Gülen Conference in Nigeria
An international conference with the theme “Establishing a Culture of Coexistence and Mutual Understanding: Exploring Fethullah Gülen’s Thought and Action” will be convened at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, November 18–19, 2011. Organized by Abuja-based Ufuk Dialogue Foundation and The Fountain magazine—a bimonthly magazine of scientific and spiritual thought—the conference features scholars from thirteen different countries around the world.
The conference aims to be a forum for discussions on globalization vis-à-vis our local traditions, cultures, religions, and national values that maintain their respective qualities and nuances. The dilemma of globalization is that while many seek to value these differences, these differences are also manipulated as catalysts for violence, bloodshed, and social trauma around the world. These contradictory phenomena are undeniable and frame the central challenge of coexistence in an increasingly globalized and fragile world.
Today, we face many questions and challenges as to how we can coexist in peace with contemporary neighbors—neighbors who are now greater in number than before yet less familiar with our culture and beliefs. How can we transform our encounters with one another into enriching experiences, rather than as hateful gatherings? Is sincere understanding of the “other” ever possible? Can “dialogue” bring satisfaction or has it simply become a formality to bear? What sorts of methods can be implemented to achieve tangible results out of theoretical discussions and good wishes uttered all over? How will our generations respond to the rise of global dynamics vis-à-vis local identities and cultural riches? And how can education and cultural activities play a role in this response?
Considering the risks and challenges that accompany these questions, it is crucial to delve into the thought and actions of Fethullah Gülen, who has pioneered a global educational and cultural initiative—frequently referred to as Hizmet (serving humanity)—in the 21st century on a scale and nature not frequently encountered around the world. The conference aims to explore Gülen’s ideas with the goal of contributing to a sense of understanding and respect between cultures and to work towards global peace. Nigeria sets an interesting stage for this conference not only because of its cultural and religious diversification, but also because volunteers, inspired by Fethullah Gülen’s ideas, have established quite a number of schools in this country during the past fifteen years.
For further information, please refer to the conference catalogue and a copy of The Fountain enclosed.
The conference “Culture of Coexistence and Mutual Understanding: Exploring Fethullah Gülen’s Thought and Action” will be broadcast online on the official website of the conference, www.nigeriaconference2011.org and its mirror, www.cultureofcoexistence.org. The broadcast will start at 9 a.m. (GMT+2) today (Friday, Nov. 18) and at 17:30 p.m. (GMT+2) on Saturday.
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