Student groups celebrated Mohandas Gandhi’s birthday eve and the opening of the Mohandas K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence with a party in Hirst Lounge on Monday.

M.K. Gandhi’s birthday, Oct. 2, is also the International Day of Nonviolence.

A variety of student groups were present at the event, such as the Chinese Students’ Association, who performed the traditional fan dance, and UR RAAS, who also performed.

The party was also meant to promote “Fall into Nonviolence” – a series of programs to introduce the M.K. Gandhi Institute and nonviolent philosophy to the UR community.

M.K. Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi, spoke at the event.

“Faculty, administration and students have been wonderful – I am truly grateful,” Gandhi said.

Arun Gandhi founded the Institute in 1991 with his late wife, Sunanda, in Memphis, Tenn. in order to teach the theories and practice of nonviolence.

Gandhi announced his decision to move the Institute to UR in June. He has visited UR before to lecture in the classes of his friend, Philosophy Professor Robert Holmes.

“The University is honored to be the new home for the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence,” UR President Joel Seligman said. “Its presence will enhance the studies and practice of peace and nonviolence, core values that are shared across all cultures and all nations.”

An important part of the relocation was moving the Institute’s library. New York State Assemblyman David Koon obtained funding to move the library’s collection from Memphis to UR.

The library contains over 1,000 books on nonviolence, including many of M.K. Gandhi’s writings, as well as photographs, videos and audiotapes.

According to Dean of the College Richard Feldman, many students have expressed interest in the courses, volunteer work and internships that the Institute plans to offer.

Fleming is a member of the class of 2010.

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