On 2 December 2018, the '’Mandela 100 Event’’ was held with the support of Move Humanity that included all of SDSN-Youth. Turkey held the event at the TOBB Economy and Technology University in Ankara and at Bogazici University in Istanbul. I am proud of hosting such a wonderful event. What was different about this particular event? Immediately, these things come to mind: ambassador hospitality, the conference, the panel, the live connection, workshops, networking, and of course new friendships!

Apart from having valuable speakers and a wonderful team, a university hub (SDSN-Academy) hosted an ambassador for the first time in university history. From the Ambassador's interpreter to the photographer, everyone was a student and we were able to complete the event in accordance with the protocol. We were so excited as a team because for the first time we were not only witnessing this event, we were there to write the moment! When I first told my school, they warned me that hosting an ambassador is very difficult, perhaps even impossible as a university hub, but this was for the event, it was the spirit of SDSN-Youth to overcome challenges, and it was never easy to have an impact all over the world. As Nelson Mandela would say ‘’It always seems impossible until it is done.‘’ As a result, all of SDSN-Youth managed to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Mandela with the support of Move Humanity in many different parts of the world.

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At the Event

At the event, as the founding chairman of the SDSN-Academy, I first explained the structure of SDSN-Youth and the story of the SDSN-Academy. Afterwards, Aybüke Aydın and Zahide Artunç conducted the program with great success as moderators.

Key Speakers

We had four key speakers who made up the main part of the event. Our first speaker was H.E. Retired Ambassador Numan Hazar! He was the Nigerian Ambassador to Turkey, Turkey’s UNESCO Permanent Representative, and Turkey’s Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe. Reminding Mandela's life as a metaphor in his speech, he drew attention to human rights and poverty. He produced a Mandela Synthesis regarding education accessibility, with both current and historical information.

The moment we were all waiting for! Our second speaker was Ambassador of South Africa to Turkey H.E. Pule Isaac Malefane. Ambassador Malefane drew attention to the theme of ‘’Be the Legacy’. He gave the example of two great statesmen in his speech: Mandela and Atatürk. He finished his morning session with Atatürk’s famous words: '’Peace at home, peace in the world.'' Ambassador Malefane stayed at the event all day interacting with students and valuable participants. The ambassador, with his understanding and support for the SDSN-Academy during the whole event, has helped us to prove that young people can overcome every challenge and his presence was instrumental in the event. You can find the link of the event on the South African Embassy Site here.  

Live Connection

SDSN-Youth Global Coordinator Siamak Sam Loni took us to South Africa through live connection. Thanks to Sam, SDSN-Youth did not leave us alone during the preparation of the event and during the event. This is a great example of the ‘Leave No One Behind’ spirit!

An Extraordinary Panel

One of the panel speakers was IDEMA Assistant General Manager Ahmet Batat. In his speech, Batat explained how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are applicable in our lives with a great example: İhtiyaç Haritası/Needs Map.

İhtiyaç Haritası (Needs Map): Wherever we live, we know the living needs of the place where we live. The fulfillment of these needs is all of our duties as a social responsibility. The Need Map is a non-profit social cooperative. In addition to meeting the needs of different issues with the support of institutions, individuals can also use this platform anywhere in Turkey. Don't forget to check out İhtiyaç Haritası here!

The final speaker of our panel was International Consulting Expertise (ICE) Country Director Burçak Çullu. Çullu talked about Business School, the SDGs, and the Kofi Annan Foundation. Çullu as a woman, leader, and entrepreneur showed us incredible projects which are under the auspices of ICE. Some examples include the quality health care project in Congo (€ 9,000,000), the Tchoad Justice Support Program, the Rule of Law Project (€ 3,562,000) and the Poverty Education Project in Niger (6,500,000 Euro). In this context, ICE's work was a very effective and inspiring guide for everyone. If you would like to know the valuable works of ICE, click here.   

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Closing Remarks

The current president of our club, Yağmur Atılgan, made the closing speech. I am incredibly proud to have such a great team, no matter what the results are! In the SDSN-Academy adventure that started two and a half years ago, I am looking back at the fruitful activities that transpired with other young people. Thanks SDSN-Academy Team, always be sustainable! Don’t forget to check out our Instagram page here.

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Buket Altınçelep is a senior student of International Relations at Tobb University of Economics and Technology, with a full scholarship. She also graduated from Pamukova Anatolian High School with Second Place and has been working at Yaşamartı (an Institution about Personal Development Psychology) for 2 years. Buket has been with UNSDSN-Youth since 2015. In addition, she has also worked at The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey.

Buket is proficient in French and English, and her main interests are in International Law, International Organizations and Sustainable Development, Foreign Policy Analysis, and International Economic Politics. Her hobbies also include riding horses, tennis, trekking, attending seminars, conferences, receptions, festivals, being active, and spending time with friends.