ISKCON Communications, the agency charged with interfacing with the public on behalf of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is undergoing a major makeover, including a new website at https://iskconcommunications.org/ with resources for the media and temple leaders, and a website redesign and rejuvenated social media presence for ISKCON News.
ISKCON Communications’ mission is to “create favorable environments for advancing the Hare Krishna Movement, by building confidence and faith in the integrity of the movement’s members and its mission.”
To achieve this, the Ministry and its global team interfaces and networks with the media, governments, religious leaders, academics, non-government organizations, and other social and community leaders. The team’s goal is to build mutually beneficial relationships with these entities and to work together to benefit and uplift society, remembering that the first of ISKCON’s Seven Purposes includes to promote “real unity and peace in the world.”
It was ISKCON Founder-Acarya Srila Prabhupada himself who first demonstrated these priorities through his efforts to garner support from opinion-leaders and policy makers across the world. Prabhupada regularly met with politicians, professors, religious leaders, scholars, parents of devotees, and media representatives wherever he traveled. Prabhupada shared his thoughts in a letter to Tejas Das in 1973, “Because we are in the material world sometimes we require that help…so try to make them [leaders of society] sympathizers.”
Following in his footsteps were his early disciple Mukunda Goswami, who began the ISKCON Communications Office in 1977, and current International Communications Minister Anuttama Das, who has been running the office since the mid 1990s.
While the previous ISKCON Communications website had been in service for a decade, a recent surge of growth in the Ministry’s activities necessitated a new site to make its full range of resources available to both devotees and external key audiences.
The new website was launched on Janmastami day, August 11th. It serves as an official source of digestible information for people outside ISKCON who want to find out about the movement. It’s also an excellent resource for temple leaders; and for devotees working in or interested in the communications field.
The site includes concise information about ISKCON and its Founder-Acarya; appreciations of Srila Prabhupada by scholars and world leaders; photos and videos of ISKCON temples, deities and activities; media releases; and ISKCON statements on important issues of the day.
There’s a media kit (the standard information format for media professionals) with fact sheets about ISKCON, and short articles on various aspects of the society such as its roots, philosophy, food relief programs, arts, holidays, and more.
There’s also contact information on how to get in touch with Communications representatives in different parts of the world, and a PDF download of ISKCON’s 50th anniversary magazine which covers the movement’s beliefs, practices, activities and members.
Finally, there’s a registration page for the ISKCON Communications Course online, which teaches devotees the principles and skills of effective communication.
Behind the website is an exciting team of communications veterans and second generation devotees, including Africa Director Nanda Kishor Das, Australasia Director Bhakta Das, European Director and Vice-Director Mahaprabhu Das and Parabhakti Das, India Director Yudhistira Govinda Das, Latin America Director Baladeva Das, North America Co-Directors Madanagopala Das and Kumari Kunti Sherreitt, web developer Fabio Cornero, and web designer Abhirama Thakur Das from Turin, Italy.
Meanwhile ISKCON News, another principle project of the Communications Ministry, is also receiving a burst of creative energy. Established in 2007, the site is a source of relevant and well-researched news about ISKCON and ISKCON’s interaction with the world at large. Keeping ISKCON’s members well-informed, connected and inspired, it’s also a resource for others to know what’s going on inside ISKCON.
Along with its long-running team of first and second generation writers, editors and web developers, ISKCON News has recently engaged social media and marketing professionals to broaden ISKCON’s appearance online and keep up with current trends.
Social Media and Marketing Manager Kamala Radha Dasi, who worked professionally in Social Media Marketing in the private sector for eight years, says, “ISKCON News is becoming more active on social media platforms. We have a busy Facebook account with over 130,000 followers, and are working to engage with our audiences in different ways, including running polls and contests. Our Instagram account is also building its audience, with new features to be announced soon.”
In addition, ISKCON News recently ran a contest to find a web designer, and will soon be redesigning its website and Facebook page with a fresh new look.
“We have many new features and perks in the works,” says Kamala Radha. “We are the trusted news source for ISKCON,and we’re going to go above and beyond to reflect the stories devotees want to hear, and to elevate the voices of the people in ISKCON with videos, live feeds, and much more varied content.”
Excited to usher in this next step for ISKCON Communications, Minister Anuttama Dasa adds, “Our vision is for ISKCON to be a highly respected and influential society all over the world. We’ve achieved that in some parts of the world, but not everywhere.”
The challenges he explains, are twofold: “Most people are unaware of Srila Prabhupada’s amazing contributions, the depth of our philosophy and culture, and the practical wisdom we bring to the issues of the day. Moreover, only a few devotees have been trained how to interact with the larger society in an effective, mutually beneficial way to bring out the best we have to offer the world.”
“Its our goal,” Anuttama concludes, “to change that.”
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Find a wealth of communications resources at ISKCON Communications’ new website: https://iskconcommunications.org/
Visit ISKCON News at our revamped social media pages: