Report from the Chair – Mark Hoda
Before I set out my reflections on the past year and future plans, I first of all want to pay tribute to the tireless work and dedication of my predecessor, Susan Denton-Brown. Susan took over the chair of The Gandhi Foundation (GF) at a very challenging, transitional time for us. She not only kept things going but left the organisation stronger and more stable than she had found it. I cannot hope to match Susan’s energy and dynamism as Chair but her legacy has certainly made my job far easier than it would otherwise have been.
As well as running the Foundation, Susan also put together a wonderful Gandhi photographic exhibition for school children based at Kingsley Hall in memory of my father Surur who was one of the Founders of the GF. I hope that we will be able to inspire a new generation of local children around Kingsley Hall using the exhibition.
I also need to thank all my colleagues on the Executive and our Secretary, Sabera, for all their help and support. They all continue to take on responsibility for the Foundation’s running,activities and outputs and I rely entirely on their hard work and commitment.
This year we have already held a very successful multi-faith celebration, thanks to the work of Omar Hayat and Sabera, and our partnership with St Ethelburga’s Centre, and their Director Simon Keyes, who hosted the event and helped put together a very thought provoking programme.
As well St Ethelburga’s, the Foundation has continued to maintain strong relationships with existing partners, such as Kingsley Hall, the International Sufi School and Jeevika Trust (see separate reports) as well as forge new ones, including the Derby Multi Faith Centre. They made a very generous donation after borrowing the British Library Exhibition on Gandhi, for which we are very grateful to Dr Phil Henry.
You can read reports on the Multi Faith Celebration and our other highly successful, well attended annual events over the last year in this annual report. Plans are also well underway on the events for this year; the Summer Gathering, Annual Lecture and Peace Award. I look forward to seeing some of you at those events in the coming months.
Matthew and Diane at Rohita have built and maintained a very impressive, engaging website for the Foundation. I have a number of unsolicited compliments from friends and associates about our website, which is very encouraging. The Gandhi Way is the jewel in our crown as tool for both engaging with existing friends, and attracting new members. However, a strong web presence is crucial in showcasing Gandhi Way articles and promoting the work of the Foundation, as well as the message of Gandhi. I look forward to working with Rohita and our Executive Committee to develop the site and our broader web strategy further.
In the meantime, I would very much welcome the thoughts of GF friends about how we can broaden and deepen our reach, or any other matter, via the website or the Gandhi Way. If the GF is going to develop we must open up more dialogue between the Chair/Executive Committee and GF Friends and supporters both through traditional, as well as new channels of communication.