Jagdish S. Gundara ’62

Jagdish S. Gundara ’62 died in December 2016, in London, England.

(The following, written by Richard Bourne, was published in The Guardian, on Dec. 16, 2016:)

My friend Jagdish Gundara, who has died aged 78, was a shrewd and nuanced commentator on the theory and practice of education for diversity. He was Unesco professor of intercultural studies and teacher education, and emeritus professor of the Institute of Education, University College London. He was, from its inception in 1979, director of the centre for intercultural education at the Institute of Education.

Jagdish shared his ideas about interculturalism at conferences throughout the world, and was founder and president of the International Association of Intercultural Education. Convivial and mischievous, he was never happier than when fulminating against reactionary idiocy with friends over lunch in Bloomsbury.

He was born in Nairobi, the son of Darbar Singh, a forester, and his wife, Jagir Kaur Gundara. He attended the Duke of Gloucester school, an Indian grammar school in Nairobi. His first degree, in international relations, was from Bowdoin College in Maine; it was followed by a master’s from McGill University and a doctorate at Edinburgh University, where his thesis was on British extraterritorial jurisdiction in Zanzibar in the 19th century.

After a spell as a teacher at Starcross school, Islington (later Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school), he became a multi-ethnic liaison officer for the Inner London Education Authority in Islington. When the ILEA and Institute of Education decided in 1979 to set up the pioneering centre for intercultural education, he was appointed its director.

He was committed to getting educational diversity better understood, going beyond simplistic notions of anti-racism and social cohesion. He supported the campaign to get the UK back into Unesco after the Thatcher government had withdrawn, and was active in promoting human rights in the Commonwealth. He was chairman of the Scarman Trust, a commissioner for the Commission for Racial Equality, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Unicef. He was the author of Interculturalism, Education and Inclusion (2000) and published widely on human rights, education and multicultural studies.

He is survived by his wife, Sarah.

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