Residential Summer Institute for K-12 Educators

Journeys of Nonviolence: Gandhi and Chavez

Cal Poly Pomona
July 25-August 8, 2011

Application Deadline Extednded : April 11 , 2011

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Journeys of Nonviolence: Gandhi and Chavez

Ahimsa Center’s 2011 Summer Institute for K-12 teachers, the fourth in a series on Education about Nonviolence, will focus on two major proponents of nonviolent action for social change: Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) and Cesar Chavez, (1927-1993). Both of them dedicated their lives to combat racism, oppression, injustice, violence, and poverty. In their shared worldview, moral and spiritual growth of human civilization was as important as its material advancement. Both were highly influential in shaping the politics of the day, without ever holding a public office. They led by example, with nonviolence as the core principle guiding their actions. However, their journeys were quite different in terms of the scope, scale, and impact of their movements. This institute is devoted to an in-depth study of their journeys on the path of nonviolence in the pursuit of a more just, peaceful, and sustainable social order.

For a sampling of participant experience from previous institutes, click here.


This institute will provide an extraordinary opportunity for educational leadership by integrating in school curricula the lessons based on critical understanding of Gandhi and Chavez, especially their respective journeys of nonviolence in seeking freedom and social justice. The two-week intensive residential program will—

  • Provide in-depth understanding of Gandhi and Chavez, their historic journeys of nonviolent social change in the face of exploitation, racial discrimination, oppression, injustice, and violence and war.
  • Examine the practical applications of their core concepts and strategies to current socio-economic and environmental challenges, and to the resolution of conflicts—personal, interpersonal, social, national and international.
  • Explore the relevance of their lives as exemplars for positively enhancing the learning environment for students and for inspiring them with the power of nonviolence.
  • Facilitate the development, implementation and dissemination of standards-based interdisciplinary curriculum for a balanced and deeper understanding of Gandhi, Chavez and their legacies.

Program Focus and Format

Fellows will work with expert faculty and scholars to learn, reflect upon, and critically assess the significance of Gandhi and Chavez as leaders of nonviolent movements and also as thought-leaders who had anticipated many of today’s critical challenges and vexing problems. Institute learning experience will provide a solid foundation for curricular innovations to facilitate a critical appreciation of Gandhi and Chavez in the K-12 curriculum. Themes and topics include:

  • Gandhi and Chavez in their respective socio-political contexts.
  • Their response to various social and political challenges.
  • Their methods for conflict resolution and social change.
  • Their views on poverty and sustainable development.
  • Their legacy and impact.
  • Gandhi and Chavez as role models for today’s youth.

The program format of the Institute will draw upon an interdisciplinary approach and include a combination of lectures and seminars by scholars on Gandhi and Chavez, 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 least one month in advance of the institute, and they will be expected to complete the readings prior to their arrival in Pomona.

Fellows will need to arrive on campus by 4:00 p.m. onf Monday, July 25. The Institute will conclude at 4:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon, August 8.

Fellowship and Benefits

  • Fellowship. Selected participants will be awarded a fellowship covering the costs of instruction plus room and board for two weeks, books and materials, the use of Cal Poly Pomona Library, and special weekend programs.
  • 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 Gandhi and Chavez as exemplars of nonviolent action for positive social change.
  • 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. For Curriculum and digital stories 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 fellowships based on the evidence in the application materials of their commitment to:

-- actively participate in all segments of the Institute program.
-- develop standards-based, innovative curriculum pertaining to Institute’s themes.
-- 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 or district superintendent.

Application Procedure

Complete application package must include three (3) copies of the following items:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 11, 2011 to:

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

Early application is strongly recommended. Successful applicants will be notified by April 30, 2011.

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

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