Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gülen Conference in Los Angeles - December 2009

The Gulen Movement, inspired by the Turkish Islamic thinker Fethullah Gulen, will be the subject of a conference exploring ways to find peace and tolerance between religions and societies.

The event is called The International Conference on East and West Encounters: The Gulen Movement and it will be held at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, Dec. 4-6, 2009. It is part of a series of such discussions organized by the Pacifica Institute that look at clash of civilizations and other global challenges.

Voted The World’s Top Living Public Intellectual in 2008 by Foreign Policy Magazine, Gulen is the inspiration of this social movement, also known as Hizmet (meaning “service” in Turkish) which aims at promoting interfaith and intercultural dialogue around the world.

In his sermons, Gulen addressed subjects that ranged from peace and social justice to philosophical naturalism. His dialogue stood out for its sensitivity, knowledge, logic, proper referencing and eloquence and attracted the attention of academics as well as ordinary people. Gulen himself describes his appeal  as “a gathering around high human values by means of education and dialogue.”

Gulen’s appeal eventually spread to people from different backgrounds, including non-Muslims who share his humanistic message. He used his growing influence to urge younger generations to adopt intellectual knowledge with a spirituality based in the faith tradition, and to serve fellow humans.

Today this social phenomenon has become a civic movement with pietistic roots. Students, teachers, academics, business owners and other volunteers participate in different ways helping to set up tutoring centers, schools, colleges, hospitals, a major relief organization, publishing houses and media institutions in Turkey and in more than one hundred countries.

The conference is organized by Pacifica Institute, a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles and it is sponsored by the Office of Religious Life at the University of Southern California, the Department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University, the International Education Center at Santa Monica College, the Department of Religious Studies at Humboldt State University and the Department of Religious Studies at Whittier College.

Previous conferences on the Gulen Movement were held at Georgetown University (2008), The House of Lords and The London School of Economics (2007), the University of Oklahoma (2006) and Rice University (2005).

For more information contact Pacifica Institute by phone at 310-208-7290 or email at , or visit the official conference web site 

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