Acharya Shri Lokesh Muni and Randhir Jaiswal, the Consul General of India (CGI) at New York, and Dr. Paul Casciano graced the event on June 15 to celebrate the presentations of 7500 Gandhi Peace Posters – one for each student and staff member of the Freeport Public Schools. 13 students, whose artworks were on the poster, were also recognized for their contribution.
The event was jointly organized by the Shanti Fund and Freeport Schools. The venue was decked up with around 20 color photographs of Gandhi depicting his life and contributions to the world.
(Image Courtesy: Shanti Fund)L to R: Karamjit Singh Dhaliwal, Paresh Raval of Shanti Fund, Acharya Shri Lokesh Muni Ji, Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India, New York, Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Superintendent of Freeport Schools, and Kamlesh Mehta, Chairman of the Indo-American Press Club at the event
Kamlesh Mehta, Chairman of the Indo‑American Press Club (IAPC) introduced Acharya Shri Lokesh Muni and Paresh Raval to Randhir Jaiswal, at the gathering. Acharya Lokesh Muni delivered his message in Hindi which was impromptu and summarized in English by Arvind Vora. “Gandhiʼs message of peace was not in just words but in action,” he said. He also narrated a story of a mother and a young boy who would eat too many sweets. The mother took her son to Gandhi and explained the problem. Gandhi suggested the mother bring the young boy next week. She later learned from Gandhi that he cannot convince young boy not to consume sweets when he himself was eating‑ ing. “Only when I quit, I can have moral rights to convince others,” Gandhi told his mother.
Acharya Shri Lokesh Muni Ji offering Manglacharan, and his message of Peace and Nonviolence
Acharya Lokesh Muni in his address insisted that the problem with gun violence is not just the guns but our brains too. “On one side of the brain has all analytics like mathematics, science, etc. and on another side are qualitative things like love, caring, etc. What we need is educating the later side to reduce even eliminate violence, the work Shanti Fund is doing,” he said. He concluded by reciting Manglacharan.
Students whose artwork won a place on the poster
CGI Randhir Jaiswal pointed out that Gandhian values are universal, and without them, society cannot have complete happiness and progress. “Gandhi was a person, a mortal but he combined many traditions and universes. One of the most beautiful universes he combined was the tradition that the Acharya Ji belongs to that of Jain philosophy and the way of life,” he said.
CGI Randhir Jaiswal addressing the august gathering
Dr. Alice Kane, Asst. Supt. of Schools in her opening remarks welcomed the guest and informed them about the persistence and perseverance of the students for the project which took almost a year to complete.
Prominent community members and audience at the event
Dr. Kishore Kuncham, Superintendent of the Freeport Schools honored Acharya Lokesh Muni Ji, Consul General of India (CGI) in New York Randhir Jaiswal, and Arvind Vora for their achievements and contributions to the society. He also honored students participating in creating the artwork for the poster. “We are proud of our long and rich relationship with the Shanti Fund. It has been the mission of Freeport Public Schools to cultivate a culture of Peace in our schools and our community. The life work and stories of Gandhi are inspirational to the world during his lifetime and beyond,” Dr. Kishore Kuncham, said.
Dr. Casciano congratulated students and school officials for promoting peace and extended appreciation to Shanti Fund for including him in the festivities and to witness the important work of the Shanti Fund. Arvind Vora of the Shanti Fund in his speech appreciated 20 years of friendship with Kishore Bhai and almost 15 years of partnership to promote peace with the Freeport Schools. He highlighted the brief history of the Shanti Fund since 1994 indicating the gifting of a life‑size bronze Gandhi Statue in 1999 to Suffolk County and Gandhi Peace Garden during Gandhi 150 at SUNY‑ Old Westbury in 2019, and several other peace and nonviolence initiatives including Gandhi Peace Posters. “Shanti Fund is working through school‑age youths with a belief that the inculcating of peace begins at the earliest age,” Vora said.
Image courtesy of (Image Courtesy: Shanti Fund)