Ambassador speech merited respect

The Turkish Student Association would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate the organizers of the International Week on a job well done. Your dedication, hard work and enthusiasm made “International Week ’98: Gateway to the World” the great success that it was.

We would also like to express our gratitude to President Trachtenberg for selecting our ambassador, Nuzhet Kandemir, as the keynote speaker for the Ambassador Lecture Series.

Ambassador Kandemir served as a diplomat for more than 40 years, and has served as the Republic of Turkey’s ambassador to the United States for the past nine years. As he will be returning to Turkey in the coming days, the lecture was his last public appearance in the United States. It was a great honor and privilege for us to welcome this veteran diplomat to our University and listen to his informative speech.

The behavior that certain individuals within the audience displayed at the end of the speech during the question-and-answer session was unbecoming of such a distinctive academic setting, and damaged the very spirit of conciliation and tolerance that defines International Week.

As members of the Turkish Students Association of GW, we were embarrassed by the hostility displayed by certain individuals against our ambassador, President Trachtenberg’s guest of honor. Political militancy in such a setting is simply unbecoming. Similar behavior would have been condemned by us even if any other nation’s ambassador were subjected to it.

As Turkish students at GW, we strongly believe that respect and communication are of utmost importance when dealing with each other. We strive to make a positive contribution to intercultural dialogue and understanding. Our goal is to enhance Turkish-American friendship. Short-sighted ethnic agendas aimed at disrupting this relationship will not dissuade us from our constructive path.

Heading toward the 21st century, it is time to bury the hate, bias and bigotry. Let’s give peace a chance.

-The writer is president of the Turkish Student Association.

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