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Waikiki event to celebrate Gandhi’s 150th birthday, teachings of peace and nonviolence

  • COURTESY RAJ KUMAR
                                Raj Kumar, president of Gandhi International Institute for Peace, posed with a statue of Gandhi in Waikiki.

    COURTESY RAJ KUMAR

    Raj Kumar, president of Gandhi International Institute for Peace, posed with a statue of Gandhi in Waikiki.

The Gandhi International Institute for Peace is commemorating the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi on Saturday in Waikiki.

The 14th annual event, which includes an Indian spiritual invocation, takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kapiolani Park Bandstand. A Hawaiian blessing will be followed by speeches from elected leaders, peacemakers and educators, along with prayers and chants by interfaith leaders, multicultural dances and music.

The event is free and open to the public.

“Peace is not an absence of noise, violence and war but it is an internal experience,” said Raj Kumar, president of the Honolulu-based Gandhi International Institute for Peace. “When human beings cultivate peace within, they become agents of peace, plant seeds of nonviolence among children and adults, and spread the message of peace in society to transform the world.”

Scheduled speakers include Lt. Gov. Josh Green, Congressman Ed Case and Judith Jenya, peacemaker from Mexico.

The United Nations in 2007 designated Oct. 2 — Gandhi’s birthday — as a Day of Nonviolence. The Hawaii State Legislature designated it eight years later as Mahatma Gandhi Day.

The mission of the institute, a nonprofit founded on Sept. 11, 2001, is to provide peace education and promote peace on Earth based on Gandhi’s example of nonviolence. In the midst of global, political turmoil, Kumar said this mission of instilling nonviolence and peace is more important than ever, particularly among new generations.

A new book, “Children As Teachers of Peace and Aloha,” will be unveiled and available for presale. Proceeds from the sale of the book, he said, will go toward assisting children facing war and poverty around the world.

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