Ishvani Kendra was started by the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) in 1976 at Pune, India. Seeing that there was no agency doing any serious research and animation of mission activity in India, its founder, Fr. Engelbert Zeitler, visualized it as a national frontline institute of research and animation. Its mission statement reads, “Committed to animate persons in the light of the Word of God for radical new thinking, to provide inspiration and viable models for action, to coordinate and to assist in the work of Evangelization of the Church in India and Asia through networking with people of goodwill to continue the prophetic mission of Christ in the challenging world of today”.
Ishvani Kendra looks forward to be a service provider for the Church’s mission activity. This is in terms of organizing seminars and workshops on issues that currently are relevant to the church. Through its research seminars it hopes to provide information and guidance to people in the field. It will continue to train people interested to work for humanity through their own growth and in cultivating skills that will enhance their outreach to others.
The institute has been conducting various programs for people imbued with the vision of developing and animating human communities and neighbourhood groups. It organizes for this purpose courses and seminars on topics like
There are also programs on cross-cultural understanding and multicultural living for groups and individuals. The Communications Department of the institute functions as a production and training centre for spiritual and social communication. The department produces audio-visual material that is helpful for leaders, teachers and animators. Every year on an average, around 300 people take part in the residential programs of the institute. Besides the residential programs, the centre organizes national seminars and conferences; lectures on current topics and essay competitions.
Ishvani Kendra makes available its infrastructure to various voluntary agencies doing social work with the rural poor/ marginalized and the urban poor/ marginalized to conduct their own workshops. Programs on AIDS awareness, child safety, rural development, empowerment of women and importance of girl child are organized in the Institute. Ishvani shares its experiences and expertise in communal and religious dialogue with people of various religious faiths and conducts training programs, seminars and consultations on dialogue, communal harmony and national integration. The Ishvani library contains more than 30,000 volumes and is well computerized for bibliographic reference. It contains volumes in various subjects – anthropology, sociology, politics, history, tribals and dalits, political sciences, world mainline religions, globalization, mass media and communication, and feminist studies. It has over a hundred scientific journals linked to a wide variety of specialized field which are regularly subscribed to. Scholars and students find it a valuable tool of research as it introduces them to the latest literature in numerous fields.
Ishvani looks forward to be part of Network Pastoral Asia as it provides it a platform to share ideas, to learn from other like-minded organizations, and to expand its functioning.
Fr. Dr. Tony Menezes SVD (Director)