Incoming Council Meeting August 3, 2012

Incoming Council Meeting
International Rural Sociology Association
Lisbon, Portugal
August 3, 2012

The incoming council meeting was called to order by President Lawrence at 14:40 p.m. Those present included:

a. Sylvia Cloquel (ALASRU)
b. Miguel Samano (ALASRU)
c. Carol Richards (AON)
d. Vaughan Higgins (AON)
e. Koichi Ikegami (ARSA)
f. Terry Marsden (ESRS)
g. Elizabeth Ransom (RSS)
h. Keith Moore (RSS)
i. Shaunna Scott (ESRS)
j. Geoffrey Lawrence (President)
k. Raymond Jussaume (Secretary-Treasurer)
l. Mustafa Koc (Past Program Chair AND incoming Local Arrangements Chair)
m. Reidar Almas (Past President)

The meeting began with the new ALASRU delegates making themselves known. This was followed by brief self-introductions of all who were present. It was then noted by the President that during the meeting a discussion would be needed regarding dates for the upcoming Toronto World Congress, and that Terry Marsden would give a report on the book series he is involved with.

Next, one representative of each of the regional organizations provided a report to the council. Dr. Ikegami reported that the most recent ARSA meeting was held in the Phillippines. The next meeting of ARSA will be held in 2014 in the PDR of Laos. Dr. Cloquel reported that the next meeting of ALASRU will be in 2014 in Mexico City. Dr. Cloquel also expressed the sentiment that ALASRU would like to expand its participation in IRSA. Dr. Ransom reported that the RSS just had its 75th meeting in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Dr. Marsden reported that next meeting of ESRS will be in 2013 in Florence, Italy. Gianluca Brunori is organizing that meeting and the theme will be “Rural Resilience and Vulnerability” is the theme. The AON representatives reported that AON membership wishes to engage more with countries in regions outside of Australia and New Zealand. More clarification on the various regional boundaries is needed. An agro-food meeting will be held in December in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

At this point, the Council moved on to the election of the First and Second Vice-Presidents. Koichi Ikegami nominated Lutgarda Tolentino for the position of First Vice-President. Terry Marsden self-nominated for the position of First Vice-President. Dr. Marsden made a brief statement in support of his self-nomination. A vote by ballot was then held. The final vote was Marsden 7, Tolentino 5. Thus, Terry Marsden is the new IRSA first vice president. Elizabeth Ransom subsequently nominated Lutgarda Tolentino for the position of Second Vice President. Lutgarda Tolentino was acclaimed IRSA second vice president by unanimous voice vote. As Dr. Tolentino was not at the meeting, she will be informed by e-mail of the result of the vote.

Secretary-Treasurer Ray Jussaume made a brief presentation on what transpired at the outgoing council meeting. This covered the major points as noted in the minutes of the outgoing council meeting.

Mustafa Koc presented an update on the current World Congress on behalf of Manuel Moreira. Dr. Koc said recognized several small organizational problems, but reported that overall, the hosting for the current World Congress has been excellent. Organizers have been helpful, polite and have responded well to needs of participants. As to the academic program, Dr. Koc reported that several Congress participants has expressed concern that the opening plenary program had not been intellectually diverse enough. There were some challenges with making the plenary diverse, but Dr. Koc stated that he and the Toronto program chair(s) will work hard to improve the plenary sessions in the future by making them more balanced.

Mustafa Koc went on to the note that the attendance at the Lisbon Congress was the largest since the World Congress in Rio de Janeiro. In particular, the current Congress is marked by excellent attendance from South America and Asia. One contributing factor to the improved attendance may have been the policy to allow people to present in their native language as long as powerpoint slides were made available in English.

Reidar Almas encouraged the scientific committee for Toronto to be broad, in particular to be much broader than agricultural sociology, and also to encourage greater participation from North America.

President Lawrence extended his thanks to Mustafa Koc for his report.

A discussion on the Toronto bid for the 2016 World Congress, which was approved at the outgoing council meeting on July 29th, followed. The sentiment was expressed that this was a good proposal. The dates for the Congress will be solidified later after consultation with RSS, which apparently has already decided on the location and dates of its 2016 Annual Meeting.

Dr. Koc reported that the Toronto bid was backed by a very good team. The location is very good. Many of the organizers have lots of experience with conferences. The program committee will be assembled in August. An important coordination effort will be made to make it possible for folks to attend both the World Congress and RSS, which will be held in Seattle, Washington, USA. The secretary-Treasurer suggested that the organizers develop three budget scenarios, based on attendance, and Reidar Almas further suggested adding a “break-even” point.

The council then shifted its discussion to possible sites for the World Congress in 2020. Geoff Lawrence invited ideas for that Congress. Dr. Almas mentioned that the first two years of the next four year cycle will see more discussion about possible sites for 2020. He suggested a broad approach. Discussions should get more serious in 2014, around the time of the next council meeting, which will be held in Yokohama, Japan during the ISA Congress. President Lawrence extended an invitation for ideas for the 2020 Congress to the member associations.

The next discussion item was the IRSA web site. Dr. Lawrence likes the current web site. It is well organized. Individuals can now “like” the IRSA web site on facebook. Dr. Lawrence would like more information from member organizations about how to improve the web site’s exposure. He asked for suggestions from council members about the web site. Elizabeth Ransom suggested that the link be updated to include information on the Toronto Congress as quickly as possible. Carol Richards suggested announcing the “like” option for facebook during the general assembly. Terry Marsden suggested a link to the book series. Reidar Almas would like more reports for “rural sociologists in the media.” Geoff Lawrence mentioned that we will continue with the same web master for at least one year. Further discussions will be had later.

Geoff Lawrence then updated the council on IRSA’s Africa efforts. He is interested in setting up an advisory task force with the goal of expanding efforts to engage with scholars in Africa. Carol Richard’s asked why there is a focus on Africa? How about targeting other areas? Ray Jussaume suggested the Near East and North Africa as additional areas of emphasis. Terry Marsden suggested that IRSA should work with ISA to make connections with African sociologists. Mustafa Koc said that we might consider targeting the ISA – Yokohama meeting for a “take-off” on this initiative. Reidar Almas reminded everyone that IRSA is a “federal association” of regional rural sociology associations. Africa is THE major underrepresented region. He also stated that he thought going through ISA is a good idea. Additionally, we might consider surveying existing organizations that work in Africa. Elizabeth Ransom agreed that an initiative is needed and proposed Keith Moore as a potential member for that task force. Keith Moore responded by stating that we need a set of definite tasks. African scientists are more organized by NGOs than by universities. President Lawrence suggested working with the vice presidents and the secretary-treasurer to develop a more concrete proposal. Marsden and Moore suggested using creative methods to tie into current mobilizations, such as web conferences involving African scholars.

A discussion ensured about posting Congress papers to the web site and publishing 2012 Congress papers. Dr. Almas reported that the are some proposals to put papers on the IRSA web page, but does not think this is very valuable. However, there is also a tradition of publishing some papers. There was a volume of Korea papers edited by Bonanno et al. Mara Miele has asked for volunteers to be a lead editor for a volume from the Congress. There have been some proposals related to RC-40.

Terry Marsden has been editor for a rural studies series for about 5 years. Has become quite successful. There are now 19 volumes in print. The current publisher seems to be interested in more than one volume per year. However, some ideas are needed for future books. Terry is the series editor, but does not edit individual books. Reidar Almas noted that one problem with posting papers on web sites is that all local arrangements organizers prefer to have own web site, and not use the official IRSA web site. It would be expensive for IRSA to be the “only” web site. The council then suggested that Mustafa Koc start a “local” 2016 Toronto web site as soon as possible.

MOTION: It was then moved that the next meeting of the IRSA Council take place during the XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology in Yokohama, Japan, July 13-19, 2014. The motion was made by Carol Richards and seconded by Mustafa Koc. The motion was unanimously accepted by voice acclamation.

Respectfully submitted by Raymond A. Jussaume Jr., Secretary-Treasurer

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