Global Peace and Social Justice

About the Gandhi Peace Festival

The Gandhi Peace Festival is co-sponsored by the India-Canada Society of Hamilton and Region, the Centre for Peace Studies, McMaster University and the City of Hamilton. The Festival is named after Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), popularly known as Mahatma (literally, “Great Soul”) Gandhi, a central figure in India’s anticolonial struggle. Gandhi worked hard to achieve India’s independence from British colonial rule through the adoption of nonviolence as a strategy of resistance and challenged India’s own social and religious practices that discriminated against fellow Indians. In line with Gandhi’s attempts to forge connections across religious, class, caste, racial and linguistic divides, the Gandhi Peace Festival started in Hamilton in 1993 in celebration of India’s rich cultural heritage as a one-off event, but with the 125th birth anniversary of Gandhi the following year, it became an annual festival.


The purpose of the Gandhi Peace Festival is:

  1. To promote nonviolence, peace and justice;
  2. To offer a forum for local peace and human rights organizations to become collectively visible and work together, sharing knowledge, experiences and resources; and
  3. To build on local interest and engage local communities in a conversation on questions or issues as they emerge locally and globally.

The Gandhi Peace Festival is the longest running peace festival in Canada. It is held annually on the weekend closest to Gandhi’s birthday (October 2). This free, public festival includes speakers, cultural performances, workshops, a march through downtown Hamilton and a free, vegetarian meal for all. Financial donations from a diverse group of organizations and individuals from the local Hamilton community and the work of numerous volunteers make this Festival a vibrant campus-community engagement event.

The Gandhi Peace Festival is twinned with the Annual Mahatma Gandhi Lectures on Nonviolence sponsored by the Centre for Peace Studies. The Festival chooses a theme every year and a speaker addresses the theme selected by GPF in their lecture.


For GPF-related enquires, contact: Dr. Rama Singh

The Annual Gandhi Peace Festival

2023 Gandhi Peace Festival

Festival Theme

Climate Change Refugee Migration


Keynote Speaker

Dr. Robert McLeman, Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University


Saturday, October 7, 2023
10:00 am – 2:00 pm


2022 Gandhi Peace Festival

Festival Theme

Climate Change: What can I do?


Keynote Speaker

Don McLean, “Lifelong environmental activist, educator and community leader”


Saturday, October 1, 2022
10:00 am – 2:00 pm


Climate Change Pledge Form 2022


2021 Gandhi Peace Festival

Festival Theme

Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous Communities


Keynote Speaker

Dr. Dawn Martin-Hill, “Reconcile our Lands, our Knowledge Our People”

Saturday, October 2, 2021

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Online Zoom Presentation




This annual event is supported by the Centre for Peace Studies in the Faculty of Humanities.

Sculpture of Gandhi Sculpture of Gandhi

Contribute to Gandhi Peace Festival