Rumi Forum, Peacebuilding and Development Center at the American University, Mount St Mary’s University and the Woodstock Theological Center at the Georgetown University held an international symposium on the Hizmet Movement and peacebuilding, in Washington, DC, on October 25-26, 2013.

The Conference took place at the National Press Club with more than 200 participants joining from 20 countries.

The symposium addressed the peacebuilding efforts/impact of the Hizmet (Gülen) Movement institutions worldwide. Peacebuilding, broadly defined, include activities like education, inter-faith and intra-faith dialogue, advocacy, conflict resolution, and peace education which can create trust and cooperation over ethnic, religious and other divisions. The Hizmet Movement established hundreds of educational and communal organizations and institutions in over 140 countries, most of which suffer from internal conflicts and communal divisions, such as Sudan, Philippines, Kosovo, Northern Iraq, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Tajikistan, South Africa, and Nigeria. These organizations and institutions engage in various peacebuilding initiatives that foster inclusiveness, build capacity, and create shared spaces. The symposium assessed the societal impact of these initiatives under thematic and regional categories.

The symposium sought to engage the societal impact of the Hizmet Movement and invites contributions from across the social sciences, humanities, and fields of professional and community practice that critically explore the intersection of the movement and peacebuilding. Presentations were in these two broad topic areas:

(1) Regional focus: Peacebuilding initiatives of Hizmet organizations and institutions in different parts of the world such as Turkey, the Balkans, Central Asia, Middle East, Africa, North America, Australiasia, and comparison of such initiatives across regions

(2) Thematic focus: The Hizmet movement’s approach to peacebuilding as it compares and contrasts with other secular and faith-based, ethnic and non-ethnic, global and regional, and governmental and non-governmental initiatives around the world

Conference Site



FRIDAY | OCTOBER 25th, 2013

9:00 – 9:15 am.: Welcome & Opening Remarks

9:15 – 11:00 am: Panel I: Educational Paths to Peacebuilding | Grand Ballroom


Dr. Jochen Thies, Education and Dialogue Foundation, Germany


Dr. Eugeniusz Sakowicz, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University, Poland

The Resolution of Conflicts and Building Unity: M. Fethullah Gulen’s Pedagogical Proposition

Dr. Ori Z. Soltes, Georgetown University, USA

Parallel Educational Paths to Peacebuilding: The Hizmet Movement and Seeds of Peace

Dr. Harun Yuksel, Australia

The Hizmet Movement Teachers: Passion for the Teaching Profession and Passion for Teaching Abroad

Dr. Almaz Beishenaliev, Johns Hopkins University

Pedagogical Ideas of Fethullah Gulen and their Practice in Central Asia

11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.: Break

11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.:

Featured Speaker Session: Peacebuilding through Relief Work: Kimse Yok Mu Aid organization;

Exhibit: Hizmet’s Relief Efforts | First Amendment Room


Metin Cetiner, Kimse Yok Mu

11:50 a.m. – 1:20 p.m.: Panel II: Overcoming “Otherness” and Living Together | Frank Holeman Lounge


Dr. Mohammad Abu Nimer, American University


Jessica Rehman, PhD Candidate, University of California, Riverside

The Violence of Identity Formation and the Case of Hizmet Exceptionalism

Dr. Margaret A. Johnson, Institute for Islamic and Turkish Studies

Peace-Building Initiatives in Nigeria: Overcoming “Otherness” and Living Together in the Global Village One Remarkable Story of Triumph over Religious Enmity

Dr. Sophia Pandya, California State University, Long Beach

Hizmet and the Kurdish Question in Southeastern Turkey and Iraq

1:20 – 2:45 p.m.: Lunch

2:45 – 4:15 p.m.: Panel III: The Conceptual Foundations of the Hizmet Movement’s Approach to Peacebuilding | Frank Holeman Lounge


Dr. Ori Z. Soltes, Georgetown University


Dr. Abdul Karim Bangura, Howard University

Fractal Complexity in Fethullah Gulen’s Writings Dealing with Aspects of Peacebuilding: An Islamic-centered and Pluridisciplinary Analysis

Dr. Thomas Gage, Humboldt State University

The Hizmet Movement’s Approach to Peacebuilding in Comparison to Other Initiatives around the World

Kajit Bagu, PhD Candidate, University of Edinburg

Gulen Optimism towards Peacebuilding in Pluralist Dialogue: The Cognitive Justice Prism

4:15 – 4:30 p.m.:Break

4:30 – 6:15 p.m.: Panel IV: Interfaith and Intra-faith Engagement toward Peacebuilding | Frank Holeman Lounge


Dr. Kazuko Shiojiri, Tokyo International University


Teshome Berhanu Kemal, Author, Ethiopia

The Importance of Hizmet Movement in the Process of Peace Building in Ethiopia

Dr. Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

The Narratives of the Transnational Hizmet Movement and the Pan-national Sarvodaya Movement of Sri Lanka

Dr. Amidu Olalekan Sanni, Lagos State University, Nigeria

Peacebuilding Initiatives in an Economy of Violence: Multi-Ethnic and Multi-Religious Nigeria as a Case

Dr. Fuzuli Gurbanov, Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Azerbaijan & Dr. Mammadali Babashli, Qafqaz University, Azerbaijan

Hizmet Movement: Philosophy of Morality and Dialogue

7:30 – 9:00 p.m.: Dinner (Invitation Only)

Turkic American Alliance



8:00 – 9:00 a.m.: Registration

9:00 – 10:15 a.m.: Panel V: Spirituality and Persona of Peacebuilding | Grand Ballroom


Dr. Gertrude Conway, Mount St. Mary’s University


Dr. Simon Robinson, Leeds Metropolitan University

The Spirituality of Peacebuilding: Fethullah Gulen and Jean Paul Lederach

Dr. Nazila Isgandarova, Scholar of Islamic Spiritual Care and Counseling, Canada

The Concept of Insan-i Kamil in Kalbin Zumrut Tepeleri (The Emerald Hills of the Heart): Gülen’s Horizon as a Remedy for Peaceful Coexistence

Sureyya Cicek, PhD Candidate, Monash University, Australia

How purposive intention modifies actions: Altruism

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.: Break

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.:

Panel VI: Peacebuilding in Regional Perspective | Grand Ballroom


Dr. Pim Valkenberg, Catholic University of America


Dr. Henelito A. Sevilla, Jr, University of the Philippines

Turkish Active Diplomacy in the Philippines as Inspired by Fethullah Gulen’s Ideas

Dr. Martha Ann Kirk, University of the Incarnate Word

Iraqi Women of Three Generations: Influences of the Hizmet Movement and Hopes for Peace

Dr. Pim Valkenberg, Catholic University of America &

Alper Alasag, Platform INS, Netherlands

Weathering the Storm: Peacemaking Initiatives during and after Political Turmoil by the Hizmet Movement in the Netherlands

11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Break

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.:

Authors Roundtable & Book Signing | Grand Ballroom


Emre Celik, Rumi Forum


Dr. Joshua Hendrick, Loyola University

Gulen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World

Dr. Dogan Koc, Gulen Institute

Strategic Defamation of Fethullah Gulen

James C. Harrington, Texas Civil Rights Project

Wrestling with Free Speech, Religious Freedom, and Democracy in Turkey: The Political Trials and Times of Fethullah Gulen

Dr. Thomas Gage, Humboldt State University

Gulen’s Dialogue on Education: a Caravanserai of Ideas

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.: Lunch

2:45 – 4:45 p.m.:

Deliberative Session: The Hizmet Movement’s Contribution to Peacebuilding | Grand Ballroom

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.: Dinner (Invitation Only)

Rumi Forum



Speaker Bios



Muhammad Abu-Nimer (Professor and Director of Peacebuilding and Development Institute, American University); Gertrude Conway (Professor of Philosophy, Mount St. Mary’s University); Rev. Ian S. Markham (Dean and President, Virginia Theological Seminary); Thomas Michel, S. J. (Research Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University); Wilhelmus Valkenberg (Ordinary Professor of Religion and Culture, The Catholic University of America); Emre Celik (President, Rumi Forum)

For more information contact the program committee at

Rumi Forum was founded in 1999 with the mission to foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue, stimulate thinking and exchange of opinions on supporting and fostering democracy and peace all over the world and to provide a common platform for education and information exchange.