Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence
Dr. Sushil Mittal, Director
Phone: (540) 568-4060
Fax: (540) 568-7251
Web site: www.jmu.edu/gandhicenter
The Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence was established at James Madison University in 2005 to promote a culture of nonviolence and peace worldwide based on universal values of justice, equality, freedom and a deeper understanding of the importance of mutual respect among human beings and of human appreciation for the natural environment through education, international dialogues and youth-focused programs. The Gandhi Center is non-partisan and non-sectarian. The center is named in honor of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (October 2, 1869 - January 30, 1948). Mahatma, meaning “great soul,” was an honorific title.
The Gandhi Center is led by Director Sushil Mittal, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion. The team working with the director to set the intellectual agenda of the center includes the Advisory Board, Board of Trustees and Senior Advisor Dr. Gene R. Thursby, professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The Advisory Board serves as a consulting body on matters submitted to it by the director. The board includes Nobel Laureates, former heads of state, high civil servants, CEO’s of international corporations, academicians, scientists, social activists and artists from five continents, who pool their different experiences from a wide range of backgrounds to promote a culture of nonviolence and peace. The role of the Board of Trustees is to provide governance of the business and affairs of the center and safeguard the independence of the center’s work. The board is composed of distinguished business executives, academics and community leaders.
The Gandhi Center engages in a wide variety of regional, national and international educational, research and outreach programs in support of its mission. The center’s work is based on distinctively Gandhian insights, methods and strategies and is interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and cross-civilizational. Some of the programs include:
- Teaching: In addition to the broad range of learning opportunities, each academic semester the director offers an interdisciplinary course, “Gandhi, Nonviolence and Global Transformation.”
- Research: The objective of research programs is to provide multiple and alternative visions of nonviolent approaches to human relations and world affairs. Center staff and associate scholars from numerous universities and other academic institutions around the world carry out the center’s research.
- Conferences: The conferences of the center serve as a catalyst for change and action. It organizes a biennial international conference and an annual student conference.
- Lecture Series: The center has three established lecture series: Tolstoy Lecture Series in Global Nonviolence, Lecture Series in Religious Traditions and Afternoon Conversation Series. These series bring distinguished academics, policymakers, business people and civil society activists to share their work with general audiences.
- Publications: Publication and dissemination of nonviolence and peace research are essential parts of the center’s mission. The center publishes a series of publicly available online publications: research articles, working papers and commentary articles.
- Exhibitions: The center promotes a culture of nonviolence and peace through exhibits.
- Research Scholars: This program brings scholars to the campus, providing them the opportunity for concentrated work on research projects that serve as a resource for instruction, publication and training.
- Student Ambassadors: This program provides undergraduate students with the tools to engage others on issues of nonviolence and peace and to hone their skills as leaders and serve as agents of positive change in their communities.
- Student Internships: This program offers unique and diverse opportunities for undergraduate students who are interested in the center’s work. The program has special appeal for those who wish to combine academic study with practical application and experience.
The Gandhi Center is proud to offer support and encouragement to our student affiliate, Global Nonviolence Club, which has implemented several campus-wide events.
One means of implementing international academic cooperation by the Gandhi Center has been the signing of agreements, known as Memoranda of Understanding, between the center and foreign institutes. This cooperation includes exchanging research fellows, organizing joint seminars and workshops, and publishing research materials, as well as reciprocating information by means of newsletters, databases and the Internet.
The King Library
The Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King Library at the Gandhi Center serves the needs of the center and its programs. The King Library is also open to researchers and the interested public. It is primarily a non-circulating library.
The Gandhi Award
The Mahatma Gandhi Global Nonviolence Award of the Gandhi Center is bestowed upon an individual in recognition for outstanding work and contribution to the promotion of human welfare and to social, economic and political transformation through nonviolence and other Gandhian methods.