Broken Lives; Dr. Ali Yurtsever’ conversation with Tom Gage, (Professor, Author, Researcher) on Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet Movement.
His insights are incredible, due to his broad experience and knowledge with teaching many decades in various countries of the world, organizing and participating many conferences and having 3 degrees from UC Berkeley.
Some quotes from Prof. Gage:
“What I find Hizmet achieving through the dialog centers, that are unlike debates, is that through this performing to and performing for, one reaches a point where we are performing with. With one another. And I find this is a qualitative feature of the Hizmet Movement. This working together, being a Christian, others are Muslims, Jewish, secularists, we are working, really, for solving a problem. And that is performing with one another. And I think this is a part of the key of the Hizmet Movement.”
“The Hizmet schools I have seen do a stellar job in science, math, technology, and engineering. And these are all very, very crucial. But I like the Turkish proverb, “hatırda kalmaz, satırda kalır” [7:10] excuse my Turkish pronunciation. But the idea that the pen is what captures what is forgotten in the memory, the idea that information lasts when you write it down, this emphasis upon writing and speaking, as an expression of thinking, I would like to see more of that in the science classes, in the math classes, in the technology and the engineering classes.”
“There’s been a lot of criticism of the Hizmet Movement. I’ve read, on the Internet, statements about what is happening in the schools. I saw the 60 Minute report, and I am interested in the criticism, and I listen deeply to it, and I pursue it as I can, to see if there’s any grounds. I really haven’t found many legitimate objections.”
“I found that in the Hizmet Movement, that theme, “don’t ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” resonated with something that has been forgotten about around the world. And in the writings of Fethullah Gülen, I find a spirit that has been behind my choices. And those choices, for me, have been absolutely so fulfilling as a career. But the idea of “Aksiyon İnsanları”, people who take action to help, I think is something that we so need, gravely, in our world today.”
“I have been impressed by what it’s been able to achieve, through the Kimse Yok Mu program of disaster relief. Hizmet, kimse yok mu means, essentially, “is anybody there,” and it came from a young child caught under cement after the 1999 earthquake in Istanbul. And I think this embodies, in a way, what Hizmet means. Here was this girl crying out. There was a need, people had been reading the literature of Gülen, and soon there sprung forth a disaster relief group to assist. Not only in earthquakes, but in tsunamis, in hurricanes, in earthquakes, whatever.”
“I place Fethullah Gülen in the same context as Martin Luther King Jr, in the same context as Nelson Mandela. I find his words are the words of an education philosopher. My book is entitled Gülen’s Dialog on Education, and in the book, I address a number of international educational philosophers of theory, pedagogy, and research. Now, Fethullah Gülen doesn’t have a curriculum, doesn’t have a pedagogy, and he doesn’t have, is not at all fostering research. But he is an education philosopher as that name had significance in the 19th century in the United States”
Prof. Tom Gage is a Professor Emeritus in English Department at Humboldt State University, California. He earned his degrees at the University of California, Berkeley. He took the lead in creating the International Studies department at Humboldt State University. He authored Gülen’s Dialogue on Education: a Caravanserai of Ideas. He is a member of the Board of the Consultants for Global Programs, with student exchanges in China, Cyprus, Mexico, and South Africa.