TURKISH VICE-CONSUL CANCELS MODEL UN APPEARANCE AT UCLA
Students at the UCLA-hosted Model UN
AYF and UCLA ASA educate Conference attendees about Vice Consul’s
LOS ANGELES-On Saturday, November 17, the collective efforts of
the UCLA Armenian Students Association (ASA) and Armenian Youth
Federation (AYF), with the support of the Armenian National Committee
of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR) caused Tolga Arslan, Turkish
Vice Consul to cancel his appearance at the Los Angeles Model United
Nations Conference at UCLA.
The Los Angeles Model UN Conference has been hosted by BruinMUN (Bruin
Model United Nations) for the past eight consecutive years and attracts
more than 1,000 high school students from across Southern California to
gather at UCLA and participant in dialogues regarding current events,
international relations, and above all, the United Nations principles.
“The United Nations is an international organization whose mission
includes the advancement of friendly international relations, thus
emphasizing regional peace and stability, the freedom of thought and
expression, and human rights in general,” explained Stepan Keshishian,
Executive Director of the AYF, “Many of Turkey’s policies are in direct
violation of UN principles. It is therefore highly problematic to
invite the Vice Consul of Turkey to serve as the keynote speaker at
this conference, and to essentially present himself and his country
as a valid representation of UN principles.”
Arslan was invited to be the keynote speaker at the BruinMUN
conference, and was supposed to deliver an introductory speech to
the conference participants. Just as the conference began, it was
announced that Arslan had made a last minute cancellation.
“When the Vice Consul of Turkey, a country notorious for its Human
rights violations, is invited to our campus to speak to thousand
impressionable high school students on human rights, we cannot stay
silent.” said Knarik Gasparyan, Publicity Director for UCLA ASA.
“It was not only our right but also our responsibility to protest
against his presence and speech as well as to educate the students
on what the Consul and his country stand for and represent.”
During the event, as students started filing into Ackerman Grand
Ballroom, the UCLA ASA the AYF combined forces, protesting outside
and passing out informative flyers about Turkey’s complete disregard
for Human Rights and the United Nations Charter.
“It is not only important that the student participants are educated
about Turkey’s blatant violations of human rights and the UN Charter,
but that the organizers of the event are abreast of these issues as
well,” remarks ANCA-WR External Affairs Deputy, Tereza Yerimyan. “The
ANCA-WR is very pleased to have seen the youth organizations come
together on a college campus to highlight the facts of the situation.”
The Armenian Youth Federation along with the UCLA ASA would like to
thank the ANCA for their continuous support of our activities and
commend them on their work for the Armenian Cause.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most
influential Armenian American youth organization in the United States,
working to advance the social, political, educational and cultural
awareness of Armenian-American youth.