On December 3rd Radhanath Swami was invited to participate in a historic discussion by the Oxford Union, one of the world’s most prestigious debating societies. Founded in 1823 with the aim to promote debate and discussion, and steeped in history and prestige, the Union has an unparalleled reputation for bringing international speakers to Oxford University, boasting such noteworthy guests as William Gladstone, Winston Churchill and Richard Nixon.
Radhanath Swami attended the much anticipated discussion along with such celebrated guests as Dr. Cornel West, a provocative American academic, activist and author and Dr. Angela Davis a prominent political activist, author, and educator. The discussion was attended by 400 students and held in honor of the revolutionary campaigner of black rights Malcolm X who himself had come to the Union 50 years ago. The topic was wether extremism in the defense of liberty is a vice, a revisitation of the topic debated by Malcom X a half century ago.
The topic ignited an evening of passionate exposition and engaging discussion. Radhanath Swami offered a soul searching presentation, challenging and encouraging the audience to expand the horizons of their vision on life’s journey. He focused on the underlying spiritual principle that can unite all people and elicited a vigorous and heart warming recognition from his friend Dr. West who could not restrain himself from leaping out of his seat and embracing Radhanath Swami with deep gratitude for his contribution. Not only was Dr. West so affected, but so too were Angela Davis and much of the audience, with some students submitting to tears in their own expressions of gratitude. The Oxford Union are especially grateful to Radhanath Swami for sharing his time to offer such a stirring and enlivening presentation, and have expressed their desire to hear from him again in the near future.
A video of Radhanath Swami’s talk and a photo gallery are below. A short video of appreciations from the other speakers, participants and audience members is above.