URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies launches Gandhi Essay Contest

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Eighth-grade students invited to submit essays


KINGSTON, R.I., Oct. 6, 2015 – Global leaders are often called upon to broker peace between warring countries, but how about recruiting middle school students for advice.

That’s what the University of Rhode Island hopes to accomplish with its 6th annual Gandhi Essay Contest sponsored by the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies.


Eighth-grade students throughout the state are invited to submit essays about their interpretation of the Gandhi quote, “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”


The contest has been enormously successful over the years, with submissions from hundreds of students. This year, students are asked to write about why it’s better to settle conflicts peacefully – and what they can do in their schools to resolve disputes without violence.


The purpose of the contest is to celebrate the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, the nonviolent activist who led India to independence from British rule and inspired civil rights movements throughout the world.


“Today we face numerous challenges from gun violence and police shootings to terrorism, war and refugee problems,” says Paul Bueno de Mesquita, center director and a URI psychology professor. “Rather than approaching these problems with violent retaliation, Gandhi would choose constructive nonviolence and forgiveness.”


Eighth-graders in public, private and parochial schools in Rhode Island are eligible to submit essays. Home-schooled students are also eligible.


All students who submit essays receive a certificate. Finalists, teachers and family members are invited to attend an awards ceremony on URI’s main campus in Kingston. Cash prizes are awarded.


Essays can be mailed to Paul Bueno de Mesquita, URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, 74 Lower College Road, Kingston, R.I., 02881. Essays must be delivered or postmarked no later than Saturday, January 30. Winners will be announced by May 4.


For more information, contact the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at 401-874-2875. Click to read the “prompt” question for the essay.


URI’s Honors Program and School of Education are also sponsors.


Pictured above: Finalists in the 2015 Gandhi Essay Contest sponsored by the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island. Photo courtesy of the center.