Yesterday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed H.R. 5517, the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act. The measure was agreed to as part of an ‘en bloc’ package of multiple bills and was adopted by voice vote. The bill now heads to the floor and awaits scheduling by the Speaker of the House.

“We applaud Chairman Engel for raising this important, bi-partisan measure,” stated Taniel Koushakjian, Hindu American Foundation Director of Public Policy. “With all the wrongs in our world today, this bill will help create future world leaders who share the same foundational values and tenacious spirit of peace of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Koushakjian said.

HAF successfully advocated for H.R. 5517 over the last several months and encouraged Hindu Americans and all civil rights advocates to take action on its advocacy campaign.

Introduced by the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act would create an annual educational forum held in the U.S. and India that focuses on the social justice, civil and human rights legacies of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.; creates a student exchange program for students in the U.S. and India at all academic levels; establishes a professional development training program called the Gandhi-King Global Academy within the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP); and establishes the U.S.-India Gandhi-King Development Foundation within the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) which would provide grants to private nongovernmental entities to address critical humanitarian, environmental, and development issues in India.

Watch video of remarks in support of the bill by Reps. Engel, Sherman, Espillat, Deutch, and several others: