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International Advisory Council, 15th meeting

 

 

Mark Tully   | Doudou Diene  |  Michael Murphy
Marc Luyckx Ghisi

 

Reflecting the international nature of the project, Auroville has an International Advisory Council made up of eminent people from several nations who are available to give advice to Auroville and its Governing Board. The Council normally meets once or twice a year in Auroville. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the foundation of Auroville, the IAC members met on February 26- 27, 2008.

Minutes of the 15th Meeting of the International Advisory Council

1. Approval of the minutes
The minutes of the 14th meeting were approved by the Council as they were written by IAC Members themselves.

2. 40th Anniversary
In this moment when we celebrate the 40th anniversary
of Auroville’s existence, the Auroville community cannot
be congratulated enough on the achievements of those
40 years.

Matrimandir has been completed as the living
symbol of the Auroville pioneering generation’s soul
searching, along with its power to create and manifest.


One may safely say that not only the soul symbol stands
completed but also that material foundations for a
developing township have been laid, again through hard
and inspiring work and creativity.

3. Executive Leadership

As we suggested last time, it is important that Aurovilians strengthen their executive power now given by the Residents Assembly to the working Committee.
And Aurovilians should not put undue obstacles to the working of this executive power. After legislation is passed and decided, things need to be enacted.
It is also increasingly important that decisions be taken by this executive power in a competent and most transparent way. And one way could be that the term of office of the Working Committee be prolonged until 4 years, in order to give them more time to learn practice and excel in their job.
4. Education
We are strongly disappointed to see that the more comprehensive report we had asked for from the Working Committee and SAIIER, has not been delivered.
This comprehensive report is very important for us, because not only will it provide a comprehensive picture of all the educational activities in Auroville, but it will also provide visibility and credibility for Auroville in the outside world.
We ask again for this report in order to be able to advise on educational activities in Auroville.
We also suggest Aurovilians to present it in Paris at the UNESCO conference of October 08

.
5. Land consolidation and l’Avenir d’Auroville
• We again recommend that the Governing Board recognizes l’Avenir d’Auroville as soon as possible.
• AVI PROPOSAL: We have read with great interest the very innovative proposal of AVI International to shift paradigm in the whole approach to land acquisition and relationship with the villages. Those new ideas should be carefully studied by l’Avenir d’Auroville and all groups concerned. AVI proposal provides an excellent opportunity to review Auroville’s land policy in view of Mother’s ideals.
• We repeat what we have already said: IAC strongly recommends an integrative and a comprehensive approach to the Land consolidation issue. Such a process should be seen as an integral part of the creation of a model “green city”, encouraging greater support from international agencies.

• OUTLYING REGIONS: We repeat that in our opinion, and seen from outside, Auroville belongs to nobody. This means that no one owns land in Auroville. In order to consolidate all Auroville lands within the city, and in the green belt, it is possible that
outlying land will have to be sold or swapped. It is thus important that residents in the outlying regions understand these challenges for the future of Auroville, and consider seriously the possibility of moving to the planned city, with all necessary assistance and support.
• ETHICAL and SOCIAL CHALLENGES: We would like to underline a social and ethical challenge in the housing policy. In line with Auroville’s ideals of Human unity, this housing policy should aim at diminishing the class divides between rich and poor houses inside and outside Auroville. However, in recognizing the complexity of this issue, we simultaneously affirm the importance of ethical values, aesthetics, diversity in lifestyle, and freedom of choice. In all of this we do not want to promote rigid rules and conformity.
• BEACH EROSION: We share the deep concern on this issue and encourage the Auroville Development Council to continue its lobbying with the Government of India, the governments of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.

6. International Zone
As we have required in our former reports, guidelines for national/or regional pavilions should be formulated as soon as possible by the Working Committee. A planning process should be drafted as soon as possible and responsibilities should be defined.
The Conference at the UNESCO on the “Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Establishment of Auroville, an International Township”, in October 2008 seems an excellent opportunity to highlight this international zone. Auroville will not be able to make use of this opportunity unless it has a clearly formulated policy on the pavilions.
The program of this Paris meeting should be sent to us as soon as possible.


7. Visas
We invite the Government of India to consider a new comprehensive visa policy based on stability, continuity, and security for Aurovilians.
We reiterate our call for the reintegration of Boris and the 2 boys.
We express our great concern about the problems regarding the requirement that some Aurovilians must return to their country of origin for a visa renewal. We believe this is an onerous requirement that should be eliminated as soon as possible.
We agree with the working Committee’s point of view regarding this issue and note that the Secretary of the Foundation, does as well.


8. The role of the Foundation

Given the sensitivity and deep concern shared with us by Aurovilians regarding this issue, we strongly believe that the roles and duties of the Governing Board, the Residents Assembly, the Working Committee, the International Advisory Council, and the Secretary of the Auroville Foundation be clarified as soon as possible. In pursuit of this clarity, we repeat here what we have stated in our last report, in agreement with the Secretary of the Foundation:
The functioning and development of Auroville should take into account 5 basic principles:

1 Respect for and full awareness of Mother’s ideals.
Auroville is a human spiritual adventure that should be protected and nurtured. The Central consideration here is that these ideals permanently inspire the functioning and progress of Auroville and the solution of all its problems.

2. Aurovilians are the main actors of Auroville’s development.

3. There has been and continues to be a strong commitment of the Indian Government without which the realization of Auroville’s ideals would be impossible. The role of the Government is to protect and to facilitate Auroville’s development in all its aspects.

4. As and when possible, all decisions should and must be taken by the Aurovilians, in consultation with the representatives of the Governing Board.
The Auroville Foundation can and must intervene only if there is incompetence or if the issues require the participation or involvement of the Government of India.

5. In keeping with the newest trends in the international management circles, both in the corporate and in the non profit world, Auroville’s management should reflect transparency, empowerment, participation and networking.


Concretely, all organizational structures must reflect a dual reality.

1. The unique specificity of Auroville as a multicultural, international, and spiritual enterprise.

2. The important contribution of the Indian Government in creating the Auroville Foundation Act and in allowing and protecting this experiment.

Therefore the notion of unity should be actually amplified by merging in this Unity Fund, all Governmental and private donations together. The mechanism of appointment of the Executives must be as transparent as possible. The Secretary of the Foundation must be a member of this executive body in a fruitful collaboration. His role is to participate in the decision making process.
If this process of strengthening collaboration, transparency and respect for diversity of Auroville has been achieved, the credibility of the Unity Fund will be greatly enhanced and the co-signing issue will become unnecessary.
In the principle of partnership between the Community of Auroville and the Secretariat of the Foundation, IAC considers that a major progress will be achieved and future conflicts will be avoided, if:

• on the one hand, the community fully understands and accepts the profound commitment of the Indian government to the ideals of Auroville, its establishment and its future development.

• and on the other hand, the Secretary of the Foundation, while bringing the highest level of administrative competence, integrity and efficiency, fully accepts the uniqueness of cultural climate and the sensitivity of the interpersonal relationships embodied in the Auroville experiment.

IAC appreciates the receptivity of the Secretary Mr Ramaswamy to its recommendations and acknowledges the quality of the collaboration of the Secretariat and in particular of Mr Srinivasamurty.
These principles provide a strong base for further clarification of roles and duties of the various bodies involved in the governance of Auroville.
We recommend that the Governing Board create a working group able to clarify the role of the Government of India in relation to the Auroville Foundation and the Auroville community.
We would like to receive a report on this issue for the next meeting.

9. Co –signatory provisional agreement

We propose a prolongation of six more months of the provisional agreement, and ask for a report and evaluation on the functioning of this agreement. In the meantime we call for a joint solution for the problems identified like delays and other problems.


10. Entry process
Here is what we said in our former meeting: Given the importance of the “Entry process” into Auroville, IAC has decided to put this particular issue on the agenda of the next meeting.


11. FAMC
We strongly recommend that the functioning of the FAMC be a collaborative exercise. We insist on 3 points: on the importance of regular meetings. The agenda should be prepared by the Aurovilians well in advance. Autonomy of the Aurovilians is the aim.


12. Transparency
We insist once again on transparency, on the side of all executive Aurovilian groups, (Maintenance, Unity Fund, Fund raising, etc) and on the side of all the Auroville Foundation activities, Governments funds, and financial decisions. Everything should be available on the web.
There should be a transparent complete picture of income and expenditures of all funds available.
Transparency is increasing trust and diminishing drastically stress and division.


13. CIRHU and University of Human Unity

We have been impressed by the intellectual creativity of so many Aurovilians.
We also deeply appreciate new initiatives such as CIRHU and the University of Human Unity. We find a great interest in this nascent university. And we welcome the idea of CIRHU as a network able to coordinate and make visible many rich and innovative Aurovilian initiatives, linking them with other experiments in the world.
We invite all these initiatives to coordinate much more, if possible.


14. Upasana
We all have been deeply impressed by the Upasana experience, which provides a stunning example of what a single person and her network can do to change the world. We give this initiative our enthusiastic support and feel that it should be more widely publicized. It is an “iconic” and stunning example of the many excellent projects which the world knows too little. It melts together creativity, social concerns, team work, ethics and spiritual inspiration. And it is realized by a young Aurovilian woman of the second generation. This experiment opens up hope for the future. We welcome the idea to present this Upasana initiative at the UNESCO conference in October 08 in Paris.


15. Fund Raising
We advise the creation of a “Fund raising Office”. And we are ready to advise and help in giving ideas and in finding new and innovative ways to raise funds. This office needs to hire professionals who understand, accept and share Auroville’s ideals. We believe that money is there around Auroville and waits for evidence of accountability, transparency and improved financial management.


16. Next meeting
We propose the 25th and 26th of August 08 for our next meeting.


Auroville Feb 27 2008,

Mark Tully, Doudou Diene, Michael Murphy, Marc Luyckx Ghisi

Minutes of the 23rd meeting

Minutes of the 20th meeting

Minutes of the 18th meeting

Minutes of the 15th meeting

Minutes of the 11th meeting

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