Convention Program

 

The full program for each day is specified below, but some of the highlights of presentations and workshops at this year’s Prout Convention include:

  • “What is Coordinated Cooperation?” (plenary introduction) facilitated by Vishva Shanti with a diverse group of panelists (incl. introduction to inequality concepts by Satya)
  • “Turning the Main Global Threats into Local Activism: Making Sense of the Mad World We Live In” (plenary presentation + 2 afternoon workshops) by Ramesh and Govinda
  • “The Emergence of the Female Leader: Implications for Prout” (workshop), by Liila Hass
  • “Family Life and the Market Economy: undoing Patriarchy and Capitalism” (workshop), Sumati Brekke and Vishva Shanti Brekke
  • “Popularizing Progressive Ideas and Programs” (panel debate and group work), by Ac. Vedaprajinananda
  • “High impact strategies for progressive organizations and individuals” (workshops), by Dada Lokeshananda
  • “How we can combat global threats by contesting and winning elections: Learn about the election campaigns of the german proutist party MENSCHLICHE WELT” (workshops), by Ac. Madhuvidyananda Avt. and Gaori
  • “Reframing the Energy Narrative: Environmental challenges and solutions in the light of P.R. Sarkar’s new science” (presentation), by Frank van den Bovenkamp (Pankaj)
  • “How do you deal with the Transition?” (group sharing), by Yogamaya and Madhavi 

 

Daily program, including descriptions of each session:

July 17, Monday

Morning

  • Arrive, Register, Settle In.

from 14.30

  • Akhanda Kiirtan (extended chanting with circular spiritual dance) will continue till evening.
  • Introduction to Meditation and Collective Spiritual Practices for 1st time participants (14.30)

from 15.40

  • Introduction to Prout for 1st time participants (15.40)

Evening

  • Akhanda Kiirtan/Question and Answer for new participants

July 18, Tuesday

Morning

  • Welcoming & Introduction  (incl. set-up of Duty Coops to share in cooking, cleaning, and otherwise co-creating a wonderful retreat and conference experience for everyone)
  • What is Coordinated Cooperation? Facilitated by Vishva Shanti we will get a short – and mostly non-verbal – introduction to experience the concept of coordinated cooperation. Then, to start off with a common base of what it is not, i.e. subordinated cooperation, Satya will give an introduction to key concepts of inequality.
    After the break, a diverse group of panelists will present their perspectives on what coordinated cooperation is and have a facilitated discussion.

Afternoon:

  • Choice of 3 Workshops:
    1. How do you deal with the transition? This is a period of huge transition and challenges, which brings us a lot of emotions as well. Everybody experiences bad news with a certain range of feelings. Our whole survival mechanism is on full alert, which is useful to recognize! This is where people get stuck descending into anger or depression – and are therefore unable to act adequately. How do you deal with it? How can we unite with one another, and support instead of blame each other? By Yogamaya and Madhavii
    2. The Importance of Branding. In order to help PROUT to spread to the public, it is important to address certain key questions: How is Prout today perceived by the public? How is Prout perceived by other organizations? In order to collaberate with others, Prout needs to be able to attract attention and interest from potential partners. This starts with branding, identity and marketing. What is the “story” Prout is telling? By Caetanya Daniel Fossum
    3. Progressive Responses to the Refugee Crisis (presentations) In Greece, presented by: Didi Ananda Uttama; in Lebanon, presented by: Didi Ananda Devapriya
  • Wedding celebration! Liila and Amal are getting married and are happy to celebrate this with the Prout community and friends

Evening

  • RAWA night: Concert and Circle Dancing

July 19, Wednesday

Morning

  • Turning the Main Global Threats into Local Activism: Making Sense of the Mad World We Live In. The popularity of Sanders and Trump in the US, the continued threat of Islamic terrorism, and the potential break-up of the EU are all signaling a new era of great polarization and instability. Poor people are voting for rich people, racism is increasing, religious fundamentalism is on the rise, and truth is no longer what it used to be. Traditional models have failed us, conspiracy theories are becoming real news, and real news is fake news. In this presentation, we look at the main problems facing the world, and we try to make sense of what’s going on from a Prout perspective. By Ramesh and Govinda
  • The Return of the Commons. This session will look at the potential of the Commons in response to climate change, environmental degradation, social fragmentation and rampant inequality. A commons-based society refers to a shift in values and policies away from our market-based system, through new, collaborative ways of working and looking after resources. The session will start with an introductory presentation to understand key concepts of the commons and the enclosure of the commons historically and today. The bulk of the session will then be Cooperative Games (inspired by Dada Maheshvarananda’s book), to give participants a feeling for treating and dealing with natural and cultural resources as commons (and with coordinated cooperation). Concrete case studies/examples will also be given, and further examples can be contributed by workshop participants. Workshop led by Sumati and Rainjita

Afternoon

  • Choice of 4 Workshops:
  1. Turning the Main Global Threats into Local Activism: A Call for Action! What can we Proutists do in the face of the enormous problems that face the world today? The answer: a lot! In this workshop, we will look at how new developments in the Philippines, Norway, USA and Nepal are demonstrating that people are more receptive to Prout than ever. By sharing stories about these and other exciting events, we will show how Prout pracar is accelerating at a fast pace. For the first time ever, Prout is becoming accepted on its own merits as the only possible solution by economists and activists that have previously had no connection with Prout, P. R. Sarkar or Ananda Marga. Based on recent experience of Prout gaining wide acceptance, the participants in the workshop will together try to find a way to build on recent gains and answer the questions: How can we make Prout more relevant? How can we better cooperate and coordinate with other progressive groups? How can we use Prout to analyze current events? How can we present Prout as an alternative without coming across as if we have all the answers? By Govinda and Ramesh
  2. Human rights violations and exclusion of people of the third gender – the sexual and gender minorities. This workshop will raise the issue of killings, torture, social & spiritual exclusion and denial of human rights experienced by sexual and gender minorities as a result of religious fundamentalism, superstition, dogmas, misinformation and ignorance.The workshop will approach these matters by presenting both the modern scientific views as well as ancient understanding on sexual and gender minorities. It will also reflect on the views of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti on the subject and experiences by Third Gender people in Ananda Marga. By Jyoshna La Trobe and Omkarnath Viljakainen
  3. An economic model based on community, trust and sharing. An ‘economic permaculture’ is currently being tested by the association New Circle Movement. An economic permaculture reflects – in contrast to an economic mono culture – the natural diversity and creativity in a healthy society. The guiding values in this type of economy are Community, Trust and Sharing. New Circle Movement offers a platform, based on open source technology, giving communities tools to organize their activities using seven basic building blocks which together facilitate coordinated cooperation. Also, each community has the possibility to use their own organic local currency to distribute the resources the given community supplies. The first community using the platform can be seen in tinkuy.dk. Tinkuy is a spiritual fitnesscenter located on Nørrebro in Copenhagen with about 630 members. The fact that the economic model is established within the framework of our current society and abides to current laws, gives a strength which makes it a reliable suggestion for a new – globally anchored – economic system. By Johan Tino Frederiksen
  4. Workshop on Populism: Strategies to combat fascism and neo-liberalism. The voters have turned their back on the liberal and social-democratic parties, which do not defend the interests of the working and lower classes any more. They are more concerned with defending the EU and neoliberalism. How should Proutists be relevant to the plight of the working classes in Europe? In this seminar we will explore these issues together and how Samaj can be the cure. By Divyajyoti Mogstad
  •  Knowledge Sharing: Opportunity for all participants to share skills & experience on something related to Prout, Master Units or Pracar – topics will be posted at lunch.

Evening

  • Authentic Relating Games (facilitated by Mokshadevii and Sumati)

July 20, Thursday

Morning

  • Family Life and the Market Economy: undoing Capitalism and Patriarchy. In this session, we will examine the place of the family in the modern capitalist economy, expose the exploitative and fear-based nature of capitalism and how it depends on the subordination of women and devaluing of women’s contribution to the economy. We will look at the social origins and consequences of economic policy. How can family life and reproductive/social work be properly valued and respected in our economies? We will look for progressive solutions for undoing the exploitative marriage of Patriarchy and Capitalism, and come up with concrete actions based on coordinated cooperation to shift paradigms and perspectives such as new gender roles, proper value given to reproductive/care work, new workers roles, etc. By Sumati and Vishva Shanti
  • World Café Dialogue on the Role of Gender Balance in Social Change. The World Café method is a simple and effective format designed to foster dialogue on an important topic. Participants divide into small groups and are asked to formulate answers to a question. Once that is completed, participants move to a new table and begin the process again with a new question on the same general theme. By the end of three or four rounds, deep insights can be gained and shared, such that all involved have a deeper understanding of the topic chosen for the day. This year’s World Café’ topic is “Gender balance in social change movements” – how we view it, how we create it and what, if any, difference it can make. Your participation is important to the process and your facilitators are committed to creating a very interesting, fun and useful session for all to enjoy. We hope you come away feeling motivated, informed and impassioned about work within and without the Prout community.  By Liila Hass

Afternoon

  • Choice of 3 Workshops:
    1. Popularizing Progressive Ideas and ProgramsRecently right-wing populism has become a significant force in Europe and the United States. A panel of representatives from Europe and the America’s will look at the problem, give their analysis and propose ways in which we can make Proutist and progressive ideas and programs appealing and popular with the general public. Breakout sessions will also gather the input of all attendees and bring back suggestions for action to the plenary of the convention. Facilitated by Dada Vedaprajinananda
    2. Europe’s dirty secret: exploitation of francophone Africa. Concerted and collective actions are needed to stop the incredible French exploitation of francophone Africa. The extent and brutality of this exploitation is not known to the public. By Kailash (Carl Henrik)
    3. Turning the Main Global Threats into Local Activism: A Call for Action! Second part of Ramesh and Govinda’s workshop (continuing on from Wednesday)
  • Beach Trip (for those not engaged in Regional Networking and Planning)

Evening

  • Katha Kiirtan: alternating kiirtan and spiritual stories

July 21, Friday

Morning

  • High impact strategies for progressive organizations and individuals with limited resources. (presentation) Progressive individuals and organizations with very limited means who wish to confront massive global threats can only hope to be successful if they utilize “high impact” strategies to reach and influence major sections of the society. This session will examine how to think strategically, act effectively, and visibly accelerate collective progress toward a Neohumanistic society. Dada will present a method for discovering and using effective leverage points in all areas of life, and he will introduce a special discussion on the future of democracy.  This program has 3 parts. The first part, in the morning session, will introduce the mindset needed for high impact strategies: what they are and how to discover new ones. The two afternoon sessions will continue to develop and apply the method in practical ways with interested individuals.  1. This first session introduces principles of applied psychology, evolution, social dynamics, case studies, and for those who wish it, instructions on starting to developing one’s own strategies. 2. In the second session, after the participants have had some time to think on how the method can apply to their life and work, their initial strategies and plans can be reviewed. Additional important elements that will emerge from the audience can be discussed as time permits. By Dada Lokeshananda
  • The Emergence of the Female Leader: Implications for PROUT. This workshop will look briefly at the history of the women’s movement and the global rise of the emerging female leader. It will then touch on the qualities that women bring to social movements, such as cooperation, connection, the desire to ensure none fall behind, the ability to listen and nurture–values that align closely with Prout ideals. It will demonstrate that as more women step into leadership roles, a transformation is taking place, setting in motion increasing opportunities to implement Prout. What are the most effective ways to align our efforts with this emerging phenomenon? What new strategies should we consider? A discussion will ensue. By Liila Hass

Afternoon

  • Choice of 3 Workshops:
  1. High Impact Strategies for progressive organisations and individuals with limited resources – workshop part 1. Progressive individuals and organizations with very limited means who wish to confront massive global threats can only hope to be successful if they utilize “high impact” strategies to reach and influence major sections of the society. This session will examine how to think strategically, act effectively, and visibly accelerate collective progress toward a Neohumanistic society. Dada will present a method for discovering and using effective leverage points in all areas of life, and he will introduce a special discussion on the future of democracy.  This program has 3 parts. The first part, in the morning session, introduced the mindset needed for high impact strategies: what they are and how to discover new ones. The two afternoon sessions will continue to develop and apply the method in practical ways with interested individuals.  1. This first session introduces principles of applied psychology, evolution, social dynamics, case studies, and for those who wish it, instructions on starting to developing one’s own strategies. 2. In the second session, after the participants have had some time to think on how the method can apply to their life and work, their initial strategies and plans can be reviewed. Additional important elements that will emerge from the audience can be discussed as time permits. By Dada Lokeshananda
  2. Reframing the Energy Narrative: Environmental challenges and solutions in the light of P.R. Sarkar’s new science (Part 1). Can Shrii P.R. Sarkar’s ideas help further shape and articulate climate science? This workshop will cover: a) Silencing climate science deniers, b) Re-thinking our energy dependency, and c) Engineering breakthrough solutions.

    Part I – Reviewing the Cycle of Creation in the light of the newest scientific insights (Friday).  Part II – Understanding the true nature of resources and their utilisation (Friday).  Part III – “A new line of thinking” that could lead to breakthrough technologies (Saturday)   By Frank van den Bovenkamp (Pankaj)

  3. Revisiting P.R. Sarkar’s essential texts. Have you ever found yourself lost in the immensity and depth of PR Sarkar’s philosophy? Have you wondered how you can understand his philosophy better? Would you love the presentation of his books more pleasant, and secretly wish more people could learn about them? In this workshop we will look at some issues around PR Sarkar’s texts and possible solutions to them. I am excited to hear about your thoughts and how we can all help to bring his philosophy to a wider audience. Suitable for bookworms, nerds, designers, anyone looking for some challenges, in fact, any spiritual warriors! By Dr. Roshnii Chou
  • Knowledge Sharing: Opportunity for all participants to share skills & experience on something related to Prout, Master Units or Pracar – topics will be posted at lunch.

Evening

  • Prout’s Got Talent! Dance, music and comedy from our multi-talented Ananda Marga / proutist family

July 22, Saturday

Morning

  • How we can combat global threats by contesting and winning elections: Learn about the election campaigns of the german proutist party MENSCHLICHE WELT (presentation). In our session we would like to present how we offer solutions to the global threats addressed at this Convention through our German proutist party MENSCHLICHE WELT. We will give information on what we have done and achieved, what we are doing and why we are doing it. We will then offer opportunities to pratice running an election campaign including canvassing, leadership training, PR and mass media contact, deciding campaign message, issues and strategy, fund raising, and membership drive. By Dada Madhuvidyananda and Gaorii
  • Sociocracy in Action: Case Study of the Children in Permaculture Project. Sociocracy is an excellent tool for practically implementing coordinated cooperation in organisations as it ensures an inclusive decision making process that harvests collective wisdom in effective and efficient ways. The Neohumanist Education Association of Romania, represented by Didi Ananda Devapriya, has been a partner in the Erasmus plus strategic project “Children in Permaculture”, in which Rakesh Rootsman Rak introduced and guided the project using sociocracy. The project has generated a high level of commitment, enthusiasm and participation. It has been cited by Andy Goldring, the president of the Permaculture Association of UK, as a unique project and he has mentioned that he has never before witnessed such a high level of focus, productivity, engagement, harmony and people really taking care of each other as in the CiP project. Didi will describe the tools utilized within the project and lessons learned, as well as presenting some of the results of the project itself. By Didi Ananda Devapriya 

Afternoon

  • Choice of 4 Workshops:
  1. Less and better talk, more and better action. If we know how to support collective intelligence, wisdom and creativity and how to reduce collective folly, we can organize more effectively. To do this, we must understand, how dysfunctional collective processes – such as fascism – stem from assumptions that we rarely question. If we can replace these with deeper insights we can make extraordinary achievements that will make the rest of the world listen, and we will experience less resistance and even positive interest and support. I imagine including concepts like the Cynefin framework, Organic Organisation, Mandatory and Immanent Conflict Resolution, Collective Folly and Collective intelligence, wisdom, and creativity. By Frands Frydendal
  2. How we can combat global threats by contesting and winning elections: Learn about the election campaigns of the german proutist party MENSCHLICHE WELT (workshop). In our session we would like to present how we offer solutions to the global threats addressed at this Convention through our German proutist party MENSCHLICHE WELT. We will give information on what we have done and achieved, what we are doing and why we are doing it. We will then offer opportunities to pratice running an election campaign including canvassing, leadership training, PR and mass media contact, deciding campaign message, issues and strategy, fund raising, and membership drive. By Dada Madhuvidyananda and Gaorii
  3. High Impact Strategies for progressive organisations and individuals with limited resources (workshop part 2). Progressive individuals and organizations with very limited means who wish to confront massive global threats can only hope to be successful if they utilize “high impact” strategies to reach and influence major sections of the society. This session will examine how to think strategically, act effectively, and visibly accelerate collective progress toward a Neohumanistic society. Dada will present a method for discovering and using effective leverage points in all areas of life, and he will introduce a special discussion on the future of democracy.  This program has 3 parts. The first part, in the morning session, introduced the mindset needed for high impact strategies: what they are and how to discover new ones. The two afternoon sessions will continue to develop and apply the method in practical ways with interested individuals.  1. The first session introduced principles of applied psychology, evolution, social dynamics, case studies, and instructions on starting to developing one’s own strategies. 2. In the second session, after the participants have had some time to think on how the method can apply to their life and work, their initial strategies and plans can be reviewed. Additional important elements that will emerge from the audience can be discussed as time permits.
  4. Reframing the Energy Narrative: Environmental challenges and solutions in the light of P.R. Sarkar’s new science (Part 2). Can Shrii P.R. Sarkar’s ideas help further shape and articulate climate science? This workshop will cover: a) Silencing climate science deniers, b) Re-thinking our energy dependency, and c) Engineering breakthrough solutions.
    Part I – Reviewing the Cycle of Creation in the light of the newest scientific insights (Friday).  Part II – Understanding the true nature of resources and their utilisation (Friday).  Part III – “A new line of thinking” that could lead to breakthrough technologies (Saturday)   By Frank van den Bovenkamp (Pankaj).
  • Akhanda Kiirtan (extended chanting with circular spiritual dance for 6 hours)

Evening

  • Akhanda Kiirtan

July 23, Sunday

Morning

  • Global Networking Café for PROUT projects from Around the World. The Main Hall will be transformed into a marketplace of poster presentations and opportunities to exchange inspiring and dynamic stories about what Proutists are actually doing in their local regions. 
  • Closing Circle