Robert Thurman has been honored by Time Magazine as one of its 25 most influential Americans. In 1962, Thurman became the first American ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He gave up his robes after several years, however, when he discovered he could be most effective in the American equivalent of the monastery, the university.
Thurman’s work and insights are grounded in more than 35 years of serious academic scholarship and has maintained a forty-five year friendship with the Dalai Lama. A popular professor of Indo-Tibetan Studies at Columbia University, students have described his classes as “life changing.” Father of Hollywood actress Uma Thurman, Thurman’s unique take on the relevance of Buddhism to American culture and politics, and his wit and creativity in weaving ancient Buddhist wisdom and popular Western ideals, make his knowledge both entertaining and useful.
Professor Thurman is a riveting speaker and an author of many books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics and culture, Inner Revolution: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Real Happiness, which Publisher’s Weekly chose as one of the best books of 1998, Circling the Sacred Mountain, Essential Tibetan Buddhism and, most recently, Why the Dalai Lama Matters. Because of his charisma, unique life story, long-time activism on behalf of Tibet, proximity to Hollywood, and optimistic messages about “real happiness” Thurman has been profiled by numerous publications, such as The New York Times, People, and Time, and featured on many television programs including CNN News, Good Morning America, The News Hour, Larry King Live, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Professor Thurman’s writings work toward what he terms a “Second Renaissance,” which he sees currently taking place. He argues that America is uniquely poised to realize the Buddha’s vision of individualism and cultural harmony, that the happiness guaranteed by America’s founders can be secured in an enduring way without depriving others.
Celebration of Peace will present a free reception and viewing of an exhibit titled, “Contemporary Peacemakers”. The exhibit celebrates the limitless potential of the individual to build peace in today’s world. Some 24 panels are examples of ordinary people who display their commitment to peace through the powerful and effective work they accomplish in their efforts to establish harmonious, productive and peaceful environments.
Inspirational peacemakers in the exhibit include US’s Bono, Bill Gates, Jimmy Carter, Mother Teresa, Eli Wiesel, and Al Gore. A special section will feature artwork by children that poignantly expresses their vision of a peaceful world.
This exhibit is brought to you by ThinkGlobal Arts in partnership with North Central College’s Office of International Programs.
The culture of peace and harmony
A dynamic panel discussion on “The Culture of Peace & Harmony” will explore various ways in which all elements of our society can experience unity. An interactive panel discussion on ‘Peace & Harmony’ will focus on various ways in which different elements of our society can address the meaning of peace and experience the fullness of life…a universal heritage that we all cherish.
A renowned panel of distinguished guests, and students from our high schools and colleges will profile and examine peace and harmony with a community focus. The discussion will be led by distinguished guests who have considerable experience in the areas of peace and/or conflict resolution in interpersonal and inter-group relationships, organizations and communities.
Among our distinguished guests is:
Jerome McDonnell, host of Chicago Public Radio’s, Worldview. Daily, Jerome provides global affairs coverage of world issues with in-depth conversations on international issues and their local impact. Jerome has a Peter Lisagor award and has been awarded by the Illinois Broadcasters’ Association for “Best Public Affairs Program in a Series.”
The panel will also include a student representative from each of Naperville’s four High schools, and from North Central College. [Children and youth are a very important part of the entire Celebration; their perspectives, contributions and active participation are vital].
The panel will explore the meaning and experience of peace along three dimensions…..peace on a personal level; peace among all of us within our close environment, and its presence throughout the Universe. This intricately woven fabric forms a tapestry of peace and harmony ….one that cherishes and nurtures genuine regard, dignity and love for all. With input from panel members as well as participants, this interactive dialogue will explore areas of hope, opportunity and concern. In our increasingly globalized and interdependent world, the journey that we make must reflect the best of what our ancestors have left us and our hopes and dreams for our future.
Michael Terrien, CEO and founder of Play for Peace, will serve as the moderator for the evening. Play for Peace is a nonprofit organization devoted to bringing together children, youth and organizations from communities in conflict, using cooperative play to create laughter, compassion and peace. The organization works for social change by eliminating the emotional and social barriers between antagonistic ethnic, religious, and racial groups.
Peace begins with me
A delightful Press conference will feature the announcement of the winners of the Celebration of Peace art contests and essay/poem contest. Nine winners from the Creative Stamp Design contest, three winners from the Poster contest, and nine winners from the Essay/Poem contest will be announced, and presented with certificates and awards.
Additionally, children’s artwork from the 9 winning designs of the Creative Stamp Design will be featured on real US Postage 42 cent stamps and will be available for purchase as Stamp Sheets, with twenty stamps to a sheet!
The Celebration of Peace Film Festival uses the power of film to move people beyond their present boundaries to embrace and practice peace in varied and highly personal ways. We bring to you, an exceptional selection of the most lauded, award winning documentaries depicting powerful and compelling stories of peace and conflict resolution around the globe. ThinkGlobal Arts will screen three award-winning films, two documentaries and a musical comedy. Each of these screenings will be followed by a short but stimulating interactive discussion.
Free popcorn and ice cream will be served!
A FORCE MORE POWERFUL
This documentary carefully weaves two separate but related episodes in history, demonstrating how nonviolent power overcame oppression and authoritarian rule. The film journeys through Nashville, Tennessee in the 1960s and ends in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa in the mid-1980s.
WEST BANK STORY
A lively musical comedy set in the fast-paced, fast-food world of competing falafel stands in the West Bank. A little singing, a little dancing, and a lot of hummus helped West Bank Story capture an Academy Award for “Best Live Action Short Film.”
WE SPEAK AS ONE
Five Nobel Laureates share their inspirational vision for peace by addressing pressing global issues on ecology and environment that face today’s young people.
The first son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King III is a human rights advocate and community activist. In 1997, King was unanimously elected to head the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a civil rights organization founded by his father. He also has led the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change. In 2006, King was inspired to found an organization called Realizing the Dream, which broadened the scope of his work at the same time connecting with his father’s legendary legacy.
Realizing the Dream is committed to the power of nonviolence to achieve positive social change. Realizing the Dream seeks transformation that ensures justice, equality and community throughout the world through three strategies: community economic development, youth leadership development and conflict resolution.
The organization launched a national Community Economic Development program to address health, education, employment, housing, economic development and community capacity. Its Youth Leadership Development program provides systematic coaching, trainings, mentorship and governance to engage youth of all ages and demographic profiles as ethical and active decision makers in an interconnected world. A Conflict Mediation program uses forms of non-violent training, dialogue, community justice and democratic governance to increase the levels of communication and mutual understanding among peoples.
A Philatelic Presentation of his Life and Legacy
Adorning the corners of letters, they have been quietly conveying India’s achievements and contributions to the world. Stamps have, quite literally, documented India’s history, economy, and philosophy on tiny pieces of paper. They are symbols of India’s recognition in foreign lands.
This exhibit presents major events in Mahatma Gandhi’s life through the use of philatelic materials. To date, over 70 countries have produced stamps, postmarks, first day covers, cachets, and cards on Mahatma Gandhi. He may well be the most stamped person in the Universe; he certainly is a “Mahatma,” a “Great Soul’!
At its peak, the British Empire was the largest formal empire that the world had ever known. As such, its power and influence stretched all over the globe, shaping it in all manners and ways. It was into this world that the Mahatma was born. This unique exhibit of stamps and special covers will take you on an awe inspiring journey into the world of the Mahatma, the major events in his life and the values that he lived by; from his birth in 1869, through his school years, his career as a lawyer in South Africa, the nationalist movements back home in India, his assassination in 1948, and ultimately to the glorious legacy of peace and non-violence that he left behind.
Philatelic exhibition shows Gandhi’s stamp on history
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
By Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Mohandas K. Gandhi held a first-class ticket, but he was still thrown off a train in South Africa in the late 1800s because of the color of his skin and his refusal to sit in a third-class compartment reserved for “coolies and non-whites.” Stamps, postmarks and first-day covers honoring Mohandas K. Gandhi are on display in an exhibition at Chatham College.
That firsthand experience of racism and discrimination, along with a memorable night in a train station, shaped the thinking and spirituality of India’s best known leader, who had gone to South Africa to serve as counsel to a Muslim business firm.
“He decided that night he had to stay in South Africa and fight for immigrants’ rights,” said Revati Natesan, an Illinois engineer and mother of two who has spent the past decade collecting rare, valuable stamps, post cards and clippings from newspapers that Gandhi founded.
The stamps, postmarks and first-day covers mark the many milestones in Gandhi’s productive life. An exhibition of the items is attractively displayed in 44 framed panels and six portfolios in the James Laughlin Music Center on Chatham College’s campus in Shadyside.
Attired in an elegant blue and gold sari, Mrs. Natesan is as thoughtful as her exhibition, which is called “Mahatma Gandhi: A Philatelic Presentation of His Life and Legacy.” The show, which opened last week and runs through April 30, also traces India’s struggle for independence and offers a look at beautifully printed stamps from all over the world.
More than 90 countries have issued stamps to honor Gandhi, including Benin, Rwanda and Namibia, the nation that won its independence from South Africa in 1990.
Gandhi, who was deeply influenced by Leo Tolstoy, Henry David Thoreau and John Ruskin, advocated the pursuit of truth, civil disobedience and nonviolence. He once said, “The truth is far more powerful than any weapon of mass destruction.”
Starting in 1916, Gandhi led India in its struggle to win its independence from Britain, which the country achieved in August 1947. One of the stamps issued afterward says, “With Freedom Won the Honour of Our Country Depends On Our Individual Conduct.”
But the fight for freedom took more than three decades. In the beginning, Gandhi urged his countrymen to become self-sufficient and to buy goods made in India instead of merchandise imported from Britain.
In the 1920s, Gandhi encouraged Indians to make thread and spin it into a cotton cloth called khadi.
“He asked every man, woman and child in India to spin their own cloth,” Mrs. Natesan said, noting that compressed cotton spools are visible in many cancellation marks of Gandhi stamps. The spools symbolize what Indians call the khadi spirit.
By 1921, The New York Times described Gandhi as an “Indian messiah.”
In 1930, thousands of his countrymen joined Gandhi as he marched more than 200 miles and scooped water out of the sea to make his own salt, a violation of British law. The march, which was Gandhi’s way of protesting a British tax on salt, resulted in his arrest along with 60,000 other Indians. Afterward, Gandhi spent a year in prison.
Gandhi, who was known for living simply, was so frugal that he even recycled post cards. So, Mrs. Natesan found it ironic that India once issued a single stamp of Gandhi that cost the equivalent of $10.
In 2000, Palau, an island nation off the coast of Australia, issued a stamp to mark the new millennium. IT shows Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela together, a triumvirate of the men who used nonviolent civil disobedience to eliminate oppression and spread freedom.
The country of Mordovia honored the Oscar-winning movie “Gandhi” by issuing a stamp in 2000.
The text on the stamp is as inspiring as the image: “It took one remarkable man to defeat the British Empire and free a nation of 350 million people. His goal was freedom for India. His strategy was peace. His weapon was his humanity.”
The grandson of one of the most influential world figures of the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi, Rajmohan Gandhi has written widely on the Indian independence movement and its leaders, Indian-Pakistani relations, globalization, human rights and conflict resolution. He has held appointments as a visiting professor in the United States and Japan and received honorary degrees from universities in Canada, Japan and the Kyrgyz Republic. Gandhi has also served as a member of the upper house of India’s parliament and led the Indian government delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Commission annual meeting in Geneva. He is currently academic director of the Global Crossroads program and visiting professor in the Program in South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
A learned Professor who is happy to say, ‘I don’t know’, when asked a question to which he has no answer – is rare. A Hindu serving as a bridge between Muslims and Christians may be rarer still. Rajmohan Gandhi is a visiting Professor in the Program of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Faculty Director of Global Crossroads. He is a Jury Member, Nuremberg International Human Rights Award and Co-chair, Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation, Gurgaon, India
He is also a seasoned campaigner. In 1963 he led a ‘March on Wheels’ for a ‘clean, strong and united India’. In the mid-Seventies the weekly magazine he edited ‘Himmat’, was a prominent opponent of Indira Gandhi’s ‘Emergency’, a semi-dictatorship. In recent years he has worked for understanding between Hindus and Muslims, Pakistanis and Indians, and between Muslims and the West.
Rajmohan Gandhi is a noted journalist and a prolific writer. His books have included biographies of both his grandfathers, Mahatma Gandhi and Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, India’s first and only Indian Governor General. More recently, Gandhi’s major new biography of his grandfather – Mohandas: A True Story of a Man, his People and an Empire, was published in January by Penguin Books India, launched in New Delhi in the presence of political and social leaders, and has received great critical acclaim!
Other books by him include Ghaffar Khan: Nonviolent Badshah of the Pakhtuns (Penguin 2004); Revenge & Reconciliation: Understanding South Asian History (Penguin, 1999); The Good Boatman: A Portrait of Gandhi (Penguin, 1995); Patel: A Life, a biography of Vallabhbhai Patel (1875-1950), Deputy Prime Minister of India,1947-50 (Navajivan, Ahmedabad, 1990); and Eight Lives: A Study of the Hindu-Muslim Encounter (SUNY, 1987).
Watoto is accomplishing its mission of raising Ugandan leaders by focusing on the essential needs of parentless children – specifically the physical, educational, emotional and spiritual needs. Founded in 1992, Watoto takes in orphaned children between the ages of 2 and 12 and places them in families, providing food, shelter, education, health care, and family values.
We believe that as the children are trained academically and spiritually, they will enter society equipped with the necessary life skills and moral values, enabling them to make a significant and lasting impact on the future of Uganda.
Watoto currently operates 3 children’s villages and cares for over 1500 children. The villages include over 130 individual homes, each accommodating 8 children and a house mother. They also contain a complete school system for the Watoto children and the surrounding communities, a medical clinic, a church / community center, an agricultural project providing food, a clean water source and electrical power. The result is a self-sustaining village that serves the children while providing employment for women and teachers, and steady jobs for laborers.