January 16, 2013

Gulen-inspired Schools and Peace Education

Cemil Genç

Peace Education
The world is gradually becoming a small village, and have been facing challenges like conflict, violence, terrorism, and war along with their terrible consequences of poverty, disease, despair, environmental destruction, and poor leadership. These challenges are present at all levels of human life—family, school, community, society, and globally. The solution to all of challenges is within the education that people have been receiving so far. Incorporating peace education in the education systems would to eventually help people to gain the ability to prevent conflict, and to resolve conflict peacefully when it does arise, whether on the intrapersonal, interpersonal, intergroup, national or international level.

Peace education has been defined as an learning environment to addresses cognitive, affective and behavioral learning and can occur both within schools, through curriculum development and teacher education, and outside of schools, through camps, sports and recreation programs, youth groups and clubs, and training for community leaders, parents. And, the Gulen inspired schools worldwide become an exceptional model to actually implement the peace education. Gülen teachings emphasize the significance of educating younger generations with the idea of peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding. The educational perspective of Gülen is to illumination of the mind to science and knowledge, and the lighting of the heart in faith and virtue. And, according to Gulen, it can be accomplished though teachers who are committed to devoting their lives, time and knowledge to teach the younger generations in these educational institutions. There are currently more than 1000 Gülen inspired schools in more than 110 countries around the world. In the European countries, there are at least a dozen Gülen inspired schools, and more than 150 smaller educational and cultural centers. Having an exceptional track of success in the different section of the world, Gülen schools have been perceived to be elite schools around the globe. Most of these outstanding schools are private schools where students have been selected on the basis of academic performance. The students in the schools tend to score high in different national and international competitions. In Fethullah Gülen’s thinking there is no greater religious concept than love, there is no greater religious action than love: “Love is the most essential element of every being, and it is the most radiant light, and it is the greatest power; able to resist and overcome all else”. True religion is therefore how we move from being merely human to in fact becoming humane. In this way, Gülen teaches, spiritual people are open to the flow of the divine.

We are going to conclude with a testimony from Emre Celik who recently traveled to South Africa, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Kenya and Ethiopia to see Gulen inspired schools first hand. “The ripple effect these schools have is tremendous. They provide a safe haven, a kind of “peace island” for all those associated with the school” [1]

Published on fethullah-gulen.org, 10 January 2013, Thursday

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