Nonviolence Initiative

The Program
What is Nonviolence
History of AIS Nonviolence Initiative
AIS Collaborates with Smart TV Stars (STVS)
How You Can Help


Goal: To stop the violence before it happens by exposing young hearts and minds to the bigger world through education and travel.

Education: Expose children – through home and school – to the lessons of the great 20th and 21st century nonviolent leaders.

Travel: Starting with a sister city student exchange pilot program between Evanston, IL and Pune, India, high school students will expand their world view by traveling and living abroad.

“The Nonviolence Initiative throws a one two punch. If we can teach our kids to embrace differences, rather than fear them, our community will be a safer, friendlier place. And if they learn to peacefully negotiate differences across cultural boundaries, they will become more effective participants in the new global economy.” Dial Gidwani, Founding President, AIS

What is Nonviolence?

Nonviolence generally has two meanings:

  • Most people think of nonviolence as the absence of threatening behavior, physical violence, emotional abuse or armed conflict.
  • Others think of it as an instrument for social change. Two good examples are Gandhi’s freedom struggle for Indian independence from Great Britain and Dr. Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement in the United States.

Both definitions assume an underlying respect for all human life. Because people are not all the same, nonviolence demands tolerance of different cultures, value systems and beliefs.

This is why the Nonviolence Initiative, unlike other programs which largely target minority and at risk youth, reaches out to all teachers, parents and school-aged children. When children learn from an early age to settle their disagreements in spite of their differences, we can start to imagine a more peaceful future. 

Evanston Mayor, Elizabeth Tisdahl, delivers her message of nonviolence

Chief of Police, Richard Eddington of Evanston, discusses nonviolence initiative


Managing Director First Bank and Thrust, Former Mayor and Community leader in Evanston, Mr. James Lytle, delivers his message on nonviolence movement


Steve Lome discusses the goals of the American Institute of Sindhulogy

History of the AIS Nonviolent Initiative

AIS launched its Nonviolence Initiative in response to the 2009 murder of Darien Albert, a Chicago high school student caught in the crossfire of gang violence. U.S. Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder both visited Chicago in the wake of Darien’s death in search of answers to the spiraling problem of youth violence.

AIS wrote letters to President Obama, Secretary Duncan, and Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky recommending a different approach to nonviolent education starting with the lessons of Mahatma Gandhi, Rev. Martin Luther King, Dr Nelson Mandela, Frontier Gandhi and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Both Secretary Duncan and Congresswoman Schakowsky wrote back expressing their support. Mr. Duncan’s office, while noting its lack of resources, encouraged AIS to assume a leadership role in nonviolence education.

AIS Partners

  • AIS is teaming up with Smart TV Stars (STVS), a non-profit Chicago based producer and on-line distributor of educational and cultural programming, to develop original educational content and to expand its outreach efforts through the worldwide web.
  • AIS supports the efforts of Restorative Justice Evanston, which helps heal the damage done to young offenders, their families, victims and community by engaging all parties in structured open dialogue.


How Can You Help?

There are many different ways to help.

In General

  • Stop, listen and think before you react.
  • Expose your children to different cultures, value systems and beliefs. Let them know:
  • It’s okay to be different.
  • You can disagree and still get along.
  • People with opposing views are seeking their own truth, just like you are, and
  • There is room in this world for many different opinions and beliefs.

Contact Us with Your Ideas

There are many opinions about nonviolence and ideas for solutions. Please write in with your experiences, observations and ideas. (300 word maximum) Click here for more information on how to contact us.

Make a Tax-Deductible Donation

Investing in nonviolence is like planting a tree. Though we may be too old to plant a tree for our own gratification, we do it for future generations. Your donation to the Nonviolence Initiative will help ensure a more peaceful future for your kids and theirs.

Please make your tax-deductible donation by writing and mailing your check to:

The American Institute of Sindhulogy
1840 Ridge Avenue, Suite LL15B
Evanston, IL 60601