Specific Pioneering Contributions
Sudarshan Kapoor, PhD, is a professor emeritus at the Department of Social Work Education, California State University at Fresno, where he taught for several decades. Kapoor’s greatest pioneering contributions to the social work field lie in commitment to the peace and non-violence movements and bridging peace studies as social work. He has sought, fought, and taught about peace and justice through nonviolence in the Central Valley and Beyond for 56 years.
Born in Panjab, India, Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor learned the value of non-violence from his mentor, Mahatma Gandhi. As a child and young adult, he participated in several demonstrations, marches, and picket lines which laid the foundation of non-violent activism in his life. Gandhi and his non-violent efforts for independence were a major influence in his life when he was growing up in India.
Kapoor came to the United States in 1963 and to the to the Central Valley in 1967 when he joined the Department (then School) of Social Work Education at California State University, Fresno. He was a pioneering figure within the social work program having started just one year of its inception. Since 1967, he has served as professor of Social Work for decades and retired in the 1990s, but he continues his peace and justice efforts at Fresno State and in the Valley to this day. His commitment to Gandhi’s vision, life, and teachings has been demonstrated in his leadership and achievements on both the California State University, Fresno campus and in the community.
Kapoor was a macro social worker with a larger vision to bring peace studies to the social work field. He taught community development and took the students out of the classroom and into activism. Kapoor introduced his students to the philosophies of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and César Chávez. Chávez even held seminars for Kapoor’s students, where they frequently discussed nonviolence. As a professor, he taught students non-violent advocacy to social work students and beyond. He recalls collaborating with Caser Chavez and Dolores Huerta, where he took students to peaceful rallies for farm worker rights.
Kapoor was the founder and first director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Fresno State. He established and coordinated the “Stop the Hate and Build the Culture of Peace Week” at Fresno State and in the community. He is the founder of Peace Garden project that currently honors Gandhi, Cesar E. Chavez, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jane Addams. The Peace Garden at Fresno State holds annual memorial events and peace and human rights commitments annually at Fresno State, seeking peace and non-violent pledges from Fresno State, students, staff, faculty and the Valley community. Through his peace garden efforts, he continues his collaborations with the Caser Chavez and Dolores Huerta family and non-violent efforts, through these efforts he reintroduces the impact of Cesar Chavez’ efforts to a new generation of students.
Kapoor has served on several boards and commissions locally and nationally. He served for 12 years (including four years as chair) as a member of the City of Fresno’s Human Relations Commission to which he was first appointed in 1992 by then Mayor Karen Humphrey. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Fresno Center for Nonviolence and has served on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Committee City of Fresno since its inception in 1984. Kapoor co-chaired the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development (now Peace and Justice Studies Association) which is headquartered at Gerogetown University in Washington, D.C.
He also served as Co-Executive Editor of Peace and Change, a reputable journal of peace research. Internationally, he also served on the board of the former International Peace Research Association (per UNESCO) and on the board of the International Peace Research Foundation. In more recent years he has served on the following committees: Founding member of Gandhi King Global Network, now renamed Global House Project based on the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., housed at Stanford University. Kapoor chaired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Committee City of Fresno and has been involved with it for 39 years.
Born in Panjab, India, Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor learned the value of non-violence from his spiritual mentor, Mahatma Gandhi. Kapoor came to the United States in 1963 and joined the Department (then School) of Social Work Education at California State University, Fresno. Since 1967, he has served as professor of Social Work, Community Development and Peace Studies at the University. He has sought, fought, and taught about peace and justice through nonviolence. His commitment to Gandhi's vision, life, and teachings has been demonstrated in his leadership and achievements on both California State University, Fresno campus and in the community.
He received his BA in 1955 from1968. Panjab University; his MA in Social Policy and Planning from Delhi University in 1962; an MSW from Florida State University (FSU) in 1964, followed by a PhD in Adult and Continuing Education from FSU in
Significant Recognition and Awards
The impact of Kapoor’s efforts can be described best in numerous awards he has received over the years, notably among them was that in 1997 Kapoor was recognized by Fresno Bee as one of the 75 most influential persons within the Valley during Bee’s 75th Anniversary. He has several legislative and congressional citations in recognition of his work on peace and justice at Fresno State and the surrounding area.
Select awards include: Temple Beth Israel's Social Action Award, Fresno Center for Nonviolence Way of Peace Award, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Committee, City of Fresno, Community Service Award, Distinguished Service Award by Fresno's Human Relations Commission, Life Time Achievement Award by Consortium on Peace Research and Education (COPRED) USA, NAACP Image Award (Fresno Chapter), Provosts Excellence in Teaching Award for Community Service at C.S.U. Fresno, Fresno Metro Ministry's Annual Community Service Award Portrait of Success Award by KSEE TV Channel 24, Freedom of Speech Award by Fresno Free College Foundation/KFCF 88.1 FM, The Spirit of Abraham Award from the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno Humanitarian Award from Soka Gakkai International-USA, Lifetime Peace Building Award from Cultural Integration Fellowship, San Francisco, Recipient of Top Dog Award 2022, awarded by Alumni Association of Fresno State.
Kapoor is the author of several articles and research studies in the field of social work, community development, adult education, race and interfaith relations. He has appeared on several panels and workshops as a speaker. He is working on a book related to the spiritual journey of Cesar E. Chavez.