The  Ahimsa Center at Cal Poly Pomona will be hosting a major international conference on a timely theme, nonviolence and sustainability. A part of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences at Cal Poly Pomona, The Ahimsa Center is focused on interdisciplinary teaching and learning about nonviolence and its practical applications at various levels: personal, familial, communal, national, and international. Its educational and  outreach initiatives facilitate an understanding of ahimsa (nonviolence) as a positive force informing the ways of thinking as well as living.

The center’s fourth international conference on nonviolence will feature wide-ranging scholarships and experiences to illuminate the relationship between ahimsa and sustainability from multiple perspectives.

According to Tara Sethia, founder and director of the center and a professor of history, what we do about ecology and the natural environment largely depends on how we think of ourselves in relation to nature and people around us. “The ecological challenges associated with sustainability are often seen as a warning for an imminent crisis. But these challenges,”  Sethia says, “can also be taken as an invitation to reflect on how and what we think of ourselves in the context of our environment, rethink our current ways of living, and marshal the transformative power of nonviolence in building a sustainable future.”

Ahimsa, she says, is the experience of oneness with others and nature; it connotes reverence for all life.


The conference will explore the significance of nonviolence for sustainability by focusing on issues and topics such as: ahimsa and ecological worldview, ecological interdependence, Gandhian ecology  and the environmental movements, the make-up and making of sustainable communities, sustainability in business and professions, innovation and design for sustainability, education for sustainability, waging sustainability through nonviolence.

The roster of speakers features a score of scholars, artists, activists, research and design professionals, and teachers. Some of the highlighted speakers are Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi professor of Indic andcomparative theology at Loyola Marymount University; Mira Kamdar, award-winning author of Planet India: The Turbulent Rise of the Largest Democracy and the Future of Our World; Chandrakant Patel, senior fellow and director of the Sustainable Information Technology Laboratory at Hewlett Packard Labs; Medha Patkar, an environmental and human rights activist who has led the struggle against the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project in Gujarat, India; and Michael Tobias, world-renowned global ecologist, author, filmmaker, and explorer.

Nov. 12-13, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Cal Poly Pomona Bronco Student Center, Ursa Major, 3801 West Temple Ave., Pomona. $60-$150. (909) 869-3868.

Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 35-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...