Date of Submission



The research reported in this thesis explored the Fethullah Gülen’s educational vision and its interpretation in two Australian Gülen–inspired schools. The educational and social services he started with his close friends in the late 1960s grew rapidly and has become known as the Hizmet Movement. Although the Movement is involved in many different activities, intercultural dialogue and educational services are its main pursuits. Gülen’s educational vision and inspiration have resulted in the establishment of educational institutions, such as childcare, schools, tutoring centres, and universities, all around the world. The research in this thesis focussed on identifying the specific educational characteristics of two Australian schools founded on Gülen’s philosophy. The researcher examined a range of primary and secondary literature sources to analyse Fethullah Gülen’s educational vision to provide a background. Gülen’s educational vision emphasises integrity of the heart and intellect––academic and values education, and aims to raise virtuous individuals through holistic education, transforming knowledge into character development and role modelling. His educational vision reconciles science and religion, and approaches education as the best way to serve humanity. To explore the specific educational characteristics in schools, a case study approach was adopted with data being obtained from interviews, participant observation and school documents to identify the characteristics of the two schools in different Australian cities founded on Gülen’s philosophy and to determine how Gülen’s inspiration was transformed into practices at the schools. The major findings were that the schools were values–based and academically oriented. They adopted a balanced education that encompassed academic excellence and delivered values education to raise what Gülen terms the Golden Generation, an ideal generation that is well–educated in the sciences, and who possess deep ethical and moral grounding. The schools emphasised pastoral care services to further support students’ academic, moral and social development. Both schools were established and supported by the community, and addressed community values in the school environment. This thesis is significant as it is the first study that examines two Australian Gülen–inspired schools and their alignment with Gülen’s philosophy. It concludes with the potential contribution of Gülen’s educational philosophy and Gülen–inspired schools to the wider educational field, recommendations to two schools from findings and suggestions for further studies.


School of Education

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


387 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Education and Arts