The Gandhi-Mandela Peace Initiative, which aims to commemorate and celebrate 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi and 100 years of Nelson Mandela, will be held in Delhi, India. Picture Independent Media Archives

The Gandhi-Mandela Peace Initiative, which aims to commemorate and celebrate 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi and 100 years of Nelson Mandela, will be held in Delhi, India this week.

The event will take place from July 11 to 13 at the Imperial Hotel.

Tarina Patel, founder of the Dr Ramanbhai Patel Foundation, said the event aimed to bring forth the shared values of the two great icons.

“Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela have given the world timeless wisdom that finds resonance across geographies, race and gender,” said Patel.

She said the event would include panel discussions with “influential personalities, game changers and activists from around the globe” to explore how a better future could be built.

Members of the Nelson Mandela Foundation were also invited to speak on the panel.

Some of the speakers will include Swati Mandela, granddaughter of Nelson Mandela; Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; American actor and film director Laurence Fishburne; and Indian member of parliament Shashi Tharoor.

Chairpersons of large organisations and a Nobel Peace Prize winner will also be in attendance.

Speakers are expected to discuss how to build a more inclusive and peaceful world, talk about the legacies of Gandhi and Mandela in reducing violence, tackle the issues of cultures and indigenous knowledge systems of India and South Africa and detail the roles of state, corporates sector and civil society in partnering for peace. 

Academics, professionals, artists, politicians, sports personalities, media, industry leaders and many more have been invited to attend this event. Members of the Gandhi family and the Mandela family are invited to be present.

Patel added that gender-based violence, the environment, youth, spirituality, education, tech and media were the main issues that would be addressed by the speakers.

Patel said the first day of the event would begin with a series of panel discussions with a focus on “unearthing the opportunities that lie ahead”.

“It shall be followed by an auction, the proceeds of which will go towards the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

“The night will then culminate in a festive gala dinner and the bestowing of the “Gandhi-Mandela Peace Award,”’ she said. 

The Gandhi Mandela Peace Initiative was brought about as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela shared striking similarities in ideals and experiences.

Both spent years in prison and both walked a long road to freedom.

"Their unwavering commitment to nationalism was not only rooted in freedom; it also aspired towards freedom. Both discovered that after climbing a great hill, one only finds many more to climb. They had little time to rest and look back on the distance they had traveled. Both Mandela and the Mahatma believed freedom was not pushed from behind by a blind force but that it was actively drawn by a vision. In this respect, as in many other ways, the convergence of the Indian and South African freedom struggles is real and striking.

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