(Video Duration: 2 mins. 59 secs.)
The event has been organized by Abuja-based Ufuk Dialogue Foundation and The Fountain magazine – a bimonthly magazine of scientific and spiritual thought.
The conference kicked off with the singing of the Nigerian National Anthem, followed by a welcome address from Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Rifat Koksal: “I believe, this conference is a significant step in this direction, gathering together scholars, academicians and community leaders from around the world under the theme of Establishing a Culture of Coexistence and Mutual Understanding.”
Due to illness, famed Turkish scholar Fethullah Gulen who was to be the keynote speaker at the conference, sent his greetings from America. Gulen’s message was read by a member of the conference’s organizing committee Prof. K. Muhammed: “… which I will believe contribute to a better world, paving the way for eternal happiness at a time when we need mercy, compassion, mutual understanding and a peaceful world most” (M. Fethullah Gulen).
The Nigerian Minister of Education Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmad Rufa'i emphasized the importance of the conference’s message. She said, coexistence and mutual understanding would create a pathway to world peace: “This is a conference that is coming at a right time; Establishing a Culture of Peaceful Coexistence, we cannot have this conference [at a time] better than now. This conference actually is calling all religions, all various cultures to come together to establish peace.”
The conference organizers stressed that Nigeria is an important place to hold the conference due to its cultural diversity and the rising Hizmet volunteer movement within the country. In recent years, the Hizmet Movement, inspired by scholar Fethullah Gulen’s ideas, have established 16 schools, a university and a hospital in Nigeria. The movement has been working proactively with the media and the field of education to combat poverty in Nigeria.