January 07, 2007
Gandhi. Few names in world history evoke such powerful images of integrity, courage, social harmony, and – perhaps most of all – hope. We are therefore delighted to welcome Arun Gandi, an advocate for non-violence and understanding,to speak at the Peace Conference.
Arun Gandhi carries within himself the same guiding principles as his grandfather, the legendary peacefighter and spiritual leader, Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi.
Growing up in apartheid South Africa as a person of Indian heritage meant racial confrontations with both blacks and whites. As a young boy, Gandhi was beaten up by black youths for not being black and by white youths because he was not white. Filled with rage and plotting to avenge his beatings, he subscribed to Charles Atlas bodybuilding magazines so he would have the strength to fight back. When his parents discovered the reason for their 12-year-old son’s sudden fascination with exercise, they decided that a visit to his grandfather in India was in order.
What followed was an 18-month stay with one of the world’s great leaders that would give him the keys to the powerful philosophy of nonviolence, and help shape the foundation for his life’s work. It was a dangerous and exciting time, as Mahatma Gandhi was leading the people of India in their revolutionary, nonviolent struggle for independence from British rule.
After leading successful projects for economic and social reform in India, Gandhi came to the United States in 1988 to complete research for a comparative study on racism in America. In 1991, Gandhi and his wife, Sunanda, founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, headquartered at Christian Brothers University in Memphis. The Institute’s mission is to foster understanding of nonviolence and to put that philosophy to practical use through workshops, lectures, and community outreach programs.
A speaker of international acclaim, Gandhi has spoken before hundreds of colleges and universities, and corporate and civic organizations. His unique talents and cross-cultural experiences have brought him before governmental, social, and educational audiences in countries all over the world, including Croatia, France, Ireland, Holland, Lithuania, and Nicaragua. Arun Gandhi is a cultural treasure, offering firsthand insights into one of history’s most influential leaders.