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The World House Global Network (WHGN)

We are a global network of organizations and individuals committed to human rights and nonviolence. The World House Global Network facilitates communication and collaboration among people working on local and global levels for peace and justice. Our goal is to build solidarity and grow the sense of community among all people defending human rights nonviolently and realizing King's vision of peaceful coexistence in the World House.
WHGN Member Spotlight
Keshav Gupta

Keshav has been working with youth, community-based organizations, government bodies, and international institutions towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals with a core emphasis on Climate Action, Quality Education, and Gender Equality. In 2014, Keshav founded The Dais with the aim to empower youth while fostering leadership skills for societal improvement. He has been awarded the Global Green Schools Award at the UNGA Climate Action Week, and the NYC & REX Karmaveer Chakra Award, an award given in partnership with the United Nations. Keshav is serving as the President of the American Center, New Delhi's eSports club, an organization promoting youth engagement with eSports. He is also coordinating the youth working group for the World House Global Network. As coordinator of this group, Keshav led the charge for Turning Point Summit 2022 with members of the WHGN Youth Working Group - World House Project which envisioned bringing together young people from around the world to gain an understanding of nonviolence and how to incorporate it in their lives and community activism.
Research, Activism, & Education
An update from David Hart, co-director of Nonviolence International 

Dear Friends in the World House Global Network,  

We at Nonviolence International are excited to see the continued growth of this important network and celebrate that the newsletter is rolling once again. We believe that - in this time when the world is facing a series of intersecting crises - active nonviolence can be the most effective path to a better world. But, we know that effective nonviolence doesn’t just happen. It requires knowledge of and experience with Tactics and Training. Thus, we are proud to share some of our free resources which include the books, NV Tactics and Beyond the Two-State Solution, our online NV Tactics Database, and our partnership with Rutgers University to build the Nonviolence Training Archive

But, we know we can’t possibly solve the urgent problems facing us in isolation. So we raise up the best free resources we know of and ask for your help improving our extensive and growing list of nonviolent resources, Shared Resources. Please let us know of any additions you’d like us to consider. This page is meant to serve the larger movement of movements, please spread the word! 

I saw the much-needed movement of movements building recently and, inspired by the Poor People’s Campaign, posted this photo essay. For those seeking to understand how this modern movement builds on our long proud past, scroll to the portion on the World House.  If you have time, please let us know what you think of all this. 

We’ve got some tough times ahead of us. Tough times are already here for far too many of our precious sisters and brothers and our planet itself. I am deeply grateful to all the wonderful people in this network for all you do. You provide guiding light in the growing darkness. Special thanks to newly minted Ph.D. Caroline Whitcomb who is leading the newsletter team. May these efforts help our network grow to be even more impactful in these troubled times. 

David Hart, Co-Director, NVI 
An article by Mike Selby, author and librarian

King was lucky.

In the spring of 1938, a young boy handed two books across a large desk to a librarian, along with his library card. This was the second part of a familiar rite of passage that played out in libraries all across the United States (and continues today). Many milestones in a young person’s life help initiate them into the adult world; none more important than a library card all one’s own.  Besides ownership and thoughtful responsibility, the card allows children to make their own choices, explore the larger world around them, and—more often than not—help discover who they are inside. 

Martin Luther King Jr. was only nine when he passed the books along with his card for checkout. This was at Atlanta’s Auburn Avenue Branch Library, and King was an absolute regular there. Not only did he live on the same street as the library, but his home was less than two blocks away. That the precocious nine-year-old interested in reading and big words lived so close to a library is almost too perfect. That the two books he sought to check out that day were both about Gandhi is astounding.      

But there was a hiccup.
After looking at the books and the card, the librarian told King he was not allowed to check these books out. History doesn’t record either person’s reaction, but the librarian’s strong “no” may have been said with a wink. The Gandhi books were restricted to adult cardholders only, but if he brought in his father’s library card, she would be happy to check out the books for him. 
Annie L. McPheeters was the name of the woman willing to bend if not break the rules for her young patron, where she had been the branch’s director since 1936. 

The above is an excerpt from my book Freedom Libraries: The Untold Story of Libraries for African Americans in the South. While the work is about libraries set up during Freedom Summer, the ‘King was lucky’ example was to stress the fact that millions of African Americans did not share this reality. For them, public library service was nonexistent.
As is well known today, the adult King recounts his interest and excitement about Gandhi in both Stride Towards Freedom and his Autobiography. A lecture in Philadelphia by Mordechai Johnson sparked King’s interest in Gandhi to the degree that purchased half-a-dozen books on Gandhi as soon as the lecture ended.  

Historian Taylor Branch doesn’t think much of this story, feeling that the King / Gandhi connection was simply window dressing for the Civil Rights Movement. This is an odd stance. Not only does this ignore the rich connections an earlier generation of African Americans made with Gandhi; it also runs contrary to the conclusion of Gandhi scholar Karuna Mantena:

“It’s hard to imagine something called “nonviolence” expanding beyond India as it did…without its flourishing under King.”  

Branch’s doubts stem from King never speaking about Gandhi personally (factually and demonstrably untrue) and that he never mentions the titles of the Gandhi books he bought. While I disagree with his conclusion, I readily sympathize with the unknown book title frustration.

It was at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History where I found a somewhat obscure oral transcript of Annie Mcpheeters, who recounted her career at the segregated Auburn branch, as well as her life as Atlanta’s first African American librarian. While fascinating, I thought her story of King requesting Gandhi books to be spurious—something she had misremembered after 60 years.  Further research proved me wrong.  A handful of unrelated sources clearly noted the segregated branch of the Auburn library holding adult education classes about Gandhi between 1931 and 1934, with the library acquiring the material used. 
“At that time,” recalls McPheeters, “one of the outstanding discussion groups centered around Gandhi and his movement. And we had several programs directly connected with the Gandhi movement.” As for the young Martin Luther King Jr., she reported “that at a very early age he started—I don’t know how he got interested in Gandhi. He may have come with his father to one of those meetings that the adult education project had…but he started reading those books on the Gandhi movement. And he read every one of those books that we had.”

The title of the books King borrowed are frustratingly lost to history. Library circulation records—if kept at all—are only used for statistics. The reality of the separate but equal segregated libraries all but ensured a lack of record keeping.  The sponsors of the Gandhi program-- American Library Association, The Association for Adult Education, and The Carnegie Library of New York—also have no records of what books were used for their Gandhi programs. 

But one can always guess. The Story of My Experiments with Truth; Satyagraha in South Africa; Mahatma Gandhi’s Ideas; and The Power of Nonviolence were all published between 1928 and 1934. Unfortunately (for me, fortunately for the world) fourteen hundred other books by or about Gandhi also appear in this time frame. Did King read about Gandhi trying to create a warless world; or how Gandhi himself could get lost in books? Perhaps he read about how one writes from a jail cell or even Gandhi’s prediction that “it may be through the Negroes that the unadulterated message of non-violence will be delivered to the world.” 

Perhaps he was only reading these books for the pleasure of reading itself. Or to keep up with his older sister. Or to look for “big words” to use.  Ultimately, knowing which books the young King checked out is not important. What is important is the legacy of both.

In my office is a large print of Moneta Sleett’s photo of the adult King in his office reading his copy of The Gandhi Reader. I find it the perfect image to dwell under. Not only is it a constant reminder of segregated libraries and human dignity, but also—in a single photo—reminds me of the fact that nonviolence is the most meaningful act in human history. 

And that is anything but window dressing.
An article by Dr. phil. Christian Bartolf (an educational and political scientist who graduated from the Free University Berlin), President, Gandhi Information Center, Berlin 

Human Rights and International Law

We all cherish “… certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” – that is why “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” –– as in wartime these unalienable rights are not guaranteed - shall be(come) priority for us.

But we should remember that not only the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights is “a milestone document in the history of human rights” because in this Declaration are recognized the inherent dignity and “the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” as “foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world”.

In 1966, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a multilateral treaty that commits states parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the granting of economic, social, and cultural rights (ESCR) to the Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories and individuals, including labor rights and the right to health, the right to education, and the right to an adequate standard of living, were adopted by the United Nations.

Thus, the International Bill of Human Rights was the name given to UN General Assembly Resolution 217 (III) and two international treaties established by the United Nations. It consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted in 1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1966) with its two Optional Protocols, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, 1966), the two latter covenants entered into force only in 1976 after sufficient ratification.

Numerous additional treaties have been offered at the international level. They are generally known as human rights instruments. Some of the most significant are:
  • Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) (adopted 1948, entry into force: 1951) 
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) (adopted 1966, entry into force: 1969)
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (adopted 1979, entry into force: 1981)
  • United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) (adopted 1984, entry into force: 1984)
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (adopted 1989, entry into force: 1989) 
  • International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW) (adopted 1990, entry into force: 2003)
  • Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (adopted 1998, entry into force: 2002)
In addition to the Genocide Convention already mentioned and with reference to crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes against peace (crimes of aggression), we note that the 1950 Nuremberg Principles (Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nürnberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal) became the quintessence of those principles which guided the International Military Tribunals in Nuremberg and Tokyo as international legal norms. Heads of State could from then on held responsible in international court trials, even retrospectively. In addition, the moral and political responsibility of the individual collaborator or bystander/onlooker was emphasized and could no longer be excused by commands or orders of superiors.

Human Rights are, thus, inextricably linked with the rule of international law, the strive for democracy and ever more democratization and the guarantee of and respect for freedom and liberty as well as for equality and equal rights and social justice.

With the perspective of a profound reform of the United Nations towards a World Federation with international courts respected by all members, a World House can be created as a global network of human rights activists implementing all the codified international law norms we find in the international conventions and treaties mentioned above. Such a network can be expanded by deepening our understanding of human rights and explicitly referring to already existing binding and non-binding legal provisions of “unalienable rights” to ensure “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. This is a matter of conscience, and likewise conscientious objectors to military service all over the world we should exercise our basic freedom of conscience we find in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which Eleanor Roosevelt emphasized:

“This Universal Declaration of Human Rights may well become the International Magna Carta of all men everywhere.”
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The Hub is the network's kitchen table. It's the global gathering spot for participants to share and discuss their work, ideas, events, articles, concerns, and visions for the future. 
Working Groups Updates
Youth Working Group - The World House Project, Stanford University, and The Dais celebrated the International Day of Non-Violence & Gandhi Jayanti October 2nd-7th by hosting the Turning Point Summit 2022.

The Summit and the Pre-Summit engagements reached out to youth, academicians, and activists from 17 countries through workshops, youth assemblies, co-creation sessions, and artistic performances on the themes of nonviolence, peace, human rights, and social change. 

Students from India, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Egypt, Uganda, South Africa, Iraq, Romania, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada Mexico, France, Italy, Japan, and Switzerland attended the Summit.

The Summit saw powerful and insightful keynote addresses from Dr. Lester Kurtz, George Mason University, Dr. Johnny Mack, Stanford University, David Hart, Nonviolence International, and interactive sessions with Dr. Clayborne Carson, Stanford University, and Richa Sharma, a musician, and educator from India. 

The Summit displayed incredible examples of youth leadership through a panel discussion between youth leaders from India, Mexico, Canada, Uganda, and Japan along with several presentations made by young leaders during the youth assembly and co-creation sessions. 

The key outcomes of the Summit included a Youth Declaration on Nonviolence and a Youth-Led Strategy on Nonviolence, both developed by the participants through their collaborative efforts and are a great example of the benefits of intergenerational solidarity. 

The Summit takeaways, including the declaration and the co-creation strategy, will be taken further by the Youth Working Group and participants of the Turning Point Summit. Towards these ends, Turning Point Summit follow-up meetings convened at the end of October with several participants gathering together to brainstorm the implementation and action steps from the Summit.

Summit Events:
1. Pre-Summit Workshops: 27th - 28th August 2022
2. Youth Assembly on Nonviolence: 2nd - 3rd October 2022
3. Workshop on Nonviolence: 4th - 5th October 2022
4. Youth Co-creation Session: 6th - 7th October 2022
5. Artistic Performances for Peace: 2nd - 7th October 2022
6. Follow Up Actions on the events: November 2022 Onwards

For additional information please visit: 

If you are interested in joining this working group contact: Dr. Johnny Mack at

If you are interested in joining this working group contact: Dr. Mira Foster at

This group meets the hour before our weekly Zoom meeting. Their work and ideas will be featured in the following newsletter. If you are interested in joining this working group contact: Dr. Johnny Mack at

A working group may form around the aftermath of the historic 1955 Africa-Asia Conference in Bandung, Indonesia where 29 heads of state met to affirm commitments to a nonviolent, nonaligned global south path to peace and development.  Since 1955, several subsequent (and occasional anniversary observances) have convened in different parts of the world.  This group intends to monitor the progress of current movements that identify with the Bandung Conference. This group will also explore becoming a subgroup within an existing working group focused on human rights, economic development, climate justice, and peace-building. For more information or to join this group contact: Dr. Robert Franklin at
Calendar of Events
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Honoring Clarence B. Jones:
A Special Invitation to the WHGN members

We at the USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice hope you can join us on Saturday, November 19th from 7 pm to 9 pm, at St. Ignatius Church on the campus of the University of San Francisco, for an extraordinary community event of powerful dialogue, gorgeous music, political vision, and moral inspiration to celebrate the amazing life and deeply impactful work of Civil Rights icon Dr. Clarence B. Jones, a lawyer, strategic advisor and draft speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

America's foremost racial justice leader Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Director of the Equal Justice Initiative will join us to receive our institute's Clarence B. Jones Award for Kingian Nonviolence, deliver a keynote address and engage Dr. Jones in dialogue, moderated by San Francisco Bay Area social justice leader Lateefah Simon, on the struggle for racial justice in America from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the present day.  

We will begin our program with a magnificent performance by the world-renowned Kronos Quartet and a song from Soul and Afro-diasporic music vocalist Jenn Johns.  

Together we will honor Dr. Jones for his partnership with Dr. King in the movement to end Jim Crow segregation in the United States and for his tireless and inspiring work for a better world over the subsequent decades.

DATE: Saturday, November 19, 2022.

PROGRAM: St. Ignatius Church, on the USF campus, 650 Parker Ave, San Francisco.

TIME: Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; Program begins at 7:00 p.m. 

Questions? Please email
International Anti-Corruption Day 2022
“We have inherited a large house, a great 'world house' in which we have to live together— black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Moslem and Hindu—a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.”

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