A recognized leader in the child welfare sector with more than 31 years of experience, Patrick Lake is the current CEO of the York Region Children’s Aid Society. For 19 years he served as the Executive Director at the Children’s Aid Society for the District of Timiskaming. Mr. Lake is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Children’s Mental Health-Ontario. He holds a Bachelor and Master of Social Work from the University of Windsor.

” One of the things that’s very clear is that Mr. [Fethullah] Gulen is a very deep thinker, and that his thinking and his philosophy, if you read documents over the last twenty, twenty-five years, has really grown and developed as he’s increasingly found ways to weave together the perspectives of East and West. So my sense is that this is someone who clearly has devoted his entire life to trying to find ways to build bridges. Between cultures, between faiths, between countries and communities, and most importantly, between individuals, to make the world a better place. You can’t argue with that.”

” I think one of the most powerful things that he’s done, and that I think needs to continue to be put forward and restated, is the way in which he has repeatedly and forcefully spoken out against the violence that’s been perpetuated, supposedly in the name of Islam, by saying very clearly, you know, “this is not the work of the Muslim faith, this is the work of terrorists.” ”

” Sometimes there’s a fear that to engage in dialog and try to understand and get along, that you’re somehow watering down your own beliefs. And I think that one of the things that Hizmet demonstrates is that, in fact, the opposite is the case. That your own faith and your own personal beliefs can become stronger the more you engage with others.”

” Certainly one of the things I’ve learned is how the network of schools that Hizmet supports throughout the world act as a funnel. So that if there’s a crisis in Nigeria, or a crisis in Mozambique, or a crisis in Sudan, that there are schools that are already there, with people that already know people in that community, and already understand the problem, and can get resources out quickly. Because they already know who to talk to.”