Culture Shock

Volume 13, Issue 1 | Published 21/07/2016  

Consider this headline in the MailOnline of 13 November 2015: `Samantha Cameron looks radiant in a stunning scarlet sari as she joins her husband for the Indian PM's rally at a packed Wembley Stadium`.  She of course is the wife of the current British Prime Minister David Cameron. The accompanying pictures and video footage showed that while Narendra Modi himself was fêted by the thousands of his desi folk who had gathered there, she was loudly cheered as well, as was her husband

Mohamed M Keshavjee

Volume 13, Issue 1 | Published 21/07/2016  

Dr Mohamed Keshavjee was awarded the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award for Peace at a ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Dean Lawrence Carter, Dean of Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia in his citation said: ‘Espousing compassion as a principle, Dr. Keshavjee has given a new dimension to resolving  conflict through peace, understanding, and the  recognition  of  the "Other,"  in ensuring that accords are durable, sustainable, and protect the most vulnerable in society.  He is working with a team to institutionalize these principles in an international centre for human compassion, to be situated in the UK.’

Born in South Africa. Called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn, London. Practised law in Kenya, Canada and the UK. Worked for 30 years in the Secretariat of HH the Aga Khan in France. Did his LLM and PhD in Alternative Dispute Resolution, International Law and International Protection of Human Rights. Author of two books and at present is on the Advisory Panel of the International Social Service of Switzerland which has affiliates in 120 countries  and member of the Steering Committee of  the Charter for the International Institute for the Study  of Compassion to be based in England. Leading specialist on cross cultural family mediation and has contributed articles to various journals on Alternative Dispute Resolution and trained family mediators in over 20 countries in the world. He lives in the UK with his wife Dr Amina Jindani, world renowned specialist on tuberculosis who works at the St George’s University Hospital in London.       


The 2016  Gandhi, King, Ikeda Peace Award will be given this year to Dr Mohamed M  Keshavjee in recognition of “his ongoing dedication   to emphasizing the role that cosmopolitan ethics and transformative mediation play in promoting peace and human rights education”.The Aawaed will be made at a ceremony at Morehouse Chapel in Atlanta  Georgia on 5th April 2016.

Keshavjee, a  Canadian citizen, originally from South Africa  and  now living in the United Kingdom, is author of a recently published memoir entitled, “Into that Heaven of freedom” which chronicles the history of  South Asians in Africa with a particular focus on the role played by Mahatma Gandhi in the evolution of African political consciousness.  For over 30 years, he worked with the secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan in France on programmes aimed at improving the quality of life of people in some of the poorest areas of the world through the Ismaili Imamat and  the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

Referring to his contribution to peace and greater human understanding, Dean Lawrence Carter of Morehouse College, said “ Mohamed Keshavjee embodies the principles most characteristic of these exemplars [Gandhi, King and Ikeda]and his contributions advance the capacity to realize Dr King’s vision of a world distinguished by the dignity of nature with rights in the order of law”

Morehouse College,  alma mater of Dr Martin Luther King jnr, will be hosting a number of events to mark   the 48th anniversary of his death  which falls in April, through the  MLK International Chapel, the College’s center for  faith and philosophy. Morehouse College is the USA’s largest private liberal arts college for men and has been recognized as the USA’s  foremost liberal arts institution by the Washington Monthly. It aims to teach , inspire and support the development of all persons with the scope of its influence as ambassadors of peace for the” Beloved World Community” envisaged  by the Reverend King . All of the College’s programmes and activities are intended to effect changes of personal outlook,  with a view to sustaining  Dr King’s “World House Values” of ethics , non violence, service and harmony.

Dr Keshavjee, a world-class specialist on cross cultural family mediation   will make the keynote speech on 5th April for the anniversary of Dr King’s death, entitled “Gandhi, King and Mandela- Precursors to Transformative Mediation in the twentieth Century”.

A Night In The Life Of An MC

Volume 13, Issue 1 | Published 21/07/2016  

In this regular column a teacher, writer and media personality starts from personal anecdote to present an outsider’s reflections on the experience of a different community. The views expressed are entirely his own. His website:  

Isn’t it curious how we meet people quite randomly at first, only for them to re-emerge much later in our lives, with ever deepening connections? I first met Smita Shah and her husband Kirit as the mother and father of Mitul and Nishma, youngsters who took an obvious shine to me as their high school French teacher. My relationship with the parents evolved to the point where we became guests in each other’s homes. So when, decades on, Smita asked if I could be master of ceremonies for a fundraiser for the Amara Charitable Trust, with which she was involved, I really couldn’t say no.