GreenFaith names Hindu and Jain scholar in residence

Saturday, October 2, 2010

WASHINGTON - GreenFaith, a leading US interfaith environmental coalition, has named Pankaj Jain, an Indian American professor, as a Hindu and Jain Scholar in Residence on the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.

Jain, an Assistant Professor of Indian Religions and Ecology at the University of North Texas will work with GreenFaith to strengthen Hindu and Jain environmental leadership nationwide, the New Jersey based GreenFaith announced.

“Gandhi is an icon of sustainable living and an inspiration to millions of people globally,” said Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith’s Executive Director.

“On his birthday, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Dr Jain to engage Hindu and Jain communities in the United States on environmental issues.”

Jain has taught Indian Films, Sanskrit, Hindi/Urdu languages and literatures at North Carolina State University, Rutgers, Kean University, Jersey City University, and at the University of Iowa.

In his scholarship he connects the ancient Indic traditions of Hinduism and Jainism with contemporary issues - particularly the environment. He studied under Christopher Key Chapple, one of the world’s leading scholars on Indian religions and ecology.

“It is indeed a pleasure to be able to partner with GreenFaith to engage the Hindu and Jain communities on the environment,” said Jain.

“Ancient Indic philosophy and religion can make important contributions to the development of a sustainable society. I look forward to helping educate and engage our communities on this vital issue.”

Jain has written “Ten Key Hindu Teachings on the Environment,” where he lists the most significant Hindu teachings on the environment, citing Gandhi as an example of Hindu ecological values in action.

Jain will work with GreenFaith to identify US Hindu and Jain leaders concerned about the environment, and to connect them with GreenFaith’s innovative programmes.

“The Hindu and Jain communities an important part of the wider US religious community,” said Harper. “We all need their help in creating a world that treats the environment in a way that Gandhi would approve of.”

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