2019 Mahatma Gandhi Commemorative Lecture: "Gandhi, Nonviolence, and Child Honouring"

October 03, 2019

Raffi Cavoukian, 2019 Thakore Visiting Scholar

Thursday, October 3, 6:30PM–8:30PM, Salon 20, LOWER CONCOURSE, SFU MORRIS J WOSK CENTRE FOR DIALOGUE (ENTER VIA SEYMOUR STREET COURTYARD ENTRANCE), 580 WEST HASTINGS STREET

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

MAHATMA GANDHI COMMEMORATIVE LECTURE

Mahatma Gandhi made a living art of nonviolence, his brave commitment to live without violence in thought, word and deed. Along the way, he made an astute observation: “If we are to reach peace in this world, we shall have to begin with the children.” How does nonviolence apply to children’s lives? In thought, word and deed. More than the absence of violence, nonviolence is a commitment to compassion for all. And our compassion for the very young can nurture their own innate seeds of compassion into a way of life, co-creating a culture of respect. 

Child Honouring is both a way of life and a philosophy that represents a unique social change revolution—a compassion revolution built on Respectful Love and Nonviolence, two key Child Honouring principles. It holds that how we regard and treat the very young is the key to co-creating peaceful, sustainable societies. 

Change the beginning of a child’s life story, and the whole story changes. If a young child suffers various forms of violence, including neglect or maltreatment, this can set off a lifetime of maladaptive behaviours. But if a child lives with respectful love, free of violence, then a whole lifetime of positive, peaceful outcomes is possible. Hence the primacy of early years in human development. 

Aligned with the United Nations Convention on The Rights of The Child, Child Honouring is a practical vision for increasing joy, love and confidence, and for reducing unnecessary suffering. We can all take a vow of nonviolence. The physicians’ oath, “first do no harm” can become our mantra, and our practice. 

THAKORE VISITING SCHOLAR AWARD

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 Raffi Cavoukian for his lifelong focus on "honouring children," education, and the promotion of an overall "culture of peace."

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

Raffi Cavoukian, 2019 THAKORE VISITING SCHOLAR

Raffi Cavoukian, C.M., O.B.C. 

A renowned singer known by his first name alone, Raffi was a pioneer in quality recordings for children on his independent label, Troubadour. For millions of fans, Raffi’s music was the soundtrack of their childhoods, and they took his signature song “Baby Beluga” to heart. These “beluga grads” now share his music with their own children. Raffi has been described by the Washington Postand the Toronto Staras “the most popular children’s entertainer in the English-speaking world” and “Canada’s all-time children’s champion.”

Raffi is a music producer, author, entrepreneur and ecology advocate. In 2010, he founded the Raffi Foundation for Child Honouring—a global movement that views honouring children as the best way to create sustainable, peacemaking cultures. Raffi has received the Order of Canada, the Order of BC, the U.N. Earth Achievement Award, and four honorary degrees.

In a career spanning four decades, Raffi has refused all commercial endorsement offers and has never taken part in advertising to children. He is a passionate supporter of a commercial-free childhood, and in 2006 was awarded the Fred Rogers Integrity Award for this work.

His recent work includes the CD, Motivational Songs, a collection of diverse songs for educators, parents and policy makers and companion album to the new Child Honouring online course– an interdisciplinary course in conscious living based on the Child Honouring Covenant and 9 principles.