600 Queen Street, Suite C-2, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813, U.S.A. gandhianpeace@gmail.com

Upcoming Events

18th Annual Mahatma Gandhi Day Celebration

Sunday, October 1, 2023, @ 10 am to Noon (HST)

Biographies of our speakers and performers

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RAJ KUMAR, PhD Founder of the Gandhi International Institute for Peace, Hawaii.

Dr. Raj Kumar is the Founder of Gandhi International Institute for Peace (GIIP) in Hawaii. Dr. Kumar is also a liaison for sister-state relationship between Hawaii and the State of Goa, Republic of India. He is also the President of Indian-American Friendship Council (Hawaii Chapter).

In December 2014, Dr. Kumar initiated Senate Bill SB 332, through GIIP in the Twenty-eighth Legislature of the State of Hawaii. It was unanimously passed in the House and the Senate, and was signed into Act 5 by former Governor David Y. Ige in April 2015, making Hawaii the first State in the nation to declare October 2 as “Mahatma Gandhi Day in Hawaii”.

In December 2018, Dr. Kumar initiated House Bill HB 349, through GIIP in the Hawaii Legislature. Again, this Bill was unanimously passed in the House and the Senate, and signed into Act 102 by former Governor David Y. Ige on June 21, 2019, making Hawaii the first State in the nation to declare “June 21 each year as International Yoga Day in Hawaii”.

Dr. Kumar has authored numerous books. He has contributed several articles on faith, peace, nonviolence and health in Hawaii’s leading newspapers between 2005-2018.

Prof. Prasad Gollanapalli

Prof. Prasad Gollanapalli is a Gandhian scholar and an active member of the Gandhian organizations and Sarvodaya Movement in India.

  • Affiliated Scholar of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Educational Institute at Stanford University USA.
  • Visiting Gandhian Scholar and Professor at University of Nebraska, Omaha and Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee in US
  • Adjunct Faculty, Acharya Nagarjuna University Guntur
  • Adjunct Professor at Gayatri Vidya Parishad, Visakhapatnam
  • Faculty at Bhavan’s New Science College Hyderabad 1976-87
  • Program Officer of National Service Scheme

Prof. Prasad received many awards including John Dalvi Award for 'Outstanding Social Work in 1986 in Mumbai and Rotary Award, Bharat Seva Ratna.

University of Rhode Island Kingston RI, USA honoured Prof. Prasad as ‘Honorary Kingian Nonviolence Advocate for promoting Global Peace and Nonviolence Education and Building a World-Wide Beloved Community’.

Prof. Prasad taught a course on ‘Gandhi King and Nonviolence’ in Stanford University, California USA and brought 20 Stanford students to India to study Gandhi. He was instrumental in organizing Gandhi King Conference at Stanford University in 2019 attended by members of Gandhi Family, King Family and Cesar Chavez Family.

Prof. Prasad organized a Workshop on ‘Youth for Global Peace’ during the 18th Nobel Peace Summit held in PYEONGCHANG, South Korea in December 2022.

He led a 12-Member Delegation to the Nobel Peace Summit held in Mexico and Organized a Workshop on ‘Nonviolence in Action and Application’ in 2019.

Prof. Prasad led a Youth Delegation to Germany under Youth Exchange Program in 1996.

Prof. Prasad has organized several Sarvodaya Programmes throughout India, particularly Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States. He has association with Gandhian movement and organizations for five decades.

He was the Coordinator for the ‘Gandhi Mandela King Conference’ in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on June 6-9, 2023 which was held by the Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Foundation, University of KwaZulu Natal and Gandhi King Foundation.

Dr. Kahu Kaleo Patterson

Dr. Kahu Kaleo Patterson is the President of the Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center, an ordained priest in both the United Churches of Christ and the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii. Has served many historic Hawaiian Churches, and former co-covenor of the Racial Justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches. He has been an Indigenous representative of Church World Service and several United Nations General Assemblies, Pre-Cons, and meetings on Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights, Justice and Racism. Serving on the Executive Committee of the Native American Legal Rights Fund, Dr. Patterson has worked many Native American and Native Hawaiian issues and legal cases. Dr. Patterson has also served Hawaii Government and Church denominations as a mediator and arbitrator.


Vedajna is a 50 year student of Vedic Culture and Hare Krishna movement. He is also Founder and President of Krishna Books which has printed and distributed over 15 million books on the science of self-realization authored by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Proactive vegetarian since 1970 founding several restaurants and now managing Creative Cuisine a plant-based catering service. Founder of Share Bliss! a movement designed to resolve conflicts through self-introspection.

Prof. Marc Jason Gilbert

Prof. Marc Jason Gilbert received a Ph.D. degree in History from UCLA and for many years thereafter was Professor of History and co-Director of programs in South and Southeast Asia in the University System of Georgia. From 2006 to 2019, he was the holder of the National Endowment for the Humanities-supported Endowed Chair in World History at Hawai’i Pacific University, where he still teaches on a part-time basis.

Cliff Tillotson

In considering the three classic Hindu paths, we think of Bhakti Yoga (the path of Devotion), and Cliff walks that path in his devotion to serving his Teachers, prominently; Shri Raghavan Iyer, Ramana Maharshi, and Mahatma Gandhi. In terms of the path of knowledge, Jnana Yoga, Cliff with his BA in Political Science, has dedicated himself to life-long learning, especially the history of those who have fought for peace and freedom. However, first and foremost, Cliff is a man of selfless action, a true exemplar of Karma Yoga.

As the engineering Contractor for his family’s business, Prometheus Construction, Cliff actively seeks to serve the community both on and off the job. Cliff has saved dozens of homes on island from the threat of falling rock. He contributed mightily to the construction of the life-size copper whale sculptures, donating them with copper artist Surya Kumar to the new Nanakuli Community Center.

He now serves on the non-profit Partners in Care, addressing homelessness throughout Hawaii. He has helped Blanche McMillan to co-found the highly successful tiny house village called Hui Mahi’ai ‘Aina, which currently houses up to a hundred individuals and families in Waimanalo as they transition out of houselessness into more stable lives.

With the Governor’s approval, Cliff has most recently initiated a team to save the fire-damaged Lahaina Banyan and many nearby trees. Cliff Tillotson clearly follows the path of Karma Yoga, of service through action.

Dr. Barbara Melamed, Ph.D. ABPP, MFT, Harvard Law School-Program on Negotiation (2019).

She has published her new book titled POW: Peace Over War. Using Mediation and Conflict Resolution to Reconcile International and Local Disputes.

She also serves as Chairperson of GIIP Advisory Board.

José Barzola

José Barzola has a passion for creating social change through nonviolence, nurturing relationships that transcend cultural barriers, and focusing on issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity. He is a highly organized higher education administrator with over two decades of experience and success in administration, student development within academic and student affairs. José has also been an affiliate faculty teaching courses on peace and conflict management, and a professional mediator and facilitator for over a decade both in New York and Hawai'i. He is currently the Conflict and Peace Specialist at the Office of Conflict Management at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (UHM). José is also involved in the community outside UHM as a Peace Educator with Ceeds of Peace, and a Board of Director for the Conflict Resolution Alliance, two local nonprofits that aim to develop and support peacebuilders in Hawai'i.

Harendra Pannalal, M.S.E., P.E.

Harendra Panalal is President of GIIP. He has been on the BoD of GIIP since its inception. All ancestors of his wife and him were born and raised as Jains. His family has lived in Honolulu for over fifty years. He is a retired mechanical engineer in construction industry. He is on the board of All Believers Network. He is president and vice president of two large condominium boards in Honolulu.

Rev. Toshiyuki Umitani

Rev. Toshiyuki Umitani is the 17th bishop of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii. Bishop Umitani received his Tokudo ordination in May of 1998 and his Kyoshi certification on March 30, 2000. In 2001, Rev. Umitani was assigned to the overseas Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, serving as associate minister of the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin and as the resident minister of Kailua Hongwanji. He also served at Makawao Hongwanji before becoming the Executive Assistant to Bishop Eric Matsumoto, from July 2011 to May 2018.

Rev. Umitani also served as school chaplain for the Pacific Buddhist Academy. His many other experiences as Hongwanji Minister include being the overseeing minister for both Kailua and Moiliili Hongwanji, before becoming full time resident minister for Moiliili Hongwanji Mission from June 2018 to June 2023. He served in many other positions within the Mission, including chairmanship of the Scholarship Committee, president of the Honpa Hongwanji Ministers Association, member of the Ministerial Training Committee, and Finance and Budget Committee. Rev. Toshiyuki Umitani was confirmed as the 17th Bishop of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii at the 111th Legislative Assembly (Giseikai) on February 11, 2023, succeeding Rev. Eric Matsumoto.

Rev. Sol M. Kalu

Rev. Kalu was born and grew up in the Republic of the Philippines. He received his BS in Nursing there in 1980 and served as a nurse in the U.S. for many years, specializing in dialysis. On a visit to Kyoto, Rev. Kalu encountered the Jodo Shinshu Teachings and eventually followed the call to become a Buddhist minister. He received Tokudo ordination in 2007 and Kyoshi ordination in 2010. After serving two years at Hawaii Betsuin, Rev. Kalu was assigned to Makawao Hongwanji in 2012. His new assignment with Betsuin began in March 2017. Rev. Kalu has a facility for languages, speaks Japanese, and enjoys writing Kanji. He has many interests including snorkeling, martial arts, science, and travel.

Malia Helela

Kumu Malia Ko’i’ulaokawaolehua Helela strives to live a life of grace. Her halau, which meets at Still & Moving Center, is Na Hula Ola Aloha. Completing her uniki under Kumu Hula Puluelo Park in 2002, she now teaches hula and oli to a wide range of students, from infants and toddlers to kupuna.

Malia studied oli (traditional Hawaiian chant) under Kumu Hula Keola Lake. She began her formal training in lomilomi as a teenager. She was licensed by the State of Hawaii as a massage therapist in 1998 and as an esthetician in 2002. Her hula practice and lomilomi practice, she says, are the same. She continues to look to the beauty and grace of the Hawaiian environment for grounding and inspiration.

Mollie Sperry

Mollie Sperry, Secretary-General of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Hawaiian Islands

Mrs. Sperry has master's degrees in Education and Educational Administration and served as a public and independent school teacher at Punahou, Waimea Elementary, and Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy, Lower School Principal at LeJardin Academy, and Head of School at Academy of the Pacific. She is a member of Honolulu Sunrise Rotary Club, serves on the board of Read to Me International, and actively supports Hawaiʻi Interfaith ʻOhana and other interfaith, peace, and community-building endeavours. She has been on the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Hawaiian Islands, which administers the 27 districts of Bahá'ís across our islands, including 20 Local Spiritual Assemblies, for 36 years, serving as Secretary-General since 2014.

Birendra Singh Huja

Birendra Singh Huja is a retired physician who has lived in Hawaii for over fifty years. He is a firm believer of living in harmony with the earth, the environment and the humanity with "active" participation in the local issues where we live. He firmly believes in ceaseless negotiations in good faith and not resort to violence in any form to overcome differences, which are but natural. He is a firm believer in Gandhian philosophy and living in peace with protracted patience as prescribed by Sikh philosophy, a herculean task.

He practices self-sufficiency by gardening, sharing Gods' gifts with others and frequently contributes to the Star-Advertiser on a broad spectrum of social issues. He participates in the local issues and feels that we "must" participate in the local and international issues without fear. Thinking is fine, but to make a difference we need to stick our necks out. We need to fear only our creator and our own weaknesses, and none else.

Kusha Devi Dasi

Kusha Devi Dasi is born and raised Kanaka Maoli Kahuna bloodline of the Keao clan from Hana. She lived in India studying Bhakti yoga for 19 years, spending 53 years with the Hare Krishna movement, and is the current Temple President of ISKCON Hawaii now going on her 7th year.

Jackie Kahoolele Burke

Jackie Kahoolele Burke is a descendant of Hawaiian chiefs and royalty from the Piilani and Umialiloa line, she was raised in Palolo Valley, graduated from Kamehameha Schools and holds a Masters degree in Public Health, Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Hawaii.

As a spiritual leader she published an independent Hawaiian newspaper, and expresses her spirituality actively as artist, musician, and community activist. She says:

“Hawaiian Transformational Spirituality takes place in the cultural realignments of the entities (akua) and energy (mana) of the Hawaiian People. Gandhi was a profound agent of transformational spirituality, as was Queen Liliuokalani.

Jared Yurow, Psy.D.

Jared Yurow, Psy.D. is a student of Uncle Pono Shim of the Aloha Response and a Ho’oponopono student of Aunty Malia Craver of the Queen Lili’uokalani Children’s Center (now Lili’uokalani Trust). A licensed psychologist, he has worked for the Hawaii Department of Health for 30 years and currently serves as Chief Clinical Officer for its Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, Hawaii Psychological Association and American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. He is also a registrant with the National Register of Health Service Psychologists and an initiate of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology. A past President of the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Agency Directors (NASADAD) National Treatment Network and Vice-President for Treatment on the NASADAD Board of Directors, he is the recipient of four NASADAD awards, including the 2023 Lifetime Service Achievement Award. He has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on culture and its application to addiction recovery and its service system.

Dr. Abdul Karim Khan

Dr. Abdul Karim Khan, originally from northwestern Pakistan, received a PhD degree in Modern South Asia under the guidance of the late Professor Jagdish Sharma at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His doctoral dissertation deals with the Servants of God movement of Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who was affectionately known as the Frontier Gandhi. For the past thirty years, Dr. Khan has been teaching courses in World History, Asian History, and Islamic History in the University of Hawaii System.

Dr. Soraya Faris Applegate

Dr. Soraya Faris Applegate is a Licensed Doctor of Acupuncture and Holistic Medicine and a certified teacher of different styles of Yoga including Kundalini Yoga and Hatha Yoga. Dr. Soraya has a private clinic in Kaneohe where she offers a wide range of holistic treatments including acupuncture, sound healing, meditation and yoga therapy. Soraya has taught Kundalini Yoga in Hawaii for the last 12 years, she has also taught in Japan, Hong Kong and England.

Michele Santos

Having spent her childhood living in Brazil, Sun Yoga founder Michele Santos found a special connection to Hawaii at the age of eighteen while attending Hawaii Pacific University. The light and warmth of the islands spoke to Michele and guided her to make Hawaii her home.

She took her first teacher training through Bikram Yoga in 2007 and soon realized that yoga was her true passion finding great joy in fostering connections with her fellow practitioners. In 2012 Michele fulfilled her dream and founded a Hot Yoga studio; Sun Yoga is her labor of love, a calling from her heart, a unique practice that helps others fulfill their desire to feel happy and fit, experience peace, personal growth and heal within.

Throughout the years of practice and many certifications & training, she discovered that yoga is much more than a physical practice for health and wellness. Yoga is a way of living. It is a gentle reminder that helps us to let go of the suffering that comes from living in the past, or the anxiety about the future. Yoga is the art being, living the magical present moment. For Michele, yoga is love-a path of much aloha!

Arini Shankaralingam

Shankaralingam attends grade 1 at Wai’ alae Elementary Public Charter School in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is learning Bharatanatyam and Hula. She loves dancing, drawing, and coloring. Arini also has an interest in solving puzzles and reading books. She choregraphed the dance steps for “Desh Rangella “song which she will be performing for Mahatma Gandhi Day, with the help from her mom. She enjoys her time at the beach and loves to build sandcastles with her friends. She has participated and danced in various events at Honolulu Museum of Arts, Hawaii Polo Club, Wai’ alae got talent and Lotus Hawaii (Oahu Based cultural organization).

Indian Song about Mahatma Gandhi “Bande Mein Tha Dum Vande Mataram” by Adrija Halder, Paavani Sunkara, Janani Sunkara, Shruthi Sudhakar & Rumki Halder

Adrija Halder is a 1st grade student of Aliamanu Elementary Public school in Honolulu, Hawaii. Adrija is a big fan of music and she loves to sing. She is taking classes of singing, piano, swimming, karate, and dance; also she loves drawing, reading story books, writing about any topic, cooking and baking with help of her mother. She wants to spend her free time at park and beach, or go for a hiking. She participated in drama in Diwali Event, 2022 and she sang at Mililani Rec Cen- #3 with teacher and friend; both organized by Lotus Hawaii (Oahu based cultural association).

Paavani Sunkara, 6th grade. Love dancing, skiing, skating, yoga and climbing. Always wish to be around animals especially dogs, want to become a vet.

Janani Sunkara, 7th grade. Always like to be busy exploring new things. Love travelling, horse riding and volleyball, most recently picked up hobby is Crochet and game cricket.

Shruthi Sudhakar is a 9th grader in Hawaii who loves music, plays piano, violin, ukulele, kalimba and singing. She learns all Indian music by herself. She has a collection of her performance videos on her YouTube channel (Shruthi-Hawaii). She enjoys her free time reading books, drawing and calligraphy.

Lolita Ayala

Lolita Ayala is the Executive Director of Aloha Animal Sanctuary, where she and her family have volunteered since the founding of the organization. Lolita and her family started as weekly animal caregivers and immediately stepped up to assist the sanctuary and became a managing director at the end of 2021. Aloha Animal Sanctuary's mission is to provide sanctuary for neglected, abused, and/or abandoned animals, and to promote compassion towards these animals through public engagement and education, and create a culture where humans practice compassion and respect for all species, through a sustainable, environmentally-minded, and love-based approach.

Given Lolita’s ongoing commitment to servicing the community, and her experience in the for-profit and nonprofit sector, she was recently selected to be one of Pacific Business News 2023 Women Who Mean Business honorees. Lolita is currently a GA at Manoa’s College of Social Sciences, where she teaches a Communication and Communities course."

Pacific Ministries

Pacific Ministries is a group of pacific people from both the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) working on Pacific Climate Crisis and Food Security.

Cliff DeVries

Cliff DeVries is a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique. Extensive research has been done on the TM technique showing that it improves all aspects of life including mental potential, health, interpersonal relationships and world Peace.

Cliff started TM for his own personal evolution and growth but this has grown into helping society develop its latent potential. He has a PhD in World Peace from Maharishi European research university in Vlodrop Holland.

The TM Organization is sponsoring a demonstration of world peace with 10,000 advanced TM meditators attending a course in December. We believe in the idea of non-violence to bring about a peaceful world as Mahatma Gandhi did. Published research shows that if a very small % of the people of the world are at peace with themselves, then world peace is inevitable.

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