Gulen Institute invited young people to consider crucial issues facing the world today. The institute's Youth Platform, an international essay contest open to all high school students, attracted more than 600 entries from students from 53 countries and 35 states in the U.S.
Essays responded to the topic: “The use of military means as a solution to today’s international and national political issues: Is it diplomacy or war? Democracy or military coup?” By encouraging such consideration among students, Gulen Institute hopes to make an important contribution to dialogue, cultural awareness, respect and dignity in our globalized world.
The Gulen Institute along with the Rumi Forum in Washington, D.C. invited 36 contest winners to Washington, D.C. for the award ceremony. These students had an opportunity to tour the capital between April 4th and April 8th, meet with U.S. Congress members and community leaders, and visit various think-tank organizations.
The students received their awards from embassy representatives, as well as Congressional members at the Youth Platform Award Ceremony which took place on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at B-354 room in Rayburn House Office Building. Award Ceremony Co-Chairs were the respected U.S. House of Representative members, Congressman Gene Green and Congressman Ted Poe. They attended the ceremony and welcomed students along with other members of Congress like Peter Roskam, Sheila Jackson Lee and Bob Filner.
In the reception, Dr. Ira Colby, Dean of the School of Social Work at University of Houston said: "The idea to bringing students from around the world really puts into action what Fethullah Gulen wants, and that's the people of different backgrounds come together to talk with each other, to learn about each other to find our commonalities and how we are actually closer to each other than we are different from each other."
After the ceremony, students, their families and educators thanked the Gulen Institute and Rumi Forum for organizing the event which serves as a spark for the future leaders of today and by passing this opportunity to be great leaders among coming generations.
They said that they felt honored and fortunate to have met Congressional members and representatives from the embassies of their countries. They also said it was a great opportunity to exchange ideas with their peers from all over the world.