GANDHI. Few names in world history evoke such powerful images of integrity, courage, social harmony, and – perhaps most of all – hope.
Arun Gandhi carries within himself the same guiding principles as his grandfather, the legendary peace-maker 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 body building 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 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, which is now 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. In 2007, Arun started the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute to build educational and training centers for children living in extreme poverty and being exploited by society. In 2013, Arun was invited to be on the Board of Legacy of Hope: Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Hospitals in Africa.
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 Brazil, Croatia, France, Ireland, Italy, Holland, Lithuania, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Nicaragua. Arun Gandhi is a cultural treasure, offering firsthand insights into one of history’s most influential leaders.
“Arun did a fantastic job of spreading seeds of peace on our campus yesterday. Students, Faculty and the Community all enjoyed his unique view of peace, character and methods of conflict resolution. He was just what we would hope to have for our Leadership Symposium! – Linda Becker, VP for Student Services – Union College
“Just one word for Arun…AMAZING!” – Tela Witherspoon, Lyceum Program Coordinator – Wingate University
“Mr. Gandhi was wonderful!…The students, faculty, board members – everyone I talked with yesterday and again, today, have only had great appreciation and thanks to share with me….Mr. Gandhi sent ripples of thoughtful reflection throughout our community.” – Linda Tonetti Dugan, Assembly Coordinator – The Ellis School