The US House of Representatives passed the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act, which authorizes the state department in cooperation with the Indian government to establish an educational forum for scholars from both countries. The forum will promote, focus on, and study the legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
“This legislation honors the long-standing relationship between the US and people of India and advance his teachings and establish a development foundation that would allow India and the US to work together to address pressing issues like climate change, education and public health,” Congressman Eliott Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on the House floor on Thursday.
The legislation has been written by the late civil rights activist John Lewis and co-sponsored by Indian-American Congressman, Ami Bera. John Lewis shaped the world through his actions of non-violence, just like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. He passed away at the age of 80 in July 2020.
“Just like Gandhi and Dr King, Congressman Lewis shaped the world through his actions of non-violence and his commitment to human rights, equality, and justice for all. The Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act is a fitting tribute to the incredible life and legacy of John Lewis,” said Ami Bera.
In 2009, John Lewis led a congressional delegation to India to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Pilgrimage to the country.
Left inspired, he formed the Gandhi-King Exchange Act focusing on their values of non-violence and its vitality in conflict resolution and policy change. The legislation will attempt to develop a professional development training initiative for the same and will establish a foundation to address the environmental, social, and health priorities in India.
The legislation mentions that both the countries have a longstanding history of social and civil rights movements and Dr. King Jr’s effective use of Gandhi’s principles was contributory to the American Civil Rights Movement.
A binational foundation will also be facilitated with the enactment of the legislation which would assist both the governments to work together and channelize private investment towards development. It will also provide a productive, ongoing institution and symbol of friendship of both governments and their people.