Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fethullah Gulen, the Gulen Movement and Socrates - A comparison of perspectives on peacebuilding

The American Turkish Friendship Association (ATFA) along with the Rumi Forum – Fairfax hosted a Dialogue and Friendship Dinner: Education for Peace on Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 at the Marriott Hotel in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

A diverse group of guests including elected officials, leaders and representatives from faith communities, business, media and academia attended the dinner and distinguished speakers gave important messages on the theme of this year’s event: “Education for Peace”.

Ori Soltes, Ph.D.
Prof. Ori Soltes of the Georgetown University presents the theme in a historical, cultural and linguistic context, and compares Socrates' aims to those of the Gulen Movement. Dr. Soltes noted that like Fethullah Gulen, Socrates emphasized importance of ethics and the process of dialogue for bringing morality into all facets of life. Gulen emphasizes that education is the ultimate means through which we can deduce Divine will and thus improve the world.

He noted that unlike Socrates, the Gulen Movement has been able to put Gulen's ideas on education into action through its varied educational programs such as the Gulen-inspired schools globally. Moreover, the Gulen Movement seeks peace through constant effort and struggle, and this is a fullness of peace that not merely tolerates, but embraces diversity, and it cannot be described as merely the absence of war.