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

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ambassador Namik Tan - Turkey, Developments in the Middle East and Turkish-American Relations

Turkey, Developments in the Middle East and Turkish-American Relations" with Namik Tan, Ambassador of Turkey to the U.S.

Luncheon Talk

Ambassador Namık Tan was appointed Ambassador of Turkey to the United States in February 2010. Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Tan was Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for bilateral political affairs and public diplomacy.

He was previously Ambassador of Turkey to Israel from 2007 to 2009.

Ambassador Tan joined the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1982. After working in the Department of Maritime Affairs, he was posted to Moscow as Second Secretary from 1984 to 1987. He then spent two years as First Secretary in Abu Dhabi.

After returning to Turkey, Mr. Tan served as the Deputy Chief of Cabinet to the Turkish President until 1991.

He was later assigned to the Turkish Embassy in Washington, where he served as Counselor from 1991 to 1995 and First Counselor from 1997 to 2001. Between these assignments, Mr. Tan served as Chief of Cabinet to the Turkish Foreign Minister.

Upon his return to Turkey in 2001, he first served as Head of the Department for the Americas, and was subsequently named Head of the Information Department in 2002. He went on to serve as the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2004 to 2007.

Born in 1956, Ambassador Tan holds a law degree from Ankara University. Ambassador and Mrs. Fügen Tan have two children.

Dr. Joshua Walker

WalkerDr. Joshua Walker is a Transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund based in Washington, D.C. He is also a non-resident fellow at the Crown Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University and a Truman National Security Fellow. Joshua`s forthcoming book focuses on the role of historical memories in post-imperial successor states, with a particular focus on Japan and Turkey's domestic and foreign policies.

Among his many affiliations, Joshua has most recently been a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, Tokyo University, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Transatlantic Academy and taught at Istanbul Sehir Merkez, Middle East Technical University, George Mason, Princeton, University of Richmond, and Yale. At Princeton University his Ph.D. is in Politics and Public Policy with a specialization on international relations and security studies.

He holds a Master's degree in International Relations from Yale University and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Richmond. He was a Fulbright Fellow in Ankara, Turkey and has worked for the U.S. Embassy and State Department on Turkey and grew up in Sapporo, Japan where he lived for 15 years and his family still resides.

Active in bridging the academic and policy worlds, Joshua co-founded the Yale Journal of International Affairs, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy in New York, and the Project on Religion, Diplomacy, and International Relations at Princeton.

In addition to his numerous articles, briefs, and book projects, he has been published in a variety of outlets including the Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, International Affairs, International Herald Tribune, New Republic, Washington Quarterly, and Washington Times. Joshua is called upon often to offer commentary in international media outlets.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

MEDIA:Catholics, Hizmet bring faiths closer in the US

Catholics, Hizmet bring faiths closer in the US

SAURABH KUMAR SHAHI | New Delhi, February 13, 2012  
In the view of doomsday reports from the US, it does not come as a surprise how ordinary Americans from all faiths, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, have worked meticulously to bridge the gap and sheer absence of dialogue between these three Abrahamic religions especially in the context of post 9/11 world.

Leo D. Lefebure, a Catholic priest by training and Professor at Matteo Ricci Chair, Department of Theology at Georgetown University, who has been instrumental in this initiative, was in town to share his experience about his interaction with followers of Fethullah Gulen and his Hizmat movement in the US.

Lefebure recounted how in the post 9/11 days, different communities worked in co-ordination to deal with the fall-out and how it subsequently lead to a wider interaction between the communities that helped further in understanding each other's belief in a positive environment.

But it was not always easy. Lefebure maintains that a trilateral dialogue in the United States was sort of impossible just a decade or so ago. While the Catholics and Muslims could talk in amicable environment and with a basic level of trust, and so do Catholics and Jewish theologians and clergy; any such dialogue between Muslims and Jews were either a non-starter or even if they started, it quickly turned into an emotional outburst mostly due to the boiling down of the Arab-Israel conflict. It was amidst this kind of negative environment that followers of Hizmet movement, popularly known as Gulen movement, stepped in. A completely different kind of approach, mixed with the genuine urge to invite people of all faiths for dialogue made Hizmet's initiative popular in the states.

The frontal organization for such interaction in the United States was Rumi Forum. Hizmet movement takes Rumi's teachings as one of its core theological ideas and interprets the world through such a constructive prism. Not for nothing the forums for inter-faith dialogues by Hizmet started seeing Jewish clergy presence too, something that was unthinkable just a few years ago.

“I have seen events that have previously been unseen in the states. Once a group of Whirling Darvesh came to our DC area and gave a presentation of their ideology. It struck a resonance with both Catholic and Jewish audiences. It was shortly followed by the performance by the same group in a synagogue. That, I was told, was the first time in history that Darvesh performed in a synagogue. Some months after that there was an Iftar organised in a synagogue. Another first,” recounts Lefebure.

It is interesting how these dialogues end up finding issues of mutual respect and understandings. Mother Mary, a figure revered both by Catholics and Muslims often acts as the bridge. There is an entire Surah of Quran on Mary and the very fact has thrilled several Catholics who were previously not aware of the fact. Similarly St. Francis of Assisi, a clergyman part of the Crusader Army, who dared to start a dialogue with the then Ottoman Sultan, becomes another such figure.



  • Books on Fethullah Gulen & Gulen Movement
  • Fethullah Gulen & Gulen Movement
  • Fethullah Gulen Blog