Top Corporate Philanthropist from India to Speak at Cal Poly Pomona

Top Corporate Philanthropist from India to Speak at Cal Poly Pomona
Corporate philanthropist Rajashree Birla will speak on campus April 27.

Rajashree Birla, a leading corporate philanthropist in India and distinguished humanitarian, will speak on “Gandhi's Ideal of Trusteeship: The Role of Business in Society,” on Sunday, April 27, at Cal Poly Pomona.

Birla will explore how Mahatma Gandhi's ideal of trusteeship can serve as a source of inspiration and guidance for today's business endeavors in the domain of corporate social responsibility.

“Given the rash of corporate follies we have been witnessing, hers is a most timely message,” says Dr. Tara Sethia, director of the Ahimsa Center, which is hosting the dialogue.

Birla will speak at 2 p.m. in the Bronco Student Center's Ursa Major Suite, and a reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public, however RSVPs are required by April 24. To RSVP, e-mail the Ahimsa Center at

Birla is a pacesetter in the area of corporate social responsibility. She chairs the Aditya Birla Center for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, the apex body responsible for development projects and social welfare work across 40 companies in the Aditya Birla Group (ABG). The center's work covers more than 3700 villages with 7 million people, and involves running 41 schools and 16 hospitals.

Birla is on the boards of several ABG companies in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Egypt. She serves as the chair of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility. She is co-chair of the advisory board for the Habitat for Humanity-India. In the role of an advisor or a trustee she has led, guided and supported a number of major educational, cultural and community service organizations.

Over the years, her community and philanthropic activities have garnered her numerous awards and honors.

Her family had significant involvement in India's independence movement and was a major supporter of Gandhi's nonviolent campaignsagainst the British rule. The family continues to actively support Gandhian institutions and initiatives.

The Ahimsa Center in the College of Letters, Arts, & Social Sciences is focused on interdisciplinary teaching and learning about nonviolence and its practical applications. Educational and outreach initiatives of the center facilitate an understanding of ahimsa as a positive force informing the ways of thinking as well as living. The center has launched an interdisciplinary minor in Nonviolence Studies, offers professional development programs on nonviolence and nonviolent social change for school teachers, and also serves as an important forum for a variety of community oriented programs on themes related to nonviolence.

In October, the center will host an international conference, “Rediscovering the Gandhian Wisdom: Building a Peaceful Future.”

For more details about the Ahimsa Center, visit