Prem and Sandhya Jain International Conference on Nonviolence

Ahimsa and Sustainable Happiness, November 2-4, 2012

Call for Proposals

Deadline for submitting Proposals: May 28, 2012

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence. Aristotle

In its positive form, ahimsa means the largest love, the greatest charity… Ahimsa is a panacea for all evils mundane and extra-mundane. We can never overdo it. – Gandhi

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Ahimsa Center in the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences at California State Polytechnic University , Pomona (in suburban Los Angeles) invites paper and presentation proposals for its 5th biannual interdisciplinary conference on nonviolence: Ahimsa and Sustainable Happiness. The deliberations and dialogues at the conference are expected to have significant implications not only for advancing scholarship and enriching education in the domains of ahimsa (nonviolence) and happiness, but also for generating new insights for practical applications.

Distinguished Key Speakers
(confirmed to date)

Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic Studies and Theology, Loyola Marymount University.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management, Founding Co-Director, Qualify of Life Center, Claremont Graduate University.

Darrin McMahon, Ben Weider Professor of History, and author of Happiness--A History, Florida State University.

Anthony Parel, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Calgary, Canada.

Michael Tobias, Historian of Consciousness, global ecologist, author and documentary maker, Dancing Star Foundation.

Conference Goals

Historically, all wisdom traditions have articulated some vision of a happy life, and have suggested ways of attaining it. Ahimsa, with varying degrees of emphasis, has been often recognized both as a vital aspect of happy life and also as a pathway to happiness. However, today the trajectories of discourse on happiness and ahimsa have become quite divergent. Happiness receives attention primarily from scholars in positive psychology, and lately also from some in sociology and economics. Ahimsa attracts attention mostly from those interested in political or social action and conflict resolution, along with some scholars in religion and philosophy. By bringing together the discourses on happiness with those on ahimsa, this conference aims to explore from multiple perspectives the synergy, reciprocity and unity between ahimsa and happiness.

We invite attention to ahimsa as more than a mere avoidance of violence, and emphasize its positive facets such as caring, compassion, forgiveness, generosity, gratitude, mindfulness, reverence for life, and trust that make ahimsa a constructive and creative force. Similarly, we call for a focus on sustainable happiness--forms of happiness that endure and are life-enriching rather than fleeting and ephemeral. Thus, relevant variations of the sustainable happiness theme include (but not limited to) liberation from fear and negative emotions; pursuit of well-being, joy and flow; desire for flourishing and self-actualization; a sense of meaning and purpose in life.

Proposals: Focus and Scope

We invite contributions representing multiple disciplinary perspectives and also practice-based insights that illuminate the multi-faceted relationship between ahimsa and happiness. Examples of appropriate themes and issues to be addressed are:

1. The Ahimsa-Happiness (A-H) relationship. Systematic expositions of how ahimsa promotes happiness; how happiness becomes conducive to ahimsa. In what ways and to what degree ahimsa and happiness are synergistic, and where they become isomorphic.

2. The levels specific relationships. The A-H relationships at one of more of the following levels: intrapersonal , interpersonal, community or societal. Also, at the economy and national levels, for example, the Gross National Happiness paradigm.

3. The domain specific dynamics. A-H relationship in the context of domains such as business, nonprofits, healthcare, and schools.

4. Broader implications. How ahimsa related values may influence consumption and other life-style choices, and in turn how that affects happiness. How ahimsa and happiness relate to the concerns of social justice and equality, animal welfare, and ecological responsibility.

5. Educational significance. Curricular innovations, both in college education and in K-12 classrooms for understanding of ahimsa-happiness interactions and interdependencies to create a culture of peace and happiness.

6. Future Scholarship. What are the more promising avenues for new scholarship on A-H relationship, particularly empirical work. How can we see a better integration of research on ahimsa and research on happiness.

Contributions should clearly show how they advance theoretical understanding or inform more effective practices. Preferably, theoretical-conceptual papers should bring out practical implications; and practice oriented papers should provide the intellectual underpinnings of the ideas presented. In particular, we encourage contributors to assume the role of bridge-builders: experts in happiness should explore the relevance of ahimsa in their work, and experts in ahimsa may examine its relevance for sustainable happiness.

Submissions should have intellectual rigor and or based on empirical research without being too technical or jargon-ridden. The audience in the conference will be very diverse: college faculty and students, K-12 educators, business executives and other professionals, and members of the larger community.

Submission and Support

Please submit via email an abstract as word attachment (one page, single space) and a professional profile no later than May 28, 2012. Proposals will be peer reviewed as they come in, and notification of acceptance will be made by June 18, 2012.

Authors of accepted submissions (one author per submission, in case of multiple authors) will receive complimentary conference registration, including all conference meals. Out of town participants will also receive accommodation for two nights.

Full-length versions of accepted proposals will be invited for inclusion in the conference proceedings to be brought out in 2013.

For submission or inquiries email to Center Director, Dr. Tara Sethia

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Registration Options
On-line Registration via credit card
Registration by mail

Speaker/Panelist Bios