International Conference: Gandhian Perspectives on Contemporary Conflicts and Peace


Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra, Ph.D. - Mahatma Gandhi Center for Nonviolence, Human Rights and World Peace

November 3-4, 2016 ~ Orlando Campus of the Hindu University of America ~ Orlando, Florida, USA

The principles of Mahatma Gandhi have become increasingly relevant in the contemporary world, characterized by turbulence. For Gandhi, the most potent weapon to fight oppression and injustice is non-violence, which emanates from courage to stand against oppression and injustice. Violence begets violence, and if the principle of ‘an eye for an eye’ is applied, ‘the whole world will become blind.’ From a Gandhian perspective war is an acute form of violence motivated by greed, prejudices and historical animosity and the results are devastating with socio-cultural, economic and political consequences. Whether it is conflict at the level of groups or communities or at the international level, a trend can be deciphered in which the conflict actors have prioritized their narrow interests over collective interests and peace.

Gandhi’s ideas have been acclaimed by common people as well as leaders from across the world. Martin Luther King, Jr. referred Mahatma Gandhi as “the guiding light of … nonviolent social change,” and, during his India visit in 1959, said, “In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation.” About five decades later, Nelson Mandela, while unveiling a Gandhi Memorial in South Africa, in 1993, stated, “The enemies that Gandhi fought – ignorance, disease, unemployment, poverty and violence are today common place…Now more than ever is the time when we have to pay heed to the lessons of Mahatma Gandhi.”

The conference, covering major aspects of Gandhian philosophy and its applicability to contemporary global problems, appears timely and necessary. Though Gandhi is popular in academia and among public in the East and the West, there have been few events to make an in-depth study of his principles and their application to resolve contemporary global problems. The conference aims to fill this gap. It is not only interested in theoretical aspect of Gandhian philosophy, but also its practical and educational aspects.

Focus of the Conference

The Conference aims at exploring Gandhian principles and their problem solving potentials. It aims to focus on relevance of Gandhi for addressing global problems such as inter-state and intra-state conflicts, international peace, religious extremism, degeneration of human values, social and religious discord and violation of human rights. It seeks contributions on following themes, and the list is not exhaustive.

  • Gandhian Approach to Conflict at Various Levels: From Family to State to World
  • Gandhi and International Conflicts, e.g. Middle East, Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, etc.
  • Gandhi, King Jr. and Mandela: A Comparative Perspective
  • Managing, Transforming and Resolving Conflicts: The Gandhian Way
  • Gandhi and Ethno-religious Conflicts
  • Gandhi and Environmental Conflict
  • Gandhi and Human Rights

Objectives of the Conference

The Mahatma Gandhi Center at the Hindu University of America intends to provide a platform for deliberation on the above themes. It is interested to engage scholars from academia, media, corporate sector, policymaking, non-governmental sectors, and grass-roots activism for an elaborate inquiry of the above themes. The two day exercise will be academic and educational in content and professional in approach. It will be academically rewarding and personally gainful to the participants. The ultimate objective is to generate an in-depth understanding of Gandhian philosophy and its problem-solving potentials. Such an understanding would help in formulating a framework for a better understanding of conflicts and their roots towards addressing them through peaceful means.

Call for Papers

The Mahatma Gandhi Center invites papers on the above themes for the conference. The papers should focus on a theme outlined above, and offer a novel approach. Abstract of the paper and a short biographical note should reach the Center at by August 25, 2016. The acceptance notification for the selected abstracts will be sent by August 30, 2016. Full draft paper should be sent by October 27, 2016 as they will be complied in a volume, to be published by an international publisher.

The Center will provide lunch and dinner for the two days of the conference. Limited need-based funding to defray travel-related expenses will be provided to the paper presenters.

Important Dates

Abstract (within 500 words) and bionote (within 100 words) submission: August 25, 2016

Notification of acceptance of abstracts: August 30, 2016

Full draft paper (6000 words to 7000 words) submission: October 27, 2016

Conference dates: November 3 and 4, 2016

Registration Fee:  Paper Presenters: US $ 60

Attendees: US $ 25

Conference Details       

The conference will be held at the Orlando campus of Hindu University of America at 5200 Vineland Road, Orlando, Florida-32811, USA.

The university is located near major attractions in the city of Orlando. Orlando, home to Disney World, Universal Studio and many other famous attractions, will be mild in November and, hence, welcoming for the conference participants.

Further information about logistics of the conference will be available soon on the University website.

For further details please contact:

Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra, PhDs
Director, Mahatma Gandhi Center for Non-Violence, Human Rights and World Peace
Hindu University of America
Orlando, Florida 32811


Dr Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and an Indian commentator. His areas of interest include conflict transformation and peacebuilding in South and Central Asia. He is a Fellow at the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development, University of Massachusetts Boston. His edited book Conflict and Peace in Eurasia was published by Routledge in 2013.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Aug 2016.

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