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   International Advisory Council

 

 

Ms Vishakha DESAI, Sir Mark TULLY, Doudou DIENE,

Julian LINES, 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.

Minutes of the 17th Meeting of Auroville’s
International Advisory Council
July 24-26, 2009

 

 

Chairmanship:

At the beginning of this new term 2009-2013, we reelected Sir Mark TULLY as our Chairman, and Marc LUYCKX GHISI as our Vice Chairman.

 

1. Leadership:

Our general impression of Auroville is very positive. After the completion of Matrimandir, something is moving. There is both a practical and intuitive sense of a forward movement.

We are pleased to observe a real progress in responsible management of Auroville by Aurovillians themselves. We appreciate the contribution of the outgoing executives who laid the foundations. And we see the effective community-wide process of choosing the new Working Committee and Auroville Council. L’Avenir, FAMC and BCC are making progress with fresh and effective vigor.

We suggest Aurovilians should increase their trust in the work of the executive bodies. We suggest also that those bodies increase their reporting to the Aurovilians.

We suggest that the working Committee establishes a list of all the committees of Auroville with their mandate, job description and membership terms and composition.

We encourage all the groups to come up with a mechanism that allows for a stronger functioning of Auroville as a whole. It is clear that there is still a lack of communication among different groups and the inability to hear sincere criticism. We want to see a cohesive strategy to project Auroville as a 21st century incubator for holistic, sustainable, innovative solutions for the problems of this century. We therefore strongly recommend the various executive bodies take up the matter of creating a cohesive message of what Auroville stands for through specific examples and how the experiments can serve as models not only regionally, nationally but internationally.

 

2. L’Avenir d’Auroville 

We had the privilege to observe the July 22 meeting L’Avenir organized with world-class experts on town planning. They have done an excellent job in creating around them an outstanding advisory committee. This is a real “Dream Team” who can help guide L’Avenir in the complex task of planning Auroville’s growth.

And we were very interested to hear their advice on the necessity of having a plan for the whole bioregion, to instill a real win-win co-evolving relation with all the surrounding villages. They also insisted that the building of a city was not only a physical creation but also most of all, a social, cultural and spiritual creation, showing that they had a deeper understanding of Auroville’s ideals.

Those experts have to be listened to by L’Avenir team, and by the whole community, because of their unique constellation of talent and good will and their dedication to working with all stakeholders. We thus advise L’Avenir, the Working Committee and other working groups to come together to create a common and united vision. This would then help to bring the community to embrace construction of the city along Mother’s vision adapted to today’s necessities.

We particularly welcome Mr. B. V. Doshi, who attends the advisory committee meetings and is also a member of the Governing Board. In this capacity we feel it might be appropriate for Mr. Doshi to play a dynamic role to facilitate the relationship between the Governing Board, L’Avenir and the community at large.

 

3. Finance and Phasing out of Co-Signatory Agreement  

We congratulate FAMC and BCC because they have set out all working procedures that were requested by the Governing Board. The procedures are more transparent and things are going in a good direction. Aurovilians become more and more responsible executives of their finances.

Along those lines, we feel that the FAMC should be able to choose the auditor for their accounts. We urge once more transparency for ALL funds (including Government funds). This can be accomplished though the Unity Fund with all outside money coming into Unity with proper documentation. All projects should be related to the larger vision of Auroville.

Concerning the co-signatory agreement, we feel the time has come to cancel the co-signatory process.

 

4. Visas

We renew our appeal for the right to return of Boris, Dima and Krisz. We recognize the efforts of the Foundation but natural justice must apply to Aurovilians, especially in light of their acquittal. A satisfactory solution to this case will be a strong message to the Auroville community.

 

5. Land Acquisition

Protection of the lands, as we all know, is crucial. Creation of a policy document for public/private partnerships and forming an outside Land Trust to provide new tools and strategies for land purchase, trading and control should prove helpful.

We all understand there is no private property.

We repeat from our previous minutes that we believe Auroville should formally commit itself to the concept of land exchange but should bear in mind the sensitivities of those who have set up projects outside the greenbelt. To this end we propose the development of a policy document outlining the criteria for exchange of land, which takes into account these sensitivities.

We urge that goals and time limits be set for this objective and share the Chairman of the Governing Board’s view that this is crucial.

 

6. UNESCO

The achievement of UNESCO World Heritage status may be an important protection and promotion for Auroville. This status is not only for the preservation of historical sites, but applies to cultural and evolving projects as well. Auroville may be well served on many levels of protecting its goals and ideals and viability as a township by collaborating with the GOI to have this international recognition.

 

7. Fundraising and Outreach

As Auroville reaches new levels of sophistication and complexity, professional skills are needed to accomplish its goals. Training Aurovilians (of all ages) and bringing in consultants is a critical part of meeting the needs of the community. Raising funds and relating to the outside world require specific skill sets and preparation. The IAC will assist in making connections between Auroville’s needs and talents both in India and abroad with experts who understand and share our ideals.

The Working Committee and Resident’s Assembly can take on this responsibility and members of the International Advisory Council are ready to assist on projects creating a cohesive story and developing a plan to project the Auroville ideals to a broader community.

 

Conclusion

The IAC found the good will and talent of Auroville and its extended “family” of well-wishers to be quite remarkable. We are grateful for the efforts and vigilance on behalf of the community on the visa issue and many other fronts of Mr. Bagchi, Mr. Ramaswamy and Mr. Srinivasamurty.

We have previously requested and have been promised a comprehensive report on education. We look forward to receiving this in the near future.

Due to the recent creation of the WC and Council a number of items are pending and we appreciate the efforts made to prepare for this meeting. We felt very well cared for.
 
Better communication between the WC and Foundation would provide us with the program and schedules in advance. In the future we want to be more proactive than reactive and try to address the Big Picture in consultation with the community in order to have more effective processes for moving forward. The creation of clear policies and procedures does not mean a smothering of the Auroville spirit and freedom but rather the transparency promoting trust and collaboration.

There seems to be a special “harmonic convergence” of talent and good will. We urge all participants in this shared vision to create a model for the world to follow in their internal and external lives.

 

Next Meeting

We have decided to have our next IAC meeting in December 2009 followed by our joint meeting with the Governing Board on April 1st – 4th, 2010.

 

Auroville 26th  July, 2009

 

Vishakha DESAI   Mark TULLY   Doudou DIENE  
Julian LINES   
Marc LUYCKX GHISI

 

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