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The Light Millennium presented in collaboration with the Sport Management Program, the Department of Business Administration,
and the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership at Saint Peters University on April 27, 2015.

On the occasion of the International Day of Spor for Development and Peace (April 6)

Report On

From a Social and Economic Perspective

Prof. Ergun Yurdadon,

Report by

Ali ERCAN, The Light Millennium
NGO Youth Representative at the United Nations Department of Public Information


[Lightmillennium.Org, New York] The Light Millennium organization, with a tax exempt status public benefit multi-media and culture organization, and associated NGO (non-governmental organization) with the United Nations Department of Public Information, organized and presented “How Sport Can Contribute Towards Peace and Sustainable Development: From a Social and Economic Perspective” program in collaboration with the Sport Management Program, the Department of Business Administration, and the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership at Saint Peters University in Jersey City on April 27, 2015.

As prior welcoming remarks set the tone of the program. Dr. Kelvin Callahan (Moderator and Professor of Criminal Justice Department), David S. Surrey, PhD (Professor and Chairman of the Sociology and Urban Studies), and Bircan Ünver (President of The Light Millennium Organization) made their welcoming, opening remarks and the introduction of the Round-table. In reference to “How sport can contribute towards peace and sustainable development”, Erden Eruç (through a video message), Dr. Joseph Spears (Assistant Professor, Program Coordinator of Secondary Education, Department of Teaching), Rose Harper (The Chief Executive Officer of the Grass Ceiling), H.E. Ambassador Carlos E. Garcia Gonzales (Executive Director & Senior Advisor at South-South News; Founder & CEO of CG Global Consultant), Joseph Quinlan, ( Director of Athletics at Saint Peter’s University), Shannon Nulty (Student, Athlete at the Department of Sports Management at Saint Peter’s University), Nasuh Mahruki (The co-founder and the president of AKUT Search and Rescue Association.), Dr. Ergun Yurdadon (Professor and the current director of Sport Management program at Saint Peters University), and Tunc Ucyildiz, (Professional Athlete) made their presentations based on their own experience in sport and/or academic research fields as well as contributed to the discussion each from his/her perspectives.

Follow by the round-table, panelists accepted questions from the audience, and the program concluded with chanting “White Cards for Peace” by all the speakers and guests on the stage together, in which, Ergun Yurdadon accompanied with a flute performance.

White Cards for Peace - Sports for Peace and Development - April 27, 2015
Photos by Julie Mardin


Moderator - Dr. Kelvin Callahan, (Professor of Criminal Justice Department since 2011-present. He was a NJ Superior Court Judge for 27 years from 1984 to 2011 at Criminal Division): Started the conference by welcoming everybody and then introduced each speaker shortly. Dr. Callahan also provided some brief information about the background of Saint Peters University, university’s success in some fields and what they have achieved so far.

Opening Remarks

David S. Surrey, PhD (Professor and Chairman of the Sociology and Urban Studies; Department Director of Africana Studies; Director of Faculty Research): He started his presentation by congratulating the organizers for putting up all these together and organizing such an event. During his conversation, Dr. Surrey provided an example of his three students from different nations and how sports brought them and their family together.

Dr. Surrey continued his speech by declaring “This conference fits in our university and tells us where to go. Sports teach people teamwork, trust, fairness and respect. These people are bounded by sports and sports also provide a safe environment for the people to interact with each other.”

Bircan Ünver, (Founder-President of The Light Millennium Organizaation and Ambassador of Peace and Goodwill for Anuvibha, India): Ms. Ünver started her speech by conveying her special thanks to her collaborators at Saint Peter's University, and team members from her organization for their efforts to launch this round-table. Then she provided some basic information regarding The Light Millennium(LM) Organization, especially about its mission, vision, a few selected past as well as upcoming events. Ms. Unver stated that “The Light Millennium organization's institutional level inspiration is based on the the US Constitution, Article 1 and United Nations' Universal Declaration Human Rights - Article# 19. Then she introduced the first article's of The Light Millennium based on its Mission, which follows: "To provide an international platform for the free expression of ideas and experiences in order to foster a global connection among all people". We are very much focus on the concept of promoting freedom of expression and freedom of access to information and presenting the ideas from the all walks of life side by side on the holistic level yet on voluntary basis, she continued

During her conversation, Ms. Ünver accentuated some important points by her own words as follow: “Turkey is the only secular country among in the Muslim countries in the World that Turkey has been celebrating May 19 as Youth and Sports Day since 1923.

Rose Harper, Dr. Joseph Spears, Amb. Carlos Garcia

Conference Speakers & the Summaries of Their Presentations:

Erden Eruç (through a video message), (Solo Rower, Extreme Athlete-Guinness World Record and AKUT Athlete) :

Erden Eruç is the first person in history to have crossed an ocean from the southern hemisphere to the northern for Seattle-based, the Six Summits project is the culmination of years of dreaming and wondering "if" such a feat were possible.

Mr. Eruç was introduced to sports at a young age by his father. During his video message, Mr. Eruç stressed that sports have helped him a lot to become a confident individual that can be decisive, and take actions on his ideas and dreams and also move forward more confidently. During his video message, Eruç said “I found that sports have opened doors for me. It has helped me to connect with all walks of life regardless of their level of income, or nationality, or religion, or race etc. It became unifying glue for us to build relationships.” Mr. Eruç continued his speech by saying “I have learned that I need to take care of myself, my team and I also need to take care of my opponent. We protect each other through process. Competition has to be a mutually supported environment where we all play according to rules. Good will and fair access of fair play is obligatory for athletes. That affects all we do in life.”

Mr. Eruç concluded his remarks by saying “as I thought about the Gallipoli campaign, I came out with this idea of I could take my rowboat from the East of the United States to Gallipoli. We will use the slogan of ‘Row for Peace’ for this journey. Through peace and reconciliation, today I will be able to, as a Turkish man, get on the same rowboat with an Australian man and spend 85 days to give powerful messages to the world.” For Erden Eruç's Video Message, please click on this link.

Dr. Joseph Spears, (Assistant Professor, Program Coordinator of Secondary Education, Department of Teaching): Dr. Spears understand the need and importance spiritually, socially and economically developing families and communities. Dr. Spears utilizes sports to partner with other community organizations and leaders to provide educational and informational programs that promote the well-being of the entire community.

During his speech, Dr. Spears started his presentation by talking about the non-traditional aspect how sports affect the social communities and took a look at it from the church perspective. Dr. Spears expressed that “sport has that power, in that potential, to really reach across boundary lines and church is today realized that religion and sports can become partners more often in order to connect with people within their local communities.”

In addition the above points, Dr. Spears provided some information regarding proportion of people who attend the church activities, their gender and how these rates have changed lately. During his presentation, Dr. Spears also explained the importance of three components -body, soul, and spirit- and their movements through people’s body.

Dr. Joseph Spears

Rose Harper, (The Chief Executive Officer of the Grass Ceiling; an entrepreneur, philanthropist, lecturer, adjunct professor, contributing writer to golf publications, passionate golfer): In her opening, Dr. Harper introduced herself as a minority in the free enterprise system and then defined the sport as one of the largest industries in the world. Dr. Harper suggested, "educators, entrepreneurs, and businessmen must educate young people on how to use sports, instead of having sport to use them." Then continued her presentaion by expressing that “education involves and active exchange for information and ideas that will challenge one’s perceptions and encourage new ways of thinking for all cultures and all genders.” She also stressed that it is her mission to make young people understand that the control no so much in the playing of games; the control is in the manufacturing and producing of the sport.

Dr. Harper said “When I take these young people to the Olympics, they gain that experience and understand that knowledge which they are using today. And I’m a minority within the minority and free enterprise system. I sit here as an example of what we can do if you have in your hands and in your portfolio, the most important tool is to begin learning how to play golf.” In her conclusion sentence, Dr. Harper shared a quote from Oscar Wilde which is: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

H.E. Ambassador Carlos E. Garcia Gonzales, (Executive Director & Senior Advisor at South-South News; Founder & CEO of CG Global Consultant since July 2014; Vice President of the Light Millennium Organization; a career diplomat from El Salvador that served his country in the United Nations from July 1996 to June 2014, in different positions and ranks, being his last one as Permanent Representative to the United Nations.): H.E. Ambassador Garcia started his presentation by conveying his thanks to The Light Millennium, faculty members and students at Saint Peter's University He placed his presentation on the base of Southern developing countries perspective. He claimed that “by the Resolution A/R/53/243 A and B -Declaration and Program on a Culture of Peace- is a very important resolution because for the first time in 1996, the United Nations has started to bring very comprehensive perspective on different angles to manage the peace, not only seen as a counter-resolution but more comprehensive perspective.”

H.E. Ambassador Garcia continued his speech by adding “there is a very important aspect of the United Nations agenda that we need to understand in terms of development which is seen sport as a tool for social inclusion.” By social inclusion, he said, he was referring to the vulnerable groups in accordance to the United Nations. These vulnerable groups are children, youth, women, people with disabilities and indigenous people. According to Ambassador Garcia’s presentation, “culture of peace, sport-health education, and sustainable development are the three important concepts and components of the process. Three layers (prevention of violence, social inclusion, individual empowerment) of the culture of peace are necessary to move in a dynamic relationship with sport, as one of the tool, is connected to health, education, and provide some other tools like teamwork, responsibilities, discipline, and general equality.” Beyond that, Ambassador Garcia stressed the importance of understanding the other companions such as sustainable development, which as an economic driver, entrepreneurship, environmental protection and community approach. H.E. Ambassador Garcia explained the concept of sustainable development by three principles as follow: social inclusion, economic development and environmental protection and stressed that “sports play very important role in creating very positive cycle in terms of bringing together families, communities, local-national government, and multi-state partnership.”

In his conclusion remarks, H.E. Ambassador Garcia underlined that sport plays a big role in terms of implementing sustainable development components such as being an economic driver, entrepreneurship, environmental protection, and community approach. He further defined and explained sports' important place and role from a developing country and international perspective, which is, El Salvador. And, within the context of this round-table, he illustrated an excellent example about how El Salvador used sport as a tool to prevent social violence, promote general equality, self-esteem, and provide business opportunities as well as explained the correlation between sport and national identity.

Joseph Quinlan, (Director of Athletics at Saint Peter’s University): Mr. Quinlan started his speech by extending his thanks to everyone who played a role to make this conference happen. He continued his presentation by explaining defining a couple of things that are transcending the sport, and age is one of those. Sports transcend ages and generations. Mr. Quinlan also added that “there are other values such as integrity, trust, ethics, character and a very solid work ethic. Those are the very important qualities here at Saint Peter’s University. All of our students are required to be a part of community services.” Mr. Quinland stated "there is a real global interest in sports and we look at our part of this as a very formative and fundamental preparation for our students to go forward and be engaged in maintenance of peace and sustainable development". Then Mr. Quinlan concluded his speech by asking from his students to work for peace and be a part of the sustainable development.

Shannon Nulty (Student, Athlete at the Department of Sports Management at Saint Peter’s University): During her presentations, Miss. Nulty said that “even though you all in this room may believe that sports can’t change the whole world, I believe that sport has ability to change one’s personnel world. As athletes, we do not want to be a normal college student and we won’t. I believe that student athletes have the power to change minds of others.” Miss. Nulty continued her speech by stressing the importance of community service and defined it as a great way to happiness, peace, prosperity, and to advertise student athletes’ role to the world.

Miss. Nulty concluded her speech my stating that “sports bring people together in a common place. Sports gave me the ability to its full. Sport is a religion. It binds people together from all corners of the world. I believe nothing is more spectacular than seeing different individuals putting aside differences and showing common interest in the tournaments.”

Prof. Ergun Yurdadon's presentation

Nasuh Mahruki (The co-founder and the president of AKUT Search and Rescue Association): During his short speech, Mr. Mahruki stated that through connections and communication, exchanging ideas and getting know each other, we will make peace and progress locally, nationally, internationally, and globally.
Mr. Mahruki, referred that he was the first Turk who claimed to the summit of the Everest mountain, and continued his remarks by delivering “sport is a great tool for us to get to know each other, appreciate each other’s abilities, differences, and shared values. Connection, communication and getting know each other are actually all we need for peace.”
Mr. Mahruki concluded his speech by stressing the importance of Olympics and International activities in terms of peace and sustainable development.

Dr. Ergun Yurdadon (Professor and the current director of Sport Management program at Saint Peters University): Dr. Ergun started his speech by briefly thanking to each panelist for their presentation and speech and also to the people who played a role for making this event happened.
Dr. Yurdadon continued his speech by talking about, by his definition, the three very special individuals who are very significant in the world of sports and nation building, Ataturk, Nixon and Mandela. The first one was the Founder Father of the Republic of Turkey, Ataturk. Dr. Yurdadon said “Ataturk had built the Turkey out of the ashes of Ottoman Empire and gave us hope, prosperity, and peace through the sport.” Dr. Yurdadon also added that “we have two national days in Turkey. The first one is the April 23rd which Ataturk granted for the children of Turkey and the world. The second one is May 19th which Ataturk granted that day for world’s youth and peace.” Dr. Yurdadon continued his speech by providing some information as well as examples about both Nixon’s and Mandela’s contribution to the development and nation building through diplomacy, sports and peace.

Tunç Üçyildiz, Professional Athlete/Surfer: Mr. Üçyildiz started his speech by concentrating on three attributions of sports which also important for people’s development and sustainability. “The first attribute is the ability to organize” said Mr. Üçyildiz and continued his speech by adding “This is the most important attribute for any kind of successful individual, company, organization and country. It’s the main difference between successful and unsuccessful people. Sports will give this habit to us in time.”
“The second attribute is sustaining survival more” stated Mr. Üçyildiz and “In sports, you are constantly forcing the limits and out of your comfort zone. When you are out of your comfort zone, the development comes in” told Mr. Üçyildiz.
“The third and last one is peaceful development, and this can be accomplished by creating sympathy. If you find something in common, you can create this sympathy” added Mr. Üçyildiz. He concluded his speech by providing some examples of sympathy from his world championship experience.

Over 250 mainly students along with faculty members and some NGO representatives attended
to the Round-table at Saint Peter's University on April 27, 2015.

3. Questions and Answers:

Q.1: When I look at the two biggest international events, World CFup and Olympics, I see a lot of nationalism in these games, especially by top nations. It is all about the medal race. It is more nationalistic rather than sports. Could you please share your comments on this?

A.1: Ms. Rose Harper answered this question by saying “You are absolutely right on your points. Our games are very political. The world more focuses on commercialism. Understanding the business of sport and what it can do, what it should do, are very important for your generation and young people. Ultimately, people play sports just to sell products. You have to have the support in order to do that. It’s our responsibility, our job, as entrepreneurs and educators to educate these young people on how to use the sports”.

Ambassador Garcia also shared his thoughts in regards to this question. Ambassador Garcia said “on the side of sustainable development, the point here is that from the developing country the sustainability comes when kids, vulnerable groups are able to use sports as a tool to connect with larger, economic empowerment. At the same time, in the local communities, there is a need to promote environmental protection”.

Q.2: What steps are being taken to increase female/women inclusion within sports and technology?

A.2: Ms. Harper answered that by stating “think there is not enough accountability where schools are accountable to respond their needs. Most schools do not really understand the return of their investment”. Additionally, Dr. Quinlan stated that “the existence of chances for young women and girls to have to have the opportunities to pursue whatever their dreams are, it is important to look at what’s going on in your community”. The lastly, Dr. Yurdadon shared his thoughts in regards to this question. “If any country wants to host the Olympic games, they have to promote the women’s participation in to the sports and demonstrate it. So this is a good thing about the sports. Yes, I agree that steps are not enough but at least, there is some progress” said Dr. Yurdadon.


Directed by: Bircan Ünver and Prof. Ergun Yurdadon
Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Sebahattin Devecioglu

Related Links on the Lightmillennium.Org
Erden Eruç's Video Message & Row For Peace Campaign
PROGRAM with Bios of the Speakers
LM Flyer - SPU Poster
INVITE html version
Photo Album I - by Bircan Ünver - Photo Album II - by Julie Mardin

External links:

Facebook - The Light Millennium - LIKE page
Twitter #lmillennium

Posted by Bircan Ünver on June 28, 2015 - Updated on July 8, 2015.

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