Call for Papers

As part of the celebration for Mohandas and Kasturba Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations, the Gandhi Development Trust and Good Governance Africa have partnered to host a conference to honour their memory and bring their legacy forward. This conference will take place from 29 September to 3 October 2019 at the Phoenix Settlement, the Ashram established by Mohandas and Kasturba in Inanda, South Africa in 1904. The theme of the conference is The Confluence of Spirituality and Life – Gandhian Legacy for the 21st century. 

At a time when the world is facing the advent of the 4th industrial revolution (4IR), a time when the strife of poverty is becoming greater, a time when our world is afflicted with climate change and natural disasters, at a time when there are conflicts, war and violence of all kinds spreading throughout the world, we need to look for new solutions.

Gandhi had an acute sense of wanting to do the right thing and create a society where everybody would have access to the basic necessities of life, including respect and dignity, and where everybody could live in peace and harmony.

His message of non-violence and love is crucial. We need to learn this from early childhood. Love for all, including the universe, is his message and if you love you do not harm. Learning this message will end violence against women and children, and all forms of abuse of animals, of nature, resources and the environment.

Liberation comes from within us, someone else cannot liberate us.    For Gandhi, the idea of “swa raj” was rule over yourself or self-control.  This means that if we control ourselves, we not only guard our own rights but we ensure that others can enjoy their rights as well. Every right has a responsibility, and carrying out that responsibility is key to liberation.

Gandhi  believed that when we think of bringing about changes in the world we feel so overwhelmed that we are unable to do anything because the problem is too big. Therefore, we should begin with ourselves and our immediate neighbourhood. Once everyone in our neighbourhood has the basic necessities of life and is comfortable then we can move to extending our liberation to other areas.

To do this, we need to be able to support each other. We buy locally made articles and support the local handicrafts people. We try to develop local enterprises, enabling local communities to have access to jobs and livelihoods. We pass on our knowledge and skills. Doing these simple but profound things were part of Gandhi’s message to humanity when he spoke of Sarvodaya – for the benefit of all,  when he spoke of Swadeshi – local production, when he spoke of Swaraj – liberation through rule over yourself, and when he spoke of Satyagraha – the force of truth. 

At this conference we will receive papers on how these messages can be woven into the various disciplines of social sciences, politics, economics, education etc.  We will also explore his ideas in relation to the various freedom struggles in the world, and their impact.

We hope to produce a book arising from the work done at the conference, and we invite you to indicate your interest in the conference and send us a 500-word abstract of your paper proposal, poster or workshop. 

In particular, we would welcome proposals that bring together theory and practice, that draw on people’s experiences and relate them to theory. An example would be a short workshop that starts with the focus on our experience of some issue, addresses the thoughts, feelings and reflections on those experiences, and then leads into a theory presentation – maybe even a physical activity related to the theory. This is an opportunity to deal with not only with ideas but with the ways in which those ideas connect with experience, emotions and creativity.


Please send your submission to Michelle Venter at as soon as possible.   

Celebrating Mohandas and Kasturba Gandhi: 150 years of living legacy


Durban, 29 September – 3 October 2019

Phoenix Settlement (Bhambayi), Inanda



Sunday, 29 September

Day One Theme: Overview and Setting the Scene

09:00 – 9:30



09:30 – 11:00

Opening breakfast of formal programme. Welcome dignitaries and Gandhi Foundation guests

Prof. Alain Tschudin, background and introductory remarks/opening by VIPs

11:00 -11:30



11:30 – 12:30

Keynote address: the global relevance of the living legacy

Raja Gopal PV, Ekta Parishad tbc




13:30 -15:30

Unpacking the legacy: a discussion of spirituality, solidarity and life (poverty, economy, development, spirituality)

Panel: Interfaith leaders; Hon. Pravin Gordhan, Trevor Manuel, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka*, Graca Machel; Prof. Ari Sitas, Indian HC, Howard Richards – Chile


Monday, 30 September

Day Two Theme: Sarvodaya – for the benefit of all




9:00 -10:30

Economy of solidarity: interfaith perspectives

Rabbi, guru, priest, imam

(upon paper submissions)


Tea and Coffee


Applying Gandhi’s legacy to the contemporary world of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR): how to avoid excesses of imposed human suffering, exploitation (e.g. the “digital divide”)

Dr. Luz Helena Hanauer, TBC,TBC,





Inequalities – restoration of dignity of marginalised people, communities and the environment

Women, youth, the poor, 4IR





Servant leadership and participative, value-based governance


16:15- 16:30

Synthesis and closing



Tuesday, 1 October

Day Three Theme: Swaraj – rule over yourself

9:00 – 9:30



9:30 – 10:30

Education: Gandhi’s lifelong journey, learning and development of new ways


10:30- 10:45

Tea and Coffee

10:45 –  12:15

Mohandas Gandhi critique: contextualizing a political life


12:15- 13:00


13:00- 14:30

Women: A look into the life and legacy of Kasturba Gandhi – addressing patriarchy in society





14:45 – 16:15

Intergenerations: Young minds, the wisdom of the elders, challenges and changing realities



Synthesis and closing



Wednesday, 2 October

Day 4: Swadeshi – local production

09:00- 09:30



9:30 – 12:30

The Alternative economy: Shramdan – work

(Dr Sanjit Sethi tbc)

All delegates.

Facilitated by: TBC


12:30- 13:00


13:15 – 14:30

Celebration of an icon:

keynote address

e.g. Dalai Lama/the Pope, UN women, youth 

15:00- 16:00

Dramatic production TBC


Evening* (Possible)

PMB Event: HE Gopal Krishna Gandhi (former High Commissioner of India to South Africa)

Buses needed


Thursday, 3 October

Day Five theme: Satyagraha – the power of truth




9:00- 10:30

Advancing the legacy: be the change – lifestyle

TBC (upon reception of papers)




10:45 – 12:15

Be the change: consciousness of the “other” (e.g. gender, ethnicity etc)

TBC (upon reception of papers)




13:00 – 14:30

Be the change: promoting human rights – active non-violent opposition to injustice

TBC (upon reception of Papers)

14:30 – 14:45



14:45 – 16:15

Be the change: spirituality and solidarity

TBC (Upon reception of papers)

16:15 – 17:00

Outline of future engagement and closing remarks

Prof.Alain Tschudin


*subject to change.