| Conference Participants
- Dale F. Eickelman is Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professor of Anthropology and Human Relations at Dartmouth College. His publications include Public Islam and the Common Good (co-edited with Armando Salvatore, 2004), Muslim Politics (co-authored with James Piscatori, new ed. 2004), The Middle East and Central Asia: An Anthropological Approach (4th ed., 2002), New Media in the Muslim World: The Emerging Public Sphere (co-edited with Jon Anderson, 2nd ed. 2002), Russia's Muslim Frontiers: New Directions in Cross-Cultural Analysis (editor, 1993), Muslim Travellers: Pilgrimage, Migration and the Religious Imagination (co-edited with James Piscatori, 1990), Knowledge and Power in Morocco (1985), Moroccan Islam (1976), and numerous scholarly articles and contributions to edited books. A former President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America, Professor Eickelman is currently senior advisor to the new American University of Kuwait, the country's first private liberal arts university.
- Asma Afsaruddin received her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in 1993 and is currently associate professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She specializes in Islamic religious and political thought, Qur'an and hadith studies, and Islamic intellectual history. Her publications include Excellence and Precedence: Medieval Islamic Discourse on Legitimate Leadership (2002), Hermeneutics and Honor: Negotiation of Female "Public" Space in Islamic/ate Societies (edited, 2000), Humanism, Culture, and Language in the Near East: Studies in Honor of Georg Krotkoff (co-edited, 1997). Afsaruddin is the recipient of a research grant from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation for 2003-2004. She is currently serving on the editorial boards of The Encyclopedia of Medieval Islamic Civilization and the Middle East Studies Association Bulletin and is a member of the advisory board of Karamah, a organization promoting women's and human rights based in Washington, D.C.
- Bekim Agai received his Master in Islamic Studies, History and Psychology at the University of Bonn. He has been a doctoral fellow at Bochum University in the Islamic Educational Networks Junior Research Group sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation. His 2004 doctoral project was entitled The Educational Network of Fethullah Gulen: The Implementation of New Islamic Thought in the Field of Education, Three Countries in Comparison (in German). Currently he is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the Institute for Oriental and Asian Studies at the University of Bonn. He specializes in modern Turkish history, contemporary Islam, the development of Islam in Europe, and Arab travelogues.
- Yasin Aktay received his master's and doctoral degrees in 1993 and 1997 from Middle East Technical University. In his thesis Body, Text, Identity: The Islamist Discourse of Authenticity in Modern Turkey he formulated the Turkish Islamist discourse of authenticity and identity in terms of the diasporic discourses, with analysis of some texts and figures of Turkish Islamism. He is the editor-in-chief of Tezkire, a quarterly journal on Social Sciences and Politics founded in 1991. He is also a co-editor of the journal Civil Society and worked as editor of a publishing company. Aktay has published books and articles in Turkish, English and German on sociological and philosophical-religious issues. He spent six months as visiting professor at the University of Utah, where he conducted fieldwork in 2001 on Mormons as part of his Turkish Academy of Science-sponsored post-doctoral studies. He has been affiliated with Selcuk University since 1992, where he teaches sociology. Aktay is the author of such works as Political Thought in Modern Turkey and Islamism, Sociology of Religion, and Postmodernism and Islam: Globalization and Orientation. He has also translated several scholarly works into Turkish, including Brian S. Turner's Weber and Islam: A Critical Approach and Ira Lapidus' A History of the Muslim World.
- Loye Ashton is Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where he teaches comparative theology and world religions. He is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church, and assists with music and education at Crossgates United Methodist Church of Brandon, Mississippi, where his wife works as an Associate Pastor. Ashton spent his undergraduate years at Montana State University and earned his master's and doctoral degrees from Boston University. An avid amateur drummer for 28 years, Loye is passionate about all forms of percussion across the globe, and has studied sacred world music in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Loye is presently working on Faithful Uncertainty, a history of Christian theology in the 20th century.
- Adnan Aslan was born in Kayseri in central Turkey in 1963. He studied at Ataturk University Institute of Islamic Sciences and Erciyes University Divinity School. On a scholarship from the Foundation of Religious Affairs, he went on to earn his master's degree at University of London King's College and his doctorate from Lancaster University in 1995. In 1998, his thesis was published in the book Religious Pluralism in Christian and Islamic Philosophy: The Thought of John Hick and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Aslan has published in various nationaland international periodicals, and is currently working for The Foundation of Religious Affairs Center for Islamic Studies. He is particularly interested in such issues as philosophy of religion, religious plurality, interfaith dialogue, religion and modernism, globalization and religion, and the nature of religious epistemology.
- Y. Alp Aslandogan is an author, an editorial board member of Fountain magazine, and a faculty member at the University of Texas at Arlington. He translated and compiled of scientific articles for a popular scientific/spiritual magazine in Turkey in 1986. Aslandogan has published articles and given seminars on several topics, including the relationship of science and religion, spirituality and time management, Islamic spirituality, comparative analysis of theories of learning and the prophetic tradition, and common cultural values among the world's major religions. His recent presentations include Science and Religion: Between Friction and Harmony, Questions of Lifestyle: How Conflict Ownership is Spread, Sufism (Tasawwuf) as the Spiritual Dimension of Islam, and Diversity, Tolerance, Dialog and Ramadan.
- Greg Barton is an Associate Professor in politics at Deakin University where he teaches courses on Political Leadership, Global Islamic Politics and Society and Culture in Contemporary Asia. His research has focused on Islam, civil society and politics in Indonesia and Malaysia. He has a broad interest in religion and modernity around the world, having taught course in religious studies for nine years, and has recently started comparative research in Turkey. His published works include Abdurrahman Wahid, Muslim Democrat, Indonesian President: a view from the inside (2002) and Indonesia's Struggle: Jemaah Islamiyah and the Soul of Islam (2004). Barton is currently working on two other book projects: Inclusive Islamic Thought in Indonesia and Turkey and Islam's Other Nation: a fresh look at Indonesia.
- Ali Bulac was born in Mardin in eastern Anatolia. He graduated from the Istanbul Institute of Islamic Sciences in 1975 and from Istanbul University with a degree in sociology in 1980. He established Dusunce Journal and Publishing Company in 1976 and Insan Publishing Company in 1984. He co-founded the award-winning daily Turkish newspaper Zaman in 1986 and continues to contribute articles. His works include The Modern Public State, Contemporary Concepts and Systems, The Return to the Sacred, The Past and the Life, Religion and Modernism, Religion-Philosophy-Intellect Relation, Modernism, Fundamentalism and Civic Liberty, Islam and Democracy and, Islam and Fanaticism.
- Cengiz Candar was born in Ankara and graduated with a degree in Diplomatic and International Relations from Ankara University in 1970. For the next four years, his involvement with the Palestinian Intifada took him to Damascus, Beirut, Geneva, Paris, and Amsterdam, after which he returned to Turkey. He started working for the Turkish daily newspaper Vatan in 1976, writing political commentary and serving as the departmental chief for international news. Candar went on to write columns at other daily newspapers, such as Turkish News Agency, Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet, Gunes, and Sabah. From 1991-1993 he was the personal advisor of Turgut Ozal, the president of Turkey of that time. From 1993-1995 Candar became involved in the Balkans and was one of the founding members of the New Democracy Movement. From 1997-1999 he gave lectures on Middle East History and Middle East Policy at Istanbul Bilgi University, and from 1999-2000 he worked on "Turkey in the 21st Century" project. He received the Abdi Ipekci Peace and Amity Prize and The Journalists and Writers Foundation's Tolerance Prize in 1995. His works include Withstanding Palestine (1976), Iran from Past to Future (1981), The Middle East Dilemma (1983), Rendezvous with History (1983), Seven Colors of the Sun (1987), and My Cities (2000).
- Muhammed Cetin is a Visiting Scholar at the Religious Studies Department of the University of Houston. He was a Visiting Scholar at Sociology Department of UT Austin from 2003-2004. He is currently a PhD candidate in Sociology at School of Education, Human Sciences and Law of the University of Derby, UK. He received his master's degree from the Education University of Leicester and both a Diploma in Social Sciences and ELT and a bachelor's degree in English language and literature from the University of Ankara. He has worked as lecturer, Vice-Rector and Ministerial Adviser in Turkmenistan. Cetin was co-a founder and editor of Fountain magazine, and served as editor, translator, and contributor. He is the President of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog and has served as organizer and speaker for Interfaith Dialogue and Tolerance Conferences and cultural activities held at universities and other institutions. He is the author and producer of Rumi and Universal Love, Tolerance and Dialogue and The Adhan: Call to prayer DVD documentaries. Cetin's translation of Saparmurat Niyazov's Ruhnama (2001) earned him an award for cultural service to Turkmenistan.
- Maria F. Curtis is currently completing her dissertation, entitled The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music: Spirituality, Music, and Diplomacy on an Emerging Global Stage, at the department of Anthropology at The University of Texas at Austin. She is interested in the ways Muslims respond to globalization in different regional contexts. Her master's research examined the way that women incorporate rural generative practices into their urban lives in Tangier, Morocco. She is currently an Assistant Instructor at the University of Texas at Austin. She has authored 17 entries for The Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, 2nd ed., including subjects such as Dance in the Middle East, the Arab Feminist Union, Jami'a al-Islamia, and the Bektashis. She has presented papers at numerous conferences, and published several articles based on findings from her ethnographic research. She has also guest lectured on the role of music and spirituality within the Islamic tradition and has helped organize various interfaith activities in Austin, Texas. Her publications include Corpses as Commodities: The Ethnography of Covert Medical Practices in Georgia, circa 1835-1996 (1997); Multiple Meanings of "Voice" in 'Ayoua: Gender, Improvisation, and Self in the Recording Studio in Text, Practice, and Performance, Vol. 3 (2001); and a review of The Infidel Within: History of Muslims in Britain Since 1800 in the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (2004).
- Darian C. De Bolt teaches moral philosophy and ancient Greek at the University of Central Oklahoma. He received a B.A. magna cum laude (1968) in philosophy and Greek from the University of Oklahoma. From that same institution, he also received an M.A. (1984) and Ph.D. (1993) in philosophy. De Bolt pursued a Master of Theological Studies degree at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy at the University of Virginia. De Bolt specializes in ethics, social and political philosophy, and epistemology. He has a wide range of interests including comparative religion and Greek literature. De Bolt also pursued a career in law enforcement at the Police Department of Norman, Oklahoma. He retired from police work in 1993 at the rank of Captain. He was subsequently elected to Norman's city council.
- Dr. Karen Fontenot is professor of communication and head of the Department of Communication at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. Before entering academia she worked as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor. She received her Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Louisiana State University in 1993. Her areas of expertise are cross-cultural communication, organizational communication, and interpersonal communication. She has published widely in these areas, and is the author or co-author of over fifty articles and conference papers.
She is interested in the impact and influence culture has on human behavior, especially in the interpersonal context. Some of her most recent research involves cultural adaptation and religion, especially comparative analyses of Jesuits and Sufis.
- Dr. Michael J. Fontenot is a history professor at Southern University at Baton Rouge, La. He received a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 1976, with fields in Russian and European history and a concentration in socialist thought. The recipient of a number of grants and fellowships-including four National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, two Fulbright-Hays awards, and two East-West Center grants-he has authored or co-authored articles and conference papers on a wide range of topics. Convinced that new understandings can be found at the margins of academic fields, he favors interdisciplinary approaches.
His research interests center on transitions. He has done research on the collapse of the Tsarist Regime, the collapse of the USSR, the formation of the Society of Jesus, and cross-field applications of the theory of Biological Emergence. His most recent work has involved Sufi modes of adaptation, both to intercultural contexts and to modernity.
- Mustafa Gokcek is a PhD Candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his BA and MA degrees in International Relations at Bilkent University, Turkey. His dissertation addressed Russian-Ottoman intellectual relations at the beginning of the twentieth century. His current research interests include the relationship between nationalism and Islamism, the development of Muslim communities in modern Turkey, and the Gulen community.
- Marcia Hermansen is a Professor of Theology at Loyola University Chicago where she teaches courses in Islamic Studies and World Religions. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago in Arabic and Islamic Studies. In the course of her research and language training she lived for extended periods in Egypt, Jordan, India, Iran and Pakistan. She conducts research in Arabic, Persian and Urdu as well as the major European languages. Her study and translation from the Arabic of Shah Wali Allah of Delhi's Hujjat Allah al-Baligha was published in 1996 as The Conclusive Argument from God. Hermansen has also contributed numerous academic articles in the fields of Islamic thought, Islam and Muslims in South Asia, Muslims in America and women in Islam.
- Fahri Karakas is a researcher in the Faculty of Management at McGill University, specializing in
Organizational Behavior. He has taught on Organizational Behavior and Leadership at McGill University and Bogazici University. His research interests include values and spirituality in the workplace, personality, leadership and group dynamics; educational leadership, social innovation, complexity, chaos theory, positive organizational scholarship, and appreciative inquiry. His recent publications include a book chapter on women in management in Turkey, a journal article on meanings of family well-being in
Equal Opportunities International; and a keynote speech on "A Global Agenda for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialog" in Vital Speeches of the Day. He has recently presented his work at Academy of Management and Academy of International Business Conferences. He has been serving as the president of Quebec Horizon Foundation and a board member of Dialog Foundation in Montreal.
- Mahmud Erol Kilic was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He studied religious sciences such as Arabic, exegesis, and Islamic Jurisprudence with classical scholars in Istanbul. He also attended a Sufi master's private lessons. After receiving a degree from Istanbul University in political science he spent two years in Egypt and Britain. He won a scholarship to a summer youth seminar in which one hundred students from all over the world traveled to eight different countries in order to study different world religions in practice. When he returned to Turkey he began his post-graduate studies at the Department of Islamic Philosophy at Marmara University. His master's thesis addressed Hermes and Hermetic Sciences According to Muslim Thinkers and his doctoral thesis addressed Being and its Degrees According to Ibn 'Arabi. When the Department of Mysticism (or Sufism) was established in 1996, he was appointed as Associate Professor of that department. Kilic became full-time Professor of Sufism in 2004, teaching Sufi Thought with a focus on Ottoman Sufism. Kiliç has contributed articles to Turkish and international encyclopedias and journals and attended international conferences on Sufism and interfaith dialogue. The Turkish Writers Association chose his Sufism and Poetry (2004) as the book of the year. He is currently the president of Turkish-Islamic Art Museum in Istanbul and an Honorary Fellow of the Ibn 'Arabi Society in Oxford, Britain.
- Mehmet Ali Kiliçbay was born in Ankara, Turkey in 1945. After receiving a degree in political science from Ankara University he pursued a PhD in Economics. At present he teaches at Gazi University, Turkey, and has written for New Actual Magazine. His publications include Feudality and Ottoman's Classical Age Production Style; State of the East, Republic of the West; Provinces and Cities; To Be a Republic or an Individual; My Polemics; Living this Life; Art without Philosophy, History without Play; Policy without Politics; Physics of Religion, Chemistry of Democracy; Legends and Facts (co-written with A. Y. Ocak, I. Ortayli, I. Togan, S. Divitçioglu, S. Faroghi, T. Timur); The Tail of Timber; and We Are Already European.
- Heon C. Kim is a doctoral candidate in Department of Religion, Temple University. His thesis is entitled The Nature and Role of Sufism in Contemporary Islam: A Case Study of the life, thought and teachings of Fethullah Gülen. He received his B.A. in Arabic Language from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea. He subsequently studied Arabic and Islamic theology at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. His academic career continued at Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey, where he obtained an M.A. degree in Islamic Philosophy. He is the author of Din Degistirmenin Entellectual Arka Plani (Intellectual Background of Religious Conversion), which was published in Turkish and is being translated into English. His articles in Turkish and Korean scholarly journals include "Conversion Motif: A Study of Present-day South Korean Converts to Islam" in Journal of Academic Studies (2003) and "A Phenomenological Approach to the Modern Trends of Islamic Studies" in Journal of the Institute of the Middle East Studies (2004). His publications include translations of several Arabic, Turkish and English books into Korean. His research interests span contemporary Sufism, inter-religious dialogue and Muslim minority issues all over the world.
- Fehmi Koru was born in Izmir in western Turkey in 1950. He graduated from Izmir Institute of Islamic Sciences in 1972. Together with some friends he established a publishing company. After studying English and journalism in Britain he went to Syria to study Arabic. Koru has worked as a research fellow at MIT's Center for International Studies. He subsequently earned a scholarship to study at Harvard University. He also contributed articles to Arabia and Crescent Magazine and the Turkish daily newspaper Milli Gazete. After he served as as Press Counselor for The State Planning Organization of Turkey, Koru was delegated to Turkey's Economic Cooperation Organization. He has worked for the Turkish daily Zaman for over 13 years as editor in chief. At present he is a columnist for the Turksh daily paper Yeni Safak. His publications include One Column Ahead, Taha kivanc's Memoir, and The Very Morning: September 11.
- Madeline Maxwell is Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Texas. She earned her degrees at Bryn Mawr College and the University of Arizona. Dr.
Maxwell has published more than 75 articles and
chapters on communication, including studies of the
Deaf community and Deaf communication, analyses of
discourse and conversation, and studies of conflict
and mediation. She co-edited Constructing
(In)Competence: Disabling Evaluations in Clinical and
Social Interactions (1999) and three
monographs. She is Co-chair of the Graduate Portfolio
in Dispute Resolution and the undergraduate
interdisciplinary strand in Peace and Conflict
Resolution Studies, Director of the UT Mediation and
Facilitation Clinic and of the Summer Symposium in
Global Ethics and Conflict Resolution (a program for
high school students).
- Umit Meric was born in Uskudar, Turkey. She earned a degree in sociology from Istanbul University, and continued to work there for 30 years in such roles as Head of Department and Chairwoman of the Sociology Institute. Meric retired in 1999 and is currently writing Istanbul in Travel Books as well as consulting for the city of Istanbul. Her publications include Society and State Concept according to Ahmet Cevdet Pahsa, My father: Cemil Meric, Turkey Under My Wings, At The Threshold of the 21st Century, Discourses on Sociology, and Ahmed Hamdi Tanpinar at the Presence of Eternity.
- Charles Nelson is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Kean University of New Jersey. He received his doctorate from The University of Texas at Austin. Analyzing individuals, socially mediated practices, and underlying ecological dynamics, he has explored how students learn and acquire second languages, how they learn to navigate different cultural practices, how their identities change as a result of their learning, and how disequilibrium influences change and learning in psychological, sociohistorical, and ecological processes. In addition to contributing a chapter to Second Language Writing and articles to several scholarly journals, he has co-authored two conference papers on the educational movement associated with Fethullah Gulen.
- Avni Ozgurel was born in Ankara, Turkey in 1948. After graduating from the Ankara Economics and Trading Academy (now Gazi University's Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences) he commenced journalism at the Turkish daily newspaper Ulus in 1969. He has worked at various papers and served as reporter, editor, and director. At present he writes articles for the daily newspaper Radikal and runs a TV show on TRT-1. His publications include Belene (1994), Water's Power (1998), Blueprint (2001), Republic and Religion (2003), and Lands Yearning for Ottoman (2005).
- Jane B. Schlubach currently lectures on world religions and ancient to medieval humanities at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. She is also a member of the Oklahoma Board of Directors of The Interfaith Alliance based in Washington, D.C. Schlubach holds degrees in English history and literature from Harvard University, in philosophical theology from Yale University, and in the history of Christianity from the University of Notre Dame. At Notre Dame that she studied Islam and Hinduism under the direction of Fr. David Burrell, C.S.C., Hesburgh Chair of Theology and Philosophy, and a translator of Al-Ghazzali.
- Pim (W.G.B.M.) Valkenberg was born in 1954. He lives in the Netherlands and works as a Christian theologian in the department of theology and religious studies at Radboud University in Nijmegen. His research concentrates on Christian-Muslim dialogue in the context of Abrahamic partnership, both in the present and in the past. His publications include a dissertation on St. Thomas Aquinas (Words of the Living God, Leuven 2000), on Abrahamic dialogue in the Middle Ages (The Three Rings, Leuven 2005) and on interreligious dialogue (The Polemical Dialogue, Saarbrücken 1997). During his sabbatical leave from the University of Notre Dame, he prepared a book on Muslim-Christian dialogue and theology in the context of Abrahamic partnership, developing a reading of texts by al-Ghazali, Said Nursi and Fethullah Gülen from the perspective of a comparative Muslim-Christian theology.
- Paul Weller is Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby and Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent's Park College, University of Oxford. He is editor of Religions in the UK: Directory 2001-3 (2001). Weller also contributed to a UK Government Home Office report entitled Religious Discrimination in England and Wales, Home Office Research Study 220 (2001) and is the author of Time for a Change: Reconfiguring Religion, State and Society (2005) which drew on resources from the Baptist tradition of Christianity to argue against the establishment of the Church of England and for alternatives that are neither a defense of a "one-dimensional" Christendom nor the adoption of a secularist disestablishment.
- Ian G. Williams is Senior Lecturer & Subject Leader in Religious Education at University of Central England's Faculty of Education in Birmingham. After earning a degree in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of London, King's College, Williams pursued postgraduate studies in Religion and Education at the University of Nottingham and St John's College, Nottingham. Williams was ordained and went on to serve in the Church of England's parish ministry. He taught religious education in both Church and state sector schools. He completed a PhD in Islamic Studies at the University of Derby with a study of Islamic spirituality in contemporary Britain, conducting fieldwork among British Muslims of Asian origin. Williams has given lectures in Religious Studies at the Universities of Chester and Derby. He has also taught and researched in the Middle East and India. Currently, Williams is researching Muslim schools in the UK and the educational contributions of Fethullah Gulen. His other research interests include the European Shi'a diaspora, Sufi devotional practices amongst Nottingham residents of Mirpuri origin, and the career goals of the Asian Muslim youth.
- Ruth Woodhall is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She has worked for Queen Mary College at the University of London and for the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. She is a teacher, trainer and editor with a particular interest in the implementation of change and innovation in education. Over the years she has worked at many schools as instructor, teacher educator, and manager.
- Yetkin Yildirim received his doctorate from the College of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in 2000. He also completed a Doctoral Graduate Portfolio in Dispute Resolution, focusing on Islam and Conflict Resolution, from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. He is a founding member of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog. His research interests include interfaith dialog, Islam, and Sufism. Dr. Yildirim was chair of the organizing committee for the "Preventing another September 11" conference, which was held in 2002. He was also a member of the organizing committee for the "Peaceful Heroes" conference, which was held at UT Austin. He has authored "education" and "children and childhood" entries for the Encyclopedia of Medieval Islamic Civilization. His "Islamic Perspectives on Spirituality in Childhood and Adolescence," will appear as a chapter in Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality: Perspectives from the World's Religious Traditions, edited by Eugene C. Roehlkepartain et al. He has presented papers on the Gulen movement, including "The Golden Generation: Reconciling Muslim Identity and Modernity through Education" at the 33rd Annual Conference of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists at the George Mason University and "Advocate of Dialogue: A Look into Fethullah Gülen's World," at the 2005 MECA Conference at the University of Utah.