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Letter from the International Advisory Council for Auroville

6/6/17

Dear Aurovilians,

You will be aware that a new Governing Board for the Auroville Foundation is in the process of being nominated. We are all delighted that Dr. Karan Singh will continue as the Chairman of the new Board. As is the practice, a new IAC will also be constituted soon thereafter and we felt this might be an appropriate time to write to you and share a few thoughts.

First of all, we would like to thank you most sincerely for your hospitality, generosity and above all your active and genuine engagement with the IAC over the duration of our term. Together we achieved a great deal. We feel quite honored that we were, in a small way, a part of some exciting developments in Auroville.

We all need to look at the Retreat with much pride and satisfaction. It was an exhilarating experience for us all. It energized Auroville and brought out the enormous potential for creativity and imagination within the participants. It was a clear demonstration of what can be achieved when we all work together.

The Retreat in itself was only an event but the processes which led to its planning and the follow-up was an excellent example of how ideas can be created and how solutions can be generated.

Some of the exciting outcomes of the Retreat have been

  • The active engagement of the Youth within the Auroville system which will no doubt have far reaching benefits
  • The reformed methods of working within the various committee structures established at the retreat and thereafter
  • The pioneering way in which the Campus Initiative on Education has modeled the process of generating ideas and mobilizing individuals to create synergies within and between groups
  • The planning and visioning of the 50th Anniversary of the Auroville through the work of the Envisioning group
  • The initiatives on better communication, and importantly
  • The openness and transparency of an inclusive decision making process

These are only a few examples. As always, not everything is perfect but the process has begun in earnest and it is most satisfying to feel that we were there to witness it happen.

Of course, the process must continue. One of Aurovilian poets has described Auroville as Bhagirathi, the river Gunga. It must always flow to remain a river, to be dynamic and to sustain life. It cannot afford to stop and stagnate!

The IAC was engaged in the development of a more comprehensive education plan for incoming students. Individual IAC Members also worked towards a better connection between surrounding villages and the community.

Throughout our association with you we provided a keen ear to your ideas, thoughts and sometimes even frustrations and disappointments. Equally, we communicated to you our own observations in all sincerity. We greatly valued the openness and honesty of our dialogue and it is in that same spirit we must share areas which we feel deserve your greater attention.

These include:

• The further growth of the City

• A more active role of the SAIIER in education initiatives and as a hub of generating creative ideas and practices for teachers

  • A more rigorous effort to welcome and induct new Aurovilians
  • A greater engagement with and capitalizing on the sustainable livelihoods initiative
  • A systematic development of eco- architecture and green infrastructure as a signature Auroville model
  • New models of public transportation
  • A more effective outward communication within and outside India particularly with potential Aurovilians
  • Continuing the development of the Youth and their active participation in the affairs of Auroville.
  • Evolving new models of voluntary simplicity, sustainable farming and integrative medicine as a model for India and the world

These are not mere aspirations. They are essential for the long-term existence of Auroville as a unique Centre for the natural and spiritual evolution of humanity as a whole. We continue to remain hopeful and optimistic in that cause.

Projects in collaboration with your friends around the world, such as Acres for Auroville for acquiring the land, have yielded substantial results. We hope the new Governing Board and IAC can partner with you on this and other opportunities for outreach. Your integral vision is important not only for your bioregion and for India but for the health and progress of our planet.

Finally, we would like to thank you again. We feel much enriched, personally and spiritually, by our association with Auroville. We have also learnt a great deal and gained insight into one of the rarer experiments of our lifetime. We are humbled by your dedication to the ideal of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. It has been a hugely rewarding experience and an honour!

We look to the 50th, and beyond with great interest, hope and expectation!

Sincerely yours,

Mark Tully, Vishakha Desai, Shaunaka Rishi Das, Kabir Shaik, Julian Lines

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