University Rectors from Ukraine Hosted By Our Foundation
Recently, our Foundation hosted Ukrainian rectors and academics from both Pereyaslav State Pedagogic University and Izmail State University of Humanities for the purpose of a two-day workshop.
Recently, our Foundation hosted Ukrainian rectors and academics from both Pereyaslav State Pedagogic University and Izmail State University of Humanities for the purpose of a two-day workshop. IFSC international co-ordinator, Prof. Dr. Ilham Mirac hosted the guests and was the organizer of the programme. During the meetings, our respective institutions took the time to learn about each other and discuss the sort of works and activities that we have thus far been involved with. There were also discussions about opportunities for potential joint projects in the future, and at the conclusion of the programme our Foundation signed agreements for future co-operation with both universities.
In the first meeting of day one, the Executive President of the IFSC Mr. Said Yüce introduced the Foundation as well as mentioning its activities and mission. He then stated that the universities and education institutions of our modern age need to incorporate human values into their education systems. Alongside the standard education and research functions that they employ, these institutions must also work to help produce humane ideas and individuals that benefit and rejuvenate the society as a whole. "What is important is that the education given in universities is beneficial to society. That needs to happen. An education should not just stop at books and thesis works. It should also look towards the general society and the life of the family. We already observe that as industry and technology has developed it has at the same time had a detrimental impact on family life as well as retard healthy relationships between human beings". Mr Yüce also mentioned the issue of the security and safety of civil society, stating that despite increases in hidden cameras and security infrastructure the level of crime has not really decreased. Rather than simply rely on these measures, there should also be a spiritual security guard and policeman embedded in the hearts and souls of the people at large. This sort of internalised security requires the perspective of 'tahkiki iman' (belief through investigation) rather than mere imitation or habit.
Mr Yüce also talked about the prevalance of Darwinistic materialism in society and its impact on the standardized education systems around the world. Such a system does not take into account the comprehensive faculties of the human being - such as the fact that we possess a spirit and soul, heart, emotions, passions, imagination and reflective intellect. These faculties were given primarily for us to know and recognize our Lord, and only through such appropriate usage can human beings live in society with some degree of happiness. Mr Yüce explained that the aims of the Istanbul Foundation for Science and Culture are to propagate knowledge for both society and individuals to better adopt and utilise the comprehensive faculties that truly comprise human beings.
Prof. Dr. Viktor Kotsur and Associate Professor Oksana Kovtun from Pereyaslav State Pedagogic University then gave a talk about their university faculty, department and number of students, publications, areas of research as well as their aims and prospective plans for the future. They also said that since 2014 their university has had a joint agreement with our Foundation and that they would like to develop a joint project within the framework of increasing their connection with the education system, civilization and cultural heritage of Turkey. The rector expressed his gratitude to the IFSC stating "We thank you very much for sending these treatises with us. They are certainly being read at our university, and now there are students here in Ukraine who are writing their theses on the Risale-i Nur and Said Nursi. We have also resultingly being conducted seminars on these works. We would like to hopefully pass this on to the next generation of our students". The representatives from Pereyslav also invited our Foundation to their 2020 summer school programme on multiculturalism. The rector also expressed his hope for Nursi's works to become part of the works distributed at a prospective Turkish Language Center at the institute.
The rector of Izmail State University of Humanities, Prof. Dr. Yaroslaw Kichuk then gave a general introduction and summary of the history of his university, as well as relating the history of the town of "Izmail" where the university is based. The town actually has a history that connects it with the Ottoman Empire, and the professor related in particular detail its history from the 19th century up until the present. "An important component of our culture actually derives from the Ottoman Empire, and therefore it derives from Islam. Currently in Ukraine there is a good opportunity for research in local Islamic history; one of these includes the sole mosque in our city which has until now been a musuem but may in the future be fully restored back to its old status as a mosque. For that, we need to take the right and appropriate steps", he said. Prof. Kichuk also expressed his wish to open a Gagauz Cultural Center within the scope of the university. There is a need for Ukrainian academics to teach both Turkish and Ottoman history, and so Prof. Kichuk expressed his desire for assistance and support from Turkish universities in this area. Ukranian professors could also occasionally teach about Ukrainian culture in Turkish institutions as part of a potential agreement.
In another meeting, the IFSC discussed an EU joint project titled "Human and moral values" to be conducted with the respective Ukrainian universities. Our partners showed interest in the common aims and activities of the project, yet they also discussed ways of broadening and increasing the detail of its scope. Ways of incorporating the Risale-i Nur into such a project were discussed also.
Following this, Assistant Prof. Dr. Vitali Kotsur from the political department of Pereyslav university gave a presentation comparing the philosophical perspectives of Ukrainian thinker Gregory Skovoroda and Said Nursi. He made reference to several existing academic studies on Said Nursi's thoughts and ideas, as well as referring to the direct source (i.e. the Risale-i Nur).
Later on, the Ukrainian contingent made a trip to Üsküdar University and met staff there and signed an agreement with the institute. The remaining time was spent visiting historical places under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Ilham Mirac, who gave interesting accounts of their historical past.
Throughout the program, Prof. Dr. Ilham Mirac translated the speeches from Russian to Turkish and vice versa and helped play an important role in facilitating contacts between the Ukrainian institutions and universities in Istanbul.