"Yes, we can," responded a few hundred thousand people in Chicago to the encouraging and hope-inspiring address of the new president-elect of the United States following the announcement of the election results. The American elections of 2008 showed once again that the popular vote can have a real influence on the fate of a nation and the world when public demands are met by a successfully articulated promise for change. Hope is such a powerful energy that, when released, waves of its influence often overflow the borders of a country and echo in a larger area overseas. Dr. Muhammed Cetin explores in this issue this dynamic force of democracy together with its shortcomings, how it can be improved so as to cover all aspects of human existence, and contributions of Islamic scholarship.

The events of November 2008 will definitely remain in the memory not only because of the American elections, but also for the hopes that arose almost simultaneously from a successful international conference at Georgetown University-Islam in the Age of Global Challenges: Alternative Perspectives of the Gulen Movement. Participants from different parts of the world discussed for two full days how to deal with problems from poverty and education to gender issues, problems that are posing ever greater and more global threats to humanity. With schools and cultural centers over 110 countries as well as relief and charity organizations with a global outreach, the Gulen movement offers an interesting field of research for social scientists. I would like to draw readers’ attention to an essay in this issue by Farid al-Ansari of Morocco, who presents an insightful portrayal of this movement with which the author reveals he has deep resonance himself.

We are also proud to present in this issue an exclusive interview with Professor Ahmed Zewail. Conducted by Dr. Nuh Gedik, this wisdom-filled interview gives analytical insight into the decline of Muslims from the pinnacle of human civilization which they achieved and maintained for long centuries.

For The Fountain, this past November was also exceptional for something that happened for the first time: a women writers workshop. In order to encourage more female writers to activate their potential or blow the dust off their writing skills, a writing workshop exclusive to women was organized jointly by The Fountain and volunteers in Pittsburgh. Eighteen authors from different states participated. They brainstormed on various issues, ranging from how to be an effective writer to the aspects in which The Fountain is different from other periodicals. Former contributors shared their writing experience with beginners, while previous issues were comprehensively evaluated and analyzed. We are very grateful to the organizers, and we hope this volunteer spirit, without which The Fountain would not have become what it is, will continue to generate quality material for our readers across the globe.

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