Houston, Texas, Oct 22, 2010 – Over 90 mandirs and organizations from all over North America gathered for the fifth annual Hindu Mandir Executive Conference 2010. Hindu Students Council sent three of its members, Priya Radhakrishnan, President of HSC, Siddharth Jain, Public Relations Coordinator and Arjun Pradeep, an officer at HSC’s UMBC chapter.
The purpose of HMEC 2010 was to promote the development of networking between executives of all Hindu mandirs in North America and to discuss ways of ensuring the sustenance of Hindu dharma.
The three-day event consisted of twelve sessions with multiple presentations for each session. With mornings beginning at 6 AM, attendees had the option of either the devotional singing of Bhajans or Yoga and Meditation hosted by Art of Living. Big names present at the event include Hinduism Today, Chinmaya Mission, Hindupedia, B.A.P.S., Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation, ISKCON, just to name a few.
“Wonderfully put together event with the myriad Hindu groups and temples represented with inspirational words from Swami Nikhilananda and Swami Tattvavidananda. Most interesting was the session for youth discussing the issues impacting young Hindus and how we can work together to forge strong and cooperative leadership for tomorrow while also working towards laying the groundwork for the upcoming years. Overall, a great collaborative performance that showed how important it is for Hindus in America to work together and how successful we can be in what we do,” quotes Siddarth Jain.
Day One of the event began Friday night when the Inaugural Session took place lasting two hours. Swami Nikhilanand closed out the session with a moving address to all the delegates entitled, “All Religions are not the Same.” The speech left listeners with room for thought for the night and set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
Day Two sessions began after the yoga, bhajans and a delicious breakfast. Session topics before lunch were regarding collaboration, project updates, and Festivals. In the collaboration session, moderated by Arjun Pradeep, the Coalition of Hindu Youth (CHY), made their conference debut. CHY’s message was to be the umbrella of unity of Hindu Youth for all temples.
Post lunch, Priya Radhakrishnan of HSC had the opportunity to present the topic “Senior Youth mentoring Younger Youth” and discussed how stronger collaborations can be made between youth and mandir organizations. Other sessions also discussed topics of seva, education, making the mandirs and priests more effective, services offered at mandirs, Hindu public policy, women in programs and management, the assimilation of non-Hindus, and most importantly Youth Integration. In the Youth Integration session, several debatable topics where discussed among conference youth ranging from middle school to grad school students.
The cultural program followed the B.A.P.S. catered dinner in which several beautiful bharatanatyam performances from Meenakshi Temple excited the audience. Young high school student Tejas Dave shared his powerful welcome remarks with the conference as he quoted and explained several Sanskrit quotes from the Vedas. His speech awed the audience as only utter silence was heard in the background. Krishna Maheswari, creator of Hindupedia, presented on developing the next generation of youth leadership several eye-catching statistics that caught the attention of the crowd. Maheswari, founder of the Cornell University Hindu Student Council has proven to be a successful role model and Hinduism activist. Maheswari went on in his speech to talk about his childhood and the adversities he faced growing up in an area where Hindus were not common and in a world where Hinduism was always misunderstood. His shared experiences were those of which many audience members could relate to as well, a moving close to the end of the long day.
The final day began at 8am where summaries of the youth and workshop sessions were shared and management and community involvement drew the conference to a close. Swami Parmeshanandji shared his parting thoughts and blessings with everyone and Columbus, Ohio was announced as the host location of HMEC 2011.