Mahatma Gandhi was a leader who believed in non-violent civil disobedience.

Many people around the world celebrated his 147th birthday on October 2 and all that he valued.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world", words spoken by a leader of peace.  Those words heard loud and clear as dozens of people gathered Sunday to celebrate International Day of Non-violence at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Waikiki.

"We change the world by changing people's minds and hearts and a lot of that comes from being witness to tension, violence, struggle.  And finding a sense of deep compassion growing from that," said Maya Soetoro-Ng of the Spark Matsunaga Institute for Conflict Resolution at the University of Hawaii.

Music, dance, and words of wisdom spoken - all to encourage understanding, acceptance and peace.

Raj Kumar of the International Institute of Peace said this year's celebration is even more meaningful.

"There is so much violence happening all around the world and so much distrust, and violence among police officers and locals on the mainland.  But we are lucky we have wonderful police officers in Hawaii and they come from various ethnic backgrounds and they treat us with respect and dignity.  We are the role model for the rest of the nation."

Explaining Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence and world peace, Maya Soetoro-Ng, said its important to look for the silver lining.

"With every struggle, with every tension, every conflict there's an opportunity to transform that conflict and to make use of the lessons of that conflict,"  said Soetoro-Ng.

Soetoro-Ng and Kumar among the many advocates of peace and change, saying it's a choice that has a positive impact.

"The transformation of society begins with the transformation of the individual.  Random acts of kindness in your school, at your workplace at your home in your neighborhood, how we help each other in our daily live that will change the world," said Kumar.