In Celebration of Swami Vivekananda's 150th Birth Anniversary
October 6, 2013
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, University of Chicago
On October 6 the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago in collaboration with the Spiritual Life Office at the University of Chicago and the University's Committee on Southern Asian Studies, held a program at the University's Rockefeller Chapel, entitled “In Celebration of Swami Vivekananda's 150th Birth Anniversary.” The event was attended by around 700 people.
The program began with music by Sur Musafir, a student music group. Elizabeth Davenport, the Dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, welcomed everyone to the event. Her talk was followed by the lighting of 150 lamps in front of the image of Swami Vivekananda by Swami Shantarupananda, accompanied by chanting by the children of Chinmaya Mission.
Swami Varadananda, the Asst. Minister of the Vivekananda Vedanta Society, gave a keynote address on the significance of Swami Vivekananda and the Parliament of Religions. The Unity in the Dunes Church Choir sang three hymns, followed by a talk by Professor Rochona Majumdar on “Empowerment of Women” as inspired by Swami Vivekananda.
Swami Shantarupananda, head of the Vedanta Society of Portland, gave a talk on “Unity in Diversity.” A group from the Bengali Association of Greater Chicago then sang a few songs. This was followed by a talk by Professor Gary Tubb of the University of Chicago on “Upliftment of the Masses.”
The highlight of the program was the announcement of the appointment of the first two scholars to the “Indian Ministry of Culture Vivekananda Visiting Professorship” by Martha Roth, Dean of the Humanities Dept. at the University of Chicago. Sir Christopher Bayly of Cambridge University was appointed for 2014 and 2015. David Shulman of Hebrew University was appointed for 2016 and 2017. Both men are renowned scholars on India with many academic accomplishments.
Following the announcement, Swami Ishatmananda gave a talk on “Vivekananda's Contribution to Humanity.” The program concluded with Eastern & Western Fusion Music by Sur Musafir and a Vote of Thanks by Sumit Ray, who helped organize the program.