Council Meeting Minutes: Minutes for In-Coming Council Meeting, Seoul Korea, July 11, 2008

Charalambos Kasimis, ESRS
Raymond Jussaume, RSS
Elizabeth Ransom, RSS
Hans Bakker, RSS
Koichi Ikegami, ARSA
Ki-Whan Chung, 2008 LA Chair
Roger Wilkinson, AON
Lynda Cheshire, AON
Manuel Moreira, 2012 LA Chair
Yoshio Kawamura, 2008 Program Chair
Reidar Almas, President
David Hansen, RSS

Paul Milbourne, ESRS
Bettina Bock, ESRS
Sonia Bergamasco, ALASRU
Fernando Guerrero, ALASRU
Susana Aparicio, ALASRU
Surichai Wun’Gaeo, ARSA
Lutgarda Tolentino, ARSA
Christina Stirling, AON

Alessandro Bonanno, Past President
Henrique De Barros, ALASRU
Oakla Cho, ARSA

Reidar Almas opened the meeting at 16:10 and expressed apologies on the part of Council Members who could not attend. He then asked Alessandro Bonanno to report on the Ad Hoc Committee deliberation of publication of Congress papers as part of the Rural Studies series.

Alessandro Bonanno indicated that the Ad Hoc Committee was formed at the Out-Going Council meeting and consisted of himself, Yoshio Kawamura, Raymond Jussaume, Hans Bakker and Mark Shucksmith. They strongly support moving forward with the publication and have already initiated an informal call for papers. Roger Wilkinson asked if the book was going to be published, indicating that the discussion seemed more certain in the previous Council meeting. Alessandro Bonanno replied that it would ultimately depend on the publisher accepting what is proposed. Ray Jussaume indicated that the normal process for getting books published was to assemble the contents first. Lynda Cheshire asked if a proposal would first be submitted to a potential publisher. Alessandro Bonanno indicated that it was targeted to the Research on Rural Sociology and Development Series which is sponsored by IRSA. Oakla Cho asked how many books we are thinking of published to which Bonanno replied that it was one initially. He indicated that the Ad Hoc Committee would count on up to $5,000 as it negotiates with potential publishers. Manuel Moreira asked if we are considering an electronic publication to which Reidar Almas replied no. Lynda Cheshire indicated that contributors would probably not receive their own copies due to cost factors. Charalambos Kasimis asked if we were constrained to publish through Oxford Press and this series. Alessandro Bonanno replied that the series was sponsored by IRSA. Reidar Almas indicated that it would be important to focus on one potential publisher as the channel for publications of this sort and that the expectation would be that a similar publication would be prepared after future World Congresses.

Hans Bakker asked if the Ad Hoc Committee should look for other options for publication should the Research on Rural Sociology and Development Series reject publishing it. He mentioned that we should also leave room for other options, like additional publications in the event that many good papers are submitted for the publication. David Hansen indicated that it was our intention to publish the Congress papers on the IRSA website. Ray Jussaume indicated that he would be responsible for this along with Yoshio Kawamura and Mark Jarvis.

MOTION: Roger Wilkinson moved and Lynda Cheshire seconded that the Committee move forward with negotiation of the publication, with support of up to $5,000 from IRSA, and that it report back to Council within three months about progress in this regard (unanimously passed).

Reidar Almas then introduced the topic of the election of the 1st and 2nd Vice Presidents for IRSA. He indicated that considerable preliminary discussion had occurred about the possibility of appointing Monica Bendini to one of these positions since she had stood for the IRSA Presidency. However, he noted that By-law 6 requires that candidates be current members of the Council, so she is ineligible. He then asked Lynda Cheshire if she would accept being nominated for the position of 1st Vice President and called for a motion to this effect.

MOTION: Ray Jussaume moved and Koichi Ikegami seconded that Lynda Cheshire be appointed as 1st Vice President (unanimously passed).

Reidar Almas then proposed that we consider the nomination of Surichai Wun’Gaeo as 2nd Vice President. Koichi Ikegami indicated that he strongly supported this nomination. He further indicated that he had discussed it with Surichai Wun’Gaeo who had indicated his willingness to stand for the position.

MOTION: Koichi Ikegami moved and Roger Wilkinson seconded that Surichai Wun’Gaeo be appointed as 2nd Vice President (unanimously passed).

Reidar Almas then asked that the Council turn its attention to the current World Congress. He asked Ki-Whan Chung, Local Arrangements Committee Chair, to report out on the Congress. Ki-Whan Chung indicated that there were 375 participants registered for the World Congress of which 141 were Koreans. International participants came from 46 nations. There were 77 paper sessions and 35 working groups. Field trips were taken by 194 of the participants. He indicated that separate sessions on strategies for rural development in Korea were held and that 81 individuals participated in these sessions. The abstract book published for the Congress contained 480 abstracts; however, only 228 papers were actually presented. Eleven sessions were cancelled. Forty abstracts were received for posters and 26 posters were presented. He indicated that the coordinators of the next World Congress should think about the need to scrutinize proposed session conveners and to enforce the final deadline for registration to avoid the problems encountered at this Congress. He discussed problems of coordination that were encountered among the Local Arrangement Committee, the Program Committee and the Executive Committee of IRSA and indicated that roles and responsibilities should be clarified for future Congresses. Lynda Cheshire emphasized the importance of coordination and the role of the working group chairs. Elizabeth Ransom indicated that guidelines for conveners would be very useful. After considerable discussion, Reidar Almas requested Ki-Whan Chung to include these observations in his evaluation report.

Yoshio Kawamura, Program Chair, indicated that there is a need to be more selective in identifying working group chairs. He also seconded Ki-Whan Chung’s suggestion that there be a clear division of labor established between the Local Arrangements and Working Group committees, with roles and procedures associated with each identified beforehand. He also indicated that scholarships are essential in order to allow people to come to the Congress. He indicated that many submitters of abstracts decided not to come because of lack of financing. Ray Jussaume provided several recommendations for future Local Arrangement and Program chairs. But first he complemented the Local Arrangements Committee for the current World Congress for the excellent support provided for the Congress, noting the great efficiency of operation and support staff. He recommended (1) that we introduce the concept of working groups as self-financed units in the future in order to avoid the cancellation of proposed program activities due to lack of financing; (2) that issues, such as use of websites be discussed and clarified early on in the process of preparing for a World Congress; (3) the next World Congress coordinators give attention to the need for an appropriate division of labor, particularly as regards the roles of co-program chairs; and (4) that early attention be given to identifying and securing keynote speakers.

Reidar Almas shared the fact that a number of potential “participants” in the 2004 World Congress in Trondheim sent abstracts with the possible intention to stay in Norway without giving papers. He expressed a concern that the upcoming World Congress organizers be aware of this potential problem. Ki-Whan Chung indicated that the same problem was encountered for the current World Congress as well. Hans Bakker expressed concern about the large number of cancelled sessions and suggested that those who do not register not be listed in the program. Ray Jussaume indicated that it would be a good idea to request working group chairs to verify who was coming to their sessions prior to the Congress. He also suggested that it would be appropriate to have a slot at the beginning of the Congress when working groups could meet to plan sessions. Reidar Almas indicated that it was done in 2004 with great success. Charalombos Kasimis indicated that only 18 of the 42 papers listed for his working group were presented. Further, some working group conveners did not attend the Congress. He indicated that this needs to be avoided to ensure high quality of meetings. He argued that it would be important to screen conveners and to assure that they not request funding support to attend the Congress. He also recommended that current topics, such as the food crisis and climate change be included in the program, and that policy makers be invited to attend to participate in the debate of these issues. Oakla Cho indicated that people tend to stay longer if the papers are of high quality. She mentioned that there were some regionally centered sessions, such as those held in Korean which limited participation. Elizabeth Ransom recommended that individuals only be listed in the program if they are registered for the Congress.

MOTION: Raider Almas moved and Manuel Moreira seconded that the Local Arrangements and Program Chairs, together with their committees, be recognized for having organized an excellent and interesting Congress (Unanimously and enthusiastically approved).

Manuel Moreira then reported on preparations for the 2012 World Congress. He indicated that he would prepare guidelines for the working groups and their conveners. He said that conveners and presenters will need to register in order to be included in the program. He also noted that he will promote close collaboration between the Local Arrangements Chair and the Program Chairs. Hans Bakker asked if he might be able to prepare some materials on local values and mores to orient participants from the outside. Roger Wilkinson suggested that Lisbon should make poster presentations available to Congress participants for a longer period by putting them up well before the formal poster session.

Reidar Almas then turned to possible sites for the 2016 World Congress. He indicated that we have been approached by the University of Madras in India and that others had suggested Canada, Mexico and Australia as possible sites. Ray Jussaume brought up the potentially competing objectives of the Congress – namely to promote local development and to maximize attendance – and asked if they should be considered in selecting the 2016 site. Reidar Almas indicated that he was considering use of the IRSA website to solicit ideas about the 2016 World Congress.

He then entered into a discussion about how to use better the website. He indicated that it was important to continue to use if for news about IRSA activities, but that scientific news should also be posted – such as research results on hot topics such as climate change, food security and gender issues in the third world. Hans Bakker asked how specifically he envisioned better use of the website. Reidar Almas indicated that he would prepare a proposal in this regard to share with the Council.

He moved the conversation to the topic of strengthening ties with Africa, suggesting the need to attract more funding for liaison activities with that continent, including the formal affiliation of some Africa associations, such as the Nigerian Rural Sociology Association, with IRSA. He indicated that he would attempt to make contact with appropriate entities in Africa. He proposed a three step process, namely, (1) to identify individuals with whom to liaise; (2) to form intermediary associations and strengthen them; and (3) to stimulate them to host a World Congress in Africa.

Roger Wilkinson suggested that we request Mark Jarvis to set up a list serve to facilitate communication among Council and Executive Committee members. Reidar Almas indicated that he would come up with a proposal of priorities for the coming four years and post it to the website. He encouraged the Lisbon organizers to consider hot topics such as climate change and rising food prices as part of the program. He then indicated that we need to set the date for the next Council meeting. Ray Jussaume argued for the need for more interpersonal interaction among Council members, perhaps through teleconferences.

MOTION: Ray Jussaume moved and Hans Bakker seconded that the next meeting of the IRSA Council take place during the VII World Congress of the International Sociological Association to be held from July 11 to 17, 2008 in Gothenburg, Sweden (unanimously approved).

Reidar Almas called the meeting to a close at 18:00.

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