Mr. Gary Race is the Director of the Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence. Gary brings to the position a life-long personal and professional commitment to non-violent approaches to social justice. He received his M.S. from Kansas State in Family and Child Development, and was a successful private practice psychotherapist for 16 years before entering the public arena as an administrator and grant writer for Child and Family Services (Hawaii) and the Executive Director of the Valley AIDS Network (Harrisonburg, VA). Currently he serves as the grants administrator for the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services, where he is the co-lead agent of the Ryan White Part B grant. He served on the Children’s Justice Center Interagency Group that focused on promoting services for the treatment of child abuse and neglect (Hawaii) and he is currently President of the Board of Directors of the Harrisonburg Community Health Center. His specialized training includes workshops and conferences on board development, financial management, mediation, substance abuse, child and family services and autism. He has served his profession widely as a consultant on family therapy, sexual abuse and severe conduct disorders.
In his letter of application, Mr. Race stated that for 35 years he has focused on the symptoms of injustice and inequity, and at times the work has been discouraging. But, he concludes, “I have never given up on the belief that our world can be a more just and kinder place. My desire to be the director of the Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence is a reflection of my personal commitment to this belief.” In selecting him, the search committee was responding to the authenticity of his past contributions, understanding that he is moving from his work in personal healing to a place where he can express his passion and vision for peaceful social justice. Mr. Race will divide his time between the IIHHS and the Gandhi Center. The Gandhi Center is administered through the Office of Cross Disciplinary Studies and Planning.
Melinda Walton has been the administrative assistant at the Gandhi Center since October 2011. Previously, she worked in pharmaceutical defense in Kansas City, Missouri, and had a hobby business baking cookies. While still baking cookies for fun, Melinda has added pies and cakes to her repertoire and also teaches violin.
The Board of Trustees is a distinguished group of community leaders working with JMU faculty to provide oversight and guidance for the Center’s operations and programs. This vital Board supports the Gandhi Award for Global Nonviolence and meets regularly to share ideas and promote the ideals of the Center.
Faculty Affiliates work with the Board of Trustees to establish creative and collaborative relationships in support of the Center and its activities. Faculty supervise interns, conduct research, teach and develop courses, and facilitate Center activities on and off campus on behalf of the Center.
The founder for the Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence is Dr. Sushil Mittal, who established the Center in 2005. Under his leadership the Gandhi Center developed student internships, summer programs from community school children and visiting scholar opportunities for persons studying the Gandhian approach to human conflict. Dr. Mittal currently serves as Professor of Hinduism in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.