The United States' Department of State has launched the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative to bring 20 talented and hardworking young civic leaders from India and the US to explore the legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., according to a US State Department press release.
The exchange which was championed by the late civil rights leader, Honourable John Lewis who passed away in July 2020, officially began on Wednesday, 15 June.
This bill was co-sponsored by Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera and signed into law by Former US President Donald Trump in September 2020.
With a one-week virtual program orientation, the young civic leaders will be immersed in a two-week academic residency at Alabama A&M University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), and the University of Alabama.
These 20 leaders from both India and the US will explore ways to advance civil rights, social justice, diversity, and inclusion on local, national, and global levels by taking inspiration from the two pioneers of peace, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Apart from classroom-based learnings and discussions, participants will embark upon field trips to instrumental civil rights historical sites in Montgomery, Sema, and Birmingham, Alabama; Memphis, Tennessee; and Atlanta, Georgia.
In January 2023, the participants will travel to India and explore the historical sites, communities and organizations that enable them to understand the cicivi rights movement in India. Themes of peace, nonviolence, and tenets of conflict resolution are all a part of their This academic curriculum.
The Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative is a part of the bill that was passed in 2020 by Former US President Donald Trump that also proposed the setting up of the US-India Gandhi-King Development Foundation to give out grants to NGOs in India for taking action on humanitarian, environmental, climate change, and developmental missions.
The Scholarly Exchange Initiative will also have an annual forum on the teachings of the two leaders. Within the 2020 law, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was authorised to tap into the Indian private sector to assess developmental focus areas in India under the umbrella of a US-India Development Foundation.