HG Lokarama Dasa of ISKCON Ypsilanti receiving his GBC College certificate. All images are courtesy of the GBC College.
An exceptional group of North American leaders gathered in New Vrindaban on March 18-26th for the concluding session of their year-long training with the GBC’s College for Leadership Development. They were directed by HG Rupanuga Prabhu, President of the GBC College, and HG Govinda Priya Devi, Vice-President of the GBC College. This Zonal Supervisor Training program equips participants with various skills and tools in spiritual excellence, personal relationships, and organizational and administrative effectiveness.
Since 2015, the GBC College has trained leader candidates on multiple continents worldwide. Candidates for the program are selected by their GBC leaders and further vetted by the GBC College Admissions Committee. “I attended the GBC College as a student. I’ve also taught the Communications Course there several times, both with the Indian and North American branches of the College,” he continued, “I think this is a significant initiative for ISKCON because it’s training devotees with the vision and practical skills to be better leaders at all levels within our society. “said HG Anuttama Dasa, GBC Minister of Communications.
This current program prepares candidates to become zonal supervisors. “The GBC has divided the world into 168 zones, and each GBC oversees about five zones,” explained Rupanuga Das. “One zonal supervisor will be assigned to each zone, assisting the local GBC in managing it.” The comprehensive course, beginning in the spring of 2022, comprised more than sixty live Zoom and other online sessions on topics ranging from temple management to Western outreach and communication skills. Trust building, cross-cultural leadership, book distribution, fundraising, event organizing, developing farm communities, and project management and execution were also covered by various instructors.
HG Lokarama Dasa of ISKCON Ypsilanti, a husband, and father of three, said he was grateful to have had the chance to participate in the GBC College. “At first, I was apprehensive about the course since I wasn’t sure what it would be like,” Lokarama said. “However, as the year progressed, I realized more and more how valuable these skills are for serving as a leader in ISKCON. I’m very grateful to the devotees who organized the GBC College. They are doing a wonderful service!”
HG Gopi Gita Devi of ISKCON Dallas, Vice Principal at TKG Academy and author of the book “Leadership Parenting” said, “It was transformational and fully enchanting. My trust, conviction, and excitement for North American ISKCON leadership service increased. So many excellent programs exist in our society, from Toronto to Ottawa, Seattle to Silicon Valley, LA to Chicago, and Michigan to New Vrindavan. There is so much happening; so much love and trust are being built with thousands. It was eye-opening and amazing. I learned so much.”
HG Brhat-mridanga Dasa, who is currently helping start Krishna Houses across North America, was another graduate of the GBC College. “I feel supercharged after the GBC College residential,” Brhat-mridanga said. “The atmosphere of New Vrindaban combined with fascinating seminars and inspiring association from fellow North American leaders gave me just the boost I needed to go deeper into my service to Srila Prabhupada.”
The concluding residential session had several notable special guest teachers, including HG Kuladri Dasa, HG Anuttama Dasa, HG Malati Devi Dasi, HG Kalakantha Dasa, and HG Radhika Raman Dasa. In addition, New Vrindaban’s Temple President, HG Jaya Krishna Das, had his team working around the clock to provide everyone with a comfortable and productive experience. The grateful students unanimously said that this program, the GBC College team, and associated instructors all enlivened and empowered them in their service to the mission of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.