By Mike Greife, February 2, 2016
WARRENSBURG, MO – Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi, the historic leader of the independence movement in British-ruled India, will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, in Hendricks Hall at the University of Central Missouri.
Gandhi, the founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., and the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, is the keynote speaker for UCM’s Unity Week, Feb. 15-18. The event is free and open to the public.
Gandhi will speak on “Be the Change: Discussing Racism in the U.S. and Student Activism.”
Born and raised in apartheid-era South Africa, Gandhi experienced discrimination and became the victim of racial violence as a child. At the age of 12, he was sent to live with his grandfather in India, where he observed firsthand the profound national campaign for liberation through nonviolent means. He 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 institutes.
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 as a solution for the world’s problems.
For his work at the institute, Arun Gandhi was presented with the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. In 1996, he cofounded the Season for Nonviolence as a yearly celebration of the philosophies and lives of Mohandas Gandhi and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
UCM’s Unity Week is sponsored by Spotlight, UCM’s student programming organization, in collaboration with the Social Justice and Diversity Committee; the Office of Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention; the Office of Mentoring, Advocacy, and Peer Support; Association of Black Collegians, and Africana Studies. Financial assistance for Gandhi’s presentation is provided by the American Democracy Project at UCM.