Turkish Cultural Garden "Meze and Music" Fundraiser
On Saturday night we attended "Meze and Music" a fundraiser for the upcoming Turkish Cultural Garden that was held at the home of Mr. Mehmet and Ms. Christine Gencer in Brecksville. It was organized by the Turkish Cultural Garden Committee of TASNO (Turkish American Society of Northeastern Ohio). Mr. and Mrs. Gencer's daughter, Ms. Ayla Gencer is the President of TASNO and their son, Mr. Kaan Gencer told us that he was really glad that his parents "acquainted" he and his sister with Turkey as they were growing up; indeed they would often spend their summers there. We talked to several people about the two events that we attended on Friday regarding refugees where we learned that Turkey is the country that has taken in the most Syrian refugees. At the Gencers we learned that number is 2.7 million. Another person who was there was Mr. Jan-Peter Siedlarek, Research Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, who had recently moved here from Germany. It was interesting hearing about the refugee situation in Europe from his perspective. Also there from the Federal Reserve was Mr. Guhan Venkatu, VP and Senior Regional Officer, and we talked to him about the presentations that we have heard representatives from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland give at various chambers of commerce and at the City Club. Mr. Venkatu's parents immigrated to the United States from India and there were also people at this event from Spain which was great because this demonstrates a coming together of different cultures/ethnicities to support this new addition to the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. The food served was delicious with plenty of vegetarian options and we had to restrain ourselves from eating too much. Later in the evening Mr. Mehmet Gencer entertained us by singing a Turkish song and urging all of us to clap our hands along with the music. A small model was passed around showing what it hoped that the entrance area of the Turkish Cultural Garden will ultimately look like. Ms. Christine Gencer addressed all of us for a moment and said that this design for the Garden has been approved and funds are being raised. Now a contractor must be found in order for the groundbreaking to take place in May. The goal is to have constructed the entrance to the Garden and have a flagpole in place by June, 2016 in order that something will be there for side trippers from the RNC to see in July and to be part of the 71st Annual One World Day in August which will honor the Centennial of our beloved Cleveland Cultural Gardens. Written by: Michael Patterson Community Liaison, Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.