Leading Gandhi teacher impressed by diversity at DMU during first visit

One of the leading advocates of Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings has visited De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) for the first time, calling it “a natural environment to implement peace.”


Padmashri S P Varma, Vice-President of the Gandhi Global Family has spent several days at DMU’s campus in Leicester, during his first visit to England.

His visit follows the appointment of DMU’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dominic Shellard, as a special representative to the United Nations (UN) by the Gandhi Global Family, which runs social awareness programmes in collaboration with the UN, teaching young people about different faiths and promoting diversity and inclusion.

During his stay, Padmashri Varma was given a tour of Leicester’s Belgrave area and of DMU’s campus.

He said: “The world is one family. We have to work like that and I feel that here at this university students are being treated like global citizens.
“The only way peace can really spread is through people to people contact. Here at DMU there are people from more than 140 nationalities. That makes it a place to really implement peace for the future.”

He said he was impressed with the mixture of old heritage and new visions across DMU’s campus architecture and had enjoyed meeting staff and students.

In 2013, the Gandhi Global Family presented Prof Shellard with the Mahatma Gandhi Seva Medal for services to society. DMU itself was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi International Award, in recognition of organisations that make a “distinguished contribution” to the community.

Padmashri Varma said the Gandhi Global Family wanted to ‘make this university the centre of peace now’ and were impressed by the work being done through the DMU’s Square Mile India project.

* Worshippers donate hundreds to DMU Square Mile India Fund
* VC appointed special representative to the UN by charity
* Students celebrate Holi with biggest and most colourful party yet

The programme has offered hundreds of DMU students the opportunity to some of India’s poorest areas and make a difference. They have volunteered in the slums of Ramapir No Tekro in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, home to 160,000 people who live in the same size area as the 7,000 living in Leicester’s Square Mile.

Health programmes such as carrying out eyesight and hearing tests are now being set up, while engineering students will work on schemes to improve water supplies and drainage.

DMU Square Mile India is also supporting a children’s home as part of its work in Ahmedabad though a charitable sponsorship scheme, the Square Mile India Fund.

Padmashri Varma said: “Gandhi believed that truth, understanding, employment for all and a good environment were vital for peace. We see that here at De Montfort University.”

Posted on Monday 22nd May 2017

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