The Turkish Cultural Center’s 2016 Friendship Dinner awards were presented on April 19th at Wolferts Roost Country Club, Albany, NY.
The Friendship Dinner and Award Ceremony is an occasion where community leaders, educators, elected officials, community service providers, academics, and religious leaders get together to build bridges of understanding and address local or global issues. The theme of the event this year was “Refugee Crises: Global Challenges and Local Opportunities’’
Every year, the Turkish Cultural Center, Albany honors individuals and organizations that contribute to peaceful coexistence. This year’s awards and awardees included:
Leadership Award: Kathy Sheehan, Mayor of Albany
Community Service Award: Patricia Fahy, Assemblymember
Philanthropy Award: Jill Peckenpaugh, Director of U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Media Award: Paul Grondahl, Author and Times Union journalist
The program began with opening remarks by emcee of the event, attorney Seth Leech, and continued with welcoming remarks by TCC Advisory Board Member, Professor Samantha Friedman.
Professor of Political Science, Vera Eccarius-Kelly, delivered the evening’s keynote speech, during which she shared her experiences visiting refugee camps across Europe and the Middle East. Finally, Alma Kanic, a member of the Bosniak Association, spoke first hand about her family’s experience fleeing the brutal war in Bosnia in the ‘90s and travelling to the U.S. as refugees.