Rep. Intl. Federation of Women in Legal Career (FIFCJ)
• Ms. Annie DENG (A Brief Introduction on the UN-DGC Youth Steering Committee and the 68th UN Civil Society Conference ), Co-chair, Youth Representative Steering Committee UN Department of Global Communications

– . –

Speakers and attendees of the “Peace, Women, Security and Secularism” program at Salvation Army in NYC
on Thursday, April 11, 2019.
30 students along with 3 teachers of George Westinghouse Technical and Career High School, Brooklyn, N.Y.  attended to the program.  Two students from the school, Thiola OGUNREMI and Jared CAIN made brief presentations. On behalf of the leading organization The Light Millennium, Bircan Ünver jointly presented 3 certificates with Dr. Ada Okika, UN Coordinator, Africana Women Working Group at the UN–1000 Women in Religion for Global Peace to the two students and the school for its participation. 

About the author: Sevgin Oktay is currently an active representative of The Light Millennium Organization (NGO) to the United Nations Department of Global Communications. He is also serving as Vice President of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), New York Region.  Sevgin Oktay served as Vice President of the World Affairs Council of the Mid-Hudson Valley 2011-2013.  In that position, he was involved with both the World Affairs Councils of America and Turkish Cultural Foundation in sending High School teachers to Turkey and in introducing Turkey into their classrooms (www.hvworldaffairscouncil.org/2011-turkey-study–tour/).  In addition to his efforts of educating the American public about Turkey and Turks, he has been quite involved in informing the community at large, through newspaper articles and other media, about Turkey’s relationship with the United States and other countries, including Armenia.   In regarding the latter relationship, he co-founded a group called “Concerned People To Set The Record Straight,” and an associated website, www.CPTSTRS.org.  He has also published thirteen monographs about the Armenian allegations which may be found in the same website along with other resources.  In 2013, he participated in the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) regarding international issues involving war crimes.  He is founder and president of TADA (Turkish Anti-Defamation Alliance).

PROGRAMME-Booklet with Bios of the SPEAKERS 
(version#9 as of April 10, 2019)

Run-Down of the PEACE, WOMEN, SECURITY AND SECULARISM Event (Final)

Photo Album of the Opening Session:
UNSCR 1325: On Peace and Women and Security, and Secularism-1

Photo Album of the Multi-Participatory Session:
Peace and Women and Security, and Secularism – 2
http://www.lightmillennium.org/gallery1/index.php/Peace-and-Women-and-Security-and-Secularism-2

UNSCR 1325 & SECULARISM event Concept Note: 
WE AIM TO BRING BACK THE “SECULARISM” CONCEPT INTO THE DISCUSSION IN CORRELATION WITH THE UNSCR 1325 AND SDGs TO THE UN GROUND

Event photo creditsDemet DEMIRKAYA, The Light Millennium

Social Media: @lightmillennium @turkishlibrarymuseum (Facebook & Twitter) @The Light Millennium (LinkedIn) @UN-DGC-CSO #UNDGC_CSO #UNSCR1325 #1325AndSecularism

The U.S. Turkish Library & Museum Project is under The Light Millennium Organization, Associated with the Department of Global Communications of the United Nations (formerly #UNDPINGO). http://www.turkishlibrary.us | http://www.isikbinyili.org | http://www.lightmillennium.org

"The U.S. Turkish Library & Museum For Friendship and Peace" project joined, and has been produced under the umbrealla of The Light Millennium Organization effective on October 15, 2015.