Council Meeting Minutes July 30, 2000


Joseph Molnar (President);
Frank Vanclay (Vice President);

Atsushi Kitahara (ARSA);
Carlos Antmann (ALASRU);

Monica Bendini (ALASRU);
Alessandro Bonanno (RSS);

Cathy Kassab (RSS);
Goran Djurfeldt (ESRS);

Imre Kovach (ESRS);
Hilary Tovey (ESRS);

Stewart Lockie (AON);
Geoffrey Lawrence (AON)

Prior to the meeting Bonanno (RSS) was asked to serve as secretary for this meeting.

IRSA President Molnar called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m. He opened the meeting and asked Council members to introduce themselves. Joe Molnar indicated that the IRSA Secretary/Treasurer, Al Luloff, will not be attending the Congress due to flight complications.

Local arrangements co-chair, Sonia Bermagasco, discussed the format of the Congress and its organization. Christina Castello of Congrex presented a detailed analysis of the manner in which the Congress will take place. Bergamasco reported that 1,780 abstracts were received, but that the actual number of papers that will be read is higher, because some invited speakers did not provide abstracts. As of July 28, 2000, 1,070 people had registered. An additional 200 participants are expected to register. Of those registered, 655 are from South America, 139 are from North America, 144 are from Europe; 66 are from Asia, 20 are from Africa; and 24 are from Oceania. The total budget for the Congress is $288,560. The Congress received $41,000 from Brazilian authorities; $122,077 were collected through registrations; and an additional $80,000 was received from other organizations. Additional contributions totaling $24,000 are also expected. All participants must register as decided at the Planning Committee meeting held in April, 1999. A financial surplus is expected. Financial support from agencies was used to pay plenary session speakers, symposia organizers, and several symposia speakers.

Leonilde Servolo reported on the abstract selection process. It was impossible to involve session organizers in the selection process because most abstracts (>1,000) were submitted during the last three days before the deadline. Only 250 abstracts had been received prior to that period. Servolo reported that selection was done by a local committee consisting of Gian Mario Giuliani, Sonia Regina Mendoza, and herself.

Questions were raised about the Congress program. Bergamasco answered that cuts had to be made because of budget problems. She noted that the restructured program is difficult to read, but should be manageable. Vanclay reported on the activities of the Program Committee and the steps taken to organize the Conference.

Molnar presented the Secretary/Treasurer report. He introduced the newly elected IRSA officers: (1) Frank Vanclay (President); Alessandro Bonnano (First Vice-President); Imre Kovach (Second Vice-President). Molnar stated that forty-eight bid applications for the next World Congress were sent out. Only two were received — one from Norway (Center for Rural Research, Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Trondheim) and one from Japan (Ryukoku University, Kyoto). Molnar suggested that the new Council should make the final site selection.

Vanclay indicated that the Council should identify criteria for World Congress site selection, local arrangement committee and program committee. Several criteria for the site selection were identified, including:

  • Geopolitical balance;
  • Financial soundness (subsidies, institutional support; size and type of risks);
  • Rurality of location;
  • Transport accessibility;
  • Field trips;
  • Need-based support;
  • Quality of local academic programs;
  • Potential impact on the discipline;
  • Tourism appeal;
  • Personal safety; and
  • Commitment of local organizers.

Kitahara commented that Kyoto fits all of these criteria. However, there are some problems concerning costs and transport. Cost will be higher than normal and it is difficult to reach Kyoto. Vanclay stated that there might be a constitutional problem with Japan’s bid as ARSA has not paid its IRSA dues. Vanclay called for a straw vote on the two bids. The motion was seconded by Antmann and the Council voted in favor of the Norwegian bid.

Vanclay reported on the work of the Constitutional Revision Task Force. He noted that the proposed changes were the product of a long process. Changes included the elimination of sexist language, modifications which allow the use of new technological developments, and greater definition of the role and duties of the Secretary/Treasurer. He also indicated that a draft of the proposed changes was sent to member associations, and that member association representatives voted on these changes by e-mail. The revised Constitution will be submitted to the IRSA General Assembly for approval.

Molnar then gave his President’s report. He discussed the IRSA web site that was developed, noting that it resulted in the faster distribution of information. He also encouraged the new Council to work on further improvements of it. He suggested that the position of Secretary/Treasurer be placed in the By-laws. He noted that Al Luloff would take all necessary steps to make the transition to the new Secretary/Treasurer as smooth as possible. IRSA does not currently have a Secretary/Treasurer. Molnar further noted that IRSA should think about expanding its role. He mentioned the creation of a journal an one important option to consider in this regard. He requested and Djurfeldt agreed to explore the possibility of creating such a journal.

Representatives from member organizations then reported on activities of their respective entities. Antmann reported out for ALASRU. He stated that Diego Pineiro was elected President of ALASRU and that the association has between 100 and 200 members. Additionally, it was reported that ALASRU stopped publication of its journal, but that it has published several edited books. The next ALASRU Congress will be held in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil in 2002.

Lawrence reported for AON. AON has a virtual network of about 150 members and a journal, Rural Society, which is growing. AON will be actively involved in the organization of the ISA World Congress of Sociology to be held in Brisbane, Australia in 2000.

Kovach reported on activities of ESRS. ESRS held its regional Conference in Lund, Sweden in 1999. Its next Conference will take place in Dijon, France in 2001. Hilary Tovey is ESRS’s new President. And ESRS has established a new summer school for rural sociologists in Finland.

Bonanno reported for RSS. The RSS maintains its members at about 1,000 members. It organizes annual meetings, which are attended by about 500 participants. It continues to publish its journal, Rural Sociology. The new President of RSS is David Brown, Cornell University.

Kitahara then discussed activities of ARSA. ARSA organized its first Congress in Thailand in February, 1999. The proceeding from the Congress will be published at the beginning of 2001. The association does not have a membership system yet.

Molnar mentioned that a network of African associations, CODESRIA, has the potential to become the next IRSA member.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Alessandro Bonnano.

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