About the Award
The Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award, named for its benefactors, Navin and Pratima Doshi, is given annually to honor individuals or organizations dedicated to fostering understanding between cultures, peoples and disciplines.
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.
2021 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Rev. James Lawson
Rev. Lawson has been an influential leader and teacher of nonviolence for more than a half-century. He helped to launch the Nashville sit-in campaign in 1960, which successfully desegregated the Woolworth’s lunch counter, and inspired a new generation of civil rights leaders throughout the South. He was also a leader of the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike in 1968, which led to the successful organizing of sanitation workers. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while supporting the Memphis sanitation workers. Since then, Rev. Lawson has traveled throughout the country and the world to lead workshops and seminars developing a new generation of leaders trained in the philosophy of non-violence and the tactics of civil disobedience. In Los Angeles, Rev. Lawson has worked closely with the leaders of the Justice for Janitors campaign, hotel and restaurant workers, and with student activists to develop nonviolent strategies and tactics, which successfully organized low-wage workers of Los Angeles and undocumented students across the country. Influenced by the work of Mahatma Gandhi, central to the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, and key to emergence of Los Angeles as the resurgent center of the contemporary labor movement, Rev. Lawson is one of the most impactful social justice leaders of the twentieth-century.
2019 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Stephen F. Cohen and Katrina vanden Heuvel
Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University and professor emeritus of Russian studies and history at New York University. He is among the most distinguished scholars of Russian history in the United States, and is internationally recognized for his academic works on Russian and Soviet political history since 1917. He is an expert on Russian-American relations, and has for decades contributed both domestically and abroad in shedding light on the two countries’ political and historical relationship. Katrina vanden Heuvel is the editor and publisher of The Nation, as well as a frequent commentator on American and international politics and foreign relations for ABC, MSNBC, CNN, and PBS. We honor Cohen and vanden Heuvel for their continued contributions to cross-cultural understanding and willingness to engage issues from new perspectives across a variety of media platforms. In their joint keynote presentation of “The New U.S.-Russian Cold War,” the two discussed “Why It is More Dangerous Than the One We Survived,” and “What It Means for American Politics.”
2018 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Founder of Isha Foundation and named one of India's 50 most influential people, Sadhguru has touched the lives of millions worldwide through his transformational programs. In addition to being a yogi, mystic, and visionary, he is also an internationally renowned speaker and author of the New York Times bestseller, Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy. Sadhguru has been an influential voice at major global forums addressing issues as diverse as socioeconomic development, leadership, and spirituality. Through Isha Foundation, a non-profit, volunteer-run organization operating in more than 300 centers and supported by over nine million volunteers worldwide, he has initiated multiple projects for social revitalization, education, and the environment through which millions of people have been given the means to overcome poverty, improve their quality of life, and achieve community-based, sustainable development. In his keynote lecture, "Earth Sense," Sadhguru discussed the pivotal role of individual transformation in re-establishing the lost bonds between humans and nature.
2017 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
John Hagelin, Ph.D.
John Hagelin is a quantum physicist, science and public policy expert, educator, and author committed to promoting peace, consciousness, and a grand Unified Field theory. He is the leader of the Transcendental Meditation movement in the United States and one of the world's pre-eminent researchers on the effects of meditation on brain development. His teachings on the Maharishi effect demonstrate the ability of group meditation to address critical problems in the field of education, rehabilitation, crime and social violence, and post-traumatic stress. In addition to his position as President of the Maharishi University of Management, he is the International President of the Global Union of Scientists for Peace, the Director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, the President of the David Lynch Foundation, and the Chair of the Center for Leadership Performance.
To learn more about John Hagelin and the 2017 Ayurveda Conference that included the Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award Ceremony, please visit bellarmine.lmu.edu/ayurveda.
2016 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has built many bridges: culture-to-culture, civilian-to-military religion-to-religion, gender-to-gender. She is the first and only Hindu member of the U.S. Congress, and its first American Samoan member. She has represented Hawai’i’s2nd District since 2012. She previously served on the Honolulu City Council, and earlier in her career was the youngest member of the Hawai’i State Assembly, elected when she was 21 years old.
A combat veteran, she served two tours of duty in the Middle East, and received a Meritorious Service Medal following her first tour. Rep. Gabbard continues to serve as a Major in the Army National Guard.
2015 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Pratapaditya Pal, Ph.D.
Pratapaditya Pal’s extraordinary work as a scholar of South, Southeast Asian and Himalayan art has constructed bridges between India and the world through visual culture. Born in Bangladesh, Pal went on to study in Calcutta and Cambridge before beginning to curate the Indian art collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 1970, he moved to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where, according to the Los Angeles Times, he built the museum’s collection from “a handful of items to about 4,000 pieces, giving LACMA one of the nation's preeminent holdings of Indian and Southeast Asian art.” Since retiring from LACMA in 1995, he has been an associate curator at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. Over the past half century he has originated and organized internationally acclaimed exhibitions on four continents: North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Pal is a prolific author in two languages - his native Bengali and English - and has authored fiction and nonfiction, academic and popular books and articles, and has almost 70 volumes to his credit. He was the general editor of Marg magazine for 17 years, has taught at Harvard University, within the U.C. system, USC and University of Indiana, Bloomington. His many honors include a Getty Scholarship (1995-96) and the fourth-highest civil award (Padmashri) of the government of India (1993). In 2014, a chair in Curating and Museology in Asian Art was established in his name at the School of Oriental and African Studies of London University.
2014 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D.
Rupert Sheldrake’s career has been devoted to building a bridge between scientific investigation and spiritual inquiry. Sheldrake pioneered the study of morphic resonance – that all life is connected – and making ethical decisions that factor in far-reaching consequences. Sheldrake wrote his first book, A New Science of Life, in the ashram of Father Bede Griffiths, in Tamil Nadu, South India. From 2005-10 Sheldrake was director of the Perrott-Warrick Project for research on unexplained human and animal abilities, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge.
2013 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Karan Singh, Ph.D.
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, 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." 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.
2012 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
The 2012 Award ceremony featured the presentation of the Doshi Bridgebuilder Scholarship which was awarded to three undergraduates and one graduate student who were involved with a service project or showed a trajectory toward service to the community.
Alexander Abbasi '13, Theological Studies
As a founding member of "LMU Students for Justice in Palestine," Alex worked to bring awareness of the Palestinian experience to the LMU community. Alex is also a co-founder of the non-profit "Tutoring Tomorrow Today," a subject-based tutoring and mentoring program for the Facilities Management and Food Service workers at LMU. Alexander hopes to continue his education in Islamic Studies and become an Islamic spiritual leader.
Allison Goldberg '13, Political Science
As a CHANGE Leader with Oxfam America, Allison helped to build a garden at Westchester High School, hosted a World Food Day, and sponsored LMU's annual Hunger Banquet. Allison participated in a trip to Israel and the West Bank where she realized the importance of building bridges across cultures and emphasizing our common humanity. As an Intern with PFLAG National, which promotes LGBT equality, she developed an Advocacy Toolkit to help members expand their understanding of effective activism. Allison plans to continue her advocacy work and will play an active role in helping create a society where people of different backgrounds and beliefs interact, build friendships, and share intercultural understanding.
Sahar Mansoor '13, Political Science and Environmental Planning
Sahar has been an active volunteer at a range of diverse organizations, including Guadalupe Homeless Project, Sunbridge Care and Rehabilitation Center for the Elderly, Project Revitalizing and Empowering Villages, DC Central Kitchen, and TreePeople. Sahar traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as the recipient of the Opus Prize, where she met and learned from Lyn Lusi (Heal Africa). There, Sahar developed her ideas and plans for the creation of an agricultural village in India that eliminates the need for children to decide between education and work. Combining her two passions for sustainability and policy, Sahar will return to India prepared to apply her education through establishing a foundation aimed toward helping to heal our world.
Christopher Miller, M.A. Candidate, Theological Studies
Strongly influenced and inspired by yoga philosophy, Christopher has volunteered offering free lectures, workshops, and meditations to the LA community. His non-profit organization, Surfing Yogis USA, works to bring relief of social suffering and ecological destruction to the Konark Balukhand Ecological Sanctuary in India. Through organizing events that integrate surfing, yoga, and service, Surfing Yogis USA brings together surfers from all over the world, neighbors, and the local environment.
2011 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Vedana Shiva, Ph.D.
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 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Huston Smith, Ph.D.
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 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.
2008 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Thich Nhat Hanh
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.
2007 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.
2006 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award
Dr. Deepak Chopra
Dr. 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.