Our Honorary President, Fethullah Gülen, revealed some telling insights about his life and philosophies in a recent interview with The Atlantic. Gülen has come into the spotlight in the past week after also being awarded the prestigious Manhae Peace Prize in South Korea on Sunday, Aug. 10.
In the Atlantic interview Gülen reaffirms his commitment to education and service. Although he accepts influencing many change-makers in education, Gülen insists that he is more of a facilitator than the actual executor. The interview also captures his modest lifestyle and indifference to fame, a testament to his innate humility. Gülen then goes to recollect his childhood, one that was tainted with oppression as a result of his Islamic faith. He subsequently condones acts of oppression against all faiths and strongly advocates the intention to pursue peace despite any obstacles.
The interview encapsulates and goes in depth on many of Gülen’s views on education, politics and faith. Gülen notes, “… my core belief is to seek peace in the world, helping people eliminate certain malevolent attitudes through education as much as possible.”
He continues, “I have tried to explain that we can achieve peace and reconciliation around the world only through raising a generation of people who read, who think critically, who love fellow humans and who offer their assets in service of humanity.”
Gülen was unable to attend the ceremony in South Korea due to health problems; however, the President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, Mustafa Yesil received the award on Gülen’s behalf. Past recipients of the Manhae Peace Award include former South African President Nelson Mandela and his Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama. “Manhae” is the penname of the late Buddhist monk, poet and leader of Korean independence, Han Yong-un. His works of poetry emphasizing values of equality and freedom galvanized nonviolent efforts during the Korean Independence Movement. The Manhae Foundation also gives prizes in categories of social service, academic excellence, art, and literature.
Click here to be directed to the original Atlantic article. Copyright © 2013 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.
Sanya Mansoor is currently a Northwestern University sophomore and writing and reporting intern for the Niagara Foundation.