Council Meeting Minutes Out-Going Council Meeting July 6, 2008

Alessandro Bonanno, President
Koichi Ikegami, ARSA
Lynda Cheshire, AON
Oakla Cho, ARSA
Hans Bakker, RSS
Ray Jussaume, RSS
Henrique de Barros, ALASRU
Surichai Wun’Gaeo, ARSA
David Hansen, Secretary-Treasurer
Yoshio Kawamura (ARSA), Program Chair
Ki-Whan Chung (ARSA), Local Arrangements Chair

Bettina Bock, ESRS
Paul Milbourne, ESRS
Heather Aslin, AON
Hugh Campbell, AON
Phil McMichael, RSS
Gabriela Martinez Dougnac, ALASRU
Luciano Martinez Valle, ALASRU
Hilary Tovey, ESRS

Roger Wilkinson, AON In-Coming Council Representative
Manuel Moreira (ESRS), Proposed Local Arrangements Chair
Mark Shucksmith (ESRS), IRSA Executive Committee

Alessandro Bonanno called the Council meeting to order at 15:45 and welcomed those in attendance. He expressed regrets on the part of those who were unable to attend the meeting. Those in attendance were then requested to introduce themselves and identify their membership affiliations and reasons for attendance.

Alessandro Bonanno then indicated that he wished to alter the agenda slightly by having Prof. Manuel Moreira, Technical University of Lisbon, present the proposal submitted by his institution to host the next World Congress. The presentation was made in power point and was followed by a lively discussion by those in attendance.

Hans Bakker raised questions about the timing of the meeting – late July/early August – given timing of member regional association meetings. Alessandro Bonanno mentioned a concern about availability of space on the university campus given its academic schedule. Mark Shucksmith mentioned that there was no conflict with ESRS meetings which are held biannually and would not be held in 2012. Ray Jussaume asked about hotels and other housing for the conference in proximity to the proposed venue. Manuel Moreira responded that there would be new hotels available proximate to the University as well as student dorms for the proposed times. Lynda Cheshire mentioned that timing would conflict with academic calendar of universities in AON region. Henrique de Barros indicated the great support of ALASRU for this proposal. Roger Wilkinson asked if the venues for the plenary sessions and the working group sessions are close together. Mark Shucksmith asked how the plenary sessions would work for the Congress – if they would be separate or used to keep participants at the Conference. Lynda Cheshire indicated that there would be a need to get the balance right – between time dedicated to plenary sessions and time dedicated to working groups. Dave Hansen commented that it would be important for the organizers to consult with previous Congress organizers in order to make the best informed decisions. Surichai Wun’Gaeo asked about participation from the African continent and the need to engage individuals from around the globe in the conference; this idea was supported by Henrique de Barros. Oakla Cho and Alessandro Bonanno commented on the Program Chairs for the proposed Congress, indicating that they have been identified in the proposal consistent with the Procedural Manual that accompanies IRSA’s By-laws. David Hansen mentioned that an inquiry about hosting the next World Congress had been received from the University of Madras in Chennai, India and would be followed up on in regard to the 2016 World Congress.

At this point, Alessandro Bonanno recognized the arrival of Prof. Ikegami Koichi, ARSA representative from Japan. He then discussed the difficulty of selecting venues for the World Congress, indicating that geographic position of venues was not sufficient. Rather, he argued that there is a need to consider population, income, education, etc. He further indicated that it is important to consider generation of funds to support travel scholarships to the meeting and that it would be important to attract more individuals from high income regions because their registration fees would permit more travel scholarships for individuals from low income nations. Mark Shucksmith indicated that congresses need to make money some of the time and that this needs to be considered when selecting venues for them.

Ray Jussaume then proposed that Council decide on Lisbon as a venue for the 2012 World Congress. He moved that Lisbon, Portugal be recognized as the location for the 2012 World Congress and that the Executive Committee finalize a Memorandum of Agreement for hosting the Congress with the proposed organizers. The motion was seconded by Mark Shucksmith. (passed unanimously)

Ki-Whan Chung then reported on the current Congress. He indicated that he expected 400 individuals, but that that only around 350 would actually be in attendance. He indicated that the expectations were for a high quality Congress. Yoshio Kawamura then reported on the program for the Congress. He mentioned that the Congress expects to have 320 paper presenters in attendance, based on current information. Ray Jussaume then reported on three sources of scholarship funds, as well as the expected number of working groups. He indicated that sessions can be reorganized, depending on who actually attends the Congress. Yoshio Kawamura then commented on the need to increase scholarships to more than $1,000 in order to induce participants to attend from lower income nations. He also mentioned that visa and exit permit problems were very real for those coming from lower income nations and suggested that this fact be considered by the next World Congress.

Alessandro Bonanno then moved that the reports from the Program Chairs and the Local Arrangements Chair be accepted and that they be congratulated for their efforts. (unanimously approved with no comment)

Dave Hansen then presented the Quadrennial report as Secretary-Treasurer. Alessandro Bonanno motioned that it be approved and this was seconded by Lynch Cheshire. (unanimously approved with no comment)

Dave Hansen then presented the Financial Report as Secretary-Treasurer. He indicated that IRSA currently has a positive balance of approximately $30,000, much of which is deposited in income generating CD’s. Alessandro Bonanno motioned that it be approved and this was seconded by Mark Shucksmith. (unanimously approved)

Dave Hansen then opened discussion of dues payments, proposing to modify By-law 3 to allow regional association members the flexibility to pay dues on an annual basis if so desired. He mentioned that some members felt that their own cash flow situation does not allow them to pay four years in advance. He also noted that current practice has been to invoice them on an annual basis. After a brief discussion of this topic Alessandro Bonanno moved and Henrique de Barros seconded that this revision to By-law 3 be discussed at the General Assembly. (unanimously passed)

Dave Hansen then opened discussion of IRSA policy regarding forgiveness of dues for regional association members. Mention was made that it would be important to receive requests from regional associations on an annual basis rather than on a multi-year basis. Ray Jussaume seconded this notion, citing the specific need for ALASRU to do so. Henrique de Barros indicated his support for this notion, but mentioned that ALASRU was in debt after the last regional meeting in 2006, which precipitated its request for the exemption. Mark Shucksmith indicated that is important that regional associations understand that exemptions be temporary rather than an expectation, since we need to consider the financial viability of IRSA as well. Lynda Cheshire proposed modifying the wording for the change in By-law 12 to include “exceptional basis” and moved that it be presented to the General Assembly for discussion in this form. The motion was seconded by Henrique de Barros (unanimously passed)

Alessandro Bonanno then brought up the topic of publication of papers presented at the current World Congress. He indicated that the Executive Committee had approved their posting on the IRSA Website in order to allow those who are unable to attend to have access to them. He then initiated a discussion of the possibility of preparing an edited volume of paper form the conference with financial support from IRSA. He discussed the possibility of creating an editorial committee to oversee this publication, using a theme of the Congress as the title for the publication, and $5,000 support from IRSA for it. This was followed by a lively discussion by Council members. Henrique de Barros suggested that it might be better to support a series of publications focused on sub themes of the conference. Ray Jussaume indicated that we have our own series and that only one slot is available in that series. Lynda Cheshire asked if it might be appropriate for working group chairs to screen the papers based on quality and invite authors to submit for this publication. Ray Jussaume indicated that only papers that were actually presented at the conference and forwarded by working group chairs would be posted on the website. Ray Jussaume indicated that it would be necessary to have a proposal approved by an editor to move this forward. Alessandro Bonanno indicted that IRSA has the moral obligation to share output from Congresses. Mark Shucksmith indicated that the idea of publishing a book is a good one since the book will promote the conference. He indicated that the editors would need to be more proactive to ensure that a precise theme be identified and that the papers published coalesce around the theme. Ray Jussaume then moved and Henrique de Barros seconded that an Ad Hoc Committee be formed to further discuss this option, chaired by Alessandro Bonanno, with participation by himself and Yoshio Kawamura as well as Mark Shucksmith, and that the committee bring a formal recommendation to the In-Coming Council meeting. (passed unanimously)

Lynda Cheshire raised the issue of how Local Arrangement Chairs and Program Committee Chairs should be selected. After discussion it was the sense of the Council that procedures outlined in Procedural Manual which specify that these individual be identified in the proposal be maintained.

Alessandro Bonanno brought up the topic of how to engage past presidents in IRSA activities. It was the sense of the Council that the in-coming president of IRSA should seek the advice of past presidents as appropriate.

Members of regional associations were then requested to report out on their activities. Mark Shucksmith reported for ESRS, indicating that the most recent European Congress was held one year ago in Wageningen. He indicated that the ESRS sponsored journal, Sociologia Ruralis, has been doing quite well and is currently the third journal in ranking in sociology based on citations. He further indicated that the next ESRS Congress would be held in Finland in 2009.

Lynda Cheshire reported on AON activities. She mentioned that AON is an interest group, but that members from Australia and New Zealand regularly attend IRSA Congresses which suggests a very active group. She mentioned that it has an electronic listserv with a large number of subscribers and that they are exploring the possibility of developing a formal association. She also expressed her recognition of the excellent service provided to IRSA and the AON by its out going Council members – Heather Aslin and Hugh Campbell.

Hans Bakker then reported for RSS indicating that the cooperation between Canada and the U.S. was good. Ray Jussaume added that the RSS is a strong group, but undergoing a lot of change, and that the Rural Sociology journal is doing quite well. He indicated that important changes were occurring on the land grant university campuses which suggest that the relationship of rural sociology to related disciplines is changing. He also indicated that multiple factors explain the lack of representation of RSS members at the World Congress, including these changes on university campuses.

Henrique de Barros discussed recent ALASRU activities. He indicated that its most recent Congress was held in 2006 in Quito. It was attended by 1000 participants. There were 200 completed papers that are being published on the ALASRU website which is frequently visited. He indicated that ALASRU currently has a discussion list with over 700 members. He pointed out that many participants at the recent ALASRU Congress are not sociologists, but rather are from related areas such as geography and tourism. He indicated that the next Congress will be held in Recife in 2010 and that ALASRU plans to reinvigorate its journal.

Surichai Wun’Gaeo reported on ARSA activities. He mentioned that its third Congress was held in Beijing in 2007. He indicated that ARSA may give more attention to regional focus in the future, such as the Mekong delta and India. He mentioned that the next Congress will be held in the Philippines. He also mentioned the presence of new actors at their Congress, especially NGO representatives.

Alessandro Bonanno then tabled other agenda items due to the start of the opening reception. The meeting terminated at 18:30.

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