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.

Moderator
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.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Taking Action to Stop Hate with Farah Anwar Pandith and Hannah Rosenthal



Farah Pandith was appointed Special Representative to Muslim Communities in June 2009. Her office is responsible for executing Secretary Clinton's vision for engagement with Muslims around the world on a people-to-people and organizational level. She reports directly to the Secretary of State.


Prior to this appointment, she was Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. In this role she was focused on Muslim communities in Europe where she was responsible for policy oversight for integration, democracy, and Islam in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. She also worked on issues relating to countering violent Islamic extremism.


Before joining the Department of State, she served as the Director for Middle East Regional Initiatives for the National Security Council. She was responsible for coordinating U.S. policy on "Muslim World" Outreach and the Broader Middle East North Africa initiative. She reported directly to the Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy. Special Representative Pandith served on the staff of the National Security Council from December 2004 to February 2007.


Prior to joining the NSC, Special Representative Pandith was Chief of Staff for the Bureau for Asia and the Near East for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She worked directly for the Assistant Administrator for the bureau responsible for more than $4 billion in programs throughout the Middle East, South Asia, and Asia -- including Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza/West Bank. In 2004, she spent two months in Kabul, Afghanistan.


From 1997 to 2003 Special Representative Pandith was Vice President of International Business for ML Strategies in Boston, Massachusetts. She received a Master's degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she specialized in International Security Studies, Islamic Civilizations and Southwest Asia, and International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. She concentrated on the insurgency in Kashmir and has spoken on the subject in international and domestic forums.


Prior to graduate school, Special Representative Pandith worked at USAID as the Special Assistant to the Director of Policy. She has been a consultant in both the public and non-profit sectors. Special Representative Pandith has served on several boards with a focus on international affairs including the World Affairs Council of Boston, the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs, and the British-American Project. She was a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Special Representative Pandith received an A.B. in Government and Psychology from Smith College, where she was president of the student body. She has served as a Trustee of alma maters Smith College and Milton Academy. She is currently a member of the Board of Overseers of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

She was born in Srinagar, Kashmir, India.


Hannah Rosenthal was sworn in as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism on November 23, 2009. Sparked by the work and experience of her father, a rabbi and Holocaust survivor, and her own experience studying to become a rabbi, Hannah Rosenthal has led a life marked by activism and a passion for social justice.


Before joining the State Department, Ms. Rosenthal was Executive Director of the Chicago Foundation for Women, where she led one of the largest women's funds in the world. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs for five years, where she worked on domestic and international policy for the organized Jewish community in North America.


Ms. Rosenthal served as Midwest regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the Clinton Administration. She was involved in community organizing, and the antiwar and civil rights movements in the 1960s.


Ms. Rosenthal attended graduate school for rabbinical studies at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and Los Angeles, and holds a bachelor's degree in religion from the University of Wisconsin. Ms. Rosenthal has two grown daughters who are busy mending the world with their mom.


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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.

SOURCE:
http://www.thesundayindian.com/en/story/Catholics-Hizmet-bring-faiths-closer-in-the-US/117/29898/

SEE ALSO:

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