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Department of Philosophy

Gandhi 150, and Gandhi's Global Legacy International Conference

Gandhi’s Global Legacy International Conference

October 10 & 11 at Fresno State

In this conference, Fresno State celebrates Gandhi’s life and legacy through intellectual and activist analyses, a Classical Indian Music concert, and an Interfaith Prayer event. This two-day international conference will feature internationally known scholars and eminent thinkers including keynote speeches by Rev. James Lawson, Jr., Dolores Huerta, and Nipun Mehta.

The main objective of this event is to explore Gandhi’s global impact and the relevance of his philosophy and methods to confronting our current challenges. How would Gandhi approach our modern issues of social and economic inequity, racism, terrorism, environmental crisis, and overwhelming demoralization? What can be learned from his struggles and strategies to mobilize a movement against injustice?

Conference Schedule

All conference events are free and open to the public. However, we do ask that you please register so we may plan for your attendance.


Oct. 10 - Thursday 


Gandhi’s Journey from Mohandas to Mahatma

  • Documentary: Gandhi’s Awakening
  • Discussant: Cynthia Lukas, Film Producer, Writer
  • Moderator: Mary Husain, CineCulture Advisor/Instructor, California State University, Fresno


Keynote I: Applying Mahatma Gandhi’s Principles and Ethics in Business and Society: A Framework For 21st Century Business and Community Leaders

  • Ramsey Jay, Jr., Global Investment Management Executive/Strategic Consultant
  • Welcome: Dr. Sergio La Porta, Interim Associate Dean, College of Arts and Humanities, California State University, Fresno
  • Moderator: Dr. Falon Kartch, Associate Professor, Dept. of Communication, California State University, Fresno


5:00-5:40, THE PEACE GARDEN (NEAR Library)

Gandhi’s Prayer Meetings: A Way to Connect to the Human Spirit

  • Readings and Songs by Students
  • Moderator: Sam Wittstruck, Student, Department of Philosophy, California State University, Fresno


Keynote Address: Gandhi and King on the “Arduous Beautiful Struggle”: Lessons in Going Forward

  • Reverend James M. Lawson, Jr., ‘Architect of the Nonviolent Movement in the US’ (1953-1973); UCLA lecturer
  • Reflections by Dr. Mary Elizabeth King, Director, James Lawson Institute; Fellow at the University of Oxford
  • Welcome: Interim Dean Honora Chapman and Dr. Veena Howard, Coordinator, Peace and Conflict Studies, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
  • Moderator: Dr. Francine Oputa, Director Cross Cultural and Gender Center; Chair, the President’s Commission for Human Relations and Equity, California State University, Fresno

Oct. 11 - Friday 



191 Keynote II: Lessons we have Learned from Gandhi’s Methods of Nonviolence: How to Empower Your Community!

  • Dolores Huerta, President and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation
  • Reflections by Reverend James M. Lawson, Jr.
  • Welcome by California State University, Fresno President Joseph I. Castro and Provost Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval
  • Moderator: Dr. Andrew Fiala, Director, Ethics Center; Professor, Department of Philosophy, CSU Fresno

10:00-10:50, PETERS BUSINESS ROOM 191

Session 1-Roundtable: Gandhi in the 21st Century

  • A Revolution of the Heart 
    Dr. Cheyney Ryan, Oxford University, U.K.
  • Gandhi’s Relevance in India Today: His Teachings and Recent Initiatives 
    Dr. Gauri Mahulikar, Chinmaya University, Kerala, India
  • Gandhi, Nonviolence, and Islam
    Dr. Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
  • Moderator: Dr. Andrew Fiala, Director Ethics Center, Department of Philosophy, California State University, Fresno

11:00-12:25, PETERS BUSINESS ROOM 191

Session 2-Gandhi’s Thought: Community Building and Communal Harmony

  • Women’s Contribution to the Development of Gandhi’s Nonviolent Resistance Tactics in South Africa
    Dr. Gail Presbey, University of Detroit Mercy, Michigan
  • Gandhi’s Theory and Practice of Religious Pluralism
    Dr. Joseph Prabhu, California State University, Los Angeles
  • The Satyagraha of Cesar Chavez
    Dr. José-Antonio Orosco, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
  • Gandhi of Our Own: The Mahatma’s Historical Presence in Colonial Korea
    Sungjin Im, Duke University, North Carolina
  • Moderator: Dr. J. Ashley Foster, Assistant Professor, Department of English, California State University, Fresno

12:20-1:30, LUNCH BREAK


Session 3-A, Peters Business Room 192

Workshop - Gandhi and Nonviolence: Some Practical Strategies for Peace-buliding

  • Facilitator: Mandar Apte, Director, Cities4Peace, International Association for Human Values, Los Angeles, CA
  • Moderator: Dr. James Rocha, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, California State University, Fresno

Session 3-B, Peters Business Room 191

Mahatma Gandhi in the Age of Globalization: Rethinking his Philosophy and Methods

  • ‘Science of war leads to dictatorship…science of nonviolence leads to democracy’: Exploring a Gandhian Approach to Politics in the 21st Century
    Dr. Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra, Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Center for Nonviolence Human Rights, and World Peace, Hindu University of America, Flordia
  • Mahatma Gandhi: Interactions with Jainism
    Dr. Shivani Bothara, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Religion and Public Life: Some Gandhian Considerations
    Dr. Sanjay Lal, Clayton State University, Morrow, Georgia
  • Moderator: Dr. Ramdas Lamb, Religious Studies Department, University of Hawaii Manoa


Session 4-A, Peters Business Room 191

Gandhi’s Global Impact--Literature and Culture

  • Tolstoy and Gandhi: Reflections on Pacifist Nonviolence and Social Obligation
    Dr. Steven Shankman, UNESCO Chair of Transcultural Studies, Interreligious Dialogue, and Peace, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon
  • Paradoxes and Pacifism: Gandhi’s Legacy in the Writings of Mulk Raj Anand
    Dr. J. Ashley Foster, Assistant Professor, Department of English, California State University, Fresno
  • Seeing Gandhi: The Representation of Gandhi in Indian fiction
    Dr. James Earl, Department of English, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon
  • Moderator: Dr. Steve Adisasmito-Smith, Professor, Department of English, California State University, Fresno

Session 4-B, Peters Business Room 192

  • Gandhi’s Methods of Activism: Some Examples Gandhian Legacy Carried Forward by Acharya Vinoba Bhave
    Dr. Anshu Vashishtha and Dr. Gita Mehta, Maharishi University, Mumbai India
  • Can Gandhi’s Call to “be the change that you wish to see in the world” Provide an Alternate Approach to Contemporary Design Practice?
    Dr. Sanjeev Bothra, National Institute of Design, India
  • Gandhi in Conversation with Contemporary Islam: Peace, Pluralism, and Change
    Dr. Amine Tais, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, California State University, Fresno
  • Moderator: Dr. Carolyn Cusick, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, California State University, Fresno


Keynote 3: Gandhi 3.0: Bridging the Internet with the Inner-Net

  • Nipun Mehta, Founder of, San Francisco, California
  • Moderator: Dr. Veena Howard, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, California State University, Fresno



Classical Indian Music Concert: Melodies of Peace 
Download flier (PDF)

  • Pandit Debasis Chakroborty, Mangalayatan University, India
  • Gourisankar, School of Indian Percussion and Music, Texas
  • Dr. Lovely Sharma, Dayalbagh University, Agra, India
  • Moderator: Prof. Joan Sharma, Department of Art and Design, California State University, Fresno

Student Gandhi Posters Exhibition, the Dean’s Gallery, Music 184

This conference is generously Supported by JP and Renu Sethi Foundation and the Uberoi Foundation for Religious Studies

Conference Planning Committee:

  • Dr. Veena Howard, Coordinator Peace and Conflict Studies; Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
  • Dr. Andrew Fiala (Department of Philosophy, Director, Ethics Center)

Coordinator & Organizer: Dr. Veena R. Howard,