The Rumi Forum presented ‘The Gülen Community: a Dynamic Muslim Movement of Peace and Dialogue’ with Fr. Thomas Michel, Woodstock International Fellow, Georgetown University Secretary of the Jesuit Secretariat for Interreligious Dialogue.
The talk focused on the vision, goals, and activities of this contemporary Muslim movement. He analyzed the ways that this movement seeks to respond to the great needs of humankind today.
Thomas Michel was born in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A., in 1941. After Arabic and Islamic studies in Egypt and Lebanon, he completed a doctoral dissertation on the thought of the Muslim scholar Ibn Taymiyya and received a Ph.D. in Islamic Thought from the University of Chicago in 1978. Between 1981-1994, he was head of the Office for Islam at the Vatican Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. In 1994-2008 he served as Executive Secretary of the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC-OEIA), in Bangkok, Thailand. In 1996-2008, he was Secretary of the Jesuit Secretariat for Interreligious Dialogue in Rome, Italy. This year he is International Visiting Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center of Georgetown University.
He has taught at Northwestern and Columbia Universities in the U.S.A; Sanata Dharma University in Indonesia; St. Paul’s Major Seminary, Dansalan College, and Euntes Asian Center in the Philippines; Ankara, Dokuz Eylül, Selcuk, and Harran Universities in Turkey; the Gregorian University and the Pontifical Institute for Arabic/Islamic Studies in Rome; St. Peter’s College, in Kuching, Malaysia; St. Paul’s Seminary in Shkoder, Albania; and the University of Birmingham, England. In 2000, he delivered the D’Arcy Lectures at Oxford University in Oxford, England, on Christian-Muslim relations.
Fr. Michel is on the Academic Council of the “Al-Waleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding” of Georgetown University, Washington, USA. He is on the International Advisory Board of the Khalidi Library, Jerusalem and the Editorial Board of the journal Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in Birmingham, UK. He is on the International Advisory Panel of the International Movement for a Just World in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the International Advisory Committee of the Center for World Thanksgiving, Dallas, Texas, USA and on the Advisory Board of the Centre for Civilizational Dialogue at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.