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Vikas P. Srivastava

Vikas P. Srivastava specializes in educational design (culture and curriculum) with an emphasis on non-violence, creative confidence, growth mindset and sustainability. He holds a BA in Sociology from UCSD and MA in Education from Harvard. His formal training and research is focused on poverty, construction of knowledge, politics of identity, educational philosophy, arts integration and school design. A shorter version of his master’s thesis on Gandhian School Design was published by Penguin Books in “The Living Gandhi” (2013).

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Over the last 20 plus years, he has worked in public, charter and private schools, as well as, nonprofits and businesses. He has worked as a counselor, teacher, program coordinator, administrator, trainer, speaker and consultant. He has worked with the very poor and very wealthy communities, with disabled students, low-achieving students and high-achieving students. He began integrating mindfulness in the classroom after being initiated into the the Mindfulness practice by the respected Thich Nhat Han in 2003. Upon completing the Ahimsa fellowship at Cal State Pomona in 2007 (centered around integrating non-violence in k-12 education) he initiated the “project of change” that utilized arts and technology for nonviolent social change. In 2013, he founded “The Mindful School” project and began developing protocol for integrating schoolwide mindfulness. His presentations and published work include Gandhian School Design, Deconstructing Diversity, Gandhian Growth Mindset and Transforming Violence.

“I’ve always thrived by empowering others. Empowerment is the ability to control your life’s destiny. The degree to which you can do this is defined as privilege. Control of one’s destiny is the result of knowledge, resources, discipline, ambition and vision. Few people have all these qualities, but most people have one or more of these qualities. I believe one can lead to another, and two can manifest the rest.”

He is currently working as Director of Mindfulness at Legacy Early College Charter School (Greenville, SC). He has served and/or serves on the board of Kids For Peace, The Tariq Khamisa Foundation, The Sean O’Shea foundation, Encinitas Friends of the Arts, You Make A Difference foundation and Good Neighbor Gardens. He is also the father of two, the husband of one and a professional musician. As a previous restaurant owner and chef, he continues to share his passion for healthy vegan cuisine.

Presentation Summary: Transforming Violence

Rarely, if ever, have we found an instance of violence without a previous history. We can, therefore, assume a majority of future violence will also be the continuation of past violence. The question is, “If we can’t change the past, how can we change the future?” The answer is to transform the present. Our attempts to simply “stop the violence” is a careless slogan that has resulted in more harm than protection. Healing past trauma is an effective process, but it is not available to all communities, requires long-term dedication, and may not be a realistic resource allocation for all degrees of violence. This presentation offers a suggestion to effectively transform the past into an non-violent future by redefining the essence of violence — including a strategy to end the cycle of violence while healing the past and preventing similar violence from reigniting.