ISSJS -2008/03 - A Brief Progress Report

Posted: 01.04.2008
Updated on: 12.11.2010

Starting in 2005 and with 7 participants only, the ISSJS has grown to 36 participants in 2008. So far, ISSJS has graduated 53 scholars and after the completion of ISSJS 2008 at end of July, 2008, we will have graduated nearly 90 scholars from this school. These scholars come from more than 20 universities in USA, Canada, Russia, Thailand, Cambodia, Cuba and Philippines.

Here is a Brief snapshot of the highlights and the progress of ISSJS Program:

Class of 2008 will consist of 36 scholars from 4 countries and nearly 16 top notch universities such as Harvard, Northwestern, U of Chicago, George Washington University, University of Toronto, Concordia University, and Loyola Marymount University etc.

As a result of ISSJS programs, nearly 700-800 students are now regularly attending classes in Jainism at several North American universities and colleges.

A few of the ISSJS scholars are now going to be enrolled in PhD programs with major emphasis on Jainism.

As a result of the feedback, beginning with 2008 session, we are introducing two separate parallel ISSJS programs; One month program an introduction to Jainism for undergraduate students (to make them interested early in Jainism to pursue graduate studies) and our regular Two month advanced study program for faculty and Grad students. In addition, we will be offering classes in Prakrit, Hindi and Gujarati languages as well to some interested scholars.

For the first time 3 stand alone sessions on Jainism were presented at AAR (American Academy of Religions) Conference in San Diego, California in November 2007 and from now onwards, Jainism will be included in AAR and DANAM conference programs

Some of the papers from AAR conference are going to be published in couple of magazines such as Arhat Vacan etc.

Tim Helton; an ISSJS alumni of 2005 and now doing PhD at Drew University has published several scholarly papers on Pratikraman and on What is common between 3 As (Ahimsa, Anekantavada and Aprigraha) and 3 Ms (Mahavir, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King) etc.

Some of ISSJS alumni are now in the process of writing books. Sarah Hadmack (ISSJS Class 2005 and an instructor at Windward Community College in Honolulu, Hawaii) is in the process of writing a college level text book on Jainism and also a Travelogue book on her travels to India for ISSJS in 2005 and in 2007. In addition, Dr. Shugan Jain, ISSJS India Director has been collaborating with several international Academics to write chapters on Jainism.

ISSJS joined hands with Harvard University Pluralism Project, University of Ottawa, Indo Canadian Shastri Institute, and Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute to promote this program and to make use of their resources of facilities and faculty.

The ISSJS web site has been updated (visit A set of very scholarly written 66 lecture notes (about 550 pages) on many topics of Jainism have been uploaded on ISJS web site. These are now a must reading for all scholars prior to their coming to ISSJS classes.

PROGRESS IN THAILAND; Since 2006, ISJS New Delhi and Mr. Pramod Jain of Bangkok, Thailand have been working very diligently to publicize this program, enroll scholars from Far Eastern Universities and arrange or participate in interfaith academic programs and conferences at universities there. Pramod bhai has been sending Scholars to ISSJS from Thailand, Cambodia and Philippines regularly. As a result of the many contacts there that Pramod ji has developed, ISJS is planning a specifically designed an additional Second School in April-May 2009 in Thailand also. Also ISJS has sent a set of 10 books each to fifteen universities of Thailand.

Similarly, we are working with a few universities in North America to create Departmental libraries of 30-40 selected books on Jainism.

For the first time, a few scholars in ISSJS Class 2008 are interested to study Jainism and its applicability to medical, bio, Pubic health ethics and issues, Jain art, paintings, carvings, sculptors and music etc.

In not too distant a future, we will be looking at implementing e-Distant learning so that the whole world becomes a class room 24 hours a day 7 days a week for Jain studies.

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