Eighteenth century Ukrainian philosopher Grigory Savvich Skovoroda and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen were discussed in a conference in the Ukrainian city of Kiev on Tuesday.
Titled “The currency of the tradition of humanism,” the conference was held by the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine and the İstanbul-based Dialogue Eurasia Platform (DA) and was attended by Turkish and Ukrainian academics.
The Gülen movement and the philosophy and pedagogical tradition of Ukraine were discussed in a roundtable gathering.
Speaking in the roundtable discussions, DA co-chairman Harun Tokak said Gülen taught the necessity of making contact with people of different faiths and who are from different cultures and that his efforts have been appreciated more as time has gone on.
While highlighting the educational aspects of the Gülen movement, Tokak continued: “I want to draw your attention to the schools. In recent weeks, about 1,000 students from 120 countries came to Turkey. These students performed on stage over a period of 15 days, they presented folk dance shows, sang songs and read poems. However, most importantly, they demonstrated co-existence to Turkish society, which brought us face to face with something very meaningful.”
Professor Hilmi Yavuz from Ankara’s Bilkent University said humanism which has been reduced to individualism over 16 centuries is not advanced today. He also noted that today’s humanism can only survive when it is expressed as inter-civilizational dialogue.
Stressing the importance of discussing Ukraine and Turkey’s spiritual leaders together, Ukrainian editor Oleksander Shokalo said Gülen’s works on spiritual issues will be remembered for centuries, just like Skovoroda’s.
The academics discussed the tradition of humanism in Ukrainian and Turkish cultures in the philosophy session, focusing on spiritual values and intercultural dialogue issues.
In the following session, pedagogical presentations took place and the academics discussed pedagogical traditions and Gülen’s doctrines on education.
Published on Today's Zaman, 10 June 2010, Thursday