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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Arun Gandhi to be Keynote Speaker for 2011 Freedom Scholarship Dinner

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 13, 2010) – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., often stated that he based his philosophies of social change on the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi, the spiritual leader of India’s historic independence movement. In celebration of King’s legacy, the University of Central Missouri will host Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas Gandhi, as the keynote speaker for the annual Freedom Scholarship Dinner Jan. 18, 2011, during UCM’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Arun Gandhi
Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas Gandhi, the late political and spiritual leader of India, will be the keynote speaker for the 2011 Freedom Scholarship Dinner, the  highlight of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at the University of Central Missouri in January 2011.

Arun Gandhi is the founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, located at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. Born and raised in apartheid-era South Africa, Arun Gandhi was sent to India at the age of 12 to live with his grandfather. There he observed firsthand the profound national campaign for liberation through nonviolent means.

Arun Gandhi went on to lead successful economic and social reforms in India before coming to the United States, where he and his late wife, Sunanda, founded the institute. Through the institute, Arun Gandhi seeks to further the study and practice of nonviolence while also providing a unique source of information about his grandfather. By continuing his grandfather’s work, he has been able to provide insight into one of history’s most influential leaders and has continued to stress the importance of nonviolence around the globe.

During his presentation at UCM, Gandhi will draw parallels between the teachings and beliefs of M. K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reinforcing King’s belief in bringing about significant social change through civil disobedience.

“We are truly honored to host Arun Gandhi as part of the 2011 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at UCM,” said UCM President Charles Ambrose. “It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for those in attendance to gain a better understanding of the legacies of these two historic figures who have had such a significant impact on the history of mankind.”

Jesus “Sonny” Castro, UCM’s chief diversity officer and chair of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee, said the opportunity to hear about Mohandas Gandhi’s struggles and successes from his grandson continues the tradition of the Freedom Scholarship Dinner, which also honors the recipients of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Scholarships.

“Since its inception, the MLK Celebration Planning Committee has invited Freedom Scholarship Dinner keynote speakers to share their insights on the legacy of Dr. King with the campus and the community,” Castro said. “Arun Gandhi will continue the tradition of bringing the campus and community together in the annual celebration.”

During the past 13 years, 146 students have received scholarships through the program. The Freedom Scholarships are funded through proceeds from the Freedom Scholarship Dinner and contributions from the Warrensburg and Kansas City communities.

Tickets and table sponsorships for the dinner will be made available at a date to be announced. For more information, contact Castro at 660-543-4156 or