GCSD engages children and youth to look at Mahatma Gandhi’s life and work as to how one can relate it today’s lives. Through our programs as detailed below, we encourage global citizenship.
In August 2013, Don McAvinchey, famously known as the American Gandhi, the global ambassador of GCSD toured schools and colleges around Bangalore, spreading the Gandhian message of non-violence, leadership and global social responsibility. Dressed in a dhoti and shawl, sandals and bamboo stick, McAvinchey has traveled throughout India and the United States and held over 100 talks, speaking with old and young alike on issues relating to poverty, violence and women’s rights. He believes strongly that Gandhi’s teachings should not be forgotten in the 21st century and hopes to inspire others to tap their capacity to love unconditionally.
During his time in Bangalore, Don visited five schools and three colleges and facilitated a total of nine presentations with audience sizes ranging from 50 to 1,000 students, staff, and faculty. More information (including dates, audience size, and salient themes) on each presentation is summarized below.
Cathedral High School
On the morning of Monday, August 5, Don visited Cathedral High School and presented for 9th-12th standard students (a total of approximately 600 students). He spoke broadly about Gandhi’s message and facilitated a discussion on how students can apply it to their own lives in their school, family, and community today.
Baldwin Girl’s School
During the afternoon of Monday, August 5, Don visited Baldwin Girl’s School and presented for an undocumented number of students.
Akshara Montessori School
On the morning of Tuesday, August 6, Don visited Akshara Montessori School and presented for a group of approximately 100 students, ranging from third to tenth standard. He facilitated an interactive discussion focussing on the topics highlighted by students questions such as Gandhi’s motivation to be a leader and his dedication to non-violence.
United International School
On the morning of Wednesday, August 7, Don visited United International School and presented for a group of 60 third through eighth standard students and 80 ninth and tenth standard students. He facilitated a conversation about how students can apply Gandhian principles of non-violence in their homes, schools, and communities and discussed with the older students how they can act as changemakers in their communities.
On the afternoon of Thursday, August 8, Don facilitated a session for approximately 80 students discussing how students can apply Gandhian principles of non-violence in their lives. He also met with a group of student council members briefly before the talk for an interview, sharing with them more about his journey as the American Gandhi and also answering their questions about Gandhi and his teachings.
St. Aloysius Degree College
On the afternoon of Tuesday, August 6, Don visited St. Aloysius Degree College and presented for a group of approximately 100 undergraduate students. He facilitated a discussion about feminism and the roles of both males and females in fighting for the rights of women in students’ everyday lives as well as more broadly in society.
St. Joseph’s College
On the afternoon of Wednesday, August 7, Don visited St. Joseph’s College. His visit was hosted by the college’s Department of Social Work and was attended by approximately 150 students, faculty, and staff. The visit began with a welcome message and traditional dance by students as well as a few words of thanks and inspiration by faculty. Don then facilitated a conversation about Gandhi’s principles and how they relate to social work. He engaged in dialogue with multiple students, including a few about non-violence and its potential in Tibet (posed by Tibetan students from St. Joseph’s). Don led a follow-up conversation the next day with a group of Tibetan students to learn their perspectives and discuss the current struggle of Tibetan students with regard to maintaining their culture in India and also supporting the struggle for an independent Tibet.
Kristu Jayanti College
On the morning of Thursday, August 8, Don gave a lecture and facilitated a question and answer session about pursuing excellence in values and translating Gandhi’s principles into action in the present. The session was held in combination with a kick-off for the college’s clubs and associations and was attended by a total of approximately 1,000 students, faculty and staff.