Michael Nagler is a widely respected scholar and advocate of Gandhi and nonviolence. Born in Brooklyn, NY he came to California in 1960 to do graduate studies in Classics and Comparative Literature at UC, Berkeley. In 1966 he accepted an appointment as Assistant Professor in those departments; later he founded the Peace and Conflict Studies Program on that campus, which is now one of the biggest in North America. He also served as chairman of the Religious Studies Program and for two years as Co-Chair of the Peace and Justice Studied Association. In 1970 he wrote Spontaneity and Tradition, an innovative study of oral poetry in the ancient world, and numerous articles on this and related subjects.
In 1983 he assisted the research for Sri Eknath Easwaran's masterful book, Nonviolent Soldier of Islam and in 1984 he, along with several other distinguished figures, nominated Abdul Ghaffar Khan for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was instrumental in getting Teri McLuhan to create the first full film treatment of Khan, Frontier Gandhi Badshah Khan a torch for peace, which won the top award for documentary in 2009 at the International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi.
Now professor emeritus at Berkeley, he is Founder and President of the Metta Center for Nonviolence (www.mettacenter.org); and author of Our Spiritual Crisis, and The Search for a Nonviolent Future, which received a 2002 American Book Award and has been translated into Arabic, Italian, Korean, Croatian, and several other languages. His most recent book (April, 2014 at Berrett-Koehler) is The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide to Practical Action. Other writings of his have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Tikkun, among other venues, as he has spoken and written about nonviolence, meditation, and world peace for academic, religious, and general audiences for more than forty years. He has served as consultant for colleges and universities in establishing peace studies programs (Northwestern, Sonoma State, Stanford, and others).
Among other awards, he received the Outstanding Contribution to Peace Education (Peace & Justice Studies Assoc., 2003) and the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values Outside India in 2007. In 2013 he was invited to give the annual address on Gandhi's birthday (Oct. 2) at the Gandhi Research Foundation in Jalgaon, India.
In addition to conducting many retreats and workshops on nonviolence and related through the Metta Center, he has helped to develop Roadmap, an ambitious scheme to coordinate progressive action along Gandhian lines, and is working on a major documentary on nonviolence. Metta is widely respected as a resource for Gandhian nonviolence and strategic consultation.
Michael is a student of Sri Eknath Easwaran, Founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation (www.easwaran.org). He has lived at the Center's ashram in Marin County since 1970 and is a presenter for their programs of passage meditation.