The newspaper Correo del Orinoco published this excellent three-page article about the Prout Project of Centro Madre in San José de Barlovento, Miranda state, on 23 November 2014.
Former Prout volunteer Sascha Bercovitch was awarded the prestigious Hoopes Prize for outstanding scholarly research in his undergraduate thesis: "THE BOLIVAR ARCHIVE: Politicizing the Past in Venezuela, 1962-2010" by Alexander Philip Bercovitch, thesis submitted to Harvard University for his degree in Latin American History. Download the pdf file, 148 pages. Dada Maheshvarananda says, "This is a really great work. Clear, well-written, it packs a lot of Venezuelan history and politics into this fascinating story." And the best news of all, in our opinion, is that Sascha is returning to Venezuela for another year! Harvard has given him a fellowship to study the political processes in the Caracas barrios from mid July 2014 to July 2015.
The first Global Conference on Neohumanist Education to be held in Caracas, Venezuela concluded with much inspiration and positive interactions among educators, social activists and project coordinators from South and North America and Europe. It was co-sponsored by the Prout Research Institute of Venezuela and Ananda Marga Gurukula.
"How to Be the Most Effective Preschool Teacher in the World" by Mary Jane Glassman, director of Morning Star Neohumanist Preschool, Denver, Colorado, USA. Workshop presentation at the Neohumanist Education Seminar, April 15, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela.
For a number of years scientific researchers in the U.S. have been studying the effects of high quality preschool (2½ to 5 year old children) education. Some of these results are surprising. They have found that while in kindergarten and first grade, those who have attended preschool may be ahead of others who have not received the benefit of pre-academic studies, by third grade this advantage ‘evens out’ and is not sustainable. So what is the value of quality education for young children?
These research findings indicate that adults who have experienced high quality preschool education are more likely to:
Complete higher levels of education,
Take home a bigger paycheck,
Be in better health,
Have more stable relationships,
And are less likely to commit a crime or be incarcerated.
"The Transformative Power of Neohumanist Education in Social Change" Presentation at the Global Conference on Neohumanist Education, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela on April 14, 2014
by Dada Maheshvarananda.Descarga el powerpoint.
1. Why a revolutionary monk?
I am a yogic monk who teaches meditation – and I am also a revolutionary. This may sound paradoxical to you, but actually it is the deep peace and love that I experience in meditation every day that compels me to work for social change. The orange uniform I wear means that my life is dedicated to serve humanity. Because injustice, exploitation and poverty cause so much unnecessary suffering, I am committed to the struggle for a better world.
by Dada Maheshvarananda Solidarity, cooperation, and community empowerment are positive values promoted in Venezuela in contrast to the individualism and selfishness promoted by the corporate-owned mass media. Cooperatives are quietly transforming people's values in Venezuela, and the rest of the world, though they have been mostly ignored by the mass media and by many political leaders, too.
The International Cooperative Alliance defines a cooperative as "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.” Worker cooperatives develop trust, solidarity, and teamwork.
Because cooperatives promote socialist values, it is natural that the Bolivarian government once promoted cooperatives in Venezuela; what is surprising is that now it does not.
Centro Madre is a National Model of Small Scale Sustainable Agriculture by Dada Maheshvarananda, Director of the Prout Research Institute of Venezuela, published in Venezuelan Analysis.
On only 3.5 hectares (8 acres) of fertile land near San José de Barlovento in the state of Miranda, a two-hour drive from Caracas, this holistic farm integrates fruit trees, vegetables, medicinal plants, bee-keeping, fish ponds, egg-laying chickens, worm production and a commercial guava nursery. For five years Cuban agronomists dedicated numerous hours each week to this flourishing project. The Center gets many visitors each day, including local farmers, university agriculture students and school classes. The Banco de Venezuela acknowledged this progressive project by awarding $23,000 to build a community store that will open next month. Both the national and local governments have recognized Centro Madre as an excellent model for small scale sustainable agriculture and food security.
"The Grammar of Fantasy" by Ole Brekke director of the Commedia School, Copenhagen, Denmark. Workshop presentation at the Neohumanist Education Seminar, April 15, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela.
You heard Dada Shambhushivananda explain how Gurukula was established in Dada's presence by Baba. Baba gave Gurukula for the future of humanity. He also said that he's done most of the work. So what is left for us to do? We have to find and out and realize what work Baba has already done. Gurukula has already been established for the future of humanity.
So we're going to fantacize a little bit and try to imagine what was in Baba's mind when he said that. So fantasy is very important in education. Yesterday we heard about the wonderful fantasy of the kindergarten in Denver, Colorado. So we have to put ourselves in that three-year-old mode so the fantasy is bursting out. One book that I recommend for all the projects that deal with children is "The Grammar of Fantasy" by Gianni Rodari, published first in Italian, then in English and Spanish.
"Applying Neohumanism to the Layers of a School" by Eric Jacobson, Director of the Progressive School of Long Island, NY, USA. Workshop presentation at the Neohumanist Education Seminar, April 15, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela
In making a better world, it is easier to build correctly from the outset, rather than tear down and rebuild—hence proper education of our young is the surest path towards realizing a brighter future.
We begin with a cosmic ideal, and then we apply it to the local situation. In the application of Neohumanism there will be some variations. Variety is the law of nature. Variations arise due to changes of time, place and person. If I were to go to Peru for this conference, it would be a different place, with different people, and upon my arrival it would also be a different day. Our Neohumanist schools reflect, and should continue reflecting these natural variations. The variations are good and should be encouraged. For example, if I were to open a school in Caracas, it would not look like my school in New York. It would have a different appearance and a new name. There would be different curriculum elements, revised methods, and a new staff, but the spirit behind it would be the same.
Theater in Education by Ole Brekke Presentation at the Global Conference on Neohumanist Education, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela on April 14, 2014
I am director of The Commedia School in Copenhagen Denmark, a two-year professional level theater school. I also teach classes in teacher training institutions, universities and at the graduate level. I also lead workshops with teachers in many countries. I have spent some years as a classroom teacher and with children with special needs.