2018 Mahatma Gandhi Commemorative Lecture: "Call for Non-violence and Social Change – Gandhi’s Principles"

October 03, 2018

The Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine, 2018 Thakore Visiting Scholar

Wednesday, October 3, 6:00PM–8:00PM, Room 1400–1410, SFU Harbour Centre

Co-sponsored by SFU's J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities, SFU's Institute for the Humanities, & The Thakore Charitable Foundation.


We are in an age of escalating violence and terror, racial tension, and cultural conflicts.  Once again we look to the Gandhian notion of non-violence for social change.  Gandhi’s principles offer us a choice to be active and resist violence without being violent.  His example of moral force, courage, and sacrifice for his ideals and beliefs continue to inspire the search for social justice and equality around the world. His was not a set plan but a vision and a hope that non-violence could be a creative and moral way to conduct relationships, alleviate conflicts and thus create change.

How can we respond to today’s challenges using Gandhi’s philosophy? Are the models used to achieve past social change applicable to the needs of today’s world?


The Thakore Visiting Scholar Award has been awarded annually since 1991 at Simon Fraser University. It honours individuals who have devoted their lives to “creativity, commitment, and a deep concern for truth in public life, which includes, but is not limited to, showing the connection between academic values and critical public spirit.”

The award also recognizes commitment to Gandhi’s ideals of truth, non-violence, social justice, religious tolerance, education and ethics in politics. In addition to these principles, the award adds racial equality and concern for balance between industry and the environment.

This year's award recipient is Jean Augustine for her commitment to non-violent efforts for social change.

For further details on the award, past recipients, and the other events of the annual Gandhi Jayanti, please visit http://gandhijayanti.com.


Born in St. George's, Grenada, The Honourable Jean Augustine is an energetic advocate of social justice. Before entering politics, she was an elementary school principal and was Chair of the Board of the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority. In 1993, she became the first Black woman elected to the Parliament of Canada and the first to serve in the federal Cabinet. During her years as a federal member of parliament, Jean Augustine served notably as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister of Canada and as Secretary of State and Minister of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women. Among her accomplishments as an MP was the introduction of a motion, passed unanimously, to have February proclaimed as Black History Month in Canada. During her tenure as Ontario’s first Fairness Commissioner from 2007 and 2015, she was responsible for ensuring that qualified foreign-trained professionals could obtain the required licenses to practice in the province. Throughout her career, Augustine has supported many social causes through her involvement in boards such as that of The Hospital for Sick Children and her role as the National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada. In recognition of her achievements, she was inducted as Member of the Order of Canada and was awarded many distinctions, including the Canadian Black Achievement Award, the YWCA Woman of Distinction. She holds honorary doctor of laws degrees from the University of Toronto, McGill University, York University and Guelph University.