‘Gülen movement challenges culture of competition’

Michael Samuel (PHOTO SUNDAY’S ZAMAN)
Michael Samuel (PHOTO SUNDAY’S ZAMAN)


Date posted: August 18, 2014

The Gülen movement, a religious-based social movement with millions of followers in Turkey, is challenging the increasingly competitive philosophy based on marginalizing and outdoing others and offering new ways of looking at cooperation and working together, says Michael Samuel, dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban and life-time educator with good knowledge of schools founded by the Gülen movement.

Samuel, sharing his background with Sunday’s Zaman readers, said he comes from a history of teachers and educators. “Five generations in my family were involved in education. I call it ‘education is in the blood,’ — thus I could not escape choosing to become a teacher to begin with.”

Samuel was first introduced to the work of Fethullah Gülen through a Catholic priest, known as Father Mickelson. “I was inspired by his leadership growing up as a teenager. Years later, after being in constant communication with him, Father Mickelson invited me to one of the Turquoise Harmony Institute iftar dinners in Durban. I continued to learn more about the Gülen movement through association with the Star Colleague School in Durban, and it culminated when I went on a cultural exchange program to Turkey. As an academic, I was interested in how this movement was being transferred into the education system, so our cultural visit was geared towards looking at school systems. During this time, our guides in Turkey introduced us to some of the literature on Fethullah Gülen, which I brought back home with me and started reading. That relationship grew as we continued to discuss the literature, and that’s how I first got exposed to Fethullah Gülen.”

He said what surprised him about the people of the Gülen movement is “their generosity, and specifically their generosity of spirit, which stands out for me.” He said his experiences interacting with people representing the movement showed him that the followers pay generous attention to what the other person wants to know about.

He continued: “Another is their generosity of time, the way people give their time and just their general commitment to service strikes me as something that we can learn a lot from in their South African education system. During my interaction with them, I was also impressed by their hospitality — not only dinners and events, but the hospitality of spirit. In addition, there is openness about ideas and discussions.

“But, for me, what stands out the most is my experience with the student teachers, who came to South Africa from Turkey and who began to influence me about what they found very strange with the South African education system. My interaction with them made me interested in their thinking and what informed their thinking about our education system, which then sparked my research into this, and, through this process, I got to learn more about the Gülen movement, education and schooling. Thereafter, I began interviewing Turkish teachers at Star College as a second part of my research. After sharing this research within … education and academic circles at seminars and conferences where I spoke, it brought about the discussion of a philosophical approach to education rather than the traditional operation approach. My interaction with Turkish students and teachers, and reading Gülen’s work, made me ask questions about a commitment to caring about students versus concentrating only on the academic outcomes within the education system.”

He said the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, is making a significant contribution to the wider world in an era of an increasingly “get ahead” policy in global politics. “Everyone is trying to out-compete each other or, in the process, trying to marginalize others. But what the Hizmet movement says is: Let’s all grow together, all of us have potential, all of us have resources, all of us have contributions to make a better world. And within our education systems, if we continue on this process of creating competitiveness and ‘getting ahead’ philosophy, we will continue to face the same problems that we face now, whether it is locally, nationally, regionally or internationally. Even with regards to personal relationships, if you attempting to outdo or subjugate someone else, then you going to end up with an oppressive education system — hereby you teach individuals, religious groups, families and nations to be oppressive, and that’s the problem. The Hizmet philosophy for me, challenges us to ask questions of cooperation, rather than oppression — and that is the challenge in the world today,” he stated.

Samuel said he believes education is central to the Gülen movement because, “Education is about service and once you are educated, you take on the responsibility of assisting others to grow.”

He also shared his opinions on Gülen schools in South Africa. “Our society is driven very much by the underperformance in math, science and technology. The Hizmet schools in South Africa come under the spotlight immediately because they are able to show that they can produce good quality results in math and science. That’s how you get the attention of government officials who ask what makes a school produce these kinds of results where other schools are not performing? However, we must understand that the Hizmet movement is not just about getting good math and science results, but rather, it brings into account a different concept about the relationship between the teaching community, the community of the school and the community of the home — and how are we bringing them closer together.”

Source: Insight Africa , August 16, 2014


Related News

Oligarchic clique’s devious plans

Şahin, a longtime friend and political partner of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, insisted that “the government is run by a small oligarchy of elites in a way that excludes broad segments of the party constituency and the Turkish people.”

Dozens of US Congress members attend major convention of Turkic Americans

Dozens of members of the United States Congress, as well as US administration officials and other leading public figures, attended the fourth annual convention organized by the Turkish American Alliance (TAA), the biggest umbrella organization of Turkic Americans, reiterating the solid ties between the people of the US and Turkey.

Turkish delegation calls on Chief Minister of Punjab

LAHORE: A Turkish delegation led by Onal Ozturk, Chairman of the International Turkish NGO, Kimse Yok Mu, met Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif at Model Town here on Tuesday. Matters of mutual interest and Turkish cooperation in the ongoing development projects in Punjab were discussed on the occasion. Chairman of Lahore Transport Company Khawaja […]

Ramadan joy in 110 countries on 5 continents

Iftar dinner for one thousand Ugandan orphans daily Having launched its Ramadan 2014 initiatives under the slogan “Fill up your umbrella of mercy with the abundance of sharing,” Kimse Yok Mu Foundation has been serving iftar dinners for one thousand orphans daily in Uganda. The target is 30 thousand by the end of the month. […]

Will a diplomat who is ashamed of Erdoğan praise Gül?

Some prominent figures who have little knowledge of the Hizmet movement, including Graham Watson of Britain, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff of Germany and Hélène Flautre of France, find Erdoğan’s hate discourse against the Hizmet movement unacceptable.

German Greens MEP backs Gülen school official’s plea against extradition

“To be a teacher is not a crime,” said Rebecca Harms, a German politician who is current head of the Greens-European Free Alliance in the EU parliament. She was speaking at a press conference in Tbilisi after visiting Mustafa Emre Cabuk in prison on Sunday.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Ethio-Turkish Schools receive “Certificate of Appreciation’ from African Union

A serious question for a respected newspaper

Turkey’s purges continue a year after failed coup

The last of the ‘LASTmen’ and the new constitution

Kimse Yok Mu, Doctors Worldwide step up aid efforts in Syria, Palestine

Fethullah Gülen: President Erdogan is suffering from power poisoning

Festival atmosphere in Kimse Yok Mu town

Copyright 2024 Hizmet News