Federation of World Peace and Love

FOWPAL Presents the World Education Model Award in Memory of Dr. Jagdish Gandhi


The world's largest school and the only school to receive the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education - City Montessori School (CMS) in India, held a memorial service for its founder, Dr. Jagdish Gandhi, on February 4th.

Dr. Gandhi passed away on January 22, 2024, at the age of 87. To honor his contributions to education, Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, president of the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL), led nine FOWPAL members to attend the memorial service held by CMS in Lucknow, India. They presented the “FOWPAL World Education Model Award” to the family of the late Dr. Gandhi to recognize his lifelong contributions and achievements in the field of education.

The FOWPAL delegation stated that CMS has lost a spiritual mentor and exemplary educator, and FOWPAL has lost a good partner who shared common values and worked tirelessly for future generations. As farewell was bid to the spiritual giant and humble servant of the people, the participants were reminded to continue upholding and promoting the values he exemplified: peace, compassion, dedication, respect for human rights, adherence to the rule of law, and unity.

Dr. Gandhi dedicated his life to education. In 1959, he established CMS with a loan of 300 rupees. It transformed from a class with only 5 students to a globally renowned educational institution with over 60,000 students. CMS places great emphasis on the holistic development of children, the establishment of moral qualities, and the cultivation of a global perspective. Its vision is to inspire generation after generation of children to become socially dynamic and conscious citizens of India and the world. Its alumni are spread all over India and around the globe.

Dr. Gandhi allowed students to simulate United Nations conferences to learn about international affairs. He also held the annual International Conferences of Chief Justices of the World, hoping to protect children's welfare and discuss effective global governance through world law to unite the world to solve increasingly serious problems. His selfless dedication and love resonated globally, leaving an indelible mark in the world. CMS was even awarded the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education in 2002.

The memorial service began at 11 a.m., with the school's teachers and students opening the event with Dr. Gandhi's favorite song, creating a warm and touching atmosphere. The memorial prayer ceremony began with the traditional Havan-Puja.

Representatives from various religions prayed together, including Hari Prasad Mishra of Hinduism, Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali of Islam, Sardar Rajendra Singh Bagga of Sikhism, Shri Shailendra Jain of Jainism, Bhante Sheel Rajan of Buddhism, Rubina Mohajer of the Bahá'í Faith, and Radha Bahen of Brahmanism. The teachers of CMS dedicated a song to Dr. Gandhi, and the CMS Kanpur Road school band played “Be With Me” and “Amazing Grace” in tribute to Dr. Gandhi. Subsequently, Dr. Bharti Gandhi, the wife of Dr. Gandhi, shared her sincere prayers and deep love for her husband, demonstrating the sincere feelings of the couple in running the school together.

The Labor Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Anil Rajbhar, read out a condolence message from the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath, at the meeting. The message expressed that people will always remember the great contributions Dr. Gandhi made to society. Under his leadership, CMS has become a model school not only in Uttar Pradesh but also nationwide.

India's Minister of Defense, Dr. Rajnath Singh, stated that Dr. Gandhi dedicated his life to creating a bright future for the next generation, and his passing is an unfortunate loss for the field of education. The Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Keshav Prasad Maurya, said that Dr. Gandhi taught people how to grow from a small sapling into a towering tree through courage, determination, and relentless effort.

Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Shri Brajesh Pathak said that this was his first time coming to this place without Dr. Gandhi's presence. He prayed to God for the repose of his soul. Many other people from various fields, including writers, journalists, educators, social workers, judges, lawyers, and bureaucrats, were present at the service to pay tribute to this visionary leader and world-renowned educator.

Dr. Bharti Gandhi, the wife of Dr. Gandhi and co-founder of CMS, expressed her thoughts. She said that as they went through this difficult time, she found comfort in remembering her husband's steadfast commitment to education and his positive impact on countless people. His life was noble in thought and simple in lifestyle. He dedicated his life to the welfare and education of children. Dr. Gandhi will forever remain in people's hearts and continue to inspire every step his family and CMS take forward.

She expressed her gratitude to Dr. Hong for bringing his team of ten from the United States to present the World Education Model Award to honor the late Dr. Gandhi.

In her speech, Dr. Sunita Gandhi, the eldest daughter of Dr. Gandhi, said that her father was a microcosm of human values and a noble teacher.

Dr. Gandhi's second daughter, Professor Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, expressed her deep remembrance of her father. His son, Vinay Gandhi, and daughter-in-law, Mona Gandhi, expressed their sorrow in a song, and all other close relatives prayed for the peace of the departed soul. The grandchildren paid a melodious and touching tribute to their grandfather with heartfelt music.

The corridors outside the memorial hall were filled with condolence messages sent by former heads of state and chief justices from various countries who had participated in the International Conferences of Chief Justices of the World over the years.

The memorial video specially made by FOWPAL showcased the deep friendship of 18 years between CMS and FOWPAL, offering the audience a glimpse into the collaborative endeavors of Dr. Gandhi and Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, two exemplary educators.

After the memorial video, Dr. Hong and FOWPAL members conveyed their sentiments toward Dr. Gandhi: He dedicated his life to education; his love will remain forever. His wishes had been fulfilled, leaving behind his great legacy. He had let go of the worldly ties and returned to the homeland. Heaven had awakened his conscience to accomplish his missions in life. His friends and relatives came together to bid farewell to him, praying for Dr. Gandhi to stay at ease and enjoy eternal life.

Subsequently, Dr. Hong presented the “FOWPAL World Education Model Award” to the family of Dr. Gandhi. The award was received by his wife and daughter.

 In his speech, Dr. Hong expressed his deep affection for Dr. Gandhi and CMS, and reiterated their shared vision and mission. The news of Dr. Gandhi receiving the award was published on February 7th in the Times of India, the English newspaper with the highest readership in all of India (with 3 million readers daily).

Shishir Srivastava, the Director of International Relations and an alumnus of CMS, added that CMS is very grateful to the more than 8,000 people who gathered at the service to commemorate Dr. Gandhi, who was his mentor and a fatherly figure to him.

In 2007, FOWPAL first met Dr. Jagdish Gandhi at the 8th International Conference of Chief Justices of the World, marking the beginning of an 18-year journey of collaboration and shared aspirations. Together, they worked to promote a culture of peace, human rights, and the welfare of future generations.

In 2008, Ms. Yu Mei-Jung, the Vice President of FOWPAL, led FOWPAL members and brought the “Bell of World Peace and Love,” weighing 240 kilograms, to India for the first time. She invited Dr. Gandhi to ring the bell and made a wish for peace. Dr. Gandhi stated, “I want to unite the world & wish peace in the world.” 

Dr. Hong greatly admired Dr. Gandhi's outstanding contributions to the world. Despite his advanced age, he still invited chief justices from around the world to participate in the conference every year, continuously striving for the betterment of the school, India, and all of humanity. In 2016, Dr. Hong presented the “World Citizen Education Contribution Award” to Dr. Gandhi, affirming his years of dedication to children's rights and justice. In November 2018, Dr. Hong presented Dr. Gandhi with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2023, Dr. Hong presented the “FOWPAL Peace Bell Award” to honor Dr. Gandhi's unwavering dedication and unparalleled contribution to education, as well as his instilling of values such as peace, compassion, respect for human rights, the rule of law, and unity in future generations.

Another highlight of the memorial ceremony was when two of the five students from the school's establishment in 1959 (who are now in their 70s) expressed their gratitude for Dr. Gandhi's founding of the school, demonstrating Dr. Gandhi's exceptional influence on education. They repeatedly thanked Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze for leading his team to travel a long distance to be there, and they look forward to FOWPAL's continued support at future Conferences.

Subsequently, Mr. Gupta, the Secretary General of the City Montessori School, expressed his remembrance of Gandhi and encouragement to the younger generation. Finally, the ceremony ended in an emotionally charged atmosphere with three students playing “Amazing Grace.”