International Day of Non-Violence: Mahatma Gandhi makes special appearance at UN

In a first, Mahatma Gandhi made a special appearance at the United Nations, sharing his message on education at the world organization as it commemorated the International Day of Non-Violence on the occasion of the Indian leader’s birth anniversary. A special life-size hologram of Gandhi was projected during a panel discussion organized on Friday by India’s Permanent Mission to the UN and UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) at the UN headquarters here. 

The panel discussion featured India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj; CEO of The King Centre, Atlanta Bernice King; and youth representative and digital education transformation champion Princess Hayu of Indonesia. The discussion, moderated by UNESCO MGIEP Director Anantha Duraiappah, was focused on ‘Education for Human Flourishing’. 

It was part of the Ahinsa Lecture Series and kickstarted the 10-year celebration of UNESCO MGIEP. It was for the first time at the UN that a life-size hologram of Mahatma Gandhi led the panel discussion, a statement said. A voice-over accompanying the Gandhi hologram shared the iconic leader’s thoughts on education. 

“Literacy is not the end of education or even the beginning. By education, I mean an all-around drawing out of the best in the child and the man, body, mind and spirit. By spiritual training, I mean education of the heart,” Gandhi said. 

Ahead of the panel discussion, a message by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was read out. In his message, Guterres said Gandhi’s life and example reveal a timeless pathway to a more peaceful and tolerant world, as the UN chief called on the international community to walk this path together, in solidarity, as one human family. 

Guterres said in his message that the International Day of Non-Violence celebrates not only Gandhi’s birthday but the values he embodied that echo across the decades: peace, mutual respect and the essential dignity shared by every person. 

The Gandhi hologram made three appearances during the panel discussion, showing him both sitting and standing as he spoke about the values of education. 

“We assess the value of education in the same manner as we assess the value of land or shares in the stock market. We want to provide only such education as would enable the student to earn more.” 

“We hardly give any thought to the improvement of the character of the educated. The schools and colleges are really a factory of turning out clerks for the government. On the contrary, real education consists in drawing the best out of yourself. What better book can there be than the book of humanity,” the Gandhi hologram said. 

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