WASHINGTON (TIP): Indian American Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) hailed the passage of the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The bill, written by the late Congressman John Lewis and cosponsored by Congressman Bera, would establish an exchange initiative between the United States and India to study the work and legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
“John Lewis was a civil rights hero not only in the United States, but across the globe. John fought for human rights, equality and justice, and democracy for all. Just like Gandhi and Dr. King, Congressman Lewis shaped the world through his actions of nonviolence, and his life story will reverberate throughout history. The Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act is a fitting tribute to his incredible legacy,” said Representative Bera, who is the longest serving Indian-American Member of Congress in history. “As the world’s oldest and largest democracies, the United States and India have long traditions of upholding these shared values championed by figures like Gandhi, King, and Congressman Lewis. But they are increasingly under threat in both countries. This legislation will help those values endure and remind us that by holding true to them, we embody and live up to the best of our two nations.”
In 2009, Congressman John Lewis led a congressional delegation visit to India to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s pilgrimage to India. Inspired by his visit, Congressman Lewis created the Gandhi-King Exchange Act to seek to apply the philosophies of Gandhi and Dr. King, Jr. to conflict resolution efforts and current policy challenges.
The Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act authorizes the State Department, in cooperation with the Indian government, to:
- Establish an annual educational forum for scholars from both countries that focuses on the legacies of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr;
- Develop a professional development training initiative on conflict resolution based on the principles of nonviolence; and
- Establish a foundation to address social, environmental, and health priorities in India.
Representative Ami Bera serves as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation.