Gandhi: Theme Series
October 3, 2012
MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Arun Gandhi, grandson of the legendary peacemaker and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi, will speak at the Western Illinois University Macomb and Quad Cities campuses later this month as part of the Western Illinois University Theme Speakers Series. The 2012-2013 University-wide theme is "War and Peace: From Personal Conflict to Global Resolution."
Gandhi will speak at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15 in the Union Grand Ballroom and at noon Tuesday, Oct. 16 in Room 111 at the WIU-Quad Cities Riverfront Campus.
A peace activist and proponent of nonviolence, Gandhi carries the same principles as his grandfather. 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 youth for not being black and by white youth 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.
The next 18 months of Arun Gandhi's life gave him the keys to the powerful philosophy of nonviolence and shaped his future. 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, Arun Gandhi came to the United States in 1987 to complete research for a comparative study on racism in America. In 1991, Gandhi and his late wife, Sunanda, founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence (gandhiinstitute.org), which is headquartered at the University of Rochester, New York. The institute's mission is to foster understanding of nonviolence and how to put that philosophy to practical use through workshops, lectures, and community outreach programs.
Spring 2013 speakers include Peter Bergen, a journalist who is one of the few Westerners to interview Osama bin Laden (Feb. 19); and Joseph Sebarenzi, former head of the Rwanda Parliament and a survivor of genocide (April 2).
For more information about the University Theme Speakers Series, contact coordinators Michelle Janisz at MA-Janisz@wiu.edu, Heather McIlvaine-Newsad at H-Mcilvaine-Newsad@wiu.edu or Cynthia B Struthers at CBfirstname.lastname@example.org.