The International Khalsa Council
SS Gurujot Kaur, Secretary General of Sikh Dharma International welcomed the Khalsa Council members and expressed gratitude for their dedication and service to the future of our Dharma. She shared that the Siri Singh Sahib described the Khalsa Council as the “Council of Tomorrow”, and he asked that we “meet our destiny face to face and deliver it.” Our responsibility as Khalsa Council members should address how we can best serve tomorrow, and in the words of the Siri SIngh’s Sahib, “bring God’s guiding spirit in such a practical way that the future will be bountiful, beautiful, and blissful forever.” She welcomed the new Khalsa Council Chairperson, Dr. Harjot Kaur, and the new members of the Council. During the next two-year session the Khalsa Council will be focusing on the International Expansion of our Dharmic and Yogic Teachings, and Developing Global Leadership for the Future.
Office of Public Affairs
Sahib, build and maintain a positive reputation for our organizations and build solid relationships with the Indian Sangat, the yoga community, the media and the general public.
Raj Khalsa Yatra
SS Harjot Kaur spoke of the significance of this Yatra and the events in India, and the importance for members of
the International Khalsa Council and our Dharmic leadership to attend and represent the collective consciousness of the Siri Singh Sahib’s legacy.
Ethics and Values as Teachers and Ministers
Siri Singh Sahib Corp Report
SS Satwant Singh, SSSC Executive Director reported on the activities of the SSSC over the past 6 months, including:
- Hiring a consultant to review the environmental issues at MPA.
- Voting to send one SSSC Board member per year to the European Yoga Festival to build relationships with the international sangat.
- Appointing new members to the Boards of 3HO Europe and Stichting 3HO for a period of one year.
- Developing a detailed conflict of interest and recusal policy to standardize how board member conflicts are addressed.
- Reviewing and approving KIIT Renewal Energy Business Plan.
- Approving and funding the Dharmic Office of Public Affairs
- Standardizing bylaws for the non-profit organizations.
- Property restructuring – creating a new structure for our Dharmic properties, providing consolidated management, enhancing tax benefits and limiting liability
- Update on the Sombrillo Property Commission – the gymnasium of the old Sombrillo school will be renovated next year to create an ashram community center.
- The Mission Commission, chaired by the Siri Sikdar Sahiba, is continuing to work with the legacy non-profits to streamline and improve the grant process, and to develop and execute a strategic plan for the collaboration of the non-profit organizations.
KIIT Board Report
- Akal Security
- East West Tea Co.
- Yoga West
- KIIT India
- KIIT Renewable Energy
Leadership Across the Generations
Following Summer Solstice, a large group of Millennial Sangat Members met in Espanola, NM, to share their thoughts about the future of our Dharma and to identify their key areas of interest and concern. The Khalsa Council invited representatives of this group to lead a presentation and discussion session with the members of the Council.
A number of Millennial members who have positions of leadership in our non-profit organizations shared their insights and experiences of working for our Dharmic mission.
- Develop new conscious businesses. Diversify our Dharmic income sources.
- Create job opportunities for youth
- Create a Khalsa Council New Business Task Force.
- Create a Business Development Commission with multi-generational representatives.
- Offer shared resources for our Dharmic companies to maximize efficiency.
- Establish a Business Association – survey community business owners for interest.
- KIIT to create a process for Sangat to submit ideas and plans for new businesses.
- Develop a comprehensive plan to get the youth involved in our Dharmic businesses and non-profits. How can we utilize the resources and skills of our next generations to grow the Dharma.
- Research Executive Development programs and transition processes for management of our companies
- Survey our current boards to see the level of multi-generational membership. Consider guidelines for multi-generational inclusion.
- Create a Task Force to continue the generational inclusion dialogue.
- Invite Millennial generation to help with creating future KC agendas and to facilitate parts of the meeting.
- Work with Ministry about relevance and inclusiveness.
3. Transparency, Guru Sadhana Kaur, Guruprakash Kaur
- Work to build trust and understanding
- Engage all stakeholders in the decision-making processes
- Increased communication to our constituents from SSSC Board
- Consider more inclusive voting criteria and qualifications for board service. Create a task force to look into this.
- Share agenda topics in advance. Seek input on topics from Sangat.
- Develop a website and on-line forum for identifying seva projects
- Find a volunteer or fund a coordinator position for global and local Seva projects.
- Fund-raising to make projects happen and engage in disaster response.
- Formal process during Khalsa Council meetings for members to share Seva Projects with each other. Service as a Khalsa Council requirement.
- Fund a Langar truck.
MPA Alumni Association
SS Simran Singh gave a report about the Miri Piri Academy Alumni Association, created to connect the over 400 MPA graduates around the world. It is a way to support alumni and current MPA students and ensure the future of the school and its legacy through alumni endowments and fundraising. He reported on the creation of a database of alumni, creation of a Facebook page sharing stories about alumni and the creation of a Mentorship program. They will be forming an alumni foundation board and already have staff and supporters from the alumni
Simran Singh also reported on the music preservation project called “Save our Songs” whose goal is to archive our 3HO musical heritage, collecting old and rare recordings of 3HO and Sikh Dharma songs, which has been developed by MPA alumni Sadhana Singh from Germany.
Seva Sadhana Program at Hacienda de Guru Ram Das
MSS Kirpal Singh shared about the Seva Sadhana program at Hacienda de Guru Ram Das(sevasadhana.org). The program focuses on creating a residential ashram program for people who want to experience ashram life and the teachings of the Siri Singh Sahib, with daily sadhana, yoga classes, meditation, daily karma yoga, and the opportunity to do seva and serve the ashram and greater community in a meaningful way.
Abhai Raj Singh gave a slide presentation about some of the activities since the Seva Sadhana Program began in August. The opportunities for doing seva include: working in the Guru Amar Das Langar Garden, langar preparation and clean-up, maintenance of the ashram grounds, reading in the weekly Akhand Path and Ishnaan Seva on Sunday mornings.
LGBTQ Task Force Report
SS Viriam Singh reported on the LGBTQ Task Force which will be continuing to discuss how we can support and serve this community. The group is planning to meet monthly by phone, and identify the issues and a strategy for how we can move forward in working with this community and addressing some of the complex aspects including legal, political and cultural issues. We would like to connect with other Sikh groups and see how they are working with this constituent group. As a Ministry, how can we develop skills and understand the cultural issues to better serve this and other populations. He invited all Khalsa Council members to join the Task Force.
3HO Europe, Guru Ram Das Academy, Germany
SS Sat Hari Singh shared about his Yogi Bhajan Legacy project. He created an exhibition at the European Yoga Festival to share the royal character of the Master. He created 30 posters designed to share about the teachings of the Siri Singh Sahib. He also reported about the Guru Ram Das Aquarian Academy in Hamburg, Germany, which is a beautiful teaching center, Gurdwara, and library located in a renovated 18th century synagogue.
Reports from our Non-Profit Entities
Each of our Non-Profit organizations gave a short presentation to the Khalsa Council. The following are short summaries of their presentations.
Collaboration of Our Non-Profits
MSS Guruka Singh
The CEOs of the legacy non-profit organizations have been meeting together monthly in a spirit of mutual cooperation and strategic alignment to serve our Dharmic goals. Like fingers on a hand, we must work together. Each non-profit has its own specialty and skills, but we serve a common mission. The CEO’s have joined together with members of the SSSC Organizational Interface Committee to form a “Mission Commission”. The Siri Sikdar Sahiba has been facilitating those meetings, working to align the common mission of the organizations, including their business plans, goals, and strategies. The Commission has specifically been revising the grant proposal process to be more collaborative, and there is a spirit of mutual cooperation using a new online grant preparation process.
Sikh Dharma International
SS Pritpal Singh, Director of Dharmic Education reported on the upcoming 3-day Japji Course, being held in Espanola, New Mexico. There are a group of wonderful teachers sharing the technology of JapJi Sahib and the life and teachings of Guru Nanak. The course will also be presented in France at Chateau Anand following the 2017 European Yoga Festival.
Ongkar Kaur, Director of Marketing shared about the Community section on the new SDI website. It is a place for teachers and Ministers to share about their events, courses and Dharmic activities with our global Sangat. We want to support to great work that is going on around the world, and to create a sense of our global community.
Kundalini Research Institute
MSS Nirvair Singh, CEO shared about the activities of the Teacher Training Executive Committee. They are looking at ways to revise and upgrade the various teacher training programs and are looking for new members on the various sub-committees. The role of KRI is to protect the integrity of the teachings and examine how we present the connection between Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma. They are working on that in the Level 1 Training. KRI is encouraging involvement in the process. He gave a short tour of the Library of Teachings. He noted that there is a great focus on writing up the kriyas for searching and viewing on the website, including historical notes on the kriyas. It is also possible to share clips of the online videos. He mentioned the fundraising efforts needed to complete the transcription of the lectures and the establishment of a Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings Endowment Fund. This is a way to maintain the teachings through perpetuity. Nirvair Singh announced the new online photo archive which contains thousands of photos available for free download at: yogibhajanphotoarchive.com
SS Pritpal Kaur, CEO gave a presentation on the activities of 3HO. Our 3HO events give people a way to experience our teachings. This Summer Solstice was one of our largest ever. Solstices now include an SDI Academy tent to present dharmic courses and activities, including kirtan and banis. The East West Tea Company continues to provide funding for Peace Prayer Day as well as the 3HO Live to Give grants. 3HO is working with LYF to develop permanent spaces for the bazaar. Other summer events included the International Women’s Camp and Childrens’ Camp. Pritpal Kaur reported on a Khalsa Women’s Training camp in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, attended by 162 women, and a Women’s Camp in China attended by 80 women.
Sikh Dharma Education International
SS Simran Kaur, Board Chair reported on the activities at Miri Piri Academy. This year there are 95 students, with an 85% return rate. All the staff members returned as well. She invited members to visit the blog on the MPA website to learn about all the activities of the school. The academic program is constantly improving and the test scores have been very high as a result. She reported on the anti-bully initiative and about the environmental remediation at the school, due to the serious pollution problem in Amritsar. All the rooms now have HEPA air filters and air quality monitors to measure outdoor air quality.