‘Building Bridges Through Education’ explores education’s role in a globalized society

Dr. Yunus Bekdemir, Professor Recai Pecen, Dr. Serif Ali Tekalan and Interim President Geraldine Jones share a laugh during a panel discussion.
Dr. Yunus Bekdemir, Professor Recai Pecen, Dr. Serif Ali Tekalan and Interim President Geraldine Jones share a laugh during a panel discussion.


Date posted: December 6, 2014

Leaders of more than a dozen universities from around the world recently visited California University of Pennsylvania to discuss collaborative educational opportunities and the cultural gap that education can bridge.

“Building Bridges Through International Cooperation: An International Event” was sponsored by Cal U in cooperation with the Turkish Cultural Center of Pittsburgh.

A daylong series of activities organized by the Office of International Programming focused on opening doors to study abroad opportunities, student and faculty exchanges, internships and cultural collaboration. Events included a forum attended by Cal U students, faculty and staff.

Referring to the day’s theme, interim University President Geraldine M. Jones noted that “bridges carry traffic in both directions.” While enhanced study abroad opportunities may broaden horizons for those Cal U students who travel overseas, accepting greater numbers of international students can benefit the entire campus community.

“In our increasingly globalized society, the day-to-day conduct of business and civic affairs puts us in contact with people of many different backgrounds,” Jones explained. “Academic institutions have a responsibility to prepare students for this progressively borderless environment. And our campus becomes a richer cultural and intellectual environment when it includes people of varying backgrounds and differing points of view.”

The universities whose leaders visited Cal U are members of UNIBIR, the International Association of Universities, a worldwide consortium of higher education institutions. Attending were rectors (presidents) and other leaders from Canik Basari University, Turkey; Fatih University, Turkey; International Ataturk-Alatoo University, Kyrgyz Republic; International Black Sea University, Georgia; International Turkmen University, Turkmenistan; Ishik University, Iraq; North American University, United States; Suleyman Demirel University, Kazakhstan; Suleyman Sah University, Turkey; Turgut Ozal University, Turkey; Universidad Abierta Interamericana, Argentina; Zaman University, Cambodia; and Zirve University, Turkey

Many of the education leaders are part of a movement based on the teachings of Fethullah Gulen, a worldwide civic initiative rooted in the spiritual and humanistic tradition of Islam.

The focus of the Gulen or Hizmet movement is to unite humans and creating bridges between the Muslim world and the West and the poor and the wealthy by embracing and practicing certain values, spiritual and material, such as love, tolerance, human rights, democracy, synthesizing science and religion.

Education is the pivotal service field in the movement that begins teaching tolerance to young students in Turkey, and in more than 1,500 schools around the world, in hopes of creating acceptance of cultural differences across the globe.

Through the Peace Island Institute, a non-profit organization, educational leaders are hopeful to create realms of co-existence.

“Forget about politics, issues and anything that has hatred in it,” said Professor Recai Pecen, president of North American University, the event’s guest speaker.

He explained the moderate-Muslim movement cannot promote or tolerate terrorism and should separate the relationship of state and religion.

Pecen said Hizmet projects in Turkey incorporates, in addition to schools and universities, banks, hospitals, and media to deliver the message that Gulen taught — give and serve to please God.

“He believed as you give, God gives you more. Dialogue is not a luxury it is a necessity to deliver the message,” said Pecen.

Dr. Serif Ali Tekalan, rector at Faith University explained universities should operate outside of politics in order to help students accept cultural differences in a globalized world while teaching a dedicated service to humanity.

Tekalan showed a photo of a homeless Turkish woman and her children.

“It’s not just taking a photograph of her but learning from the photograph,” Tekalan said.

The movement teaches that a perfect and exalted human being is formed through science, humanities and religious teachings that operate together and complement one another.

Jones stressed study abroad programs promote diversity, religious and social tolerance and build better societies.

“The world is a big but sometimes not a big as we think,” she said.

Cal U has a memorandum of understanding with 20 international universities including Fatih University where Jones spoke at commencement exercises in June, where she said she felt at home.

“All these feelings of goodwill and how we connect and build relationships began because of the common bond of education,” Jones concluded.

President Jones received the Peace Islands Institute’s 2014 award for academic excellence.

Source: Herald Standard , December 6, 2014


Related News

Turkish school threatens students who refuse to write poems on coup attempt

The Education Ministry distributed “Attempt to invade Turkey with coup” brochures at all state schools across Turkey. Some 19 million students also watched a video of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reciting the Turkish national anthem along with footage from the night of July 15, when an abortive coup took place in Turkey.

American students volunteer for Kimse Yok Mu aid campaign

American members of international Kimse Yok Mu charity organization distributed aid boxes during the holy month of Ramadan in different parts of İstanbul.

Speaking about Gülen, Chomsky: ‘Mandela declared as terrorist, too’

World-famous philosopher, philologist and historian Prof Dr. Noam Chomsky gave a speech about the claims of ‘terrorist’ against Fethullah Gülen in Boston. Chomsky reminded that legendary leader Nelson Mandela, who was awarded with Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle against racism and insistence on peaceful solution for racism, had been in ‘list of terrorists’.

A rising profile for Turkish Cultural Center Vermont

Turkish Americans have fed and entertained the governor and other high officials at celebratory events. They’ve bestowed awards on local luminaries. They’ve sponsored subsidized tours of Turkey for Vermont legislators. And they’ve opened a spacious office in Burlington to serve as a gathering place both for members of their own community and as a hub for their efforts at cultural and educational outreach.

Objectives of charter schools with Turkish ties questioned

Greg Toppo, USA Today USA Today made a story on some public schools, which are called as Gulen charter schools. Mr. Greg Toppo sent Gulen some questions, which Fethullah Gulen responded through an intermediary. Below are Gulen’s answers to questions. Q: Would he reflect on his connection to the U.S. public charter schools inspired by […]

Dozens take to Parliament Hill to protest Turkish human rights violations

Dozens of protesters packed the steps of Parliament Hill Saturday to draw attention to human rights violations against women and children in Turkey, in the wake of last summer’s failed coup.

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Turkey Is No Longer a Reliable Ally

‘Humiliating people not allowed in Islam’

Gülen-linked journalists organization voices concern over profiling claims

Turkish Cultural Center Brooklyn Honors Borough’s Elected Officials

Toward a constitutional crisis [in Turkey]

Kimse Yok Mu delivers 25 electric wheelchairs to handicapped Palestinians

Turkey Continues Its Witch Hunt Against Gülen Followers

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News