Dharma Ambassadors Program: Become your community’s expert representative of Hinduism
The Dharma Ambassadors program is an initiative to train community members to become effective and confident representatives of Hinduism - regardless of sampradaya - in the broader community. This program was launched by HAF, but includes partners representing different sampradayas and organizations.
A Dharma Ambassador is an active participant in their local community. As a Dharma Ambassador, you will be equipped to handle the ins and outs of presenting about Hinduism. And you will be prepared to promote an authentic narrative from within the Hindu community to ensure that our religion is taught accurately and on par with other religions.
By the end of the program, you will:
- Gain simple and effective techniques on how to present Hinduism to non-Hindus
- Learn how to handle questions about sensitive topics
- Get access to visually engaging, professionally created presentation materials from HAF
- Find out how to get plugged into your local community for speaking opportunities, including schools, interfaith discussions, and other community gatherings
- Alert HAF to inaccurate teaching materials used in local schools and work with HAF in remedying such issues
As a Dharma Ambassador, you will have the opportunity to speak at local schools, interfaith gatherings, and other public events based on your availability. You will be able to speak about Hinduism within a very limited amount of time, either through a presentation or with talking points. Usually speaking engagements can range from few times a month to just a few times a year, all depending on your availability. You will be able to:
- Speak in front of school audiences, tailoring your presentations to be age appropriate and within the boundaries of the First Amendment
- Serve as a Hindu community representative in interfaith settings, and if needed, provide a Hindu perspective in community dialogues
- Serve as a point of contact on education issues in your local community
- Volunteer when necessary on school committees, including on ways to promote diversity
Session 1 - Introduction (1.5 hours)
This session explains who the Dharma Ambassadors are, including their importance and the need for community engagement. The session will include discussion of challenges from within and outside the Hindu community on presenting a credible, cohesive, and culturally competent narrative about Hinduism. Reading materials for the next session will be assigned.
Session 2 - How to Discuss Hinduism, Part 1 (1.5 hours)
This session will consist of a slide presentation that focuses on how to speak about Hinduism in a succinct and simple manner through personal storytelling. This will show how to explain 3 out of 6 key philosophical concepts in a limited amount of time. The session will illustrate how to make Hindu concepts relevant and explainable to different sets of audience, while also helping to explain sensitive social issues in a proactive and credible manner.
Session 3 - How to Discuss Hinduism, Part 2 (1.5 hours)
This session will show to explain the remaining 3 key philosophical concepts and include the same focus as Session 2.
Session 4 - Final Presentations (1.5 - 2 hours)
This final session before certification involves participants making a full presentation by discussing key philosophical concepts through their personal narrative. The participant will have read DC Rao’s Understanding Hinduism by this time and will field several “mock” questions from session organizers.
You may choose to attend a session on either dates listed below, but you must complete both the Introduction session and How to Discuss Hinduism session before moving onto the Short and Long Presentation sessions.
Each session will be limited to 8 - 10 participants.
|Session Title||April Training:
Tuesdays, 8 pm EST
Wednesdays, 8pm EST
|Introduction||April 17||May 2|
|How to Discuss Hinduism||April 24||May 9|
|Practice Session - Short Presentation||May 1||May 16|
|Final Session - Long Presentation||May 8||May 24|
Can’t find a time to suit your schedule? Don't worry! More trainings will be offered soon. Information for future trainings will be released later this year.
After completing the trainings, you are a Dharma Ambassador! You have the knowledge and tools to be able to speak eloquently and accurately about Hinduism. You will receive a certificate of completion and will be added to our speaker database. Members of the database will have first access to inquiries from schools and groups for speaking engagements and presentations.
Role of a Dharma Ambassador Coordinator
Interested in being our point of contact for your region? The local coordinator of the Dharma Ambassador program will work with HAF to set up and monitor implementation of the DA program. This will involve:
- Mobilizing local interest in the program and schedule an introductory session by HAF
- Creating a list of volunteers to be shared with HAF for further action
- Scheduling subsequent training sessions as outlined above
- Assigning trained DAs to respond to speaking requests in their communities
- Setting up periodic consultations among DAs to identify further support needed from HAF and ways to identify local opportunities to disseminate knowledge about Hinduism
- Communicating periodically with HAF’s Associate Director of Programs to ensure that local community needs are being addressed
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org about being a Dharma Ambassador Coordinator.
Program Fee: $65
Beginning in 2018, HAF is charging a $65 fee for the Dharma Ambassadors program in order to continue delivering consistent and high quality programming. This includes:
- Four training sessions
- Access to exclusive HAF presentations and resources
- Ongoing trainings to further develop your skills
- Invitations to speaking opportunities
We continue to improve our trainings by incorporating feedback from community members and learned best practices from Dharma Ambassador participants.
For any questions or comments, contact HAF’s Associate Director of Programs, Aesha Mehta, email@example.com.