Turkish Youth Congress

Reflections on the 7th Annual Turkish Youth Congress held in Ottawa

March 15th, 2014 marked the seventh Annual Turkish Youth Congress hosted by the Council of Turkish Canadians. The organizers deserve the biggest round of applause for taking the time out of their busy schedules to ensure that this conference takes place every year, regardless of the challenges, and holding the conference in different Canadian cities to diversify our experience. Their hard work and determination is the primary leadership and mentorship example, and I hope that future generations remain inspired by their professional administration of such an important event. Youth of Turkish identity along with a number of individuals from different backgrounds gathered in Ottawa to partake in the conference held at Carleton University. This year’s speakers ranged from young professionals working within legal and political fields, along with professors specialized in history, politics, economics and a range of relevant social matters concerning the Turkish community in international relations. Their willingness to share their knowledge and experience with youth and other young professionals is truly inspiring and something I strongly value as a student seeking opportunities to meet influential people within my fields of interest.

As a 5th year delegate, I want to discuss the overall purpose and importance of supporting youth conferences specifically targeting youth of Turkish heritage, although admission is not limited to associating with a particular nationality. Firstly, I want to thank the speakers for their inspiring level of professionalism and enthusiasm towards the topics they discussed. As mentioned, I do not want to focus this discussion on the content of the conference but rather the overall purpose and importance of its existence. It is clear that discipline and self-determination are crucial for future success, but cooperation and support from people who share common values, particularly those who belong to the same ethnic community, have a long-term effect on an individual’s level of motivation to strive for that success. My commitment to attending these conferences has been influenced by the level of respect delegates, speakers and organizers demonstrate towards one another within such a comfortable environment. These conferences provide youth, particularly Turkish youth, with the opportunity to receive leadership, advice and mentorship from members of their own ethnic community, strengthening their relations with their heritage along with providing youth with opportunities to network with professionals and other youth primarily of Turkish heritage in fields relevant to their academic pursuit. Although majority of discussions pertain to political, social and economic issues, I believe there is room to incorporate topics regarding science and engineering with the inclusion of professionals within those fields for following conferences.