Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been nominated for the prestigious Gandhi Mandela Award to be held later this year. He founded the Art of Living Foundation in 1981, a volunteer-based NGO providing social support to the people. The Art of Living Foundation runs educational and self-development programs which offer powerful tools to eliminate stress and foster a sense of well-being.
In 1997, Sri Sri also founded the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) to coordinate sustainable development projects, nurture human values and coordinate conflict resolution in association with The Art of Living. He has been awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian award, in 2016.
Ravi Shankar was born in Papanasam, Tamil Nadu, to Visalakshi Ratnam and R. S. Venkat Ratnam. His first teacher was Sudhakar Chaturvedi, an Indian Vedic Scholar and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. After graduation, Shankar travelled with his second teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, giving talks and arranging conferences on Vedic science, and setting up Transcendental Meditation and Ayurveda centres. In 1992, he started a prison programme to rehabilitate prison inmates and help them reintegrate into society.
The Gandhi Mandela Award will be given to personalities who have made significant contribution in the fields of Peace, Social Welfare, Culture, Environment, Education, Healthcare, Sports and Innovation.