Bilkent Celebrates UN Day

Bilkent University will celebrate United Nations Day on Sunday, October 24. United Nations Day has been celebrated since 1948 to commemorate the passing of the UN Charter on October 24, 1945.
Bilkent will host two events to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the UN.
The Bilkent Laboratory & International School (BLIS)
Sunday, October 24, 2 to 5 p.m.

BLIS is celebrating United Nations day commemorating the beginning of the UN charter in 1945. They are inviting individuals and organizations in the Ankara community to join them for an afternoon of song, food, and tradition from different parts of the world. A number of embassies, UN agencies, and NGOs based here in Ankara are participating in the event.

According to BLIS Director Jim Swetz, "BLIS students are involved in many model UN activities and we organize one major one in our school MUNESCO. All of these will be represented. MUNTR from the university will also be represented. Our 5th grade students will present projects about how the UN responds to natural disasters around the world. In addition, every room in the new middle school building will be devoted to a country (e.g. Turkey, USA, Canada, Jamaica, etc.) or a region (e.g. West Africa including Senegal, Nigeria and The Gambia). We will also be holding a food drive and collect food for the flood victims in Pakistan that we are coordinating with the Red Crescent." Swetz hopes the whole Bilkent community considers joining the celebration.

BLIS will host the UN day celebration in the new middle school building on East Campus.
Bilkent Symphony Orchestra
On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of United Nations, the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gürer Aykal and featuring performances by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Ankara State Polyphonic Choir, Esin Talınlı, soprano, Aylin Ateş, mezzo soprano, Hüseyin Likos, tenor, and Tuncay Kurtoğlu, bass, will perform the Yunus Emre Oratorio Op. 26 by İzmir native Ahmed Adnan Saygun (1907-1991).
Saturday, October 23 at 8 p.m.
Bilkent Concert Hall

According to the UN website, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt coined the name United Nations, and the name was first used in the January 1, 1942, "Declaration by United Nations." The UN came into being during World War II, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against fascism in the Axis Powers.

The United Nations replaced the League of Nations, a post-World War I international cooperative organization that ultimately failed to prevent World War II. The League was conceived under the idea of national self-determination and to defeat empire building and secret-diplomacy, hallmarks of nineteenth-century international relations. Founded on U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's principles of self-determination of peoples, the League was never accepted by the U.S. government. Without the membership of the U.S., the League was unable to effectively condemn the fascist aggression of Japan against Manchuria and Italy against Ethiopia; by 1938, when Germany annexed League member-state Austria in the Anschluss, the League had lost all credibility.

The nations who constituted the Allied Powers in World War II began to plan in 1942 for a postwar world. The Allied victory in World War II and the structural and political annihilation of the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan, signatories to the 1940 Tripartite Pact) gave the Allies, led by the U.S., the U.K., France, China, and the U.S.S.R., a rare opportunity to establish an international cooperative organization. Much of the League's liberal political ideology made it into the UN charter, but the key difference in the UN was the establishment of a ruling body within the organization, the Security Council. The Security Council, composed of the veto-wielding permanent members from the five victorious Allies (the Russian Federation replaced the U.S.S.R. in 1991; the People's Republic of China replaced Taiwan in 1971) and ten rotating members, was designed to give the UN the ability to act quickly and decisively, something the League lacked. However, whether the UN has any real ability to influence world affairs has been a topic of argument for many years.

Although the UN has suffered withering criticism for its handling of various world crises in its 65-year history, it retains some ideological relevance to the world's largest economies and tries to provide a voice to the poorest ones, so it maintains an tenuous hegemony in peaceful world politics. Despite post-World War II genocidal conflicts in China, Cambodia, East Timor, the former Yugoslavia, the Dem. Rep. Of Congo, Rwanda, and Sudan, that there have been no repeats of the sheer carnage of World War II (some estimates are as high as 80 million deaths) is one argument for the UN's effectiveness. Many disagree, and in recent years there have been mass protests against some UN agencies, especially the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) because of the enormous burdens put on developing nations by the austerity measures inherent to economic liberalism.

In addition to addressing world political and economic conflicts, the UN is a primary mover in promoting and protecting cultural heritage and promoting learning through UNESCO, protecting the cultural heritage and rights of indigenous peoples around the world, promoting human rights, defending the environment, fighting world hunger, promoting women's rights (the UN sponsors International Women's Day), alleviating poverty, treating disease, encouraging infrastructure development, clearing land mines, providing disaster relief, protecting children through UNICEF, helping refugees through UNHCR, and many other humanitarian programs.

For more information on the UN in Turkey, visit: