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Atlantic Institute and Intercultural Dialogue Club of Clemson University was honored by having Mr. Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish columnist for two newspapers in Turkey. His articles are also published in international newspapers such as Foreign Affairs, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Herald Tribune. Thanks to our sponsor, Dr. Peter Cohen, there were two events held at the Clemson University. First one was a luncheon among students, professors, and staff of Clemson University at the Philosophy and Religion Department and food was prepared by Turkish families within Clemson. The dialogue was very friendly and attendees had a chance to meet and ask him questions about the political and religious situation of the Middle East nowadays. The program continued with a lecture at the Strom Thurmond Institute on the same day on campus. Over a hundred people filled the auditorium and this time there were not only students and professors from the CU but the public from the Upstate region. Mr. Akyol started his speech with a short video and continued to talk about the transformation of the people who are now radical, extremist not only within Islam but also in other beliefs. Audiences were so interested and many questions have been asked after the talk, but due to time limit he could not able to answer all. There was also a book signing right after the talk. Mustafa Akyol has stayed there for a while to sign his most recent book “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case or Liberty”. After all, we thank one more time to our sponsors; Dr. Peter Cohen, Strom Thurmond Institute, and Philosophy and Religious Department of CU to make this event happen.



A New Turkey - Dr. A.Kadir Yildirim,

A New Turkey - Greenville

The Atlantic Institute in Greenville hosted Dr. A. Kadir Yildirim on Tuesday August 27th for his presentation: "A New Turkey: Recent Political Developments and Implications for Democracy. Participants participated in the discussion, with questions and answers, throughout the evening. Dr Yildirim touched on the following questions: Will Turkey continue as a parliamentary democracy? How will Erdogan’s control over the AKP evolve? Will the AKP government continue its campaign against the opposition? How does Turkish democracy weather this political storm and emerge as a stronger democracy? He gave a thorough discussion on the history of the Political structure of Turkey's recent years.


A New Turkey - Columbia

The Atlantic Institute in Columbia hosted Dr. A. Kadir Yildirim on Thursday, August 29th for his presentation: "A New Turkey: Recent Political Developments and Implications for Democracy.” His presentation started with an informative background on the history of governments in Turkey. He then went on to discuss these questions: Will Turkey continue as a parliamentary democracy? How will Erdogan’s control over the AKP evolve? Will the AKP government continue its campaign against the opposition? How does Turkish democracy weather this political storm and emerge as a stronger democracy? The presentation was followed by the opportunity to ask questions where participants were able to give their own opinion and ask for more information.


A New Turkey - Clemson

On November 17, approximately 100 students, faculty and local residents
attended a Distinguished Speaker event on the Clemson campus. This event
was co-sponsored by the Intercultural Dialogue Club of Clemson University
and the Atlantic Institute. Dr. Kadir Yildirim, Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Furman University, spoke about Recent Political Developments in Turkey and the Implications for Democracy. Certainly, Turkey's political future will also have important implications for all of the Middle East. During the question and answer period following Dr. Yildirim's talk, the many questions and comments were evidence of interest in Turkey's political situation.


Distinguished Speaker Series with Mustafa Akyol

Distinguished Speaker Series with Mustafa Akyol

Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty

Atlantic Institute (formerly South Carolina Dialogue Foundation) hosted two distinguished speakers’ series program in Columbia and Clemson with Mustafa Akyol, a renowned Turkish political commentator from Turkey, on April 11, 2012.

The Columbia program was partnered by Walker Institute and held at Lumpkin Auditorium.

The Clemson program was partnered by Clemson University Globalization Lecture Series. It was held at Self Auditorium, Strom Thurmond Institute, Clemson University. There was a great interest to the program with over 150 students, faculty and community members’ participation.

Mustafa Akyol is a columnist for two Turkish newspapers, Hurriyet Daily News and Star. His articles have also appeared in Foreign Affairs, Newsweek,Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune and many other journals and newspapers. He also appears regularly on Turkish TV, onpolitical discussion shows.


Dogan Koc, Executive director of the Gulen Institute

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.

Charleston County Sheriff James Alton Cannon, Jr.

Charleston County Sheriff James Alton Cannon, Jr.

James Alton Cannon, Jr., is the elected Sheriff of Charleston County. He was first elected Sheriff in February 1988. The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the state of South Carolina, employing over 900 people. In 2006, he retired from the U. S. Air Force Reserves at the rank of Colonel after 29 years of service.

In his last assignment, he served as Reserve Commander of the 3rd. He became recognized by his peers as an expert in counterterrorism. Cannon also served 4 years on active duty as a Russian translator stationed at Templehof Air Base, West Berlin during the height of the Cold War. Sheriff Cannon is credited with successfully merging the Charleston County Police Department and the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office in January of 1991.
Sheriff Cannon spoke on the history of the 2nd Amendment and the role of the law enforcement at our West Columbia center on October 24th and the Greenville Center on October 25th. He gave a brief history of the 2nd Amendment and why it was added to the Constitution. Then there was an in depth conversation on the civil rights, protection and the role of the government. Sheriff Cannon also touched the crime related issues and the roots of societal problems that may not find adequate attention in public sphere. These include but not limited to suicide attempts, drug overdose, and domestic violence.

Distinguished Speaker Dr. Ori Z. Soltes

Distinguished Speaker Dr. Ori Z. Soltes

On Wednesday February 26th, the Greenville Atlantic Institute (formerly South Carolina Dialogue Foundation) office hosted Dr. Ori Z. Soltes, Goldman Professorial Lecturer in Theology and Fine Arts at Georgetown University Department of Theology, DC He gave a very fascinating lecture on the historical background of Mr.Fethullah Gulen's connection with Sufism, Plato and Plato's critical thinking . He also discussed the views of Mr Gulen along with these other contemporaries and the similarities between them with regards to their philosophies.

He connected the thinking of Rumi, Ibn-Arabi and Gulen with the common thought of Universal Love for human beings. In about an hours time, Dr. Ori took us on a historical journey up to our modern day. He explained the ongoing political crisis in Turkey and the future possibilities for that country. He also took the time to share how all of these educational institutions established by the people inspired by Mr. Gulen's philosophy are adding positive contributions to the world's peace.

Distinguished Speaker Series with Dr. Scott Alexander, Associate Professor of Islam

Atlantic Institute (formerly South Carolina Dialogue Foundation) Greenville Office hosted a lively discussion given by Dr. Scott Alexander Associate Professor of Islam, Director of Catholic-Muslim Studies Program, Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, on the subject: "Islamic Renewal, the Gülen Movement, and Turkish Democracy" on Monday April 15th.

Approximately 35 participants gathered to listen to his vivid lecture. He took us through time to discuss the rise and fall of the different empires and their leaders and the differing sects of Islam they belonged to. He broke down his in depth research and work for us to understand in lay terms how these leaders came into power, how history unfolded and how it continues to unfold today. Many questions were asked by those in the audience following his presentation. A reception followed his presentation for all to be able to stay longer and have conversation with eachother and with Dr. Alexander.

An Evening With: Fred Leffert

An Evening With: Fred Leffert

metingpointAn Evening With: Fred Leffert:
"History and Analysis of the Jewish in Greenville"

The Greenville Office, together with MeetingPoint - A United Interfaith Community, hosted an event in honor of National Jewish Heritage Month, An Evening with Dr. Fred Leffert: History and Analysis of the Jewish in Greenville. The month of May was proclaimed Jewish Heritage Month by President Obama 7 years ago.

The evening started with Dr Peter Cohen representing Atlantic Institute and Rabbi Marc Wilson representing MeetingPoint and each explaining what their organizations do. Then the audience heard from Dr. Fred Leffert as he shared what it was like growing up Jewish in Greenville, what it was like going to school here in a predominantly Christian area and then growing up as a young adult. The room was then opened up to a lively question and answer session where everything from Antisemitism, the War, The Holocaust, Moving the locations of the Greenville Synagogue and Temple long ago and the Summer Camp a lot of the Jewish boys used to participate in.

All enjoyed the evening and both MeetingPoint and Atlantic Institute shared their upcoming events and thanked Dr Fred Leffert for sharing his experiences with us.

Speaker Dean Storer

Speaker Dean Storer

The Greenville office hosted Guest Speaker Dean Storer on March 9th.

Dean is an International Speaker and Counselor that holds an in-depth understanding of the ability that the human spirit has, to overcome obstacles.
The audience, comprised of young and old, went on an adventure through our thoughts and feelings to understand how we become who we are. All guests were ecstatic to receive a copy of his book, "Make it Happen Man" a real surprise treat!

An Evening with Mack Lockhart

An Evening with Mack Lockhart

A wonderful group of participants gathered on the evening of February 24th to listen to Mack Lockhart talk about his life. Mack's family has been in the Greenville area since 1917. He was raised during the times of great change in our country and was able to share some of his stories with us so we are better able to understand what life was like during this crucial timeframe for our country. Thank you for sharing your family, time and stories with us Mack. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

Afterwards everyone shared in refreshments prepared by the volunteers of the foundation.