Article published on STFX University website, August 23, 2013
"One of India's most influential social activists will spend the next two months in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
Dr. John Gaventa, Director of Coady International Institute, and Dr. Sean Riley, President of St. Francis Xavier University, welcome the arrival of Mr. Rajagopal P.V. of India as the 2013 Coady Chair in Social Justice at StFX.
Rajagopal is the former Vice-Chair of the Gandhi Peace Foundation and founder-President of the Ekta Parishad grassroots social movement that organized the massive non-violent marches in support of lands rights in 2007 and 2012. Last year¹s march attracted 100,000 people.
"It¹s exciting to know that Rajagopal will be with us in Antigonish for nearly two months," said Dr. Gaventa, who is also the Vice-President of International Development at StFX. "He is well-respected in the global community and has helped to spread the Gandhian principles of non-violent action to many other countries. His leadership has given a collective voice and newfound power to the disenfranchised, landless citizens in his country."
"I welcome the opportunity to learn from Coady participants, staff, and the broader StFX community during my time here," said Rajagopal. "I am also very pleased to be able to share my experiences as an organizer and believer in the principles of non-violence shared Mahatma Gandi. We continue to mobilize and fight for the rights of millions of people who have no control over their land, which has traditionally rendered them powerless in the face of corporations and big government."
Rajagopal said it is also especially exciting to know that seven Indian participants are on campus at the same time attending the Institute's flagship Diploma in Development Leadership program.
"It's exciting to have Rajagopal join our university community," said Dr. Riley. ³The very foundations of our university are based on a deep-rooted commitment to social justice. This is an excellent opportunity for our students to hear from a leader who is having a tremendous impact not only in India, but in other countries where human rights demand our attention."
The Coady Chair in Social Justice at StFX honours the spirit of Rev. Dr. Moses Coady and the leaders of the Antigonish Movement. It is an annual award that brings exceptional thought leaders to campus to share their experience and expertise with the university and local communities. The inaugural Chair in 2012 was awarded to Dr. Deborah Barndt of York University.
The award means StFX will host public presentations, seminars and workshops that provide shared learning experiences for students, faculty, Antigonish community members and citizen leaders from around the world who attend educational programs at the Coady Institute.
The Institute has been educating development professionals from around the world since 1959. Through its unique community-based approach, the Institute equips citizen leaders to address global challenges and opportunities. Its network includes thousands of graduates and partners working to improve the lives of citizens in more than 130 countries."
More on the University online : http://www.stfx.ca/news/view/10666/