LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
I hope that you are learning, growing, transforming… and serving others!
Three projects here in Venezuela are directly based on Prout: the Prout Research Institute and the Neohumanist Kindergarten in Caracas and Centro Madre Master Unit in Barlovento. The preschool finally won official accreditation from the Ministry of Education for their five years of service. The agricultural institute of the government (CIARA) rated Centro Madre as excellent, a national model of small scale sustainable agriculture; the Ministry of Culture also funds their successful family reading program.
Wonderful people have contributed to our projects this year: Spencer from Canada, Hans from Netherlands, Dusty from USA, Rajashrii from Guyana and Viveka from Sweden. Economist Mariah Branch decided to commit for another year with us as Director of Planning and Development. Yakelin, Karen, Alejandro, Gustavo, Gladys and other Venezuelans are helping more and more, and four more international volunteers are coming in the next three months. We are deeply grateful to all.
At the beginning of the year, we hosted and trained 21 Brazilian university students and their professor for six weeks of intensive training in Prout, yoga and cooperatives. Some of their comments: “I learned so much on the spiritual level,” “A fantastic experience that changed the way I see myself and the world,” “The kindness and love of the staff was unforgettable,” “The lessons I learned I will cherish my whole life.” “Testimonies from Past Participants”
The Institute’s president, José Albarrán, presented a paper on Prout and cooperatives at the 10th National Symposium of the Social Economy in Barquisimeto that is available for download. Priven Downloads
I contributed an essay, and a few shorter pieces to Znet’s “Re-imagining Society Project,” one of the very few forums where activists are discussing positive alternatives to global capitalism. I especially tried to convey the need for an ecological and spiritual perspective: “A New Social Paradigm Based On Spiritual Values”. Though the deadline had already passed, I was able to get three other Proutist essays included: Michael Towsey “The Science and Ethics of Cooperation”, Sohail Inayatullah “P.R. Sarkar’s Vision Of The Future” and Alanna Hartzok “Tax Policy for a World of Peace and Plenty for All”.
Mariah Branch and I wrote a two-page article about the Prout Research Institute that was published in the November 2009 issue of Gurukula Network (available for download at Gurukul Network (“All issues (PDF)”). In addition, an academic article giving an overview of Prout was accepted for the next issue of the peer-reviewed journal Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society.
The 2009 Global Prout Convention in Copenhagenwas excellent and helped integrate us with the greater Prout movement. Another Copenhagen Prout conference will take place July 20-25, 2010, and in Caracas we are planning to organize a Global Prout Convention in early 2011, focusing on high public participation. We’ll confirm the dates soon.
It was very inspiring to be personally invited by the Paraguay government to come to Asunción and speak on Prout at the first international congress on values: “Life with Dignity and Education.” On the stage stood the flags of the international guests, and I was very touched that they put the Venezuelan flag for me. During a television news interview, I said, “This is a very historic gathering because it draws attention to the truth that we are all part of one human family, irregardless of different beliefs.”
Immediately afterwards I toured Brazil for 11 days, where 50 wonderful dynamic young Proutists organized 14 presentations for me, including in five of the top universities of the country: UNICAMP, USP, UFMG, UFSC and UFF. I presented three themes: 1) the Biopsychology of Cooperation and Prout, 2) Mysticism, Meditation and Prout, and 3) Cooperative games for Solidarity and Compassion. The public response was very enthusiastic. I also did speaking tours to the first USA Solidarity Economy Conference and to Colombia.
For me, one of the most exciting projects we have started is a new course called “Venezuelan Reality and Tools to Change the World”. Each module begins with a short discussion about a current world social problem, such as poverty, unemployment, hunger, crime, pollution, corruption, racism and sexism, etc. Then the scope and cause of that problem in the country is presented, and government responses are analyzed. Next we see how Prout principles can be systematically applied nationwide to alleviate the problem. As the modules are developed, we will post them on our web page so they can be adapted in other countries.
We started printing T-shirts that say on the front: “Only one family, only one planet,” and on the back “Economic Democracy with cooperatives for the welfare of all”.
I personally enjoy growing organic vegetables and more fruit trees in our garden. We have planted and harvested mangoes, bananas, lemon, chico, papaya, tomatoes, spinach, oregano, turmeric, zucchini, and we’re planting more.
Our plans for the coming year include producing training videos for cooperatives, a weekly radio show about cooperatives, printing educational posters and illustrated training manuals about cooperatives.
Please contact me if you would like to visit, take an intensive course in Prout or apply for an internship. Contributions are needed and welcomed, and from the USA are fully tax-deductible.
I would love to hear news from you. With much peace and love,