A two-day conference on the Gülen movement's contributions to inter-religious dialogue and world peace kicked off yesterday at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
The conference, titled "Islam in the Age of Global Challenges: Alternative Perspectives of the Gülen Movement," aims to examine the contributions of the movement -- led by well-respected Turkish intellectual and scholar Fethullah Gülen -- to such fields as inter-religious dialogue, poverty and education.
Delivering a speech at the opening dinner of the conference on Thursday evening, participants of the event praised the Gülen movement for its role in making the world a more livable place. Thomas Michel from the Vatican Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue said the movement organizes its activities in an understanding to serve humanity in such fields as education, inter-religious dialogue and the fight against poverty.
"Schools opened by the movement around the world in line with the ideas and principles of Gülen are not traditional ones. They are secular institutions that offer high-quality education to students," he stated. Michel also noted these schools acted like key actors in the restructuring of education in the Caucasus in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Dr. Sidney Griffith of the Catholic University of America described Gülen as a man of peace. "I had the opportunity to meet Gülen several times. He is a quiet and plain man. What I feel about him is that he quietly devoted himself to the love of the Creator and humanity," he noted.Among the participants of the conference are Dr. John Esposito, Sally Ann Baynard, John C. Haughey and Daniel Madigan, all of Georgetown University; Paul Weller and Katherine Marshall, of the University of Derby; Philipp Bruckmayr of the University of Vienna; and İsmail Acar and Radwan Ziadeh of Harvard University.