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Secretary General Kumu Gupta Invited Speaker At Gandhi-Mandela-King Conference In South Africa

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Secretary General Kumu Gupta, Founder of Global Peace Secretariat and 2023 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee is an invited Guest Speaker at the Gandhi-Mandela-King Conference in South Africa to be held June 6-9, 2023. Miss Gupta will talk on how there cannot be global peace without  ending violence against women, which became a pandemic within the COVID-19 pandemic , as TIME Magazine put it. And her hope to work with the U.N. on a global treaty to ban all  violence against women. The Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Foundation is hosting the Gandhi Mandela King International Conference from 6 – 9 June 2023 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, together with the University of KwaZulu Natal, where the conference is being held.

The Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Foundation, formerly the Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Memorial Committee, was formed in 1989 on the initiative of the late Mr Dasarath Bundhoo and Dr Chota Motala to prepare for the commemoration of the centenary of the 7th June 1893 incident when the young lawyer Mohandas K. Gandhi was thrown off the train at Pietermaritzburg Railway Station. This incident started his “active non-violence”.

The PGF currently hosts the following events annually: the 7th June commemoration event, the Gandhi Mandela Youth Symposium, the Gandhi Memorial Lecture and the Gandhi Peace Walk on the Sunday immediately following the 2nd October, the birth anniversary of the Mahatma. Apart from the Gandhi statue in the city centre, the PGF has also established the Gandhi Corner at the municipal library which houses the complete works of Gandhi, which was donated by the Indian Government. A plinth on the station platform was erected in 2004 to mark the spot where the young barrister,
Mohandas K. Gandhi was thrown off the train on 7 June 1893.

In 2016, the committee realized a long standing dream when a permanent Gandhi Exhibition was opened in the waiting room where Gandhi spent the night of 7th June 1893 at the railway station..This was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Narendra Modi, during his visit to
the city. A digital museum was then added in 2018, during the 125th anniversary of the 1893 train incident, which coincided with the 150th anniversary celebration of Gandhi’s birth. A double sided bust of Gandhi was installed in the foyer of the station – the young lawyer who was evicted from the
train here, on the one side, and the Mahatma on the other.

The GMK 2023 Conference in Pietermaritzburg is a follow up to the inaugural Gandhi King conference which was held at Stanford University, California, in October 2019, and returns after a hiatus of four years due to restrictions following the Pandemic. It will coincide with the 130 th anniversary of
the eviction of the young lawyer from a train at the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station, which is commemorated annually by the foundation. It is significant that 2023 also marks the 30 th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and South Africa. South Africa is also chairing the BRICS forum this year.

The programme includes a Peace Walk – Walking in the footsteps of Gandhi and Mandela. This heritage walk will start at the Old Prison, where Kasturba Gandhi was incarcerated with the other women who were arrested in the great 1913 march, the last satyagraha in South Africa. There is a permanent Kasturba Gandhi exhibition at the prison. The walk will take in the City Hall, where Gandhi and Indian Congress leader, M.K. Gokhale, addressed a public meeting in November 1912, the Gandhi statue erected by the PGF, and the Railway Station where Gandhi was evicted from a train in June 1893. Followed by Commemoration of the 7th June event – Pietermaritzburg Railway Station where Dignitaries and delegates will arrive at the station on a steam train from outside the city, recreating the last 20 minutes of Gandhi’s journey in 1893. 

Opening remarks at the  conference Gala DInner and official Opening Ceremony at Pietermaritzburg City will be given by Dr Ela Gandhi (Gandhi Development Trust, South Africa), Mahatma Gandhi's grand daughter and Keynote will be by Dr. Clayborne Carson  Historian & founding director of Stanford's King Research & Education Institute.

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