On Wednesday, February 26th, Dr. Faruk Taban, President of the Turkic American Alliance, traveled to Madison, Wisconsin, to meet with Wisconsin lawmakers and to deliver a keynote at the 3rd Annual State Capitol Reception hosted by the Niagara Foundation of Wisconsin, the Turkish American Society of Milwaukee, and the Turkish American Cultural Center of Madison—TAA’s local member organizations in Wisconsin. During his speech, Dr. Taban introduced the activities and projects of TAA in Washington, D.C., and around the United States, as well as its work with lawmakers from the Central Asian republics.
Specifically, Dr. Taban recognized and thanked the Wisconsin State Assembly for the joint resolution it passed in early February to honor the friendship between Wisconsin and Turkey and to commend the Turkish-American Cultural Center for its contribution to the betterment of relations between Wisconsin and Turkey. It was indeed an historic day for the Turkish-American community in Wisconsin. Special thanks are due to Representative Dan Knodl for his efforts in getting the resolution passed.
Dr. Taban also invited Wisconsin lawmakers to the 2nd annual Kyrgyz American Convention in September 2014 in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, and encouraged Wisconsin cities and municipalities to engage in sister city agreements with Turkish and Central Asian counterparts. Dr. Taban offered the assistance of TAA and its local member organizations in that regard.
Dr. Taban also highlighted the similarities between Turkey and Wisconsin in terms of their love for good cheese. According to 2013 figures put forth by the USDA, Turkey consumes 42.7 pounds of cheese per capita per year. This compares to 32.6 pounds in the United States. Turkey also produces more than 100 types of cheese, though its industrial machinery and agriculture production sales in comparison to that of Wisconsin’s, which incidentally comprises the state’s top exports. Such a sister city partnership could capitalize on these areas, while also including virtual cultural exchanges, festivals, and activities; youth and student exchange programs; and economic partnerships, business development and trade delegations.
Lastly, Dr. Taban shared the excitement of TAA local member organizations as they look forward to the 3rd annual Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship in late April of this year. Hosted by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) in partnership with a local chamber of commerce, this event will celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month in Wisconsin. If it is amenable to the organizers, Turkish community leaders would love to contribute its own version of the American grilled cheese. It’s called gözleme—a delectable cross between panini and quesadilla.
During the reception, Dr. Taban had the pleasure of making the acquaintances of the Wisconsin State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, Madison and Milwaukee community leaders, and various academics. Throughout the event, guests were served homemade Turkic food and were treated to calligraphy works drawn by Aydin Çayır. In addition to the reception, Dr. Taban spent his day in Madison meeting with the offices of Governor Scott Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen, Secretary of State Doug La Follette and with Madison Council President Alder Chris Schmidt.
Wednesday, February 2014 12:00 – 2:00 pm
Wisconsin State Capitol
2 E Main St, Madison, WI 53703