The need for peaceful co-existence among the people of various cultures has long been recognized. The much publicized failures in relations in recent years, which are both a cause and effect of the situation in many parts of the world should spur all right-minded people to re-double their efforts to sustain the hope for peaceful co-existence.

Fethullah Gülen is an Islamic scholar and peace activist whose ideas have inspired many people to undertake charitable works, especially in education and dialogue. After thirty years of activism in the field they now constitute one of the most effective and influential worldwide civic movements of the 21st century.They work to construct a culture of harmony and peace by founding non-denominational educational institutions and so encourage intercultural dialogue and understanding. Their work makes a practical contribution to constructive, positive relations between the West and the East, the North and the South, with special focus on issues such as democracy, multiculturalism, globalization, citizenship, and intercultural dialogue in the context of secular modernity.

By focussing on Gülen’s ideas and practice, this Conference aims to explore the appeal and impact of the Gülen movement’s worldwide initiatives to help people respond creatively to the profound social changes that are taking root everywhere. These changes make the world an increasingly integrated place, while its people juggle different, often divided identities. A particular focus will be the movement's long-established and ongoing projects dedicated to improving North–South and East–West relations, and to building trust and cooperativeness among the people of different faith traditions.

Major Themes:
1. Peaceful Muslim–non-Muslim co-existence in a secular context
2. Inclusiveness and integration
3. The necessity and importance of dialogue
4. The role of non-denominational education
5. The state of East–West, North–South relations
6. Reconciling and balancing reason and faith
7. Understanding the benefits of democracy
8. The role of shared values in building civility and citizenship

 


Prof. Ton Notten (Rotterdam University & the Free University of Brussels) is delivering a speech at the reception of the Gülen Conference (Rotterdam, on 23 November 2007)


Prof. Simon Robinson (Leeds Metropolitan University), at the reception of the Gülen Conference (Rotterdam, on 23 November 2007)


Anton Wessels (professor emeritus at the Free University of Amsterdam), at the reception of the Gülen Conference (Rotterdam, on 23 November 2007)


Prof. Thomas Michel, at the reception of the Gülen Conference (Rotterdam, on 23 November 2007)