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ISKCON Communications Minister Elected VP of Religion Communicators Council

by Vyenkata Bhatta Dasa

Posted April 18, 2008

Anuttama Dasa, ISKCON's Minister of Communications and a senior editorial advisor for ISKCON News, was elected the Vice President of the Religion Communicators Council (RCC), an interfaith association of religion communicators at work in print and electronic communication, marketing and in public relations, at that organization's annual convention in Washington D.C. on April 3-5.

Founded in 1929, the Religion Communicators Council (RCC) is one of the oldest and most respected interfaith organizations of its kind. The group's mission, found on it's website, religioncommunicators.org, is "to promote excellence in the communication of religious faith and values in the public arena and encourage understanding among religious and faith groups." Each of the RCC's 13 local chapters host regular meetings in various cities around the United States, and the organization offers a yearly national convention, complete with thought-provoking keynote speakers and timely workshops.

This year's gathering has held in Washington, D.C. and explored the intersection of faith and politics - a topic that continues to dominate coverage of the U.S. election year - as a theme. Participants heard from distinguished speakers such as U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black, and got a pre-opening tour of the latest capital attraction the Newseum, built at a cost of more than $450 million. They also attended workshops on mastering the tools and practices that help them to be better communicators.

Anuttama has been a member of the RCC for more than ten years and has served on the board of directors for eight years. This will be the second time that Anuttama has served as Vice President of the nearly 600-member group.

"What most inspires me about this organization is the opportunity to work closely with people who have dedicated their lives to communicating about God with others," Anuttama said. "While simultaneously appreciating the contributions of their colleagues from faith traditions different than their own." Anuttama's responsibilities as Vice President of the RCC will mean that he will have to commit more time to the organization, but carrying a "full plate" is not unusual for him. Aside from his work as director of international communications for ISKCON, Anuttama also serves as the Chair of ISKCON North American Executive Committee, a board member of the Child Protection Office, co-GBC for ISKCON's New Vrindaban community, and one of the trustees of Bhaktivedanta College. On top of all of this, he helps his wife Rukmini Devi to run As Kindred Spirits, a chain of award-winning craft galleries in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. "The biggest challenge [that the RCC Vice Presidency poses] is how to balance my new responsibilities with my existing ISKCON, personal, and familial obligations. That is something that I must constantly work on," he says. "Still, I think it is crucial that Krishna devotees extend themselves and take advantage of opportunities to reach out to a broader audience and work with others."

Anuttama also sees a practical benefit to working with the RCC.

"We can learn so much from the way other people of faith communicate their messages, and apply it to our own service. Whether podcasting, photo editing, writing better copy, or dealing with crisis effectively- we can learn so much and use it in the service or Lord Krishna."

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