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GBC Zonal Configuration. A Vital Work in Progress. What Srila Prabhupada said on Zonal Configuration?. From a conversation with the GBC, 25 May 1972, Los Angeles. Zones should come before zonal assignments:.

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GBC Zonal Configuration

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Gbc zonal configuration

GBC Zonal Configuration

A Vital Work in Progress

What srila prabhupada said on zonal configuration

What SrilaPrabhupadasaid on Zonal Configuration?

Gbc zonal configuration

  • From a conversation with the GBC, 25 May 1972, Los Angeles

Zones should come before zonal assignments

Zones should come before zonal assignments:

  • “So, fix up the zone. . . . First of all find out the zone, what will be the zone. . . . First of all divide the whole world. It doesn't matter who goes where.”

Zones increase as iskcon expands

Zones increase as ISKCON expands:

  • “Divide the whole world into twelve parts. . . . And we have to make more propaganda throughout the whole world. Now if you think that the world is so big, twelve members are insufficient, then you can increase more than that and make the zone similarly divided. It is world affair after all. . . . You can increase the number. So according to vacant position, how many, it may be fifteen? . . . Then you have to reorganize the zones, fifteen zones”

Zones should be manageable

Zones should be manageable:

  • GBC resolution from 1975:

  • “GBC has divided zones . . . based on recommendation of SrilaPrabhupada that GBC members should have jurisdiction over no more that about 6 temples.”



  • Some zonal assignments are very large, in terms of number of devotees and projects.

  • Some zonal assignments lack contiguity.

  • Zonal secretaries often unable to give the required attention for effectively supervising and driving the development of the zone.

In april 2008 the spt surveyed the gbc

In April 2008 the SPT surveyed the GBC

  • Among the most agreed-upon ideas:

  • We need to discuss zonal assignments.

The statement was

The statement was:

  • “A good percentage of the existing GBC zones present "anomalies" in regard to size (extremely large numbers of temples and of devotees), to geographical considerations (lack of contiguity and/or huge travel distances to be covered), and lack of quality-time spent by the GBC on each and every project of the zone. Therefore the issue of zonal assignments should be carefully discussed and reviewed by the GBC, with the aim of optimizing supervision and effectiveness.”

A couple of comments received

A couple of comments received:

  • “I strongly agree. It’s a mess that’s been developing in a random way for thirty years.”

  • “I strongly agree. We need zones that can survive and transcend an individual and that have their own sustainable logic.”

What happened in recent decades

What happened in recent decades?

  • ISKCON expanded:

    • More temples in the same areas.

    • More areas opened up for propagation.

  • Emergencies in leadership

    • Leaders who resigned had to be quickly replaced.

  • GBCs initiating disciples and establishing personal relations.

Gbc zonal configuration

  • Examples from zonal assignments in 2008:

Gbc zonal configuration

St. Petersburg,


& Murmansk

  • BhaktiCaitanya Swami



& Estonia

Western &

Eastern Siberia

Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia,

South Africa, Swaziland,

Zambia & Zimbabwe.

Gbc zonal configuration

  • Kavicandra Swami


& Cyprus


Cambodia, Laos,

Thailand, Singapore

& Vietnam

Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau,

Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Rio Muni, Sierra Leone & Togo


Gbc zonal configuration

  • Examples of zonal assignments in 1975:

Gbc zonal configuration

  • Rupanuga Das


New York


Washington DC



Gbc zonal configuration

  • Kirtanananda Swami




New Vrindavana

Gbc zonal configuration



  • Jayatirtha Das


San Francisco

Los Angeles

Laguna Beach

San Diego

Gbc zonal configuration

  • Satsvarupa das Goswami


St Louis



New Orleans



Gbc zonal configuration

  • JagadisaDasa







Ann Arbor


Gbc zonal configuration

  • Bhagavan Das


Geneva farm



Gbc zonal configuration

  • Hamsaduta Das



London & Bhaktivedanta Manor



October 2009 mumbai

October 2009, Mumbai

  • Maps in hand, the GBCs and other attendees, divided by the areas in which they are active, worked to draft freshly conceived zones.

  • The task was to identify “zones.”

Definition of zone

Definition of “zone”:

  • The area that, realistically, can be effectively supervised and regularly visited (spending sufficient time for properly planning and monitoring all sorts of projects and developments) by one Zonal Secretary (regardless if the person is a member of the global GBC or not).



  • Zones are to be conceived independently from who might be currently involved – zonal secretaries, temple presidents or whoever (the zones are not supposed to be person-based). At the same time the intention is to not abruptly modify the responsibilities of any of the present GBC Zonal Secretaries.

Gbc zonal configuration

  • Consider current ISKCON presence and activities (total number of devotees, temples, centers, communities, etc.)

  • Keep in mind existing GBC resolution (1975): "GBC has divided zones . . . based on recommendation of Srila Prabhupada that GBC members should have jurisdiction over no more that about 6 temples."

Gbc zonal configuration

  • Consider geography (contiguity, distance, travel needs)

  • Consider language

  • Consider local culture (religion, history, etc.)

  • Consider potential for propagation (which may warrant an increased focus by the GBC)

Gbc zonal configuration

  • Consider that the zones being identified are intended, ideally, for current implementation

  • Consider that it might be better to designate more and smaller zones (and have a present GBC supervise four of five of them) than design bigger zones that would need further subdivision after a few years

Gbc zonal configuration

  • You could visualize this exercise as a step towards establishing dioceses (Wikipedia: "In some forms of Christianity, a diocese is an administrative territorial unit administered by a bishop.")

Gbc zonal configuration

  • Photos from the October 2009 zonal configuration work:

Exercise in juhu october 2009

Exercise in Juhu, October 2009

Gbc zonal configuration

  • An example: What the North American GBCs came up with:

Gbc zonal configuration

  • After more discussion they evolved to the following configuration – not the final one:

Areas of the world resolution october 2011

“Areas of the World”Resolution, October 2011

  • Whereas conceiving of the world in large sections is essential to the process of zonal configuration

  • Whereas, naturally, it’s the GBC zonal secretaries, in consultation with other local leaders, that should propose the relevant zonal configuration of those sections of the world.

Gbc zonal configuration

  • Resolved, That:

  • To provide a framework to identify zones, fourteen broad territories of the world are hereby identified as Areas.

  • The GBC Zonal Secretaries currently active in those Areas shall submit suggestions for zonal configuration – to the GBC Organizational Development Committee – by the end of June 2012.

  • The suggested zones shall have to be ratified, by vote, by the GBC.

  • This resolution doesn’t affect or modify existing continental, regional or national bodies.

The fourteen areas

The Fourteen Areas

  • Indian Subcontinent (including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh)

  • Russian Sphere (Russia, CIS countries and Mongolia)

  • Europe

  • Arab League (in North Africa and the Middle East)

  • South Saharan Africa

  • North America (US and Canada)

  • Mexico and Central America

  • Caribbean

  • South America (Spanish-speaking countries)

  • Brazil

  • Japan and Koreas

  • China

  • South-East Asia

  • Australia and Oceania

Gbc zonal configuration

  • Indian Subcontinent: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal & Sri Lanka

  • Russian Sphere: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan & Mongolia

  • Europe: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Rep., Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom & Vatican City

  • Arab League: Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Kuwait, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Jordan, UAE, Lebanon, Bahrain, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Maldives, Iran & Afghanistan

  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Rep., Chad, Congo, Congo (Dem. Rep.), Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe

  • North America: USA & Canada

  • Mexico & Central America: Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua & Panama

  • Caribbean: Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana, Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Dominican Rep., Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Grenada & Haiti,

  • Spanish South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay & Venezuela

  • Brazil: Brazil

  • Japan & Koreas: Japan, South Korea & North Korea

  • China: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan & Macau

  • South-east Asia: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand & Vietnam

  • Australia & Oceania: Australia, New Zealand , Papua New Guinea , Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu & Vanuatu

Zonal configuration of north america resolution october 2011

“Zonal Configuration of North America”Resolution, October 2011

North America (USA and Canada) shall include eight zones:

  • Canada (whole)

  • North East – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, eastern and central Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC and three counties in Virginia (Lowden, Prince Williams and Fairfax)

  • South East – Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia (except counties surrounding Washington DC), Mississippi (except New Talavan and surrounding area), Alabama, Georgia and Florida

  • Great Lakes – West Virginia, western Pennsylvania (including Pittsburg), Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan

Gbc zonal configuration

5. Midwest – North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana

6. South West –New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Talavan (with surrounding area)

7. Pacific – California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Hawaii

8. Northwest – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska

Note: the implementation of the above zones shall take place gradually.

What comes next

What comes next?

  • Thirteen Areas need to be mapped and finalized.

Gbc zonal configuration

Thank you very much for your attention.

For more information please write to:

[email protected]

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