Dear guests, esteemed organizers, academics, thinkers, and honorable government authorities of Senegal,
I have gratefully received your kind invitation to the conference titled "Diversity & Cohesion in a Globalized World: Contributions of the Gülen Movement." It is with deep sorrow that I am unable to join you due to my unfavorable health conditions.
Diversity is no doubt a reality of human life, as it is an auspicious and bountiful manifestation of Divine will in the universe. Our encounter with this reality has never been as intimate as it is now, as time and space have shrunk to make us neighbors. Yet, while on the one hand we are being drawn closer to one another, on the other hand, challenges are growing far and wide, with consequences transcending political, historical, and cultural borders. This is where the main theme of your conference, i.e., cohesion, comes into play as an indispensable solution for our pandemic problems of violence, wars, prejudice, lack of character, misguided education, and weakening spirit of neighborliness.
I sincerely hope that this conference will substantially contribute to a global awareness that "there are as many paths leading to God as there are breaths to take." This awareness starts first in the heart, where we have to subside our inner hatred, our carnal desire for violence and hurt. It is a mission to change the world to become an abode of dialogue. It is a lifetime struggle and caregiving without despair in the face of all the trouble and suffering we are witnessing around us. First and foremost, it is our responsibility, to ourselves, to be who we are expected to be, and second, not to leave any excuses for others who refuse to assume it.
I am very thankful to the organizers, Ebru Magazine, ATSA Foundation, and Cheikh Anta Diop University for their cooperation in bringing this conference together. I wish Ebru Magazine success on their recently started journey of becoming a voice of peace, dialogue, and a source of inspiration for hearts and minds. I wholeheartedly commend the Senegal government, the Senegal Ministry of Education, and the brotherly nation of Senegal for hosting this event and for the peaceful hospitality they have been showering over the teachers and other volunteers of education and dialogue serving at Yavuz Selim schools and ATSA Foundation as they serve to build bridges of friendship across oceans and nations.
M. Fethullah Gülen