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International Advisory Council

 

 

Ms Vishakha Desai | Sir Mark TullyDoudou 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 18 th Meeting of Auroville's
International Advisory Council

January 3-5th, 2010

 

The IAC during the meeting. Photo by Manohar.

 

•  Governance and Leadership

 

Once again we are pleased to observe real progress by the new Working Committee to follow good process and promote transparency and participation of the community. We think the devolution process of the Governing Board empowering the Working Committee is very positive.

 

We asked last time and again request that the Working Committee establishes a list of all the committees of Auroville with their composition, mandate, job description and membership terms and so that governance and decision-making processes at Auroville are clear for all parties concerned.

 

For enhancing continuity and stability in Auroville we propose the term of the Working Committee be extended to 4 years.

 

We recommend and are ready to help develop an entry and exit policy.

 

•  L'Avenir d'Auroville

 

We support the Governing Board's process to assess and prepare for the next phase of L'avenirs' critical work.

 

Shri BV Doshi's participation as an advisor in this process is crucial. Action must be taken on his input in a timely manner.

 

L'Avenir needs greater expertise and specific skill sets brought in by consultants.

 

We encourage a re-examination of International Zone. The current layout does not reflect the world situation and current trends and we caution against distribution via print and powerpoint of the model we were shown, a model of the International Zone that may reflect poorly on Auroville's ideals (for instance the allocation of only 8 acres for Africa). The key principle in IZ should be that of universality and connectivity.

 

 

 

 

•  Visas

 

We once again 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 of legal charges.

 

Again we appreciate the efforts and vigilance on behalf of the community of Mr. Bagchi, Mr. Ramaswamy and Mr. Srinivaasmurty as well as Dr. Karan Singh and the Governing Board members. It is a particular delight to interact with them and see their dedication to Auroville.

 

We are happy to hear that substantial progress has been made to allow long-term visas to be extended without Aurovilians having to leave the county.

 

 

•  Auroville's Engagement in the Outside World: Visitors/Students/Engaged Travelers and Virtual Visitors

 

Auroville is increasingly receiving large numbers of visitors challenging the capacity of Auroville to handle them properly. It is crucial that a comprehensive plan is developed to handle the variety of visitors who come in contact with Auroville.

 

We should remember that Auroville is located in India , therefore it is appropriate that Indians have access to and understand the project. A systematic plan needs to be developed so that casual weekend travelers and deeper seekers can have an appropriate experience according to their interests.

 

At every encounter visitors should get a clear message about Auroville's aims whether shopping at the Visitor's Center or learning about sustainable development. There should be, for example, little booklets attached to the objects to explain the context.

 

Engaged Travelers

For this group, visitors interested in learning about Auroville's different activities separate thematic trails could be developed (for example in Arts, Healing, Education and Ecology). This will necessitate greater coordination among different working units, but it could also be useful for a virtual experience of Auroville (see below).

 

Virtual Visitors

The online experience of Auroville should have the same layered approach as the one developed for visitors to Auroville. Easy access to key areas of Auroville's work as noted above should be a high priority for the website.

 

We are pleased to learn that some work is already under way in this area and IAC members are ready to help in developing this comprehensive plan.

 

 

 

 

Student/Interns

We are pleased to learn about the coordinating initiative of AVISP for students and interns. It is important to note that engagement with this group is crucial to Auroville's future development, as they could be future members of the community.

A comprehensive plan engaging students, get their feedback, strengthen their program. We should develop more dorm style housing within Auroville where they also have an opportunity to interact with one another and learn about the broader perspectives of Auroville that include both spiritual and physical dimensions.

 

We could have green buttons on the website to encourage a holistic understanding of Auroville's environmental restoration work.

 

Arts, sustainability, education can follow the links and see the information with various views of Auroville: Architecture trail, Art Trail , Eco Trail, Yoga Trail, Healing Trail.

 

AVISP service for Students and Interns is a very good initiative and follow up contact and feedback should be part of the total visitor experience.

 

We were interested to hear that Sadhana Forest , where consumer society stops, draws the most visitors.

 

•  Education

 

We've asked and not received a comprehensive report on education.

 

There are important opportunities to fund new educational initiatives from the Central Government.

 

We recommend all education work to come together and be brought to the funding authorities. We encourage a transparent process for current and future grants so that priorites and allocation be collectively resolved.

 

It is crucial that coordinated approach is made to the Government institutions in New Delhi for funding instead of isolated initiatives.

 

 

•  UNESCO

 

 

IAC welcomes the appointment of Mrs. Bukova as the new Director General and also Dr. Karan Singh as India 's representative at UNESCO's Executive Board. Auroville should initiate a comprehensive program of relationships highlighting Auroville's contribution to UNESCO's Educational, Scientific, Environmental and Cultural activities. We should have a particular emphasis on the designation of Auroville on the World Heritage List and Auroville's contribution to UNESCO's convention on intangible heritage. World Heritage is about the common heritage of mankind. This principal was akin to the founding principlest of Auroville. Sonia Gandhi herself has asked for a serious study of this.

 

The existing UNESCO group should be enlarged accordingly and complete the preparation for Mrs. Bukova's visit. Bulgaria has had a special relationship with AV and this should be documented and presented to her. IAC members are willing to help prepare for this program.

 

•  New Suggestions on the IAC's role

 

In order to make the IAC's advisory role more effective we have decided to have a more focused relationship in key areas.

 

This would allow for a more productive interaction between IAC and the community between our meetings and a greater utilization of the expertise of each of the IAC members. We suggest the following areas of focus with individual members of the IAC:

 

Doudou: Education, UNESCO and Intercultural Relations

 

Vishaka: Auroville's Face to the Outside World and the Visitor's Experience, especially internships and the younger people

Julian: AVI Outreach and appreciation of Indian Culture and Fundraising

 

Mark Tully: Relationship with the media and review of written materials.

 

Marc Luyckx: Governance, Spirituality and Auroville Institute of International Management

 

We have asked the Working Committee to develop a process by which this work can be carried out. It is our intention that each member will prepare a short report on his or her area of focus after a year and make its recommendations to the

 

•  Dates of the Next Meeting

 

Our next meeting will be April 1, 2 and 3 and November 2 and 3, 2010

Dates: As much as possible we want our visit to Auroville to coincide with that of the Governing Board.

 

Auroville, January 4th, 2010

Vishakha DESAI Mark TULLY Doudou DIENE Julian LINES Marc LUYCKX GHISI

 

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