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"Ahimsa Center – Non Violence in Thought and Action"

Program, Organization, Grad Undergrad Certificate Program


Welcome to the Ahimsa Center!

Ahimsa connotes reverence for all life. It is nonviolence rooted in courage and compassion, fearlessness, and forgiveness. It evokes civility and trust and promotes among all a sense of oneness and amity leading to social justice, lasting peace, and ecological sustainability.

The Ahimsa Center was established in 2003-2004 in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. The Center is focused on interdisciplinary teaching and learning about nonviolence and its practical applications at various levels: personal, interpersonal, societal, national and international. Educational and outreach initiatives of the Center facilitate an understanding of ahimsa as a positive force informing the ways of thinking as well as living.

Through its educational programs and outreach activities, the Ahimsa Center fosters synergistic interactions among students, scholars, educators and the community at large.

Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong.–Mohandas K. Gandhi

Nonviolence Studies Interdisciplinary Minor

Description and Requirements

The interdisciplinary minor in Nonviolence Studies provides our students an opportunity to learn about the philosophical, cultural, and literary traditions of nonviolence and the histories of nonviolent change. The minor imparts a systematic understanding of nonviolence as a core human virtue, a positive force that is grounded in courage, compassion and conciliation, and is key to creating a peaceful and sustainable future for the humanity.

This understanding is especially critical given the many faceted problems of violence and war. Students taking this minor will feel inspired to become innovators working toward promoting human dignity, advancing social justice and nurturing ecological harmony. At the same time, they will also gain the ability to develop and apply nonviolent methods for resolving conflicts.

Designed to serve as a complimentary emphasis to any major, this interdisciplinary minor will provide students additional career options such as business sector jobs in human resources, industrial and labor relations, and conflict management; and public sector positions in community service or social work agencies, correctional institutions, and government departments. Other potential career paths exist in the non-profit sector including international agencies, and in non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Moreover, the minor will particularly well serve the professional needs of the future school teachers.


Effective Fall 2018, the curriculum for the minor includes two required courses–core and capstone-(6 units) and four support courses (12 units), that is, a total of six courses (18 units) as follows. Please note many of the courses below also fulfill GE requirements and will double count for the minor.

Required Core: 6 Units

The following two core courses focus on an in-depth and interdisciplinary understanding of the principles, philosophies, and methods of nonviolence. These courses are designed to provide students a novel perspective on the history of nonviolent change, facilitate their explorations of nonviolent philosophy and action, provide them the ability to apply these methods to contemporary social settings, and equip them with skills in problem solving through nonviolent methods and peaceful processes.

Foundation core course  HST 4433 Nonviolence in the Modern World (3) (Also fulfils C3/D4)
Capstone course. CLS 4490 Seminar in Nonviolence Studies (3)

Elective Support Courses: 12 Units

Students will take four additional courses (12 units) as specified from the following three categories.

Category A. Select any two courses:
ENG 2882 War and Peace in Literature (3) (Also fulfils C2B)
HST 3306 Modern India (3) (Also fulfils C3/D4)
PHL 3060 Philosophy and Religion of India (3)
PLS 3551 International Conflict, War and Peace (3)

Category B. Select any one course:
CLS 4100 The United Nations and the World (3) (Also fulfils C3/D4)
EWS 3800 Women in Global Perspective (3) (Also fulfils D4)
EWS 4010 ContemporaryAfrican American Studies (3) (Also fulfils D4)
EWS 402Contemporary Chicano/Latino Studies (3) (Also fulfils D4)
HST 3370 History of California (3) (Also fulfils C3)
HST 4407 History of American Workers (3) (Also fulfils D4)

Category C. Select any one course:
DAN 2020 World Dance and Cultures (3) (Also fulfils C1)
KIN 2700 Stress Management for Healthy Living (3) (Also fulfils area E)
SW 3322 Family Violence (3)

Faculty Advisor and Coordinator for the Minor  
ZTara Sethia, Professor of History and Director of Ahimsa Center.  Contact Information

The minor is offered by the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences and is coordinated by Dr. Sethia at the Ahimsa Center. For more information, please contact Dr. Sethia or call (909) 869-3868 or the Office of the Dean at (900) 869-3500.

To facilitate the teaching and learning of nonviolence and nonviolent social change, the Ahimsa Center in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences at Cal Poly Pomona offers a variety of programs and events.
Click titles for info on each.

 April 30, 2022. Gandhi’s Three-Pronged Approach by Stellan Vinthagen

Summer Institutes for K-12 Educators

June 23-30, 2019. Ahimsa Institute for Educator Leaders
July 13-27, 2015. 
Journeys of Nonviolence: Gandhi and Mandela
July 29-August 12, 2013. 
Gandhi, Sustainability and Happiness
July 25-August 8, 2011
Journeys of Nonviolence: Gandhi and Chavez.
July 12-25, 2009. Journeys of Nonviolence: Gandhi and King
July 15-28, 2007: Gandhi, Nonviolence and 21st Century Curriculum
July 18 – 30, 2005: Nonviolence and Social Change

Sample Participant Comments from these institutes

Conferences and Symposia

October 8-10, 2021: Bridging Divides What Can Ahimsa Offer?
October 5-7, 2018Transformative Education: Lessons from Gandhi, King, Chavez and Mandela.
November 3-5, 2017 India@Seventy: Building a More Inclusive Democracy.
November 18-20, 2016 Giving & Forgiving
November 7-9, 2014. 
Care, Compassion and Mindfulness Conference
November 2-4, 2012.
 Ahimsa and Sustainable Happiness Conference
November 12-13, 2010
Ahimsa and Sustainability.
October 17-19, 2008. Rediscovering Gandhian Wisdom: Building a Peaceful Future
April 28 – 29, 2006: Ahimsa and the Quality of Life Conference
July 3, 2005: Ahimsa and Aparigraha in Contemporary Contexts: International Symposium
May 14-15, 2004: Inaugural Conference: Creating a Culture of Ahimsa

Public Lectures

November 17, 2021: A Recipe for Nonviolence by Nico Slate
October 2, 2021Nonviolence in An Age of Mass Extinctions by Michael Tobias
May 3, 2021. Digital Nonviolence by Randall Amster
April 7, 2021. Ahimsa, Labor, and the Struggle for Economic Justice by Andrew Moss
March 22, 2021. Nonviolence & Bioethics by Ana Bajželj
February 21, 2021. Ahimsa Center Public Lectue by Satish Kumar
October 19, 2019The Relevance of Gandhi for Our Fractured World by David Thomas
June 23, 2019. My Journey to Mindfulness and Connectedness by Stacy Sims
November, 20, 2018. On Inequality. Lecture by Ela Gandhi.
March 5, 2017. Incivility and Political Dysfunction: What Can We Do About It? Ahimsa Center Public Lecture by Carolyn Lukensmeyer
April 23, 2016 Ahimsa for Our Plate and the Planet: A Public Lecture by Gene Baur
July 19, 2015. Nelson Mandela, Reconciliation and Post-Apartheid South Africa. Featuring Nancy Clark and Linda Biehl

May 11, 2014Inspired Living: A Public Lecture by Jaya Row
November 17, 2013 Introducing Guardian Princesses by Setsu Shigematsu
April 22, 2012. Gandhi and the Politics of Visual Representation by Vinay Lal
October 31, 2011. Hunger in An Age of Plenty by Vandana Shiva
May 15 , 2011The Power of Partnership by Ocean Robins

May 16, 2010. East Meets West in the Deep South by Jenny Phillips
July 18, 2009. King’s Journey to Gandhian Nonviolence. Clayborne Carson
July 19, 2008. Nonviolence and the Art of India. by Sonya Quintanilla
October 27, 2007 The Power of Love. by A. T. Ariyaratne
July 15, 2007: Teaching Truth & Ahimsa: The Gandhian Initiatives by Srimati Kamala
November 12, 2006: Building Global Peace in the Nuclear Age by David Krieger
October 16, 2005: Awakened Intelligence and Nonviolence by Catherine Ingram
November 21 , 2004: Gandhi, Nonviolence & Contemporary Conflicts by Johan Galtung


October 25, 2021. Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century: Dialogue with Michael Beer February 14, 2017Farmers and Wildlife: A Dialogue with Kaavya Varma
November 19, 2015
. Living with Consequences: A Dialogue with Tomaž Grušovnik.

July 31, 2011Cesar Chavez: Immigration and A Culture of Peace. Joseph Orosco
May 11 , 2011
Happiness. A Dialogue with Jaya Row. 4:15 to 5:45 p.m.
April 28 , 2010. Ethics for Excellence: Dialogue with Jaya Row.
November 21, 2009Service as Leadership: A Dialogue with Roopal Shah
July 25, 2009Nine Steps to Forgiveness. Frederic Luskin.
May 18, 2009. The Power of One. Jaya Row.
November 3, 2008. Krishnammal Jagannathan
April 27, 2008
. Gandhi’s Ideal of Trusteeship. Rajashree Birla.
November 8, 2007 From Violence Against Women To Affirming Life: A View on Women and Health in India. Mira Dakin Sadgopal.
September 8, 2007: The Real Purpose of Business. R. Gopalkrishnan.
July 26, 2007: Nonviolence in the Time of Terror. Mark Juergensmeyer
February 2, 2007: New Perspective on Gandhi for a New Century. Rajmohan Gandhi
November 28, 2006: Films, Politics and Social Justice. Shabana Azmi & Javed Akhtar
July 16, 2006: What Makes Life Meaningful: A Contemplative View. Alan Wallace
October 10, 2005: Building a Nonviolent and Cooperative World. A. T. Ariyaratne
April 24, 2005: Three Dimensions of Nonviolence. Satish Kumar and Dwarko Sundrani
July 17, 2004: Nonviolence and Social Change. Dwarko Sundrani

Special Events and Workshops

October 2, 2020. Teachers Teaching Nonviolence: A Virtual Book Launch
November 4, 2017. 
The Art of Inclusion: Ahimsa Center Sitar Concert
November 19, 2016. 
Peace Concert featuring Arohi Ensemble
October 29, 2015. 
Pranayama:Exploring the Yogic Way of Breathing with Kalpana Korwar
November 8, 2014. Sitar Concert featuring Dr. Srinivas Reddy
May 5, 2013
 Ahimsa Concert featuring Milind Raikar on Violin
November 13, 2010. Ahimsa Concert: Bhajans of Kabir and Other Saint-Poets of India
October 3, 2010.
 Frontier Gandhi: Badshah Khan, A Torch for Peace. Documentary and Dialogue with Film Producer, Teri McLuhan
July 19, 2009.
 Introduction to Kingian Nonviolence. Solving Problems in the Community. A Workshop with Bernard LaFayette, Jr.
August 11-12, 2007: Balancing the Heart and Mind: A weekend Retreat with Alan Wallace
July 21, 2007: Gandhi: A Man of Action and Prayer. Public Lecture and Bhajan Recital
April 30, 2006: Soil, Soul, and Society: A Workshop with Satish Kumar
November 23, 2004: Nonviolent Conflict Transformation: Workshop with Johan Galtung

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