AYF and UCLA ASA educate Conference attendees about Vice Consuls opposing principles
LOS ANGELES- On Saturday, November 17th, 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 over 1,000 high school students from across Southern California to gather at UCLA and participate 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 Turkeys 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 a 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 Turkeys complete disregard for human rights and the United Nations Charter.
It is not only important that the student participants are educated about Turkeys 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.