THO Inspired the Next Generation American – Turkish Leaders

Turkish American Youth and Education Foundation’s Summit brought together more than 80 young leaders with scholars, community leaders and government officials  

Organized by the Turkish American Youth and Education Foundation (TAYEF) and Turkish Institute of Progress (TIP), the 1st Young Leaders’ Summit was held at the Turkish American Community Center in Maryland. The three-day summit brought together a diverse group of young leaders from the U.S., Canada and Turkey. 

Yenal Kucuker, Turkish Heritage Organization’s Program Manager, shared his nation-wide grassroots level advocacy experience and informed the next generation leaders on THO’s activities. Yenal Kucuker indicated that the Turkish – American community and organizations were now putting a lot more emphasis on youth development than they were 10-15 years ago. Yenal urged the young leaders to take advantage of these valuable initiatives for young leaders and encourage others to do the same. Giving an example from his experience with the Turkish – American organizations, Yenal urged the young leaders to seek internship opportunities in Washington and invited them to apply for summer internship positions at THO.  

Derya Taskin, President of TIP, and the Deputy Mayor of Paterson, New Jersey told the young leaders that the American – Turkish community needed more mayors, elected officials and government officials from American – Turkish background. Taskin mentioned about various partnerships and programs that were in progress. She indicated that both her personal and organizational goal was to enable the next generation to become more effective leaders in their communities. 

In addition to Turkish – American community leaders, participants had a chance to meet and ask pertinent questions to American scholars. Michael M. Gunter, professor of political science at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee, who is also a THO Advisory Board Member and the Secretary-General of the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) and Joshua Walker, Vice-President of Global Programs at APCO Worldwide in the Office of the CEO and Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, informed the young leaders about critical political issues and international relations.