On February 28, Peace Islands Institute (PII) Connecticut hosted the 3rd Annual Friendship Dinner and Awards Ceremony at Hartford Marriott Downtown Hotel. The theme of the event was “The Role of Media in Peacebuilding” .The keynote speaker was Al Terzi from Fox News and the guest speaker was Usame Tunagur from Ebru TV.
The event began with a reception and continued with the moment of silence for the victims of Newtown shooting. Afterwards, Mr. Mehmet Erdogdu, the Director of PII Connecticut, delivered his welcome speech. A short video presentation about Peace Islands Institute’s mission, vision, and latest events and activities followed his speech.
After the guests enjoyed their dinner, the awards ceremony took place. Attorney General George Jepsen was presented the “Statesman of the Year” award by Mr. Nebi Demirsoy, board member of Peace Islands Institute. The “Educator of the Year” award was given to Newtown Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Janet Robinson. The award was presented by Prof. Osman Kilic, Professor of Finance at Quinninpiac University and the board member of Peace Islands Institute. Mr. Al Terzi from Fox News, was given the “Media Award” for his contributions and hard work on media and its role in peacebuilding. The award was given by Senator Andrew Maynard and after that Mr. Terzi took the stage to give the keynote speech. In his speech, Mr. Terzi explained how media affects people’s ideas positively and negatively and expressed that media mostly reports conflicts and controversies. He then talked about the meaning and the mission of Peace Islands Institute. “Since the world is starving for peace, island can be defined as a peaceful place where everyone can find pleasure, comfort, and hope” he said. Following Mr. Terzi, Mr. Usame Tunagur –an award winning filmmaker from Ebru TV- delivered his speech. Mr. Tunagur stated that the media is not limited to the local tv/radio stations or journals; social network is a part of media. He then expressed the power of media in shaping people’s minds and forming stereotypes. He ended his words stating that we all share responsibility as media users and producers. The night ended with the closing remarks.