The 2008 GBC Meetings dedicated to strategic planning are underway at ISKCON Juhu, Mumbai, India until the 23rd of October.
ISKCON’s GBC (Governing Body Commission) was founded by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1970 to manage the movement. The main GBC meetings are held annually in Mayapur, India during the Gaura Purnima festival.
These meetings in Mumbai are specifically dedicated to Strategic Planning, in other words, planning for the future direction and management of ISKCON, beyond the life span of any person or group of persons.
While Strategic Planning was always an integral part of the GBC agenda, it was rejuvenated in 2006 when the then GBC Chairman Bhakti Vaibhava Swami felt the urgent need to plan for ISKCON’s future and called a meeting in Prabhupadadesh, Italy. Thereafter, the GBC body meets at least twice a year to discuss the future vision and has set up the following sub-committees which oversee significant aspects of strategic planning:
a. Establishment of Srila Prabhupada’s Position Committee: helps to ascertain the special nature of Srila Prabhupada as Founder-Acharya and its implication practically, theoretically and theologically for new and existing members of ISKCON.
b. Succession Committee: tries to identify future leadership, inspire and train them.
c. Constitution Committee: works on formulating a constitution for ISKCON.
d. Core Preaching Strategies: determines and implement core strategies Srila Prabhupada passed down including book distribution, varnasram, educating our children, etc.
e. Devotee Care: looks for ways to care for devotees, provide for sick and
elderly, and make every devotee feel comfortable and happy within ISKCON.
f. Parallel Lines of Authority and Finances: This committee aims to strike a balance between various levels of leadership in ISKCON. It helps to facilitate smooth operation between GBC members, initiating spiritual masters (gurus) and members of renounced order of life (sannyasis). They will particularly offer criterion for clear lines of authority as well as
write job descriptions and financial guidelines for members of ISKCON's leadership on various levels.
g. GBC Team Building: strives to develop initiatives for team building that respect and increase human relationship on a spiritual level and work together towards common goals.
h. GBC Organizational Development: This team is working to organize the management structure from the GBC down in order to maximize the efficacy of management at all levels of ISKCON's governance.
Besides the above mentioned subcommittee meetings, selected GBC members will also attend the Guru Seminar, Kirtan Standards meeting, Team Building Strategies meeting, BBT meetings and Law Book meeting respectively.
Kaunteya Dasa, member of the Strategic Planning Team stated, “Our team works under the direction of the GBC Executive Committee. The focus of these strategic meetings is not limited only to planning, we work towards fulfilling strategies.”
The meetings shall conclude with a presentation on Prabhupada’s office by Gopal Krishna Goswami, GBC for Mumbai, and a cultural program by students of the Bhaktivedanta Swami Mission School.
Braj Hari Das, President of ISKCON Juhu mentioned, “We are honored to host the meetings. Srila Prabhupada said ‘Bombay is my office’ and thus it is only relevant that the GBC meetings are held here. The expansion of the temple through the ‘Heaven on Earth’ project has allowed us more space and we invite the Strategic Planning Team to hold their meetings annually in Mumbai”.