Fri, 16 Mar | Sydney Customs House, 31 Alfred St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia


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Time & Location

16 Mar 2018, 6:00 pm
Sydney Customs House, 31 Alfred St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

About The Event

Dear Guest,

I would like to cordially invite you to the official launch of “Advocates for Dignity” Reception program.

Advocates for Dignity (AFD) is an advocacy organisation that seeks to promote the rule of law, democracy and preserve fundamental human rights and liberties with a special focus on Turkey and its citizens abroad. A country, with eighty million citizens, that is experiencing a dramatic decline in its democracy and swaying towards an autocratic leadership.

AFD is a non-profit organisation set up by a group of Turkish speaking Australian citizens, who wanted to make the wider Australian community aware of the unlawful crackdown on its citizens and the cessation of press freedom in countries such as Turkey, where 191 journalists have been jailed, and close to 200 media outlets have been terminated by a series of arbitrary decisions taken by the Turkish authorities. Our organisation is based in Sydney, Australia, a country that is a strong advocate of freedom of expression.

For over 20 years I have been part of organisations that helped promote values-based education, dialogue and peace in Australia. I was co-founder and presided over some of the organisations such as Amity College, Affinity Intercultural Foundation, ISRA Australia, Bayram Turkish Cultural Association and most recently was Chairperson of the Galaxy Foundation. These organisations started with humble beginnings and became success stories within their own right.

Today I am presiding over a committee that will launch the Advocates for Dignity.

You may ask why we established such an organisation. Well, there is a need for advocacy and dignity for all people in this World. Whilst we may have dignity and rule of law in this great country of ours, there are many Australians who come from war torn countries who are ruled by Dictators. As Australians, I believe that we need to hear these stories and know about them.

To begin with, the organisation will focus on Turkey. Healthy relations with Turkey is very important for Australia and there are many reasons why, as outlined below:

Both Australia and Turkey fought a gentlemen’s war in Gallipoli and both countries established their modern states from the ashes of Gallipoli, which are visited by many Australian’s during ANZAC day.

Gallipoli is the site where both countries have transformed their relationships from foes to friends.

Turkey is a fellow G20 nation and is an exemplar nation of where Democracy and secularism had worked for many decades. It is important to keep Turkey on this path as it has an important geo-political position that could influence the Middle East and Central Asian countries.

Turkey was a role model where secularism and Islam coexisted without an issue. This role model needs to continue so other Muslim majority nations can follow this success story it was once upon a time.

Australia is home to over 100,000 Turks.

The program will be one of knowledge sharing and making aware, our fellow Australian citizens of what has transpired in Turkey post 2013 and in particular post-2016 coup event.

We will have two dignitary speakers from overseas in Prof Paul Weller from the University of Derby, England and Dr Sophia Pandya, California State University, USA.

The program will be set at an iconic site in Sydney, namely Customs House in Circular Quay, Sydney. It will begin with drinks at 6:15pm.

Program details are below:

Date: 27th of February 2018

Time: 6:15pm with drinks

Venue: Barnet Long Room, Customs House,

Level 1, 31 Alfred Street

Sydney City, NSW 2000

(Across the road Circular Quay Wharf & Train Station)

Keynote: Prof Paul Weller from the University of Derby

Professor of Inter-Religious Relations and Senior Research Fellow and Head of Research and Commercial Development

Topic: The attempted strangulation of a faith-inspired civil society movement at home and abroad: Turkey’s AKP Government and the Hizmet movement

Speaker: Dr Sophia Pandya, California State University Department of Religious Studies

Topic: The Gulen Hizmet movement and its transnational activities: Case Studies of Altruistic Activism in contemporary Islam”

Please RSVP by Friday, 23rd of February 2018 at or Landline at (02) 8065 2502.

Mehmet Saral


Advocates for Dignity

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