The Ahimsa Center will be hosting an international conference Nov.12-13 on sustainability and nonviolence. Ahimsa, which literally means “no harm,” focuses on nonviolence as a way of life and a force for positive social change.
Although Gandhi did not specifically talk about ecology, he lived a very sustainable life, according to Tara Sethia, founder and director of the center. She believes that nonviolence and sustainability are “two global imperatives” and that the global ecological crisis is one of the biggest challenges we face.
“We can take the environmental challenges as opportunities to take positive steps to mitigate and address the problems,” Sethia says. “This conference will examine the role of nonviolence in addressing such problems.”
The conference, “Ahimsa and Sustainability,” will explore themes such as ahimsa and ecological worldview, building a sustainable community, ecoliteracy, education for sustainability, and sustainability in business and professional life.
Guest speakers include scholars, activists, artists, researchers and school teachers. Some of the prominent speakers include Randall Amster, a professor of peace studies at Prescott College; Mira Kamdar, award-winning author and Fulbright Scholar; and Medha Patkar, a renowned environment and human rights activist. Patkar, the featured speaker, is a modern-day exemplar of nonviolence and sustainability. Patkar is known for being the central organizer of the movement to halt the construction of dams in India’s largest river, the Narmada.
“If you look around the world, there is so much violence on every sphere of our lives: personal, home life, community, national and international,” Sethia says. “Violence is corroding our humanity. We need an alternative that guides human relationships through compassion, forgiveness, and trust.”
This is the Ahimsa Center’s fourth international conference. The center, with matching assistance from the President’s Office, is offering a limited number of student fellowships for this conference. Interested students must contact the center. The conference will take place in the Bronco Student Center.