2016 Mahatma Gandhi Commemorative Lecture: Judy Graves – We Change the World Together

Date(s) - October 3, 2016
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

SFU Harbour Cente

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Judy Graves, 2016 Thakore Visiting Scholar

Monday, OCTOBER 3, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM, ROOM 1420–1430, SFU HARBOUR CENTRE

Co-sponsored by SFU’s J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities, SFU’s Institute for the Humanities, & The Thakore Charitable Foundation

Event is free but registration is required.

Mahatma Gandhi Commemorative Lecture

Mahatma Gandhi exemplified the importance of personal spiritual practice and discipline in advocacy. Advocacy is inherently spiritual work, and spirituality can be full of light but also has a dark side. Without careful attention to principle and practice, capable, well-intended advocates and whole movements can get lost in the dark, burn out, and lose the ability to inspire change. Positive spirituality is compelling but requires self-discipline, constant growth, and radical self-responsibility.

As advocates, we recognize the sacred in the vulnerable and the powerless, as well as in our fragile earth itself.  When we speak, we must connect also with the sacred and vulnerable in the people we speak to. Although we live in a cacophony of media, if we practice universal compassion while we speak the truth, our voices will be heard and change will come, proving that spiritual practices and disciplines are essential to effective advocacy.



The Thakore Visiting Scholar Award has been awarded annually since 1991 at Simon Fraser University. It honours individuals who have devoted their lives to “creativity, commitment, and a deep concern for truth in public life, which includes, but it not limited to, showing the connection between academic values and critical public spirit.”

The award also recognizes commitment to Gandhi’s ideals of truth, non-violence, social justice, religious tolerance, education and ethics in politics. In addition to these principles, the award adds racial equality and concern for balance between industry and the environment.

This year’s award recipient will be to Judy Graves for her dedicated work as a tireless advocate for Vancouver’s homeless and educator on the need for ending homelessness.

For further details on the award, past recipients, and the other events of the annual Gandhi Jayanti, please visit http://gandhijayanti.com.


Judy Graves, 2016 Thakore Visiting Scholar

An extraordinary force for positive change, a pioneer and leader working to end homelessness

Throughout her 33-year career with the City of Vancouver, Judy Graves cultivated caring connections with people living on the streets and in shelters, and served as a tireless advocate on behalf of those marginalized by homelessness. 

Graves approached her work in a deeply personal way, walking the streets of Vancouver in all kinds of weather and at all hours of the night, reaching out to people living on the streets and listening to their stories, while helping them navigate the delicate process of rebuilding their lives.

Tenacious, compassionate, and deeply faithful in humanity––a true inspiration

At City Hall, her passion for helping people affected by homelessness brought together diverse communities and organizations with a shared vision to create long-term solutions. When Graves retired in the spring of 2013, Vancouver’s streets had fewer people sleeping outside because of her unwavering belief that the number of homeless in our city could––and should––be zero.

Her work is respected by citizens across Canada. She has received numerous awards and accolades including an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of British Columbia in 2009 and an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Vancouver School of Theology in 2013. Graves continues to have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of homeless people in Vancouver, helping to restore hope to those without safe and secure housing.

Other Awards

SFU Honorary Doctorate (2015)
Freedom of the City (2014)
Vancouver School of Theology Honorary Doctorate (2013)
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012)
UBC Honorary Doctorate (2009)
St. Mark’s Corpus Christi Honorary Doctorate


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