On Saturday, August 9th, the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Detroit, Nurten Ural, in collaboration with The Turkish Resource Center of North America offered a reception for foreign diplomats and distinguished members of our local government and organizations at her personal residence in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Consul Ural entertained dozens of guests from over 12 different nations, including the Consuls of Japan, Norway, Chile, Spain, Macedonia, The Philippines, Germany, the UK, the Republic of Namibia, and Mexico (in Windsor); Michael Boulous, Executive Director of the Presidents' Council, State Universities of Michigan; and guests from Iraq.
There were also attendees from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the American Jewish Committee, the World Affairs Council of Detroit, and the International Visitors Council of Detroit. We also found there on Saturday night prominent Michigan accident attorney Joumana Kayrouz.
Representatives of Congressman Gary Peters' office, and other U.S. government offices such as of Macomb and Oakland Counties, of the City of Detroit, and of the Detroit Division of the FBI represented by Special Agent Paul Abbate, were also present at the event.
Several Chambers of Commerce in Michigan and learning institutions in Michigan were also invited to Consul Ural´s diplomatic reception, including the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce, the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce, and representatives from Michigan State, Oakland University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State, and Wayne State University.
The media were also invited, including Amir Denha of Chaldean News, MEA TV and Radio, Fox 2 News, and US Arab Radio.
After the liberalization of Turkish economy in the 1980s by progressive former Prime Minister Turgut Ozal, Turkey's economic importance began to grow to become a nation with an $800 billion economy, one of the 20 largest in the world today.
The growing importance of Turkey as a potential economic power has made it part of the newly defined MINT group of emerging economies that include Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey, considered today as "the next economic powerhouses", in the words of Larry Elliott, Economics Editor of England´s The Guardian. In recent years, Turkey has become increasingly attractive to foreign direct investment, mainly from the UK. In fact, while "the FDI projects volume in Europe shrank by 21% due to a global slowdown, Turkey expanded its market share and still ranked as one of the top 10 countries in Europe for FDI, with around $12.5bn...", according to World Finance online publication.
The topic of the reception this year was "An Evening of Turkish Meze and Raki", and throughout the night, servers strolled around tables set outdoors, offering guests typically Turkish hors d'oeuvres, while a barman served typical raki (Turkey´s national drink going back 300 years, which can be made of different fruits, mostly grapes, figs and plums). the term meze refers to the hors d'oeuvres themselves, which included fish, kebabs, and börek (cigar shaped flaky pastry stuffed with feta cheese and parsley).
Consul Ural, who is also President of the Consular Corps in Michigan, and CEO and Managing Member of the Turkish Resource Center of North America, took the stage that evening to thank attendees to Turkey's diplomatic reception and to invite everyone to take the opportunity to mingle and network with friends and colleagues from numerous other cultures. She later invited guests to sample typically Turkish dishes and desserts, as we listened to Turkish music to accompany an impressive and beautiful typically Turkish belly dancing show.
Events such as this one serve to promote goodwill among the numerous cultures that shape the Melting Pot that is this country of ours.