Gandhi Inspires Obama

8th September 2009
Wakefield High School, Arlington, Virginia

President Obama went to Wakefield High School in Arlington to give a national speech welcoming students back to school. He called for students to take responsibility and to learn from their failures so that they succeed in the end.

A student asked President Obama:

Hi. I’m Lilly. And if you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

President Obama replied:

Dinner with anyone dead or alive? Well, you know, dead or alive, that’s a pretty big list. (laughter) You know, I think that it might be Gandhi, who is a real hero of mine. Now, it would probably be a really small meal because — (laughter) — he didn’t eat a lot. But he’s somebody who I find a lot of inspiration in. He inspired Dr. King, so if it hadn’t been for the non-violent movement in India, you might not have seen the same non-violent movement for civil rights here in the United States. He inspired César Chávez, and what was interesting was that he ended up doing so much and changing the world just by the power of his ethics, by his ability to change how people saw each other and saw themselves — and help people who thought they had no power realize that they had power, and then help people who had a lot of power realize that if all they’re doing is oppressing people, then that’s not a really good exercise of power.

So I’m always interested in people who are able to bring about change, not through violence, not through money, but through the force of their personality and their ethical and moral stances. And that’s somebody that I’d love to sit down and talk to.

Source: The White House Press Office

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Categories: America, Politics & Democracy


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3 Comments on “Gandhi Inspires Obama”

  1. Nisha Bala Tyagi
    September 26, 2009 at 7:18 am #

    Two virtues: truth and humility are important to be able to bring a change.
    Truth, as truthfulness in all walks of life ,is like walking at the edge of a sword.Gandhi experienced the joy of positive love by following it ,what the world saw as non violence.
    Humility, ‘as the most strenuous effort ‘ ,’as service to humanity’ etc.,was Gandhi’s most precious jewel and lived unto it till the last of his breadth.
    Nisha Bala Tyagi,Miranda House,Delhi University,India


  2. Nisha Bala Tyagi
    September 26, 2009 at 7:30 am #

    Also, ‘Change’ has to be brought gradually.
    So if Obama is truly inspired by Gandhian values and wants the message of love to be a part of everyones life, he should promote ethical education in the school and college curriculum.That was Gandhi’s top priority which went unnoticed.Let atleast the generations to come enjoy the ‘fruit of positive love’.
    Nisha Bala Tyagi


  3. October 12, 2009 at 1:14 am #

    Young people love learning about Gandhi…and they understand the value of nonviolence when presented with information and experiences which help them understand and apply aspects of Gandhian philosophy. Using the song, “We Can Change the World,” (from Revolution of the Spirit) engages young people (and old) and introduces some of Gandhi’s wisdom. I am very grateful that President Obama understands and values the wisdom of Gandhi and recognizes the role he played in America through people like Bayard Rustin and others. I teach conflict resolution strategies in a middle school and also co-wrote and co-produced Revolution of the Spirit as a way of promoting nonviolence and great messages. If kids or if anyone is going to commit lyrics to memory, let them be uplifting!


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