Skip to main content


Visiting Speaker: Professor Ramin Jahanbegloo, Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto

Sponsored by the Centre for Persian and Iranian Studies

Gandhi and the Idea of Democracy

Event details

The lecture deals with Gandhi’s theory of democracy and its related civic practices.  We will indicate the relation between Gandhi’s idea of civic duty and his idea of democracy. We argue that few would dispute that Mohandas K. Gandhi was one of the most original and transformative thinkers of democracy.  We maintain that among his many notable contributions, Gandhi is rightly credited with emphasising on the ideas of citizenship duty, truth in politics, genuine self-rule and ethically enlightened democracy. In addition to advocating self-sustaining villages and communal cooperation, Gandhi developed an idea of non-liberal democracy reducing individualism, economic greed and laissez-faire by insisting on a duty oriented and spiritually empowered participative democracy. Today, nearly seven decades after his death, Gandhi stands as one of the most significant and relevant non-Western theorist of democracy.

Ramin Jahanbegloo is a well-known Iranian-Canadian philosopher. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Sorbonne University. In 1993 he taught at the Academy of Philosophy in Tehran. He has been a fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University.

Ramin Jahanbegloo later served as the head of the Department of Contemporary Studies of the Cultural Research Centre in Tehran and, in 2006-07, was Rajni Kothari Professor of Democracy at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, India. In April 2006 Dr. Jahanbegloo was arrested in Tehran Airport charged with preparing a velvet revolution in Iran. He was placed in solitary confinement for four months and released on bail. He is presently a Professor of Political Science and a Research Fellow in the Centre for Ethics at University of Toronto and a board member of PEN Canada.

In October 2009 Jahanbegloo became the winner of the Peace Prize from the United Nations Association in Spain for his extensive academic works in promoting dialogue between cultures and his advocacy for non-violence.


Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies