We are proud to announce that the Honorary President of Niagara Foundation, Fethullah Gülen, was the recipient of the Manhae Peace Prize for 2013 for his contributions to world peace. Gülen was unable to attend the ceremony in South Korea due to health problems; however, the award was received by the President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, Mustafa Yesil.
Past recipients of the Manhae Peace Award include former South African President Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. The Manhae Peace Award is named after the Buddhist monk, poet and Korean leader named Han Yong-un, who fought for South Korea’s independence throughout his life. His works of poetry emphasized equality and freedom, which helped inspire nonviolence in the Korean Independence Movement. The Manhae Foundation also gives prizes in categories of social service, academic excellence, art, and literature.
Fethullah Gülen, influential intellectual and scholar, joins the prominent recipients of the award as a teacher promoting mutual understanding and tolerance between cultures. As both a prolific writer and poet, Gülen has touched the hearts of many generations around the globe, through the numerous translations of his nearly fifty books. Although originally from Turkey, Gülen now resides in the United States, where he presides over his students.
The Hizmet movement is a worldwide civic initiative rooted in the spiritual and humanistic tradition of Islam and inspired by the ideas of Mr. Gulen. It is a movement most well known for opening schools around the world, which emphasize independence, world peace and interfaith dialogue. Although the Hizmet movement was originally made up for people with a Turkish-Muslim identity, the movement is now active in non-Muslim nations and attracts people from all cultures and faiths.
President Yesil noted that the thrust of Hizmet’s work is focused on improving the lives of others without the desire or expectation of receiving anything in return. Yesil emphasized that Gülen was not accepting the Manhae Peace Award for himself, but rather, on behalf of the volunteers who tirelessly work for human flourishing and peace.