Council Meeting Minutes July 26, 2006

Alessandro Bonanno (President)
David Hansen (Secretary-Treasurer)
Hilary Tovey, ESRS
Bettina Bock, ESRS
Lynda Cheshire, AON
Hugh Campbell, AON
Raymond Jussaume, RSS
Phil McMichael, RSS
Ki-Whan Chung (Local Arrange Chair)
Yoshio Kawamura (Program Chair)

Gabriela Martinez Dougnac, ALASRU
Luciano Martinez Valle, ALASRU
Henrique de Barros, ALASRU
Heather Aslin, AON
Hans Bakker, RSS
Paul Milbourne, ESRS
Haruo Kuroyanagi, ARSA
Surichai Wun’Gao, ARSA
Oakla Cho, ARSA
Mark Shucksmith, ESRS
Regina Karega, OSSREA

Alessandro Bonanno opened the session by welcoming the Council members and thanking them for being present at the meeting. He indicated that we would begin by taking dinner after which we would get to the substance of the meeting.

Subsequently, he then turned the attention of the Council to pending items that were discussed at the last meeting of the Council in Trondheim in 2004. He indicated that the Council had recommended that it consider several outstanding issues during the interim between World Congresses.

The first item brought up by him was the site for the 2012 World Congress Meeting. He indicated that preliminary discussions had continued with OSSREA as a possible host for the meetings in Africa. He reported that Regina Karega, Council representative from Africa, had reported that OSSREA had met and decided that it was not in a position to host the Congress at this time. Ray Jussaume suggested that we should give priority to identifying other ways to maintain contact with African rural sociologists and their representative organizations over the coming two years. Bettina Bock indicated that it would be difficult to find sponsors to support a World Congress in Africa given the other development-related priorities of that continent. Others commented that CODESRIA might be an alternative African organization for this interaction. David Hansen mentioned that IRSA had open dialogue with CODESRIA at the time of the World Congress in Rio de Janeiro in 2000.

MOTION: Based on the feedback received by Alessandro Bonanno from OSSREA, Dave Hansen moved and Ray Jussaume seconded that Council lift the priority for the 2012 World Congress from Africa, and expand the call for expressions of interest from other regions of the world (Unanimously passed).

Alessandro Bonanno then discussed the issue of identifying and contacting entities to request financial support for fellowships for representatives from financially disadvantaged regions to attend the 2008 World Conference. He indicated that Council had proposed forming a Task Force to explore this support and to solicit it from identified sources. Hilary Tovey mentioned several European based potential organizations, including the Atlantic Foundation. Other options include entities that are global food organizations, chemical input companies such as Monsanto and other development oriented foundations. Yoshio Kawamura indicated that there are two Japan Foundations that would be good candidates for provision of this type of support – one a government foundation and one a private foundation. He agreed to help contact them.

MOTION: Ray Jussaume moved and Phil McMichael seconded that the Executive Committee leadership ask regional member associations to each identify a representative for a Task Force to solicit financial support for scholarships to attend the 2008 World Congress (Unanimously passed).

Ki-Whan Chung, Local Arrangements Chair for the 2008 World Congress, agreed to chair this Task Force. Alessandro Bonanno agreed to contact leadership of each of the regional member associations to identify representatives for the Task Force.

Alessandro Bonanno then brought up the topic of posting papers given at the World Congress on the IRSA website. Some argued that the papers would best be posted prior to the World Congress. Others mentioned that they might be submitted as PDF files to facilitate their posting. Some felt that it was not practically feasible to request that papers be submitted in time for posting prior to the World Congress simply because many authors do not complete their papers in time have them posted.

MOTION: Ray Jussaume moved and Alessandro Bonanno seconded that the 2008 World Congress Program Committee formally announce that paper presenters will have the option of posting their papers to the IRSA website (Unanimously passed).

It was agreed that authors of papers would submit their papers to working session chairs, who would in turn send them to the Program Committee. The Program Committee would in turn submit them to the webmaster for posting. The assumption is that this would occur after the World Congress takes place as occurred with the 2004 World Congress. Lynda Cheshire mentioned that it would be important to instruct working group session organizers to collect the papers and submit electronic copies to the Program Committee. She mentioned that the failure to do so in reference to the previous World Congress delayed the process of posting papers from this meeting.

Ray Jussaume proposed that abstracts be posted on the website prior to the meeting. It was agreed that this should be formally stipulated by the Program Committee when soliciting abstracts for the World Congress. Some asked if it would be necessary to have a publication of abstracts for the meeting if the abstracts were to be posted on the website. Ki-Whan Chung argued that we will still need a printed copy of abstracts in order to facilitate participation of those attending in the meetings. Ray Jussaume indicated that a printed book of abstracts could be used by program participants to certify that they attended the World Congress with their sponsoring organizations. Phil McMichael suggested that participants in the World Congress would lack sufficient time to consult the posting of abstracts on the website while at the Congress. Ray Jussaume requested that the Local Arrangements Committee verify the cost of preparing a CD Rom with the abstracts as opposed to preparing a written publication of them for the meeting.

No formal motion was made with regard to publication of abstracts although it was agreed that the Program Committee should formally request them and subsequently send them to the Mark Jarvis for posting on the website prior to the World Congress.

David Hansen then presented an updated financial report for the Association. He indicated that $10,000 from the checking account had been deposited to a six month CD taking advantage of higher interest rate levels in the U.S. He reported that $16,959 of surplus funding had been received from the Local Arrangements Committee for the 2004 World Congress and deposited to the IRSA account.

MOTION: Alessandro Bonanno moved and Hugh Campbell seconded that the financial report be accepted by the Council as presented. (Unanimously passed).

David Hansen then consulted with the Council about the process of soliciting annual dues from regional association members. He mentioned that the new dues structure, as found in the by-law changes passed by the General Assembly in 2004, requires limited dues from ALASRU and ARSA. Alessandro Bonanno emphasized that surplus funds from the World Congresses have become the primary source of funding for IRSA. Unlike in the past, IRSA does not depend primarily on membership dues to finance its activities.

MOTION: Hugh Campbell moved and Lynch Cheshire seconded that the Executive Committee have the option of waiving dues for a regional association for any given period (Unanimously passed.) Hilary Tovey moved and Ray Jussaume seconded that this motion be amended to specify that this occur only upon receipt of a written request from the leadership of a member association as stipulated in the By-laws (Unanimously Passed).

Alessandro Bonanno asked that representatives from regional member associations provide updates on their activities. Yoshio Kawamura reported for ARSA. He indicated that the next ARSA conference would be held in China and that it would be sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He indicated that the meeting would be used as a venue to promote the 2008 World Congress. He further indicated that ARSA leadership would be meeting in Shanghai next week which explained the absence of ARSA Council Members at this meeting. Bettina Bock reported for the ESRS. She indicated that the next ESRS Congress would be held in Wageningen in 2007. She indicated that information about the meeting can be accessed at the following website: Hugh Campbell reported for the AON. He indicated that an agri-food network conference would be held in the near future. Lynda Cheshire also reported for the AON that the Australian Sociology Association is in the process of forming topical networks and that Stewart Lockie is taking responsibility for the Environmental network. Alessandro Bonanno reported for ALASRU. He indicated that the next ALASRU Congress would be held in Quito, Ecuador in November.

Alessandro Bonanno requested that Ki-Whan Chung discuss the status of Local Arrangements for the 2008 World Congress in Seoul. Chung shared a written report of his committee. He indicated that the Conference Center had been changed from one in downtown Seoul to the KINTEX Center in Goyan City, a suburb of Seoul near the Incheon airport and approximately 70 minutes from center of Seoul. He indicated that there would be a variety of options for rooming available to participants, both in terms of type and price, ranging from hotels to dormitories to home stays. He indicated that expectations were for about 1000 participants to attend the Congress. He said that it would be important to advertise the Congress through member associations and national societies and that his Committee would prepare several brochures to facilitate this process. He also noted that the registration fee had been initially set at a meeting in March at $350, but indicated that his Committee might recommend a sliding fee structure taking into account ability to pay for high income vs. low income regions. He indicated that his Committee would solicit funding for scholarships. He also mentioned that his Committee intended to organize 10-20 excursion options, including pre- and post-Congress tours. He also mentioned that they were considering inviting several representatives from North Korea.

Yoshio Kawamura then distributed a report from the Program Committee. He indicated that the Committee intend to integrate local community issues/problems into the Congress program and that this might occur through the Congress excursions. He indicated that the Program Committee proposes to hold one poster session as well as 11 working sessions. He mentioned that there would be a special session for the Presidential address, which would be associated with the theme of the Congress, namely, “Envisioning a Prosperous Rural Future in a Globalizing World: Community Initiatives and Empowerment.” Keynote speakers would also be invited, such as Amartya Sen. He also noted that a timeline had been identified to assure that program preparations be systematically carried out in order to assure a successful Congress. Some Council members suggested that the time lines for activities in preparation for the Congress be moved up from the dates proposed.

MOTION: Hugh Campbell moved and Phil McMichael seconded that Council accept the LAC and PC reports with acclamation (Unanimously passed).

Alessandro Bonanno reported that three alternative options for the 2012 World Congress were being explored by the Executive Committee, namely:

  • Lisbon, Portugal which has the advantages of accessibility, low cost, active rural social science programs, and existing interaction with the Executive Committee;
  • Guadalajara, Mexico which has the advantages of good contacts between the Executive Committee and potential hosts and prevalence of rural research activity; and
  • Recife, Brazil which has an active rural social science research agenda and good interaction with the IRSA Executive Committee. Potential disadvantages are that the 2000 World Congress was held in Rio de Janeiro and that the RC40 is considering a mini-conference in Recife in 2009)

MOTION: Ray Jussaume moved and David Hansen seconded that that the President of IRSA solicit Expressions of Interest for hosting 2012 World Congress by January 2007; that he subsequently share the information received and recommend to Council which Expression of Interest should be invited to develop a full pre-proposal to be vetted at the 2008 World Congress (Unanimously passed).

Alessandro Bonanno mentioned that he had received a request from ALASRU for financial assistance for support for its upcoming conference in Quito. He indicated that he had discussed this request with the Council through e-mail. This assistance would help to improve relations with ALASRU.

MOTION: Alessandro Bonanno moved and Bettina Bock seconded that IRSA provide ALASRU with $3,000 in support of ALASRU 2006 Quito Congress (Unanimously passed).

Alessandro Bonanno indicated that a need for transparency exists for this type of distribution of IRSA funding. It will require a policy decision regarding how IRSA will provide support from member associations. Ray Jussaume indicated that we are indeed setting a precedent and therefore need to formulate a policy in this regard.

MOTION: David Hansen moved and Hilary Tovey seconded that the Council draft a new by-law indicating that member associations can request financial support for their regional meetings based on a written request and justified need; the by-law should specify that all requests would need to be formally voted on by Council (Unanimously passed).

Alessandro Bonanno then indicated that several other items raised at the previous Council meeting needed to be addressed. He noted that Council had recommended that an IRSA Historian be identified to record historical events for IRSA. He indicated that he had not had any luck in convincing proposed candidates to assume this position. Discussion by Council led to the identification of a suitable candidate for this position. Alessandro Bonanno agreed to ask that person to accept this assignment. Others suggested that the person taking on this role could rely on information from Gene Erickson and other rural sociologists to compile an accurate history of IRSA. It was agreed that the IRSA website would be a principal mechanism for assuring that it fulfill its role as a disseminator of information about current international issues related to rural sociology. Given the late hour, a discussion of a twelve year planning horizon for IRSA World Congress was tabled for discussion at the next Council Meeting.

MOTION: Ray Jussaume moved and Hilary Tovey seconded that the meeting end at 23:00 (Unanimously approved).

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