Affinity Intercultural Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of its Australia – Middle East Dialogue Platform for the discussion of issues concerning the two regions and the strengthening of communication and understanding between their people.

To deliver the platform’s first lecture, Affinity hosted Professor Mohammad Sharkawi from Cairo University yesterday. Titled “Problems Facing the Arab World and the Perspectives of Fethullah Gulen”, Professor Sharkawi’s lecture shed light on the post-Arab Spring issues and challenges facing the region, especially Egypt, and the suggestions offered by the prominent, contemporary Muslim scholar, Fethullah Gulen, to alleviate them.

Professor Sharkawi started by quoting some statistics about the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolutions and discussing the factors that led to the revolution in Egypt, looking at some of the dictatorial aspects of Mubarak’s regime.

He then discussed the new range of issues facing the Egyptian people and their budding democracy, followed by the three-dimensional solution suggested by Fethullah Gulen – namely, addressing ignorance and related issues by establishing institutions offering holistic education; addressing poverty and related issues by mobilising businessmen/women to donate for philanthropic initiatives; and, addressing division and conflict in society by advocating interfaith and intercultural dialogue. Professor Sharkawi supported Fethullah Gulen’s thought that to truly fulfil these aims, one must strive to be an ideal human being who upholds justice, equality, freedom, human rights and democracy.

Professor Sharkawi concluded by outlining the Egyptian people’s main expectations from the new democracy and where things are at presently. He insisted that the future is very promising for Egypt and the other Arab Spring countries but that they need to be given some time.

The Q&A session that followed furthered the discussion about the challenges currently facing Egypt and provided hope that the steps being taken to address them will yield fruits in the near future…

You can watch the full lecture below. For other videos, please check our YouTube account ‘AffinityDialogue’.

Professor Mohammad Sharkawi is Head of the Department of Islamic Philosophy & Comparative Religion at Cairo University. He has a remarkable contribution in interreligious and intercultural dialogue. He founded the Doha International Symposium for Interreligious Dialogue as well as the Cairo University International Conference of Islamic Philosophy. He has authored more than twenty books and hundreds of research papers on Comparative Religion and Islamic Philosophy. He was the vice president of the Islamabad International University and was a visiting professor to a number of international and Arab universities.