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Gandhi's teachings conclude Downtown Phoenix lecture series

November 10, 2011

The teachings of Mahatma Gandhi are more relevant than ever as nonviolent civil disobedience is making a comeback.

From Wall Street to Greece to Egypt to the West Bank, mass uprisings seem to be spreading around the globe. As a form of protest, civil disobedience has a noble lineage that includes Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and Nelson Mandela. One leader’s teachings paved the way for those who have followed in his footsteps according to one expert.

“There is indeed a form of civil disobedience worthy of respect, and lessons can be learned from Gandhi, who set the gold standard. To find this ‘gold,’ we must use history as our guide,” said Dennis Dalton, a professor of political science at New York’s Barnard College/Columbia University, who will conclude the fall 2011 Humanities Lecture Series at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

Dalton’s presentation of “Nonviolent Change and Reform Today: Lessons From Gandhi” takes place at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 16, at the Nursing and Health Innovation Building Two, 550 N. Third St., Phoenix, Innovation Auditorium, room 110.

The free lecture series is hosted by ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, and is open to the general public.

“As we wrap up our fall series on violence, it is pertinent that we conclude with some ideas for change and hope. Dr. Dennis Dalton provides alternatives such as ‘the power of nonviolent action’ by the masses that can lead to empowerment and freedom from tyranny. It is important that all of us listen and learn of these Gandhi-based ideas to promote a better tomorrow,” said Mirna Lattouf, faculty in the humanities and series organizer.

The School of Letters and Sciences provides students across ASU with the knowledge and skills to comprehend and effectively engage the changing world of the 21st century at local, national and global levels. Theory, creativity and applied learning are integrated as students build entrepreneurial opportunities both inside the university and in their communities.

Dalton said under Gandhi’s leadership, he led India to its independence from British colonial government on Aug. 15, 1947, and gave the country its democratic system that it has steadfastly maintained since. 

“It was the method of change that Gandhi employed which was most meaningful. He made history by helping India achieve its independence through nonviolent action,” Dalton said. “For Gandhi’s movement, it was all about using the right methods, connecting means to an end. His insistence on nonviolence came from this conviction, that we reap as we sow.”

Dalton will also briefly mention three other historical political movements contemporary to Gandhi: Lenin’s Bolshevism in Russia, Mao’s communism in China, and Hitler’s Nazism in Germany. Gandhi was the only leader to use nonviolent action to bring about revolutionary change.

For directions, visit For parking information, visit For more information, call Mirna Lattouf, series lecture organizer, at (602) 496-0638.