By Edet Ukpo.
The geography of peace means harmony, understanding, tolerance, patience, endurance, satisfaction, content, faith, crises free environment and good health over and above all things.
We have wars, rumors of war, rebellions, pogroms, militancy and insurgence across the globe, increased spate of hunger in some parts of the World, killings, murdering and assassinations.
All these vices abound in an environment witnessing gross absence of peace amongst the people; there is hardly any meaningful development without peace, just as there will be no good health without peace.
The man Fethulah Gulen had early education and early service to God as Islamic preacher and Muslim cleric, his ideology to combine education with religion of course clearly define contemporary development and human capacity building to explore and maximise the potentials and what the creator has written concerning our lives.
All the way from Turkey, thousands of kilometers into the west, from the Middle East, transcending into the African continent and Asia, Fethulah has strong developmental peace initiatives spread around the six continents of the world.
Gülen lives in the United States, and he has received praise and support from high-ranking personalities and politicians in the American government. Bill Clinton and James Baker have delivered encomiums to his contributions to world peace, for instance, and President Obama has made an admiring visit to the Gülen-inspired Pinnacle School in Washington, D.C. Former CIA officer Graham Fuller—also former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council and the author of The Future of Political Islam—vouched for Gülen personally in his green-card application process, as did former CIA officer George Fidas and former ambassador to Turkey Morton Abramowitz.
All this support fuels conspiracy theories in Turkey and feeds deep anti-American sentiment among those who fear Gülen. They don’t understand why these former spooks and diplomats have been helping him. Frankly, neither do I. Nor can I dismiss their fears as absurd Oriental delusions; on the face of it, it might make sense for the United States to back Gülen. He is pragmatically pro-American; he has been quoted as saying that he would do nothing to undermine America’s interests in the region.
He is influential enough in Turkey that it’s at least plausible to imagine that America wants to placate him or use him. That explains why many Turks believe that Gülen is repositioning himself in the Poconos because, for some inscrutable imperial purpose.
Gülen has used his time in America to become the largest operator or perhaps inspirer of charter schools in the United States. Sharon Higgins, who founded the organization Parents across America, believes that there are now 135 Gülen-inspired charter schools in the country, enrolling some 45,000 students. That would make the Gülen network larger than KIPP—the runner-up, with 109 schools.
The schools, in 25 states, are: Horizon Science Academy, Pioneer Charter School of Science, Beehive Science and Technology Academy. Thousands of Turkish nationals, almost all of them male, have come to America specifically to teach in them. The schools focus on math and science, and their students often do well enough on standardized tests and examinations.
The administrators say that they have no official ties to Gülen, and Gülen denies any connection to the schools. But federal forms required of nonprofits show that virtually all the schools have opened or operate with the aid of Gülen-inspired groups—local nonprofits that promote Turkish culture. The Ohio-based Horizon Science Academy of Springfield, for example, cosigned a five-year building lease with Chicago’s Niagara Foundation, which explicitly promotes Gülen’s philosophy of “tolerance, dialogue and peace.”
Now Nigeria, the Hizmet participants who believe in service started its exploration in educational activities in a rented building with only fourteen students in Abuja in 1998. Following its nonprofit making policies with a view to growing better human and modest life standards of its administrators, in only 16 years of her existence, the company has grown into a formidable enterprise with the following branches: Nigerian-Turkish International Colleges, Galaxy University Preparatory Center, Nile University, Nizamiye Hospital and NTIC Foundation.
First Surat Group brought her investments from Turkey which financed the schools popularly known as Nigerian Turkish international Colleges which currently has a total number of 16 educational institutions located in Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Kaduna, Yobe and Ogun states with staff strength of over 1000 academic and non-academic personnel. Today, NTIC has a total of 4025 students in which 17 percent of them are on scholarship. NTIC is science oriented schools which focuses on building knowledge based on core moral values which our modern society is in dire need of.
NTIC has been awarded as the best and top school by National Mathematical Centre (NMC) and the Ministry of Education in Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
The peace initiative of this group of people inspired by Fethulah Gulen is clearly seen through one of its agencies called Ufuk Dialogue Foundation, which intervene and specializes in conflicts resolution across the sections of Nigeria.
However, the role of this great and astute scholar and impacts made over time in the lives of the young people globally is clearly demonstrated in the stability and peaceful living in all the countries of the world that participants dwell.
Contributing immensely to the growth and development of economies, because without peace no sector of the economy will experience growth and stability irrespective of experts ideas made into growing such a nation.
– Ukpo wrote in from Abujaw