Establishing a Culture of Coexistence and Mutual Understanding: Exploring Fethullah Gülen’s Thoughts and Actions, Abuja, Nigeria, November 18-19, 2011
October 21, 2010
Honorable Federal Minister of Education of Nigeria, who has taken this conference under her auspices, esteemed authorities of Christian Association of Nigeria, eminent officials of the National Universities Commission of Nigeria, most respected Vice-Chancellors and professors, selfless volunteers of The Fountain magazine and Ufuk Dialogue Foundation, respectable members of the organizing committee, and distinguished academics and scholars, dear guests,
I would like to extend my thanks to the organizers and all the participants for their contributions to this conference. I would like to thank you for the sake of science, learning, and humanity for aiming to address many issues that affect all peoples of our world today, and to explore in an academic setting how—ostensibly this humble fellow of yours, but more truly—volunteers, who are united around high human values, engage with these issues through their many good services. Regardless of what the title of the conference seems to addressing, I would like offer my deepest respect to everyone who is supporting this event which will hopefully be a forum on important issues such as global peace, more importantly the harmony, education, dialogue, and societal concord in Africa, particularly in Nigeria. Taking this opportunity, I also would like to express my deepest appreciation to our Nigerian friends, statesmen and academics—not only for making this conference become a reality, but also for welcoming schools and teachers opened by Turkish entrepreneurs in Nigeria, a country that has a crucial role in Africa with its great population and strategic geographic position, a country that has enormous potential to be an exemplary land with its rich ethnic, cultural, and religious mosaic.
The movement of “volunteers” has been researched by many scholars in many countries, and numerous conferences have been dedicated to explore the “service” activities undertaken for the benefit of all humanity. While I do not believe that I have contributed very much to their good services, I consider myself very fortunate that the volunteers of this movement consider me among themselves, and I consider my humble name being used in the titles of conferences, such as this one, is an indication of their good faith and generosity.
These selfless souls work tirelessly with a sincere heart to promote goodness and to serve humanity, without any expectations in return. Their commendable work contributes to world peace and deserves recognition and appreciation. Your diligent work, hand in hand, for our future’s “isles of peace” and a world of serenity that will rise on universal values, raises hope for the spread of these good services, and you will carry us to vast horizons of reunion and reconciliation of our diverse cultures and civilizations.
The human possesses an essence fermented with goodness and beauty. I strongly believe that one day we will attain that high level of humanity this essence calls us to. We are tired of wars, conflicts, blood, and violence, humanity is now ready for a universal dialogue and peace, and I further believe that we currently stand at a historic moment to foster these goals. All constructive and good-intentioned efforts to reach this goal are worthy of praise. Your efforts devoted to building peace isles and establishing a culture of coexistence through this conference will be duly appreciated by the peoples of Nigeria and Turkey, as well as by like-minded individuals around the world regardless of their nationalities.
I am deeply saddened for being unable to participate in this exceptional event that I wholeheartedly support, not only due to my unfavorable general health, but also due to my embarrassment arising from my not being actively involved even in one percent of all these good services.
With these humble sentiments, I once again offer my thanks to the organizers and wish you a successful conference, which I believe will contribute to a better world paving the way for eternal happiness at a time when we need mercy, compassion, mutual understanding and a peaceful world most.