I am humbled by the kindness of the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College to consider me as a recipient of the prestigious 2015 Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award.
I can only accept this award on behalf of the participants of the Hizmet movement who devoted themselves to serving fellow humans without expecting anything in return. Educators who served thousands of miles away from their homes near arctic circle in sub-freezing temperatures; those who continued to keep their schools open in northern Iraq despite the threat of ISIS occupation; those in Nigeria and Afghanistan who provide educational opportunities to girls; doctors, nurses and humanitarian relief workers who served in Somalia and Sudan under dire conditions; and entrepreneurs who compete in donating to charitable causes despite facing economic hardship themselves. These devotees of love who come from different nations, religions, and ethnic backgrounds are the ones whose work is recognized with this award.
They are the ones who seek happiness in the happiness of others. What unites them and the pioneers of human rights in Asia, in Africa, in the United States, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and all around the world is their commitment to humanity. To hold every human as dignified and to be committed to the dignity of every human is a sign of respect for their Creator.
I have always prayed to God that He would include me among these blessed individuals but never considered myself as the leader of any of them. You were kind enough to recognize their efforts and sacrifices and I simply accept this award on their behalf.
My health doesn’t allow me to join you on this meaningful occasion. But for spirits united around high human values, physical proximity is never needed for a conversation. Humbled to be included among those whose work is recognized through this award, I thank the organizing committee for their consideration.
M. Fethullah Gülen