|The Rumi Forum, an international organization promoting interfaith dialogue and peace, honored its 2013 RUMI Peace and Dialogue Award recipients on Thursday evening in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Cihan, İhsan Denli)|
25 October 2013 /TODAY'S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL
The Rumi Forum, an international organization promoting interfaith dialogue and peace, honored its 2013 RUMI Peace and Dialogue Award recipients on Thursday evening at the National Press Club Ballroom in Washington, D.C.
In attendance at the seventh of the Rumi Forum's annual Peace and Dialogue Awards ceremonies were academics from 15 countries and representatives of civil society organizations.
Three awards in three different categories were presented to the honorees. Jose Andres, a chef who was listed among the most influential 100 in the world, mostly known for designing methods of cooking to end hunger in underdeveloped countries, received the Extraordinary Commitment to Public Service Award. Annette Lantos, the chairwoman of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice was given the Extraordinary Commitment to Peace Award. Lastly, deemed one of the world's most significant intellectuals and an Albert Schweitzer professor in the Humanities and the Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York, Ali Mazrui was honored with the Extraordinary Commitment to Educational Service Award.
Recalling that the Rumi Forum, which was founded in 1999 with the mission to foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue, stimulates thinking and exchange of opinions on supporting and fostering democracy and peace all over the world, forum President Emre Çelik stated that it further aimed to provide a common platform for education and the exchange of information. Çelik, seeing education and dialogue as the only means to overcome ignorance added: “The Rumi Forum's honorary president, Fethullah Gülen, motivates institutions established with similar purposes about adopting common values like respect for human rights and democracy.”
Delivering the opening speech at the organization, Angela Greiling Keane stated that her organization had many missions, most of which are in line with ideas Mevlana, the founder of a Sufi school of spiritual thought, supported. Keane, focusing on the fact that they placed much importance on freedom of speech, said they had carried out studies worldwide on this crucial matter. Spreading of dialogue and tolerance is what they try to achieve, she added.
South African Ambassador in Washington Ebrahim Rasool said after he read “Masnavi,” written by Sofi Saint Mevlana, his admiration towards Mevlana grew as he thought the book was a remarkable work. Resul added that the Rumi Forum was a part of the Hizmet movement, known for its cultural and educational activities around the world.
The Rumi Forum's annual awards honor individuals who work towards promoting education, bringing interfaith groups together in understanding and dialogue and promoting cultural understanding and inclusion.