Announcing GAIA Nonprofit & Signature Initiative Gandhi Global Center for Peace

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Mahatma Gandhi’s Grandson Arun Gandhi to Visit Chattanooga, Tennessee this week to Meet with Board Members of Newly Formed Nonprofit GAIA (Global Action Initiatives Alliance) & Signature Initiative Gandhi Global Center for Peace–Created to further Mahatma Gandhi’s Philosophy of Nonviolence, Conflict Resolution and Peace, Locally and Globally

DSC_0024(GAIA/Gandhi Global Center for Peace) Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi will visit Chattanooga, Tennessee this week to meet with Board Members of the newly formed global nonprofit organization GAIA (Global Action Initiatives Alliance) and discuss the strategic plan for the Gandhi Global Center for Peace.

Co-founders, Arun Gandhi and GAIA CEO Missy Crutchfield shared an initial vision for the Gandhi Global Center for Peace during his “Gandhi Visits Chattanooga” social justice tour in 2012, which was modeled after the Gandhi Legacy Tour which spotlights nonviolence and social justice work inspired by Gandhi in India today.

The Gandhi Global Center for Peace will serve as a global hub for education and community building furthering Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence and peace. Key priorities will be connecting global organizations committed to nonviolence and peace through an online leadership think tank, online webinars and Tweet chats, conflict resolution training for schools and community centers, and an annual Global Peace Summit.

Through education and community building, the Gandhi Global Center for Peace seeks to connect the global movements working for freedom, democracy, human rights, and social justice, essentially becoming the go-to portal for nonviolent and social media-driven movements around the world—from the #FreeGaza movement in Palestine to the #R4BIA movement in Egypt to the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong to the Mockingjay movement in Thailand, to name a few.

GAIA is committed to a local-global approach. In the past two years, GAIA has quietly incubated in Chattanooga, Tennessee with three strategic local partnerships—McCallie School (featuring a Gandhi Visit and Boyz Inc. Summer Leadership Camp), Alton Park Development Corporation (featuring a Gandhi Visit and programming support), and Washington Alternative School (featuring a Gandhi Visit and “Be The Change Day” programming).

Meanwhile, GAIA CEO Missy Crutchfield has been actively engaged on the global stage, conducting workshops and participating in speaking engagements on human rights at international events including the Rabaa International Sit-in in Istanbul, Turkey and a video message at the Democracy, Human Rights in Egypt, and the Bloodshed in Gaza Forum at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Most recently, she has spoken at Free Egypt forums at University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, in front of Fox News and Times Square in New York City, the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City, New Jersey, and the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley.

GAIA Board Chair and International Law and Immigration Attorney Terry Olsen, Olsen Law Firm, said, “Overall we need to discuss how we as a board and organization can bring more attention to issues like this, that are not discussed enough and not brought into positive action changing events.”

Olsen has been actively working to position Chattanooga as a global city. He has served as chairman of the World Trade Society of Chattanooga and on the board for the British American Business Group as well as leading trade delegations to Taiwan and China and most recently developing cultural exchange programs between local colleges and universities and programs in Taiwan.

He added, “An important part of what GAIA is going to do is raise awareness about the broader issues behind the news headlines like the recent shooting of the three Muslim students at UNC Chapel Hill and the attack on an Indian grandfather by a police officer in Huntsville, Alabama. GAIA is going to serve as the bridge—building dialogue and forging partnerships and collaborations—to address these issues with better understanding about culture and diversity, and prepare our companies and communities to be better, safer places that create a future which includes everyone.”

GAIA CEO Missy Crutchfield said, “Right now, the people have the power to make a difference in ways that were never possible before—through social media, citizen journalism, and becoming globally empowered and connecting to these movements while empowering ourselves as individuals to really change the world and ‘Be the Change,’ as Gandhi said.”

Arun Gandhi said, “With each day’s headlines, we find that there is increasing hate toward people of color and diverse religious beliefs. With the Gandhi Global Center for Peace we hope to help bring about better understanding between people to combat the hate and prejudice in everyday life, especially as we have witnessed with the three killings in North Carolina, the burning of the Mosque in Houston, and the attacks on Muslims around the country. Let us find ways to work together to address this hate and violence, once and for all.”

For more information about Gandhi Visits, the Gandhi Global Center for Peace, and GAIA (Global Action Initiatives Alliance) contact: Missy Crutchfield at info@gaiaworldwide.org.

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