International Committee Meetings July 2013

Bill Taylor
At the end of July some 30 people came down to Brockwood to stay at the Krishnamurti Centre. They were there at the invitation of the Krishnamurti Foundation because of their work as members of the International Krishnamurti Committees. The weekend programme was packed with practical meetings about publications and what to do as committees, as well as more reflective dialogue groups on the challenge of disseminating, and indeed, living, the teachings.

The International Committee Meetings are held at Brockwood Park once every three years and they provide participants with the opportunity to exchange ideas with committee members from all over the world as well as to maintain a more personal relationship with the Krishnamurti Foundation. Participants came from a host of countries including Australia, China, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Tunisia, as well as most countries in Europe.

Pedro Lopez Merino works in the publications department of the Krishnamurti Foundation and in the morning of the first day of meetings he presented a new vision for getting Krishnamurti’s books in print in all the different countries. The traditional model is that publishers would contact the Foundation about books to publish. However, people are reading less books and Krishnamurti’s name is no longer as well known as it once was when he was alive.

Hands-on workshop
So Pedro outlined a new model. He encouraged committee members to identify possible publishers in their countries and to contact them directly to see if they have an interest in publishing Krishnamurti’s titles. At that point the Krishnamurti Foundation can come in to help sort out any rights and copyright issues. This ensures that the business of publishing is conducted on a more local level.

In the afternoon there was a hands-on workshop on the business of being a committee. Participants were asked to think of and present to one another one example of an activity they organised in the last year that they thought was a success. The focus was on the following questions: what was the activity and who was the target audience?; what were your goals for the activity?; how did you advertise it and find people to participate in it?; how did you pay for the activity?;  what was one challenge and how did you overcome it?; and what was one factor that contributed to its success?

Informal discussion
The hope was that committee members would analyze successful activities and learn from them. As it happens, however, some committees presented also some failures. In a way those were even more interesting than the successes in terms of learning from them. We learned that committees face challenges in the areas of working together with a diverse group of people, finding the right audience, attracting new volunteers to help organise new activities, appealing to a younger audience, and working with and through new media like Facebook and Twitter. At the same time there were also plenty of stories about putting on successful activities using little or no resources. Key, it seems, are committee members themselves, and, as one person pointed out, having the right motivation. Individual passion and creativity can and will often make a difference, as will perseverance. That was a word that was often mentioned as an important factor in successful activities.

Outside The Centre
In the second part of the workshop committee members formed groups to tackle four issues that they had indicated they were interested in and to make practical recommendations to the whole group: recommend new (realistic) activities that committees can undertake; recommend strategies to attract and retain new volunteers; recommend ways to attract a new audience using ‘new’ media; and recommend new ways in which committees can work together.

The four groups came up with many suggestions, one of which was to meet more regularly as committees to explore the teachings. This recommendation was acted on and a date was set for another meeting next year. Other recommendations were to arrange events organised around a specific theme in Krishnamurti’s teachings, to use Facebook in native languages rather than just English, to experiment with new ways to use dialogue, to include activities like walks or yoga in retreats, to invite guest speakers, and so on.

The Centre Conservatory
Participants listened to some newly released Krishnamurti talks, hand picked and introduced by Krishnamurti Foundation Head, Jerome Blanche. On both the first and second day there were also two dialogue groups. One looked at the challenge of disseminating Krishnamurti’s teachings and the other at what it means to actually live those teachings. These were less structured discussions focusing not just on practical matters and they allowed participants to enquire into the teachings.

There were also special guests. Brockwood Park School Co-Principal, Adrian Sydenham spoke to committee members about the school and about what the committees can do to support the school, like referring students or helping with outreach. Development Director, Bill Taylor explained the new Friends programme to the committees and spoke generally about the reciprocal relationship between Brockwood Park and the committees. Longtime Trustee, Dr. Mary Cadogan joined the meetings to address Krishnamurti’s own thoughts on the role of the committees. And finally Centre Head, Antonio Autor met to talk about starting and/or running a Krishnamurti Centre and/or Library.

The weekend ended with short presentations from committees to committees on their general activities. For a more detailed look at one committee’s activities click here to read the story of Krishnamurti in China. It was a packed weekend full of activities, reflection and hopefully also inspiration. Old friendships were renewed and new ones were made and participants returned to their respective corners of the globe energized to continue the creative challenge of disseminating Krishnamurti’s teachings.

Discussion picture
Workshop picture
Discussion picture
Meeting with Mary
Listening to audio
Listening to audio
Centre view