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Editorial: Culture of Coexistence
Nov 1, 2011

The Fountain is co-sponsoring an international conference in Abuja, Nigeria, November 18-19. The theme is "Establishing a Culture of Coexistence and Mutual Understanding: Exploring Fethullah Gülen's Thought and Action." The conference will feature academics from fifteen different countries.

We remember Africa today with recent famines and drought, especially in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, worst in the last sixty years. If one is not watching only wild life documentaries, Africa is one large portion of the old world, home for diverse cultures, a continent rich with natural resources, and this last one has been the major reason why it has become a large battlefield for many centuries.

Nigeria is the most populous country of Africa (seventh in the world), with over 250 ethnicities, over 500 different languages spoken (one of the countries with highest linguistic diversity). Nevertheless, Nigeria has also been the stage for tribal warfare and strife, and bitter incidents of some recent bloodshed still linger in our memories. In this respect, the theme of the conference fits perfectly well in this country, where there are seventeen schools, a university, and a recently established dialogue foundation inspired by Fethullah Gülen.

What other forms of engagement can we offer other than education and dialogue for peaceful engagement? What can be a more lucrative investment for a peaceful future than the one made in education and dialogue? With awareness of this need and commitment to serving all humanity, regardless of race, color, religion, or nationality, growing numbers of volunteers of education and dialogue are establishing schools, hospitals, dialogue centers, and relief organizations all over the world. Humble but selfless efforts of these volunteers who are inspired from thinkers like Fethullah Gülen are now yielding fruits of dialogue in more than 130 countries where children of warring nations are educated side by side, members of different religions enjoy the same meal, and pray for a peaceful future.

The current issue of The Fountain offers essays reflecting this culture of coexistence. The lead article expounds on the unique qualities of being human, reminding us the "know thyself" principle of Socrates, for "the one who has perceived the secrets of his or her own self has also known God."

"Different Approaches to Interpersonal Conflict" stresses on how vital it is to be familiar with "conflict-related behavioral tendencies" for it "might help in the development of strategies for interpersonal, intercultural conflict resolution or prevention."

Also in this issue Dr. Kurucan explains Islam's stance for issues like freedom of practicing and teaching one's religion, and in what conditions Islam allows war, if it does, in cases of violation of this right.