Margaret Hepworth

Author, Educator, Facilitator

 

About The Gandhi Experiment

The Gandhi Experiment: What is in the name?

Too many people are experimenting with war and violence. We need more people experimenting with peace and non-violence.
— Margaret Hepworth May 2014

In January 2015, after attending a Making Democracy Real conference in Panchgani, India, I had one singular goal, to get to the Sabarmati Ashram, in Ahmedabad. Traveling by train from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, thoughts raced through my head. Whilst everyone else slept, I scribbled notes like a crazy women. New ideas were flowing thick and fast about choices we make in life, about education alternatives, and about me.

At Sabarmati, I was fortunate enough to meditate in the very same place that Gandhiji prayed morning and night. The ideas from the train flourished, consolidated. I was excited! And a new idea floated in through the ether: You don’t need to start a new movement. The movement is already out there. You just need to encourage it to grow.

It was also at Sabarmati that a young Dutch couple wandered in. They looked around, read thoughtfully and carefully, then turned to one of the ashram curators and asked – Who was this Gandhi? What does he mean ‘My experiments with truth’? They had never heard of him. I made a commitment then, that when I returned home I would run my own ‘experiments.’ Subsequently and over time, I asked many groups of students – Tell me about Gandhi. They could tell me a little – ‘he was a peace-builder,’ ‘he was a social activist.’ ‘We think it was to do with the British.’ He wore glasses.’

When I asked those same students to tell me about Hitler – well they could talk for hours. They knew intimate details, family background, quotes, war atrocities, symbolism. I began to ask myself, ‘How is it we seem to know more about the bad stuff and less about the good stuff?’ 

When I returned to India in May to facilitate at the Education Today, Society Tomorrow conference, afterwards I stayed in Delhi and visited the Gandhi Smriti. Meditating on the fresh, green lawn facing the dignified Gandhi memorial, the name of my new educational project, a project that was set to add new life to an ebbing educational world came to me: The Gandhi Experiment: World peace through education.

The Gandhi Experiment is not about the man himself, it is about the essence of his message:  Non-violence as a conscious choice; Satyagraha, my truth or soul-force; and getting off our backsides to take action about those things we know need to change. Where ‘hope in action’ and ‘moving from apathy to action’ become our maxims.

Nelson Mandela told us ‘We all need to rise beyond our own expectations of ourselves.’ This is what The Gandhi Experiment invites us to do.

Gandhi and Margaret

Education Today, Society Tomorrow, IofC India team

The Gandhi Experiment workshop at Tardeo, Universal School, Mumbai

About Margaret the educator and facilitator

Margaret Hepworth is a Peace Educator. Her drive and commitment for social justice has grown and flourished through her secondary teaching of almost thirty years, and has now culminated in her initiative for students and adults – The Gandhi Experiment. Margaret has been Head of Campus (Vice-Principal) at Preshil School and holds a Master of Educational Studies. She published her first novel, Clarity in Time, in 2012 through Balboa Press, in which the protagonist comes to understand that to make a difference in this world, you can no longer remain a passive by-stander. Her forthcoming book, The Gandhi Experiment - Teaching our teenagers how to become global citizens will be published early in 2016 (Rupa publishers)  

A member of Initiatives of Change Australia, Creators of Peace, and Education Today, Society Tomorrow (India), Margaret keeps very busy helping to run various ‘life developing’ programs within these organisations.

A vibrant presenter, she is well versed in public speaking, having facilitated at conferences in Melbourne and India, running workshops and speaking at assemblies and book groups. Her interesting and varied background includes travelling widely and having lived and taught in Melbourne, Australia, the USA and Nanjing, China. She has more recently taken her workshops, Global Participation - it starts with us!  across India, Pakistan and Indonesia.

Above all, her belief in what she is trying to achieve – to help others step forward to make a difference in this world – gives Margaret the drive, passion and commitment required to help achieve more peace in this world through peace education.

Margaret is the recipient of the 2016 Sir John Monash Award for Inspirational Women's Leadership. You can read more about it here.

Margaret currently resides in Melbourne, Australia.

Margaret's Victorian Institute of Teaching (Australia) registration number (VIT) is under Margaret Tyler: 169116

Riley and Margaret

What are people saying about Margaret?

 

Margaret Hepworth is a passionate and committed educator. She is driven in her work by a strong social conscience which she draws on to encourage students to act in powerful and meaningful ways to leave their mark on the world and have a positive impact. Being a highly effective communicator she sweeps you up with her enthusiasm and inspires students and staff alike to consider the big questions of life.

JONATHAN WALTER 

Principal

Woodleigh School

 

Marg Hepworth is more than an educator. As a teacher she did much more than just teach. When other teachers would stick to the syllabus as if it were gospel, Marg went above and beyond believing that getting students to think for themselves and follow their passions was the true goal of education. Having classes with her was an opportunity to see the world as a whole and to take an objective look at what was really happening. Overall, classes with Marg felt like a call to arms. At the end of each class we left the room feeling invigorated and inspired to take what we had learnt and apply it — then and there. It is this motivation which has driven me to where I am today, and which continues to urge me forward as I continue to grow myself, and to affect change in the world.

CAILEAN DOUGLAS

Former Student

IT Consultant, Spectre

Margaret Hepworth is a skilled educator who brought our 2014 Year 4 Peace studies and whole school Peace Day assembly to life with her passion and ability to make the topic relevant to the here and now of students’ own lives. Her highly engaging presentations wove a tapestry of historical peace achievements together with practical positive strategies for conflict resolution, anger management and proactive behviours to enrich cooperation, relationships and personal wellbeing.
— Con Pakavakis, Leading teacher and Year 4 Coordinator, Auburn South Primary School

Margaret Hepworth is the founder of The Gandhi Experiment and the author of the forthcoming book: 'The Gandhi Experiment - Teaching our teenagers how to become global citizens.'

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