News Ticker

Spirit of Gandhi Award to Harry Boyte – Message of New Nonviolence


Harry Boyte with Gary Cunningham

Harry Boyte, Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg University was awarded the Spirit of Gandhi Award at a special event observing Nonviolence Day in Minnesota on October 7, 2017 at the State Capitol.

In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Boyte describes the New Nonviolence as follows:

.. the New Nonviolence also emphasizes repairing the social fabric and reclaiming joint responsibility for the civic life of our democracy as a source of power itself. …

  • The New Nonviolence is struggle. In addition to tactics, it includes spiritual, moral, and psychological disciplines.
  • The New Nonviolence seeks to understand opponents, both individuals and groups, not defeat or humiliate them.
  • The New Nonviolence “hates the sin but loves the sinner,” recognizing that we all can be saints or sinners.
  • The New Nonviolence is based on impartial love for enemies and friends alike, concern for others’ potential.
  • The New Nonviolence holds that we begin with self-change – not trying to get others to change. This “calls up resources of strength and courage [people] did not know they had,” as Martin Luther King put it.


Boyte is the architect of the center’s public work approach to civic engagement and democracy, and the creator of Public Achievement. Boyte has worked with a variety of foundations, and non-profit, educational, and citizen organizations in the United States and abroad concerned with community development, citizenship education, and civic renewal. Read his speech here

Dr. Sita Dash, Sree Kamojjala, Attorney General Lori Swanson, Senator John Hoffman, Emma Corrie, Governor’s Office, Senator Foung Hawj

Marie Strom

Nonviolence Day is observed globally on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The India Association of Minnesota, The Dash Foundation and partners which include Senator Foung Hawj and the Hindu Society of Minnesota have joined forces to bring focus to the importance of nonviolence in an increasingly polarized world and country. This is the second year of observing Nonviolence Day in Minnesota. In 2016 a diverse group of community leaders were honored with the Spirit of Gandhi award for illustrating with their lives various pathways to nonviolence. “This year we focused on one award to emphasize the critical importance of nonviolent engagement in America and the world. Harry Boyte’s message for a “New Nonviolence” is very pertinent today,” said Sree Kamojjala, President of the India Association of Minnesota.

Community leaders who spoke on the importance of nonviolent engagement in our personal and community life included, Akshay Pandey, Marie Strom, Siad Ali, Gary Cunningham, and Cheryl Chatman.

Minneapolis School Board Director, Siad Ali

Emma Corrie, Director of Strategic Workforce Initiatives in the Office of Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith presented the Governor’s Proclamation of Nonviolence Day in Minnesota. The Proclamation was read to the public by Attorney General Lori Swanson, Senator Foung Hawj and Senator John Hoffman who also spoke on the importance of nonviolence in an increasingly polarized world.

Dr. Ramaiah Muthyala was recognized for his work promoting research and funding for rare diseases globally.