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Fethullah Gulen and His Education Philosophy with Hospitality

fethullah-gulen-75In her recent book, “Cross-cultural Dialogue on the Virtues”, Trudy Conway makes the argument that Fethullah Gulen`s educational initiatives have consistently maintained an integrated emphasis on cultivation of the intellectual and moral virtues. The virtue of hospitality initially defined this dual emphasis. Houses of hospitality focused both on the development of the intellect through rigorous study and communal support for the living of an Islamic life focused on spiritual values and practices. Rooted initially in the practice of hospitality, the ethos of these institutions developed and modeled a robust understanding of this virtue. In contrast with religious madrasas in some regions which focused solely on religious education, often in a narrow parochial way closed to scientific inquiry, all Gulen schools encourage free, rigorous, rational dialogue across a range of scientific and humanistic disciplines, but always as focused on the collaborative disclosure of truth and inquiry directed to the enhancement of human well-being.

Fethullah Gulen states that, “disciplines that conduct their own discourse largely in isolation from each other and the prevailing materialistic nature of science that has compartmentalized existence and life, cannot discover the reality of things, existence and life.”

The pursuit of the intellectual virtue of wisdom and the social virtues of justice and charity demand an ongoing, broad education of the populace, especially the rising generation of youth who will assume positions of civic leadership and responsibility over time. The schools are designed to equip students with skills enabling them to continue lifelong learning, address the current needs of their society, cultivate habits that build character, and raise personal and societal standards of living.