building peace

How can we address the seemingly endless conflicts in the world, particularly those arising from misunderstandings of Islam by both Muslims and non-Muslims?

“Preventing Violence and Achieving World Peace: The Contributions of the Gulen Movement” presents the essays of eight scholars who consider the diverse ways in which the Gulen Movement or hizmet (service to others) – inspired by contemporary Turkish social philosopher Fetullah Gulen – has worked to answer this question. Drawing from various intellectual and theological sources, particularly Sufism, these essays indicate multiple instances of positive interfaith and/or multicultural dialogue. In addition, they consider how the writings of Gulen and the works of the Gulen Movement, through an extensive program of education and communication, have contributed significantly to efforts that oppose violence and shape universal peace.

Ori Z. Soltes is Goldman Professorial Lecturer in Theology and Fine Arts at Georgetown University, and former Director and Curator of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, DC, where he curated over 80 exhibitions. He has taught and lectured in 23 other universities and museums throughout the country, on subjects ranging from the Arab-Israeli conflict to The Body in Ancient Art. Both before and since his years as a museum Director, he has guest-curated exhibitions across the United States and overseas.

Professor Soltes was educated in Classics and Philosophy at Haverford College, in Classics at Princeton University and The Johns Hopkins University and in Interdisciplinary Studies at Union University. He is the author of over 150 articles, exhibition catalogues, essays and books on a wide range of topics, and the writer and narrator of over 30 documentary videos. His most recent books are Our Sacred Signs: How Christian, Jewish and Muslim Art Draw from the Same Source, (Westview Press, 2005), The Ashen Rainbow: Essays on the Arts and the Holocaust, (Bartleby Press, 2006), Searching for Oneness: Mysticism in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Traditions (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008),Untangling the Tangled Web: Why the Middle East is a Mess (Bartleby Press, 2009).

Margaret Johnson, Ph.D. is a business owner, sociologist, researcher, and writer. She is currently on sabbatical after twelve years as CEO and President of Transfirex Translation Services, Inc. She is using this time to write a book on stories from the Hizmet Movement. To that end, she has visited hizmet organizations in nine countries and interviewed members of the movement at all levels from student, to teacher, to volunteer, to regional and country leaders. Her interviews encompass volunteers who have served in many different countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Bashkortostan, Albania, Turkey, United States, and Indonesia. Also, publishing in the areas of nonprofit organizations, microcredit finance, and entrepreneurship, the theme tying together her disparate works is how individuals come together to enact their ideas and visions. Currently, she serves as Senior Research Associate for the Institute of Islamic and Turkish Studies in Fairfax, VA and the Academic Programs Coordinator for Rumi Forum-MD. She blogs for fethullah-gulen.org.

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