United Nations

New Baha'i representative at the UN

UNITED NATIONS — Bringing wide-ranging experience in women’s issues, civil society organization, and international development, Fulya Vekiloglu has joined the United Nations Office of the Bahá’í International Community in New York as a representative to the UN.

A native of Turkey, Ms. Vekiloglu will focus on issues related to the advancement of women and social development.

A native of Turkey, Ms. Vekiloglu arrived in New York in June 2006. She will work alongside Bani Dugal, who is the Community’s principal representative to the United Nations. Ms. Vekiloglu’s focus will be on issues related to the advancement of women and social development.

“We consider ourselves very fortunate to have Ms. Vekiloglu on our team at the United Nations,” said Ms. Dugal. “She brings with her a wealth of experience in some of the issues that concern the Community the most, specifically in the areas of women and children, as well as in social and international development, and civil society.”

Before coming to New York, Ms. Vekiloglu worked as a project manager for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Afghanistan, where she managed an institutional capacity building program in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for three years.There she provided direct support to the Ministry and trained more than 700 civil servants and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from 10 provinces in Afghanistan on gender issues.

In 2001 and 2002, Ms. Vekiloglu worked as a consultant for the UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina on a project to survey civil society development in Eastern Bosnia. She also worked there promoting conflict resolution and peace education.

Before that, Ms. Vekiloglu worked extensively with civil society and women’s organizations in Turkey. From 1999 to 2000, Ms. Vekiloglu served as the coordinator of a women’s NGO networking project in Ankara, Turkey.

During the lead-up to and during the 1996 UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), Ms. Vekiloglu was a member of the National NGO Host Committee of Turkey, also serving as a member of the national Habitat II report committee for Turkey. She was also the founder and facilitator of the Habitat Women’s Caucus (1997-1999) in Ankara for the follow-up to the Habitat Agenda.

A lifelong Bahá’í, Ms. Vekiloglu served in the external affairs office of the Bahá’í community of Turkey from 1992 to 1995, and directed the Habitat II Bahá’í Office from 1995-1998.

Ms. Vekiloglu, 40, has a Master of Science degree in Gender and Women’s Studies from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Product Design from Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul.

“Although I have had many incredible experiences working in the field, this new position is really exciting because it offers an opportunity to work on issues at the global level, directly at the United Nations,” said Ms. Vekiloglu.

“I have lived in different communities with diverse religious and cultural backgrounds and have seen up close the lives, dimensions and experiences of women at the grassroots level,” said Ms. Vekiloglu. “Yet I have seen that they all speak with the same voice and thirst for a common equality, endeavoring as women and mothers to create better lives for their children and their communities.

“My hope is to bring a positive outlook, based on these experiences, to our work at the UN and with other civil society organizations,” said Ms. Vekiloglu.