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Dogan Koc, Executive director of the Gulen Institute

The South Carolina Dialogue Foundation hosted its Distinguished Speaker Series on September 16-18 in Charleston, Clemson, Columbia and Greenville respectively.

Speaker Dr. Dogan Koc, Executive Director of the Gulen Institute at the University of Houston, delivered his lecture on "The Hizmet (aka Gulen) Movement: Origin, Activities, Structure, and the Critics."
Dogan Koc received his PhD degree in Political Science from the University of Texas at Dallas. In his studies, he focuses on conflict resolution, international relations, and social movements. He is also the author of the recent book "Strategic Defamation of Fethullah Gulen: Turkish vs. English."

Dr. Koc's lecture covered topics such as the life of Fethullah Gulen, the Gulen Movement's focus on: education, interfaith dialogue, and humanitarian acts, and finally the critiques of the Movement. The Movement's work in education is through the establishment of international schools which are staffed by a diverse faculty of different faiths and cultures from each area. The schools' studies focus on math and science. Themes such as peace and tolerance are delivered in various interfaith dialogues. There is also a focus on delivering aid to those in need and providing educational scholarships. All activities are stemming from the Islamic teachings of Gulen where he shows that Muslims can live a traditional, religious life alongside being modern, educated peoples in a productive world.

The lectures were well-attended and consisted of a brief introduction by Britton Koroglu of Charleston, Akif Aydin of Clemson, Dr. Carl Evans of Columbia, and Akif Aydin of Greenville. Following the lectures there was a Question & Answer discussion and light refreshments.