MARCH 5, 2015
The GBC’s Strategic Planning Network (SPN) concluded its five-day bi-annual meeting in Mayapur. Facilitated by the GBC’s Strategic Planning Team, numerous SPN committees, made up of GBC members, ISKCON leaders and thinkers from across the globe, continued to explore new ideas and initiatives with a view to provide documents and other published materials that will form a powerful and comprehensive plan for the future of ISKCON. These ideas and initiatives will ensure that ISKCON develops into a strong, healthy society solidly rooted in Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, with a strong, loving, worldwide community to serve those who have not yet discovered Krishna consciousness.
The SPN is currently made up of the following committees:
- Devotee Care
- GBC Team Building
- Global Finance
- Gurus of the Future
- Lines of Authority
- Organizational Development
- Srila Prabhupada’s Position
- Sustainable Vaisnava Communities
- Temple Development and Systems Administration
- VANDE (for the development of the arts in ISKCON)
Great work has come out of these SPN committees so far. The most demonstrable successes have been the two excellent ISKCON Leadership Sangas (ILS) of 2012 and 2014, which took place in Mayapur and attracted global participation from over 1800 ISKCON leaders. The planning of ILS 2016 is underway. We anticipate the Sanga attracting an even larger number of ISKCON leaders as the importance and appreciation of such conferences grows. The GBC SPN looks forward to hosting ISKCON’s leaders for the ILS 2016 in Mayapur, as the celebrations for ISKCON’s 50th Anniversary get underway.
Following from the various successes and to ensure that the GBC’s strategic plan continues to move forward – and to increase the quality of the committees’ offerings – each SPN committee was invited to reexamine and renew ways in which it can refresh, re energize, and restructure.
Strategic Planning Team (SPT) members guided the committees through a process of project planning to systematically take each of the committee’s initiatives from idea to implementation. The newly formed SPN Production Team, a skilled group of devotees, will play a significant role now in helping the committees to produce their ideas in whatever form best suits them, whether that’s in the form of a book or a web page, as curriculum, well-researched white papers, or in webinars. The end product will ensure the SPN’s work is tangible and useful for temples, communities, and preachers worldwide.
Members of the newly formed SPN Production Team were invited to attend the SPN meetings in Mayapur. Those who were there came from all kinds of backgrounds – we got project managers and web designers, graphic artists and financial experts, engineers, copywriters, and marketers. If you would like to learn more about the newly formed SPN Production Team or have skills you can offer, the SPT would love to hear from you. Please write to us at:
Some examples of the successes coming out of this year’s meeting:
The Devotee Care Committee is one of the largest in membership of all the SPN committees. Experienced devotees are working together to produce a course to help train ISKCON leaders worldwide in various aspects of devotee care.
The Outreach Committee is working on a course to guide and train devotees to preach more effectively and improve their capacity to communicate better with ISKCON’s various audiences. Devotees worldwide are meeting people daily through various outreach projects. However, we don’t have effective systems in place to stay in touch with those we meet after we make the initial contact. The Outreach Committee is exploring how to create a measurable follow-up system that would produce a positive impact in the aftercare we can offer to those introduced to Krsna consciousness.
The Srila Prabhupada’s Position Committee (SPPC) built on the success of last year’s work, where they published two websites about Prabhupada, one for a devotee audience (www.founderacharya.com) and one for a nondevotee audience (www.prabhupada.net). The book Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya, authored by His Grace Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu, was a significant part of the SPPC’s work. The book is meant to serve as a legacy paper that will guide ISKCON leaders into the future. As for their ongoing work, new seminars were among the various ideas discussed.
VANDE is a dynamic team of first-, second-, and even third-generation devotees who are passionate about presenting Krsna consciousness through any and all art forms. This team will work to revamp its website with the help of the SPN Production Team, and also begin producing a quarterly e-magazine to showcase the artistic and cultural achievements of global ISKCON’s many talented artists.
The Education Committee explored ideas for the upcoming ISKCON Leadership Sanga in Mayapur, February 2016. Possible ideas are to work toward gathering a large variety of educational projects from across ISKCON and displaying them in a single marquee called the “ISKCON Education Expo.”
Lastly, some exciting news on a groundbreaking initiative coming out of the collaboration of three committees, the Succession Committee, the Organizational Development Committee, and the Appointments Committee (we call this collaboration SOA for short). The GBC College for Leadership Development opens its doors to its first students on March 5, 2015. The College, which will initially be based at the Govardhan Eco-Village (ISKCON Chowpatty’s farm, two hours north of Mumbai), will train ISKCON’s next generation of leaders. All students from ISKCON communities anywhere in the world accepted for admission will participate in both formal residential courses run at the school and online courses offered through innovative web-based systems set up by the SPN Temple Development & Systems Administration Committee (TDSA). The TDSA will be using the Edx open-source web platform – a revolutionary, cutting-edge Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) platform created by Harvard & MIT. The opening of the GBC College for Leadership Development is a historic moment for ISKCON, and we hope it will be remembered as a significant contribution to future generations of devotees.
Meetings concluded with new energy for the coming year.
Hare Krsna. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
GBC Community Relations Office of the Strategic Planning Network
Images of SPN can be viewed on GBC’s official webpage link: SPN 2015