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Once Upon a Time

by fgulen.com on . Posted in Dialogue and Tolerance Activities

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First StepJune 29, 1994

In an environment that increases opportunities for communication among us, the Clash of Civilizations fanned the flames of conflict. They used the source of richness in our country as a factor of division. We had ceased to applaud beauty and what's right. And then the Journalists and Writers Foundation held its opening ceremonies at the Dedeman Hotel with an attendance reflecting the social variety in our country. The message of dialogue and tolerance made greater reverberations than hoped for.

It is our desire and aspiration that this wonderful beginning continue…

Tolerance AwardsJanuary 4, 1996

That unique night when we presented our thanks on behalf of society to those who had contributed to democracy, peace, love and tolerance in our country with their messages, ideas and works, in addition to being successful in their professions…

The following persons received awards before a distinguished audience of close to 1500 persons dedicated to dialogue directed at creating level crossings in our society: Isik Sadik Ahmet, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, M. Fethullah Gülen, Toktamis Ates, Perihan Savas, Munire Acim, Abdurrahman Dilipak, Hayrettin Karaca, Taha Akyol, Mehmet Aydin, Cengiz Candar, Baris Manco, Fatih Terim and Mujdat Gezen.

Everything for the Children of BosniaSeptember 19, 1995

It was September, 1995. Everyone was busy. It appeared that some people would do something. However, the flood of blood and hatred continued to take lives in Bosnia. The Journalists and Writers Foundation wanted to approach this matter from a different angle.

The giants of football were in Istanbul playing for Bosnia. That evening the hearts of tens of thousands who filled the Ali Sami Yen Stadium and millions who watched the match on television were beating for the Bosnian children, and they were saying "Everything for the Children of Bosnia." A wonderful college was opened in Sarajevo, Bosnia Hergezovina with the proceeds from this magnificent football match.

Hand-in hand for Happy TomorrowsSeptember 30, 1996

With the disintegration of a world divided into two poles, the international system becomes aware of a new period. With the aid of certain forces that are exploiting such factors as ethnic and religious differences, globalization tendencies are again dragging our earth, which has suffered from hot and cold war, nuclear catastrophy balances and terror, towards conflict. Opposed to the polarization that is taking place in the name of the "Clash of Civilizations," our foundation believes it is necessary to give consideration as a nation to the themes of human values, tolerance and love from a historical perspective in a "Universal" dimension. With continuing efforts in this direction, it is trying to contribute to peace and cooperation both in Turkey and internationally.

The "Hand-in-hand for Happy Tomorrows" meeting, which was organized in the foundation's 3rd year of operation, is an example of these efforts.

1st Abant Meeting

On July 16-19, 1998 our foundation organized a meeting in a hotel on the Abant Lake on the subject of Islam and Laicism in conjunction with the Writer and Artists of the Turkish World Foundation, the Unity in Democracy Foundation and the Tolerance Movement Association.

At this historical meeting it was possible for intellectuals from almost every segment of Turkish society to sit around a table together, discuss the issue at hand and arrive at a common decision in a democratic manner.

The final declaration aroused greater response than was expected.

Inter-civilization Dialogue Congress

Emphasizing the themes of tolerance and love and human values in the national structure, and wishing for an atmosphere of love in the 3rd millennium, the Journalists and Writers Foundation organized an "Inter-civilization Congress" on June 6-7, 1997.

Thus, the Foundation took the first steps towards putting the message of tolerance and dialogue, which it had been trying to spread within the country, on an international foundation. Fifteen scholars, seven of whom were from outside the country, participated in the congress that was held at the Hilton Hotel in Istanbul.

"Inter-religion Dialogue" Steps Towards World Peace

In 1998 the Foundation's Honorary President, M. Fethullah Gülen, carried beyond Turkey's borders the "inter-religion dialogue" steps he had taken inside the country, and his efforts reached an apex in meetings with Pope John Paul II, the leader of the Catholic World, and the Chief Rabbi in Jerusalem, Eliyahu Bakhsi Doron.

Our hearts are already warmed by the hope that in the years to come these "dialogue steps" will become even firmer and turn into permanent cooperation for peace among mankind.

Night for Encouragement of National HarmonyDecember 25, 1997,

The "Tolerance and Dialogue" message had been launched in January, 1995, at a magnificent ceremony organized by the Journalists and Writers Foundation in the Ciragan Hotel, and its banner had been carried by the Foundation and its Honorary President, M. Fethullah Gülen. Unfortunately, however, with time this message was given less attention.

The enthusiasm of those who until that time had wanted to live together under an umbrella of pluralism and multi-culturalism in social harmony had dwindled; instead, there were discussions with vague criteria and polarization. Taking these factors into consideration, the Journalists and Writers Foundation organized the "National Harmony Awards" on December 24, 1997, and presented awards to well-known figures in our country, including Turkish President Süleyman Demirel.