for ISKCON News on Feb. 11, 2012
ISKCON’s top managing authority, the Governing Body Commission, continues its efforts to put a face on itself and connect more with the general devotee public with a new website, gbc.iskcon.org
, launched at 1pm Mayapur time on Friday February 10th.
“There has been a lack of easily available information about the GBC---the structure, who the members are, what their particular services are, and what their plans are for ISKCON's future,” says ISKCON Communications Director Anuttama Dasa. “The new website will fill that gap.”
The GBC’s new Community Relations Director, Anuradha Dasi, and Yudhistira Govinda Dasa, a second generation devotee based at ISKCON New Delhi, have spent the last year working on the site, with Yudhistira Govinda putting hundreds of volunteer hours into the professional, clean, and easily navigable design.
The site includes many features that will help ISKCON members familiarize themselves with the GBC and its work. There’s a detailed description of the GBC’s governance structure, Srila Prabhupada’s vision for the GBC, and the GBC’s oath of allegiance, which each member reaffirms during every Annual General Meeting in Mayapur, India.
There are Frequently Asked Questions about the GBC, information about its Strategic Planning efforts, information about the various ministries and committees established by the GBC, and reports on the latest news about the GBC.
The site makes it much easier to understand what it is the GBC actually does, delivering transparency with detailed reports on its annual meetings, access to every GBC resolution made since 1975, and photos of the meetings in session.
To get to know your GBC, there’s also a “Members’ Profile” section, with a photograph of each GBC member and detailed information about their background and contributions, and a video message from the GBC chairman.
It’s all part of the GBC’s efforts to communicate with devotees, get the truth out there and dispel the myths. “People often learn what they know about the GBC by rumor or from the Internet,” the GBC’s new executive director Tamohara Dasa commented to ISKCON News recently. Now, there’s official information on the Internet that’s actually authoritative.
Some may feel it’s something that should have been done long ago.
“The GBC has major responsibilities, yet it has very limited resources,” Anuttama Dasa explains. “I wish we had done this ten years ago. But, hindsight is 20-20. In the last five years, the GBC has really focused on building and executing strategic plans to strengthen our society, and tried to get away from just problem solving.
The GBC members at the construction site of Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in Mayapur in 2011
Better GBC communication is part of of those larger efforts to plan and help ISKCON in measurable and sustainable ways.”
It’s time to look to the future, and the new efforts at communication are a very important part of that.
“The GBC was established by Srila Prabhupada to be the ultimate managing authority of our society,” says Anuttama. “Those leaders need to be in touch with our members to better serve them, to understand their needs, and to ensure members know what direction our leaders are heading, what opportunities are there for international cooperation, and how we can all play our critical roles in expanding and improving Lord Chaitanya’s sankirtan movement.”
The new website is a major step in the right direction, but is only part of the effort. There’s also the recent appointment of Anuradha dasi as the new GBC Community Relations Director, who will be working full time to help the GBC connect with ISKCON leaders and members around the world. And there are more plans for the future.
“While there will be ongoing improvements and updates to the site, now that it is up we’ll start to focus on the next specific steps to make the GBC more accessible and better understood,” Anuttama says. “Srila Prabhupada instructed us about the need to cooperate together, and that starts with better communication.”