Residential Summer Institute for K-12 Educators

Gandhi, Sustainability and Happiness

Cal Poly Pomona
July 29-August 12, 2013

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Application post-mark Deadline: April 22 , 2013

Sample participant comments from previous institutes

If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore Gandhi at our own risk.

Ahimsa Center’s 2013 Summer Institute for K-12 teachers—the fifth one in a series on education about nonviolence—will focus on Mohandas K. Gandhi, Sustainability, and Happiness. Gandhi’s enduring significance is anchored in his uncompromising commitment to ahimsa or nonviolence—the experience of oneness with others and nature--as the foundation for his vision of humanity, and for the well-being and happiness of all, which he called sarvodaya. Sustainability refers to the ability to sustain life, while maintaining an ecological balance that is rooted in caring for nature and caring for the needs of generations to come. Happiness endures in a solidly grounded sense of well-being, of flourishing, and of having found meaning and purpose in life. This two-week residential institute will focus on examining the relevance of Gandhi’s thought for the current discourses on sustainability and happiness.


This institute will provide a select group of forty K-12 educators an extraordinary opportunity for educational leadership by becoming adept at integrating in school curricula the lessons based on critical understanding of Gandhi’s life and its significance for achieving the goals of sustainability and enduring happiness.

The two-week residential program will—

  • Examine the current discourses on sustainability and happiness and the underlying challenges.
  • Provide in-depth understanding of Gandhi’s life and the key concepts of his thought and his vision of civil society.
  • Explore the relevance of these concepts to sustainable way of life and enduring sense of happiness.
  • Analyze the primary and secondary sources in their historical contexts; and advance historical, cultural and ecological literacy.
  • Facilitate the development, implementation and dissemination of standards-based (including common core) interdisciplinary lessons on the institute’s theme and topics.

Program Focus and Format

Participants will work with expert faculty and scholars to learn, reflect and critically assess Gandhi as a thought-leader who seems to have anticipated so many of today’s critical issues and vexing problems. Institute learning experience will serve as a solid foundation for curricular innovations that will help participants gain critical insights into Gandhi’s relevance to the challenges of sustainability and happiness.

◘ Challenges to sustainability and happiness
◘ Key concepts of Gandhi’s thought such as ahimsa,swaraj, sarvodaya
◘ Nonviolence and ecological world view
◘ Swaraj (self-discipline) as an imperative for sustainable way of life
◘ Sustainable development and sustainable consumption
◘ Nonviolence and Sustainable Happiness
◘ Challenges associated with Gandhian solutions

The Institute will have an interdisciplinary approach and include a combination of lectures and seminars by scholars and experts, group discussions and curriculum development workshops led by teacher-mentors, hands-on experience in creating digital stories under the guidance of experts, documentary/film discussions, and weekend programs. Based on their learning experience in the Institute each fellow will develop two complete lessons and a digital story on topics related to the Institute's theme and in the context of their own teaching assignments in the schools.

Fellowship recipients will receive books and reading materials at one month in advance of the institute, and they will be expected to complete the readings prior to their arrival in Pomona on July 29.

Participants must arrive on campus by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, July 29. The Institute will conclude by 1:00 p.m. on Monday August 12.

Fellows will need to arrive on campus by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, July 29. The Institute will conclude Monday afternoon, August 12.

Fellowship and Benefits

  • Residential Fellowship . Successful participants will be awarded fellowships covering the costs of instruction plus room and board for two weeks, books and materials, and the use of Cal Poly Pomona Library .
  • Course Credit, Professional Development and Career Advancement. The Fellowship award will also cover the cost of 8 units of course credits. These credits may be used toward a Master’s degree and/or salary advancement .
  • Curricular Innovation. Opportunity to develop standards-based, interdisciplinary lesson plans for the enrichment of students’ knowledge and a deeper understanding of Institute theme and topics.
  • Conference Presentation. Participants will have the option to submit their curricular projects for presentation at the Ahimsa Center’s future international conferences to be held on Cal Poly Pomona campus.
  • Professional Recognition and Visibility. Completed curriculum projects from the Institute will be published on Ahimsa Center’s web site providing professional recognition and visibility to participants' work. (Curriculum and digital stories developed by Ahimsa Fellows from previous Institutes are available on the Center’s web site via the link, K-12 Curriculum.) For Curriculum developed by ahimsa fellows in previous institutes click here.  

Selection Criteria

The Institute is open to all K-12 educators throughout the United States. Forty participants will be selected to receive residential fellowship based on the evidence in the application materials of their commitment to:

  • actively participate in all segments of the Institute program including any follow-ups.
  • develop innovative, standards-based curriculum pertaining to Institute’s theme and topics.
  • implement in their classes the curriculum developed during the Institute.
  • disseminate their learning by sharing their lessons with others and by leading at least one in-service workshop in her/his school district during the year following the Institute.
In addition, the selection committee will consider the level of support from applicant’s institution for the implementation and dissemination of Institute outcomes. This should be communicated in a letter of support from the school principal.

Application Procedure

Complete application package must include the following items:

  • Resume providing the applicant’s home and school addresses, phone number(s) and emails, current position, subject(s) and grade levels being taught, primary responsibilities during the year, academic training and degrees earned to date, teaching experience and employment record, professional activities including curriculum development experience, awards and honors, and any leadership roles or service relevant to the application.
  • Statement of Purpose describing in two typewritten (double-spaced) pages: a) applicant’s interest in participating in this program, b) how participation will contribute to applicant’s professional development, enrich applicant’s course content and pedagogies to provide better education to her/his students, and c) applicant’s plans for sharing the learning experience and Institute outcomes with colleagues in her/his school and school district.
  • Letter of support from school principal expressing a commitment to facilitating the dissemination of applicant’s learning and the implementation of lesson plans in her/his teaching assignments.

Mail three (3) sets of completed application package by Monday, April 22, 2013 to:

Professor Tara Sethia
History Department
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
3801 West Temple Avenue
Pomona, CA 91768

Successful a pplicants will be notified by Monday, May 6, 2013.

For more information, contact: Dr. Tara Sethia, Director of Ahimsa Center
(909) 869-3868;

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