Rumi Forum's blog on Hizmet, Fethullah Gulen, peacebuilding, education and interfaith efforts.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Extraordinary Commitment to Service Award: The Honorable Joshua DuBois

2011 RUMI Peace and Dialogue Award
Extraordinary Commitment to Service Award: The Honorable Joshua DuBois, Executive Director, The White Office House of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships,,,!/rumiforum

The Honorable Joshua DuBois, executive director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and an advisor to US President Barack Obama, said he was greatly honored to receive the Extraordinary Commitment to Service Award while praising the Rumi Forum for being at the forefront in advancing interfaith cooperation and understanding in the United States and around the globe since 1999.

"We look forward to working with the Rumi Forum to advance intercultural understanding in our government, in our country and around the world motivated by the president's belief, as he stated in his inaugural address, `that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers; we are shaped by every culture and language`," DuBois said.

The Forum's Extraordinary Commitment to Peace Through Media Award went to Diane Rehm of the Diane Rehm Show, who spoke about the politicization of the US Congress in her speech. "I wished every single member of congress were sitting in this room to see that grand film and to hear the comments of Archbishop Tutu's daughter," she said.

Archbishop Tutu's daughter, Nontombi Naomi Tutu, accepted the Extraordinary Commitment to Dialogue and Reconciliation Award on behalf of her father, which she said her father accepted as a great honor. In a speech, she said: "It is a great honor, and when I spoke with my father about the award, one of the things that we talked about was some of the poetry of Rumi, and one line in particular, 'Move outside the tangle of fear thinking,' which he [Archbishop Tutu] believes has been what has led him in his life to recognize the common humanity of all. When we can move beyond fear thinking and see in one another brothers and sisters who share fears, hopes and dreams, our move for a peaceful and just world will come about."

Dr. Alan Merten, president of George Mason University and recipient of the Extraordinary Commitment to Educational Service Award, offered his thanks to the Forum for presenting him with the award. Dr. Merten said his university has students from more than 140 countries, a fact that he says he feels most proud of.

Bishop John Bryson Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington and the recipient of the Extraordinary Commitment to Peace Award, sent a video acceptance message since he was not able to attend the ceremony due to travel abroad. He stated that it was a great honor for him to receive this award, and praised the efforts of the Rumi Forum to seek a "common ground" among people.

The Rumi Forum`s president, Mr. Emre Celik, spoke at the event:

The Rumi Forum was founded in 1999 around the ideals of the famous Sufi thinker and poet Mawlana Jalaladdin Rumi, and hopes to bring together people of different backgrounds around the ideals of serving society and increasing social harmony through projects of engagement, education and dialogue while overcoming ignorance and prejudice both at an intellectual and grass roots level.

Mr. Fethullah Gulen, our Honorary President has motivated similar organizations around the world that espouse these very same shared values within the framework of democracy and respect for all humanity.
. . . Tonight we are here to commemorate and reflect upon the successes and the example of our award recipients. These awards reflect the sincere efforts of each one of the recipients service to their fellow human being. We are proud of their achievement, and congratulate each of them for their good work. It is my hope that we all can incorporate into our lives the motivation that drives such success and service.