My name is Madan Mohan Prasad and I am a founding member of the Mahatma Gandhi Canadian Foundation for World Peace in Edmonton, Canada. Currently, I am serving the Foundation as a member of the Board of Directors. The main reason I have been associated with the Gandhi Foundation is because I believe in Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of teaching non-violence, peace and love with human beings. Mahatma Gandhi has inspired me by his preaching to pay respect and love to poor and common people. I am a Canadian citizen and have earned a Master of Arts in English, a Bachelor of Law degree in India, and 3 years of apprenticeship trade certification in parts from advance education and manpower from the Government of Alberta. I have been serving many charitable and non-profit organizations in Edmonton and have served as President of the Hindu Society of Alberta in 1988 - 1989, General Secretary of the same society for 5 consecutive years, and as Secretary for the Society for Development in Third World Countries. Currently, I am a Vice-President with the Canadian Multicultural Education Foundation, General Secretary with Brookview Community League, immediate past President with the Shanti Niketan Society for Semi-retired and Seniors, and a delegate member of the Council of India Societies of Edmonton. I work, at present, as a Parts Expeditor in the Edmonton head office of Finning (Canada), the largest Caterpillar dealer in the world. I started my job with Caterpillar on October 4, 1971 and am still working full-time. I have two children, my daughter, Dr Shailly Prasad is a Chiropractor, and my son, Mr. Vivek Prasad, is an electronic Engineer, and my wife is a professional Accountant. I enjoy working with the Gandhi Foundation with people who believe in non-violence and peace.
The Foundation is so pleased to support 3 scholarships at the University of Alberta. This year, the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Scholarship was awarded to Neda Asadi. Congratulations Neda, and thank you for sharing a bit about your important graduate work...
My name is Neda Asadi, I was born in Iran but have spent most of my life in Canada. I feel privileged to be born in a country with a rich history and culture. I feel equally blessed to have been raised in Canada, a country which has provided me with many opportunities—most importantly, the opportunity to thrive and become my authentic self. Currently, I am a PhD candidate in the department of Educational Policy Studies, in the faculty of Education, at the University of Alberta. I am interested in the topics of education, international politics, and health as they relate to marginalized populations, and in particular, those marginalized due to various forms of migration. I am thankful to the Gandhi organization for supporting my research both through financial assistance and through recognition of my work. The focus of my research is on the impact of current education policies on the educational opportunities of refugee youth. Through my work, I endeavour to propose new educational initiatives to effectively respond to the educational needs and by extension, the social well-being of young refugee learners. While the desire to begin this research has its roots in my own struggles in the education system, it was re-ignited during my volunteer work in one of Edmonton’s inner city schools. Witnessing refugee youths’ tremendous needs, and their real and alarming concerns, I found myself desiring the skills to be the change I want to see in my world. I am hopeful that with the knowledge and experience I gain in the academic world I will be able to open spaces inside the system to make transformational change for the betterment of all society while being true to Gandhian principles of truth and social justice.
Colleen graduated from the University of Alberta in 1980 after earning a Bachelor of Education Degree with Distinction. She recently retired from a 30 year career as a classroom teacher enjoying teaching assignments in both special education and primary classes in several Edmonton schools.
In the Spring of 1994, a tragic event occurred just blocks from the school where Colleen was then teaching. A well-known young mother and community leader, Barb Danelesko, was stabbed to death in her own home in the middle of the night by a trio of teenagers engaged in the process of a break and enter. This woman’s violent death left the community and the young students Colleen was teaching reeling and traumatized.
In attempting to assist her students to find some positive way of responding to this tragedy, Colleen developed a school program called Kids for Kindness which sought to reinforce the importance and need for more kindness in our world. She received a Provincial Hilroy Fellowship in recognition of this project.
Colleen subsequently learned of the Random Acts of Kindness Week movement which was just being launched in the United States in February of 1995. Thinking this would be a great initiative for Edmonton as well, she contacted the organizers for more information and subsequently became the first Canadian to promote this week. At this point, her sister, Debbie Riopel, also a teacher, became involved and together these two ladies helped to establish Random Acts of Kindness Week as a fairly well recognized event throughout Edmonton, throughout Alberta, and throughout Canada.
This kindness connection led to an invitation to become one of the founding members and Canadian representatives of the World Kindness Movement which has its inaugural meeting in Tokyo, Japan in November of 1998. To commemorate the formalizing of this global movement, November 13 was established as World Kindness Day. Colleen was honoured to attend a number of World Kindness Movement Conferences in Japan and Singapore and in 1999 was named a recipient of Global Television’s Woman of Vision Award.
Colleen was once again inspired to create a values-based school proram when, in the Spring of 2008, a colleague and friend, Ed Carson passed away. Ed had devoted in life to peace and social justice, touching the lives of thousands of people locally and internationally. As a tribute to all that he had accomplished and in an effort to in some way continue his mission, Colleen created The School Peace Project. She has had the opportunity to share information and inspiration about this project at a number of educational conferences including the Global Youth Assembly, Greater Edmonton Teachers Convention, the Gandhi Youth Conference and the Educators’ Peace Conference at McMaster University.
In recognition of her work in this area, Colleen was the 2010 recipient of the YMCA Peace Medal. That same year she was recognized by the ATA’s Religious and Moral Education Specialist Council with an Award of Merit.
Colleen was drawn to the Mahatma Gandhi Summer Institute, Building Peaceful Communities, and in 2009 enrolled in her first session with Dr. Jean Clandinin. Following this she went on to become one of the Board members of the Mahatma Gandhi Canadian Foundation for World Peace and has taken two more of the courses in the Summer Institute, those offered by Dr. Reva Joshee and Dr. Forence Glanfield.
The Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., is an author, parliamentarian and diplomat, who has specialized throughout his 40-year public career in peace and human security issues. He lectures widely on peace and nuclear disarmament themes.
Mr. Roche was a Senator, Member of Parliament, Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament, and Visiting Professor at the University of Alberta. He was elected Chairman of the United Nations Disarmament Committee at the 43rd General Assembly in 1988.
Mr. Roche was the founding Chairman of the Middle Powers Initiative, an international network of eight non-governmental organizations working for the elimination of nuclear weapons. In 2010, the City of Hiroshima named him an Honourary Citizen for his nuclear disarmament work and particularly for founding the Middle Powers Initiative.
The author of 20 books, his latest is How We Stopped Loving the Bomb (Lorimer, 2011). His Memoirs, Creative Dissent: A Politician’s Struggle for Peace, was published by Novalis in 2008. A previous book, The Human Right to Peace (Novalis, 2003), was the Canadian Book Review Annual Editor’s Choice scholarly selection for July-August 2005. He has contributed chapters to 20 additional books.
Mr. Roche holds nine honourary doctorates from Canadian and American universities and has received numerous awards for his work for peace and non-violence, including the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation for World Peace Award (Canada) and the United Nations Association’s Medal of Honour. In 1995, Pope John Paul II presented him with the Papal Medal for his service as Special Adviser on disarmament and security matters, and in 1998 the Holy See named him a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great. He received the 2003 Peace Award of the Canadian Islamic Congress and the 2005 Luminosa Award for Unity from the Focolare Movement, North America. In 2005, he was given Lifetime Achievement awards from both the Canadian Pugwash Group and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
In 2009, he received the Distinguished Service Award of the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians for his “promotion of human welfare, human rights and parliamentary democracy in Canada and abroad.” He is an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2011, the International Peace Bureau nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.
To learn more about Doug Roche, you can visit his official website, or find him on Facebook.
Get to know the people that make up the Mahatma Gandhi Canadian Foundation for World Peace, and learn about people working towards peace in our community.