Children’s troubadour Raffi feted as part of Gandhi 150th celebrations at SFU

September 25, 2019

Longtime children’s advocate to receive SFU’s Thakore Visiting Scholar Award during weeklong celebration marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

By Ray Sharma

Renowned Canadian children’s entertainer Raffi Cavoukian, whose signature song “Baby Beluga” captured the hearts of young listeners around the world, will receive SFU’s Thakore Visiting Scholar Award for his lifelong focus on education, honoring children and promoting an overall "culture of peace."

Raffi will receive the award at this year's Gandhi Commemorative Lecture, which he will deliver on Oct. 3 at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre For Dialogue.

"It’s truly humbling to receive this award on the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth," says Raffi.

"Gandhi was a huge inspiration to me in my younger years. His call for nonviolence in thought, word and deed have been in my heart and mind for decades. And now, nonviolence is a key principle of my Child Honouring work, vital to co-creating a culture of respect."

The event takes place one day after this year’s Gandhi Jayanti, the 150th birthday of spiritual leader and political activist Mahatma Gandhi. His teachings are still fundamental to resolving conflicts, eluding violence and creating peaceful solutions to make our earth a better place.

SFU has honored Gandhi’s legacy every year since unveiling his memorial statue in 1970. Each year on his birthday, the university’s Gandhi Jayanti celebration connects local members of the Indo-Canadian community with others to eulogize his memory and his teaching.

SFU has awarded the Thakore Visiting Scholar Award annually since 1991. It honors individuals who have devoted their lives to “creativity, commitment and a deep concern for truth in public life, including showing the connection between academic values and critical public spirit.” The award also recognizes commitment to Gandhi’s principles of truth, nonviolence, social justice, religious tolerance, education and ethics in politics.

The Thakore Charitable Foundation, SFU’s Institute for the Humanities and its J.S. Woodsworth Chair will present the award. The ceremony takes place on Oct. 3, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Morris J. Wosk Centre For Dialogue, Lower Concourse, Salon 20, 580 West Hastings St.


This year’s Gandhi Jayanti includes even more events and all are free and open to the public:

• The garlanding ceremony will be held on Oct. 2 at the memorial statue of Mahatma Gandhi located in the Peace Square at SFU’s Burnaby campus from 6:45 to 7:30 p.m. (south side, level three of the Academic Quadrangle).

Two film screenings to commemorate Gandhi’s 150th birthday:

• Gandhi (by Richard Attenborough):  Sept. 21, 2-5:30 p.m., at Westminster Savings Lecture Theatre (Room 2600), 50-13450 102nd Ave., Surrey.

• Gandhi, My Father (by Feroz Abbas Khan): Sept. 25, 7-10 p.m., at SFU Goldcorp Theatre, 149 West Hastings St., Vancouver.

Additional information about Gandhi Jayanti is available at