Turkish Olympiad in Chicago held with impressive event

By: NESRİN GÜLKESEN

The Midwest US finals of the 12th International Turkish Olympiads took place in a festive atmosphere on Monday evening with an impressive event in Chicago with the attendance of hundreds of both Turkish and American citizens.

Many countries that are home to Turkish schools have been holding similar language and culture festivals this month to select students to compete in the 12th International Turkish Olympiad finals that are organized by the International Turkish Education Association (TÜRKÇEDER) in Turkey in May and June each year. Those who rank top in these local competitions are invited to attend the main finals held in Turkey.

The festival in Chicago was organized by the Turkish American Society of Chicago (TASC) under the name “Turkuaz Dil ve Kültür Festivali” (Turquoise Language and Culture Festival). The event was held under the slogan of “the harmony of different cultures and colors” to emphasize the importance of intercultural dialogue and interaction. Participants competed with each other in the categories of poem recitation, singing and reading. Students who ranked highly were awarded with gold medals.

Students from the US, Turkey, Columbia, Panama, India, Equator, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and from Africa competed in the event, captivating the spectators with their performances.

Biviana Benitez qualified to represent the US Midwest in the competition to be held in Turkey with the Turkish song “Sessiz Gemi” (Silent Ship). Apart from Benitez who ranked first in the singing category, Dinalda Bita, who sang the English song “Feeling Good,” was also applauded enthusiastically by the spectators, coming second in the category. Asanatu Kamatu, who sang the Turkish song “Bir Tanrıyı, Bir de Beni Sakın Unutma” (Don’t Forget, God First Then Me Later) came the third in the singing category in the competition.

Former Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Kütahya deputy İdris Bal and the Journalists and Writers Foundation’s (GYV) Ankara representative Hüseyin Mercan were among the hundreds of spectators attending the event.

Speaking after the event, Bal said: “I have brought greetings from Turkey. Cultural relations are as important as economical relations between countries. Such activities carry great importance. The most valuable assets of the world are not oil reserves, but educated and democratic young people.”

Elaine Nekritz, the Democratic member of the Illinois House of Representatives for the 57th District, Michelle Mussman, Illinois state representative for the 56th district, Consul-General of Pakistan in Chicago Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Consul-General of Venezuela in Chicago Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza and Mexican Consul-General in Chicago Bernardo Mendez were among the attendees of the event.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN