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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Forum and Lecture: UAB presents Tushar Gandhi, great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, in a free forum and public lecture.

Tushar Arun Gandhi is the son of journalist Arun Manilal Gandhi, grandson of Manilal Gandhi and great-grandson of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as Mahatma Gandhi. He lives in Mumbai, India, and runs the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation.

Gandhi will spend a day at UAB as part of a three-day trip to Birmingham to speak about and promote human rights and peace. From 12-4 p.m. May 6, the public is invited to participate in “Gandhian Paths to Global Progress: A Forum with Tushar Gandhi." The forum is free; participants must register by email at or by phone at 205-975-0693. Lunch and a coffee break will be provided. See the forum schedule below.

Later in the day, at 6 p.m., Gandhi will deliver his lecture on human rights, “Three Marches and a Dream: Salt and Freedom,” in UAB’s Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall, 950 13th St. South. The lecture is free and open to the public; seating is limited. To reserve a seat, call or email Monica Robinson at 205-975-6267 or


Gandhian Paths to Global Progress: A Forum with Tushar Gandhi
Co-leaders: Tushar Gandhi, N. S. Xavier, Cynthia Ryan, Cathleen Cummings 
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, 1221 10th Ave. South 


Part I: Interrogating the Terms 12:00-12:45 p.m.
What is peace building? Is it post-war economic development, relationship building, or any project aimed at social change? Terminological confusion negatively impacts how the field is understood and funded. It makes it difficult for practitioners to collaborate on peace building projects when people bring different expectations about what the scope of peace building includes. 
Lisa Schirch 

How do we effect meaningful change in the globalized world of the twenty-first century if individuals and nations perceive the terms of the discussion in differing ways? Here we initiate a discussion about the concepts and terms for understanding and implementing peace and justice in a globalized world, considering the ways in which the vocabulary may be understood in environments different from our own.  

Lunch 12:45-1:30 p.m.

Part II: Working Toward Real Cultural Conscience 1:30-2:45 p.m.
A society of people guided by conscience would manifest law and order without legalism and militarism. Such a society would encourage interdependence and genuine individuality with a spirit of fairness and responsibility toward oneself, fellow humans, and the world.
–N. S. Xavier 

Drawing together psychological and spiritual connections Dr. N. S. Xavier will offer a number of case studies to springboard exercises and discussion of the development of real cultural conscience. Participants will work through a variety of exercises in response to specific case studies—including the examples set by M. K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus, and others in using conscience to guide their choices—and will explore the power of real cultural conscience to combat fanaticism, abuse, prejudice, violence, and other negative states, especially those wielded by mobs. Participants will discuss conscience strategies for combating problems in our communities and our world. 

Coffee Break 2:45-3:00 p.m.

Part III: Deploying Gandhian Philosophies in a Globalized Economy 3:00-4:00 p.m.
Mahatma Gandhi bequeathed to us three guiding principles: Ahimsa (or nonviolence), Satyagraha (or the force born of truth and nonviolence) and Sarvodaya (or upliftment of all). It is the value of these principles that we have to rediscover if we want to deal effectively with today's challenges.
–Sonia Gandhi, Capetown, 2007 

As Sonia Gandhi noted in her 2007 Capetown speech, the essence of Mahatma Gandhi’s political philosophy was the empowerment of every individual, irrespective of class, caste, color, creed, or community. To him, extreme poverty was itself a form of violence. Working in small groups, participants will examine a range of case studies—the development of handicrafts industries in India and elsewhere that promote income generation at the village level, TATA Industries and the possibilities of Trusteeship, “green computing” and “techno-Gandhian philosophy” for example—to explore strategies and tactics for incorporating equity and equality, environmental conservation and stewardship, and contribution to a larger social purpose within processes of profit and economic development. Participants may consider approaches to commerce and economic growth in light of the following questions, among others: How does the particular program/industry address poverty in context? In what ways might this approach conflict with socioeconomic priorities within the culture? What additional complications (in 2014) affect the question of poverty in this particular cultural context? 

For more information or to RSVP, contact Jared Ragland at

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