Cal Poly Pomona announces the establishment of Shri Shantinath Endowed Chair in Ahimsa Studies in the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences (CLASS).
Ahimsa means reverence for all life. It means nonviolence rooted in compassion and kindness. The Ahimsa Center grew from the seeds of ahimsa. It was established in 2003 by Tara Sethia, professor of history, with the initial support from scores of donors from California and elsewhere in the United States. Since then, under Sethia’s leadership, the center’s programs have included an interdisciplinary minor in nonviolence studies, summer fellowship programs for K-12 educations in nonviolence and nonviolent social change, and numerous public programs such as conferences, symposia, dialogues, workshops, and special events for the benefit of academic and the larger communities.
To cement Sethia’s vision and mission at Cal Poly Pomona and in the community, she has been named the inaugural Shri Shantinath Endowed Chair in Ahimsa Studies.
“The Ahimsa Center is very close to my heart, and the establishment of the endowed chair through the generosity of donors—Prem and Sandhya Jain, Jasvant and Meera Modi, Bipin and Rekha Shah—will ensure the continuity of the center’s programs and advance them further, taking the center and Cal Poly Pomona to a new level of visibility,” said Sethia.
CLASS Dean Iris Levine lauded the center for the important lessons it provides.
“The Ahimsa Center has been a transformative experience for our students and community as it embraces the tenets of nonviolence which regards every individual as part of the whole and in the dignity of one, lies the dignity of all,” Levine said. “I am extremely proud to congratulate Dr. Tara Sethia on being named the inaugural Shri Shantinath Endowed Chair in Ahimsa Studies and I am truly grateful to our generous donors for endowing this chair. I am committed to ensuring the continuity of the important work of the Ahimsa Center and I look forward to Cal Poly Pomona’s Ahimsa Center as being a leader in promoting nonviolence, empathy, and peace.”
Those who donated to the center remarked on its significance.
Underscoring the need for nonviolence, Prem Jain said, “It is very important for all of us living in this violent world to promote the philosophy of ahimsa in America, and the Cal Poly Pomona Ahimsa Center has been the best place to start this understanding. We saw tremendous support of Cal Poly Pomona leadership team for such an idea.”
Explaining his support of the Ahimsa Center, Jasvant Modi said, “Ahimsa is the most important value and concept since the beginning of civilization, and education about it will only make the world a safer place.”
Looking ahead, Bipin Shah said, “We envision Cal Poly Pomona becoming a blueprint for the creation of centers such as the Ahimsa Center at other institutions of higher learning in the United States and the world. These centers will encourage people to think of nonviolent ways of resolving conflict in every aspect of their lives and create a more peace-loving society in the long-term.”
The donors have been pivotal in supporting the Ahimsa Center and the endowed chair. Sethia is the fourth faculty member at Cal Poly Pomona to hold an endowed chair or professorship, which supports the appointee’s academic activities and research, and recognizes their accomplishments.
Cal Poly Pomona will host an online celebration on Friday, Feb. 19 from 5:00 to 6:15 p.m. PST to recognize Sethia’s appointment as the inaugural chair, and the generous donors. RSVP online and send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.