By Cassidy Herrington
Niagara’s honorary president, Fethullah Gulen, made international headlines last week when Time magazine named him one of the “100 most influential people in the world in 2013.”
The magazine recognized Gulen’s commitment to interreligious dialogue and teaching. Gulen started teaching when he was just 15 years old, and today, at age 75, he continues to lecture on peace, tolerance and social justice.
Past recipients of the Niagara’s Fethullah Gulen award responded to the exciting news.
“The award is not because Gulen is extraordinary…but because he has recognized what is extraordinary in every human being and insistently calls for all persons to honor and respect our God given existence.
Respect, honor, mutual fulfillment of potential, and in a single word—peace is the message and the work of Fethullah Gulen. Moreover, Gulen’s message of freedom, responsibility and inclusion is rooted in the age-old traditions of Islam that are available to all persons of all religions without violation of their religious community or personal commitments. That is, Gulen’s message is for all persons because it goes to the heart of what it means to be a human being.”
– Paul Parker, PhD, Chairperson and Professor of Religion, Elmhurst College
“Every religious tradition needs a Fethullah Gulen. He has passionately and persuasively argued for peace, harmony and the
common good from the particularity of his own tradition. He has provided a path for the Muslim community to engage the world in relevant and progressive ways without compromising the integrity and uniqueness of their faith.
I find it highly significant that His Excellency was one of the few religious leaders selected among the 100 most influential. I’m sure this has a great deal to do with the way in which Islam is portrayed today. His persona and philosophy of life calls into question the unfortunate stereotype of the Islam that is currently dominant in the media.”
– Dirk Ficca, Executive Director, The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions
“The magazine’s recognition reflects the high esteem–not only by me–but all people of faith who seek peace and understanding. His strength and wisdom is a blessing to us all. When I had the privilege of meeting him in Pennsylvania, his eyes reflected the deep spirituality of his soul.”
– Stanley Davis Jr., Executive Director Emeritus, NCCJ Chicago
Niagara Foundation honors dynamic leaders who embody Gulen’s values at the annual Peace and Dialogue Awards Dinner. The Fethullah Gulen Award recognizes distinguished contributions to interreligious collaboration.