The Board

The Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute’s Board of Directors is comprised of 13 members from vastly different and yet significantly complementary professional backgrounds enabling us to pursue our Mission with dedication and resolve.

GWEI Board Members

OfficersMK Gandhi Gandhi Worldwide Board

Arun Gandhi – President

Joanna Amaral – Secretary

Robert Shallenberg – Treasurer

Members of the Board

Anish Prasad – Chairman Anish.Prasad(at)

Anish Prasad Anish, M.K. Gandhi’s great-great grandson, is Senior Vice President at Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., managing the firm’s Change Management function. Anish’s past experience also includes delivering Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), Sourcing Risk Management (SRM), risk and controls identification, project management, portfolio risk and efficiency analyses, and cost/benefit analyses in KPMG LLP’s West Coast Financial Risk Management practice. Anish’s experiences in designing new businesses and managing program offices for large, complex initiatives will be leveraged to support the successful design and implementation of Gandhian nonviolence educational programs associated with the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute.


Archana PrasadArchana Prasad


Archana Prasad has worked at the Henrietta Public Library for the past 20 years. As a Gandhi family member Archana has shared her life lessons with area school children in the elementary through high school levels. She has also spoken at college retreat programs on nonviolence. On an ongoing basis Archana also gives talks at area Senior Living facilities. Archana has been involved with the Gandhi institute since it was founded by her parents Arun and Sunanda Gandhi in Memphis TN. She and her husband Hari have been married for 32 years and have two sons.


Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi


Born 1934 in Durban South Africa, Arun Gandhi spent much of his adult life in India working as a journalist and promoting social and economic changes for the poor and the oppressed classes. Arun and his wife, Sunanda, rescued about 128 orphan children from the streets and placed them in loving homes around the world and began a Center for Social Change, which transformed the lives of millions in villages in the western state of Maharashtra. In 1987 Sunanda and Arun came to the US and in 1991 started the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at the Christian Brothers University in Memphis Tennessee. In 2008 the Institute was moved to the University of Rochester, New York. In the 17 years of the Institute’s life the Gandhi’s took the message of nonviolence and peace to hundreds of thousands of high school and University youth around the US and much of the Western World. Publications: The Legacy of Love; Forgotten Woman – the Life of Kastur, wife of Gandhi, Grandfather Gandhi and several others. Arun’s notable interfaith activities include his Washington Post Interfaith Dialogue blog: On Faith; the Board of Interfaith Alliance in Washington DC; leading the Interfaith March 911 for the the past 9 years; and the Gandhi Legacy Tour – 16 years fostering Interfaith with tour participants’ prayer visits and meetings at Muslim Temples, Jain Temples, Hindu Temples – As Gandhi famously proclaimed: “I am a Christian, and a Hindu, and a Muslim and a Jew!”

Arun’s full bio is at 


Catherine Davis Pezdirtz


Cathy is a retired executive of a religious publishing company. She is an author and freelance writer and a volunteer at a facility for mentally and physically challenged women. She is active in Soulforce, an organization devoted to fostering understanding and acceptance of the gay population by the church. Married, two children by first marriage, five children and eleven grandchildren through second marriage.


Hal Edwards

Hal Edwards


Hal is an ordained United Methodist clergy. He served as pastor in local churches located in North Carolina, Kentucky, Minnesota and southern California before he was invited to be President of Christian Laity of Chicago, an ecumenical organization that networked with diverse individuals and groups across greater Chicago for nearly three decades. Hal earned a doctorate in the mid-eighties, with a focus on Koinonia, the classical Greek word that defines human relationships by mutual trust and mutual benefits between individuals and groups.

Following his involvement in the 1993 World Parliament of Religions he formed and directed CityQuest, an interfaith organization, until his retirement, some eleven years later.

Since the death of his wife, Betsy, Hal has traveled to India and Egypt where he became personally involved with Arun and his family. In addition to being a pastoral psychotherapist and spiritual director, he is involved with Contemplative Outreach, Ltd, a worldwide movement that teaches the ancient meditation method of centering prayer. He has four children and ten grandkids. Gardening, photography, writing and fishing are Hal’s delight. Previously Hal served as Chair of the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute.  Hal writes and shares his poetry at Persistent Pathways.


Jill Heaviland

Jill Heaviland


Jill is a registered nurse in pediatrics, cardiac and OB/GYN. She is currently working in OB as a lactation consultant and enrolled in a Masters nursing program through Nazarene University. She is a graduate of Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center Nursing Program and a graduate of Chicago School of Massage Therapy (CSMT); Her profession experience focuses on health care, PRN, CSMT Student Clinic, Private Clients. Her therapeutic modalities include neuromuscular therapy, cervical and cranial stabilization and postural evaluation.


Joanna Amaral

Joanna Amaral


Joanna is an elementary school teacher in Winnetka, IL. She has taught in public schools for over 20 years. She received her BA in elementary education in 1988 and MA in educational leadership in 2001 from National Louis University, Evanston, IL. In the early 90’s Joanna developed a curriculum and taught refugee children relocated in Chicago through Traveler’s and Immigrants Aid (now known as Heartland Alliance). This project was developed to support new families and offer early childhood schooling during their acclimation period. Joanna has also worked with Northwestern University’s Master of Science of Education program – teaching a seminar class and supervised pre-service teachers in this program. Joanna also worked with the Courage to Teach program, a program (based on the book by Parker Palmer) designed to enhance the personal and professional renewal of public school teachers.  Most recently, Joanna has been developing ways to incorporate NVC (NonViolent Communication) skills in her classroom with her students.


Lynnea Bylund

Lynnea Bylund


Lynnea’s history found at Catalyst House and has nearly three decades of experience in administration, marketing and business development. She was a nationally recognized spokeswoman for the emerging alternative video and information delivery industries. She is the founder of two small business-based wireless trade associations and has lobbied on Capitol Hill and at the FCC where she has spoken out strongly against the cable TV monopoly, illegal spectrum warehousing and ill-conceived congressional schemes to auction our nation’s precious airwaves to the highest bidder.

Ms. Bylund is a founder and former CEO of a Washington DC telecommunications consulting and management company with holdings in several operating and developmental wireless communications systems and companies. In 1995 Lynnea became the first female in the world to be awarded a Broadband PCS operating permit – she was one of only 17 winners, along with Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon in the biggest cash auction in world history, raising a whopping $8 billion. Lynnea also spear-headed the successful effort to launch the first cable TV network in the South Pacific islands.


rhoadesMat Rhoades

Mat Rhoades, CEO and Co-Founder of technology firm, Bespin Holdings, is an entrepreneur and executive in the information technology industry with over two decades of diverse professional experience as a Technologist. Mat is responsible for providing client management and solutions. Mat’s company is currently responsible for all Digital and Technology solutions required for the Legacy of Hope Foundation global benefit concert, honoring the late Nelson Mandela and supporting the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust. Other responsibilities include Operational Management of BHI, Marketing, Administration, Situational Awareness, Intellectual Property, Corporate Structuring, Branding, Investment Structuring, and negotiation and closing of commercial transactions.



Elizabeth A. George

Liz ShahLiz is a personal injury and civil litigation attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. After a brief career in sales and marketing, she went on to receive her law degree from Ohio Northern University where she graduated in the top 10% of her class with distinction. Liz began her legal career representing consumers and, in 2008, was recruited by a firm specializing in mortgage default services where she specialized in mortgage banking litigation. In 2010, Liz was asked to join a newly formed firm where she became partner and handled various residential and commercial mortgage banking and real estate matters.

In 2012, she left the life of billable hours and corporate representation to serve as a lobbyist for the ACLU of Ga. and to assist her husband in expanding his growing practice, The Shah Law Firm where she is now a partner specializing in personal injury and civil litigation cases.  Liz is a member of the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, including a board member for their Foundation and the Atlanta Bar Association. She has volunteered through Dress for Success; Atlanta Volunteer Lawyer’s Foundation; the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program; and the pro bono Eviction Defense program.

Currently Liz volunteers doing social media work for the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute.   Liz has been a speaker at, and contributed written materials to, CLE programs sponsored by GA ICLE and the National Business Institute. She has also been a featured speaker during Winter Term at Ohio Northern University, and will be teaching a course on Jury Selection during the 2015 Winter Term.  Liz is “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell and rated 10 out of 10 by She is a contributing author of three Georgia pocketbooks: The Code: Civil, Criminal and Evidence Editions.

Although a lawyer by trade, Liz’s real passion is running, yoga, and nutrition. Liz is a RRCA certified running coach, a 250 hr certified yoga teacher, an Ambassador for the Xterra Racing Series, and her advice on running, fitness, and nutrition has been featured in running related blogs, websites, and publications including a chapter on trail running in, “Triathlon for the Every Woman,” by Meredith N. Atwood.”


Robert Shallenberg

Bob Shallenberg


Bob is founder/CEO of Prism Retail Services since 1992. He is a former member of the board of directors for CityQuest, an interfaith movement with focus on contemplative prayer, compassion and interfaith relationships. Bob is founder and board chairman of Journey Toward Wholeness, a nonprofit counseling center. He is married, father of five children ranging in age from 31 to 9. Bob adopted mixed race boy/girl twins at birth in 1998 and a 9 month-old girl from China.



Scott Kafora

Scott.Kafora(at)gandhiforchildren.orgScott Kafora

Scott’s formal education is in architecture, graphic design and music, and he has used these classical skills to navigate his way through business management, operations, manufacturing, and logistical roles. He has served as industrial manager implementing standard operating procedures for business, manufacturing and warehousing operations. As a licensed troubleshooter, Scott managed the United States business operations of two international manufacturing and logistical transportation companies. Scott has served on boards of directors for: The Alamo Community College District, The Muscular Dystrophy Association of Texas, Habitat for Humanity of Texas, and The San Antonio Manufacturer’s Association.  His parents and sister live in Texas.  Scott’s freelance photojournalist work can be found at Teysha



Arun and Tushar Gandhi with 'Bapu'Tushar A. Gandhi


Born on 17th January 1960. Tushar 1996 was appointed President of the Lok Seva Trust, a voluntary organization working with factory workers and the economically weaker sections of Mumbai, in the field of education, legal aid, and healthcare. He established the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation to make Gandhi’s message available globally on the Internet. The websites and were dedicated to the nation on 2nd October 1997.

In 1998 Tushar stood unsuccessfully for elections to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament). In 2001, he was appointed president of Internet Users Community of India, Mumbai Chapter. Tushar was also invited to join the Advisory Committee on Cyber Crime to the Mumbai Police Cyber Crime Cell. He was appointed to a sub committee of the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti [National Museum] by the Prime Minister of India.

Tushar is involved with the US based peace organization ‘Seeds for Peace’ which works with children. In August 2001 he was invited by an NGO “Peace Initiatives”, to join a group of journalists and social activists to visit strife torn Kashmir, to interact with the leaders of the separatist ‘Hurriyat Conference’, the police and the Chief Minister of J&K with the aim to explore the possibility of achieving peace through development and economic programs.

Publications: Let’s Kill Gandhi: A definitive study of the Hindu Fundamentalist plot to assassinate Gandhi.

In 2005 to mark the 75th Anniversary of the 1930 Salt March Tushar organized a 241-mile walk for Peace, Justice and Freedom. 600 marchers from India, Pakistan, the US, UK and other parts of the world participated. The Mahatma Gandhi Foundation was awarded in April, 2005, the 1st ‘Mahatma Mahaveer Award’ for promoting the ideals of Gandhi.

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