Louis Gainsborough

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Biographical Information

"Louis Gainsborough, a business entrepreneur and importer, traveled throughout Asia and became convinced that world peace depended upon an enduring and collaborative relationship between the East and the West. He was so moved by the embodied peace message of Mahatma Gandhi that he produced a documentary film featuring rare original footage of Gandhi. In 1957, on the day following his second inauguration, President Dwight Eisenhower screened Gainsborough’s film at the White House with Jawaharlal Nehru, then prime minister of India, and Gainsborough present.

"Recognizing that education was critical in creating an enduring East/West relationship, Gainsborough founded the first graduate school in the United States exclusively devoted to a study of Asia—the American Academy of Asian Studies. Gainsborough's launching of the Academy was a courageous act because of the contentious anti-Asian sentiment in the US: in 1951, the United States was still in the wake of its war with Japan and it was actively engaged in the Korean conflict. Nonetheless, Gainsborough persevered in his vision and his Academy not only led to the creation of CIIS later in 1968, but it also contributed much to shaping the San Francisco cultural milieu of the 1950s and 60s." [1]

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  1. CIIS and American Higher Education, integral-review, accessed November 2, 2011.