The Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award, named for its benefactors, Navin and Pratima Doshi (pictured above), is given annually to honor an individual or organization dedicated to fostering understanding between cultures, peoples and disciplines. The award recipient is selected by a committee in the Center for Religion and Spirituality.
The award ceremony is a celebration of culture and diversity, often times featuring numerous speakers and artistic performances. Navin Doshi, while presenting the Bridgebuilder Award to Thich Nhat Hanh in 2008, remarked: “Here we are at a Christian university giving an award to a Buddhist monk from a Hindu family. Isn’t it wonderful that LMU honors all human traditions?” The award ceremony is jointly sponsored by Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, the Department of Theological Studies, and the Navin and Pratima Doshi Professorship of Indic and Comparative Theology, which is currently held by Professor Christopher Key Chapple, PhD.
Dr. Karan Singh
2012-13 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Dr. Karan Singh serves as a member of India's Parliament. As a young man, he was the head of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir from 1949-1967. He earned his doctorate by writing a dissertation on the work of Sri Aurobindo. He was Ambassador to the United States and Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University, Jammu and Kashmir University, and Jawaharlal Nehru University. As a leading spokesperson for Indian thought worldwide, Dr. Singh has lectured at many universities and has served on numerous commissions. He currently serves as India's representative to the executive committee of UNESCO. He is the author of more than two dozen books including "India and the World" and "In Defence of Religion." Dr. Singh is featured in numerous videos, including the recently released "I Believe: Universal Values for a Global Society." He received one of India's highest honors, the Padma Vibhushan Award, in 2005.
Dr. Vandana Shiva
2011-12 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Dr. Vandana Shiva, India’s leading eco-feminist, has been a prominent voice in agriculture and food, focusing on aspects of intellectual property rights, biodiversity, biotechnology, bioethics, and genetic engineering. In 1982, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, which led to the 1991 creation of Navdanya, a national movement to promote organic farming and fair trade, and to protect diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds. Vandana received the Right Livelihood Award, known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” for placing women and ecology at the heart of modern development discourse. She also has received the Global 500 Award of the United Nations Environment Program, the Earth Day International Award of the United Nations for her commitment to the preservation of the planet, and more than 20 such awards. She has published more than 20 books and 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. Her first book, “Staying Alive” helped redefine perceptions of Third World women. Her recent books, “Earth Democracy” and “Soil Not Oil,” highlight the need to rethink our agricultural systems and work against the privatization of such fundamentals as clean air and water.
2010-11 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Born in 1919, Huston Smith published “The World’s Religions” in 1958. It has sold nearly three million copies and has been reprinted more than 60 times. This book introduced many to the world's great traditions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and the Primal Religions of native peoples. Born in China to Methodist missionary parents, he taught at many universities, including the University of Colorado, Washington University in St. Louis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Syracuse University, and University of California at Berkeley. He has published more than ten books, including his most recent, "Tales of Wonder," which recounts his encounters with Aldous Huxley, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, and many others. Bill Moyers dedicated a five part documentary to his life and work in 1996. A dedicated practitioner of Yoga and meditation, as well as a lifelong Methodist, Huston Smith embodies the best of cross cultural understanding and bridge-building.
2009-10 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Humanitarian and author Greg Mortenson was born in Minnesota in 1957. He grew up on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, from 1958 to 1973. His father co-founded the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, a teaching hospital, and his mother founded the International School Moshi. Mortenson served in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Cold War (1977–1979), where he received the Army Commendation Medal, and later graduated from the University of South Dakota (1983), pursuing graduate studies in neurophysiology. On July 24, 1992, Mortenson’s younger sister, Christa, died from a massive seizure after a lifelong struggle with epilepsy, on the eve of a trip to visit Dyersville, Iowa, where the baseball movie Field of Dreams was filmed. In 1993, to honor his sister’s memory, Mortenson climbed Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second highest mountain, in the Karakoram Range. After climbing K2, while recovering in a local village called Korphe, Mortenson met a group of children sitting in the dirt writing with sticks in the sand, and made a promise to help them build a school. From that rash promise grew a remarkable humanitarian campaign in which Mortenson has dedicated his life to promote education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson has established more than 131 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. These schools provide education to more than 58,000 children, including 44,000 girls, where few education opportunities existed before. His work has not been without difficulty. In 1996, he survived an eight-day armed kidnapping in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) tribal areas of Pakistan, and in 2003 escaped a firefight with feuding Afghan warlords by hiding for eight hours under putrid animal hides in a truck going to a leather-tanning factory. He has overcome two fatwas from enraged Islamic mullahs, endured CIA investigations, and received hate mail and death threats from fellow Americans following 9/11, for helping Muslim children with their education. Mortenson is a living hero to rural communities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he has gained the trust of Islamic leaders, military commanders, government officials, and tribal chiefs for his tireless effort to champion education, especially for girls. In 2009, Pakistan’s government presented Greg Mortenson with its highest civil award, the Sitara-e-Pakistan (“Star of Pakistan”), for his courage and humanitarian effort to promote girls’ education and literacy in rural areas for the last sixteen years. Only three foreigners have received the award. In 2009, a bi-partisan group of U.S. congressional representatives nominated Mortenson for the Nobel Peace prize, which is given annually in Norway. Greg Mortenson lives in Montana with his wife, Dr. Tara Bishop, a clinical psychologist, and their two children.
Thich Nhat Hanh
2007-08 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Zen master, poet, peace advocate, and author. He joined a Zen monastery at the age of 16, studied Buddhism as a novice, and was fully ordained as a monk in 1949. The title Thich is used by all Vietnamese monks and nuns, meaning that they are part of the Shakya (Shakyamuni Buddha) clan. In the early 1960s, he founded the School of Youth for Social Services (SYSS) in Saigon. This grassroots relief organization rebuilt bombed villages, set up schools, established medical centers, and resettled families left homeless during the Vietnam War. He traveled to the U.S. to study at Princeton University, and later to lecture at Cornell University and Columbia University. His main focus at the time however, was to urge the U.S. government to withdraw from Vietnam. He urged Martin Luther King, Jr. to publicly oppose the Vietnam War; King nominated Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize in January 1967. Thich Nhat Hanh has become an important influence in the development of Western Buddhism. His teachings and practices aim to appeal to people from various religious, spiritual, and political backgrounds, intending to offer mindfulness practices for more Western sensibilities. He created the Order of Interbeing in 1966, establishing monastic and practice centers around the world. As of 2007 his home is the Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne region in the South of France and he travels internationally giving retreats and talks. A long-term exile from Vietnam, he was allowed to return for a trip in 2005 and again in 2007. He has published more than 100 books, including more than 40 in English. A journal for the Order of Interbeing, The Mindfulness Bell, is published quarterly which includes a Dharma talk by him. Thich Nhat Hanh continues to be active in the peace movement, promoting non-violent solutions to conflict. Read about the award ceremony online.
2006-07 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Maestro Zubin Mehta currently resides in Los Angeles, though he was born in Bombay (now called Mumba) in 1936. He grew up in a time of national strife, of India's hard-won independence but also of the painful partition and birth of Pakistan, of Gandhi's assassination and its aftermath, a time of fragile peace. He received his musical early education from his father Mehli Mehta, violinist and co-founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra and later music director of the American Youth Symphony in Los Angeles. Zubin did not originally set out for a career in music, however. He in fact began training in medicine. After only two semesters of medical school, Zubin Mehta launched into music in earnest, studying conducting with Swarowsky at the Music Academy in Vienna. Zubin Mehta won the Liverpool International Conducting Competition in 1958, shortly afterwards also winning the Koussevitzky Competition in Tanglewood. By his mid-20s, Mehta already had conducted both the Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic. His rise in the music world was swift. Zubin Mehta was music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1961 to 1967. In 1962 he became music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a position he held until 1978 and a relation he still holds dear. In 1969, Mehta was named Music Advisor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, where he became Music Director in 1978. In 1981, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra bestowed on Mehta the unique accolade of making him Music Director for Life. In 1978, Mehta became Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, where his 13-year tenure would become the longest in the orchestra's history. Since 1985, he has been revitalizing opera as chief conductor of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Mehta made his operatic debut in Puccini's Tosca in Montreal in 1964. He has led major productions at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, at Milan's La Scala and at the Salzburg Festival, as well as in the major houses and festivals in Montreal, Chicago and Florence. Mehta's recordings form a living panorama of the best music-making of this or any other era. There have been intensely personal live and studio performances of the classics of the canon, of Mozart and Beethoven, of Brahms, Berlioz and Mahler. In 2007, he completes his tenure as music director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, where his operatic triumphs are legend.
2005-06 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Doctor Deepak Chopra is an author, lecturer, doctor of internal medicine, and has been recognized for his work as a bridgebuilder between Western medicine and natural healing traditions. Chopra was born in Srinagar, India. As a young man Chopra's desire was to become an actor or journalist but was later inspired to became a doctor. Chopra completed his primary education at St. Columba's School in New Delhi and graduated from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). After immigrating to the US in 1968, Chopra began his clinical internship and residency training at Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, New Jersey. He had residency terms at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts and at the University of Virginia Hospital. Chopra taught at the Tufts University and Boston University Schools of Medicine. He became Chief of Staff at the New England Memorial Hospital in Massachusetts and Chief at Boston Regional Medical Center in Boston before establishing a private practice. After reading about the Transcendental Meditation technique, Chopra and his wife learned the technique in 1981, and two months later they went on to learn the advanced TM-Sidhi program. In 1985, Chopra met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who invited him to study Ayurveda. In that same year, Chopra left his position at the New England Memorial Hospital and became the founding president of the American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, and was later named medical director of the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center for Stress Management and Behavioral Medicine. By 1992, Chopra was serving on The National Institutes of Health Ad Hoc Panel on Alternative Medicine. A year later, Chopra became executive director of the Sharp Institute for Human Potential and Mind–Body Medicine. That same year Chopra moved with his family to Southern California where he lives his wife and near his two adult children Gotham and Mallika. In 1996, Chopra parted company with the Sharp Institute. That same year, Chopra and David Simon founded the Chopra Center for Well Being, which incorporated Ayurveda in its regimen, and was located in La Jolla, California. Chopra is board-certified in internal medicine and specialized in endocrinology. He is also a member of the American Medical Association (AMA), a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Chopra's reflections on health and consciousness quite effectively opened up a space for all present to put aside whatever they had been thinking about to consider anew the concepts of health, consciousness, and peace.