Minutes for Council Meeting July 13, 2010

Minutes for Council Meeting
Gothenberg, Sweden
July 13, 2010

Reidar Almas, Center for Rural Research, Norway (ESRS)
Lynda Cheshire, University of Queensland, Australia (AON)
Elizabeth Ransom, University of Richmond, United States (RSS)
Ray Jussaume, Washington State University, United States (RSS)
Surichai Wun’Gaeo, The Rotary Peace University, Thailand (ARSA)
Manuel Moreira, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal (ESRS)
Mustafa Koc, Ryerson University, Canada (RSS)
David Hansen, The Ohio State University, United States (RSS)
Masashi Tachikawa, Ibaraki University, Japan (Representing Keigo Ikegami) (ARSA)

Yoshio Kawamura, Ryukoko University (Executive Committee)
Christine Stirling, University of Tasmania (AON)
Roger Wilkinson, Government of Victoria (AON)
Susana Aparicio, University of Buenos Aires (ALASRU)
Sonia Bergamasco, University of Campinas (ALASRU)
Fernando Guerrero, Catholic University of Ecuador (ALASRU)
Lutgarda Tolentino. University of the Philippines – Los Banos (ARSA)
Bettina Bock, Wageningen University (ESRS)
Charalambos Kisimis, Agricultural University of Athens (ESRS)
Paul Milbourne, Cardiff University
Hans Bakker, University of Guelph (RSS)

IRSA President, Reidar Almas, opened the Council meeting at 18:00. He expressed his appreciation to those present for having made the effort to attend. He then asked each of them to briefly introduce themselves to others in the room.

Reidar Almas then asked for reports about activities being undertaken by different regional associations. Lynda Cheshire updated those in attendance about current activities being undertaken through the AON. She mentioned that AON is a virtual community consisting around 300 members who belong to an e-list. She mentioned that Frank Vanclay, who was responsible for the network, has moved to Holland. However, she also mentioned that the Australian National University has recently established an Institute for Rural Australia and that the director of this institute will take leadership for the AON. She mentioned that expectations are that this Institute anticipates organizing a number of local meetings and conferences. She also described the Agri-Food Research Network, which is affiliated with the AON, indicating that it holds an annual conference. This year it will be held from 11/29 to 12/1 in Melbourne. She also mentioned that the 2009 conference was held in New Zealand.

Surichai Wun’gaeo then spoke for ARSA. He indicated that an ARSA Council Meeting will be held the end of August. He also mentioned that ARSA will hold a regional conference in Legaspi City, Philippines from September 6-10 at Bicol University. Masashi Tachikawa distributed a flyer describing this international conference, the theme of which is “The Multidimensionality of Economy, Energy and Environmental Crises and their Implications to the Rural Livelihoods.”
Surichai Wun’gaeo and Masashi Tachikawa invited all to attend this event.

Since there were no Council members from ALASRU present, Manuel Moreira, Technical University of Lisbon, spoke for them. He indicated that a major ALASRU conference will be held near Recife, Brazil on November 15-19.

Reidar Almas reported on activities of the ESRS. He mentioned that the conference which it sponsored the previous year in Vasa, Finland was a big success with 470 in attendance. He indicated that there is an upsurge of interest in rural studies in Europe, in part resulting from the rural development dimension of the European Common Agricultural Policy. This has stimulated a series of studies and academic interest in rural populations. He also indicated that the entry of Eastern European nations has added many new rural dwellers to the European Union. The result has been increased interest among young scientists in rural studies. He indicated that the next ESRS meeting will be held in Crete. He also mentioned that the journal, Sociologia Ruralis, is again in good standing, with a top rating and with many articles being submitted to it for publication.

Elizabeth Ransom reported on activities of the Rural Sociological Society. She mentioned that the Annual Meeting will be held in Atlanta, Georgia in August. She also indicated that the RSS has a new executive office at which Ralph Brown is the Executive Director. She mentioned that next year’s annual meeting will be held in Boise, Idaho and that the book series sponsored by RSS is changing publishers. Ray also mentioned that the RSS Council is considering creation of a mini-summer school for young scholars that would be held immediately prior to the annual meeting. Reidar Almas commented on the difference in trends between the U.S. and Europe. While interest seems to be waning in the U.S., it has been increasing in Europe.

Ray Jussaume, Deputy Program Chair for the Seoul World Congress, informed that several publications are being prepared using papers presented at the World Congress. One is being edited by Alessandro Bonanno, Hans Bakker and Ray Jussaume. It is currently in the proof state and will hopefully be published by September. He also mentioned another publication that will be released in Tokyo. It will contain a collection of papers presented at the World Congress by female Japanese participants. Mention was also made of another rural sociology and development series being put out by Emerald Publisher. The editor for this series is Terry Marsden, Wales.

Reidar Almas then turned the Council’s attention to the upcoming World Congress to be held in Lisbon, Portugal in 2012. Manuel Moreira, Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee indicated that the First Call for this Congress has been made and invited all to review the brochure found in the registration packet given to attendees of the conference. He indicated that most sessions will be held on the campus of the Technical University of Lisbon. However, he indicated that should large number register, it may be necessary to go to a separate building with a large auditorium for the inaugural activities. He mentioned that the first day will consist of a number of presentations by invited speakers. He indicated that he is in the process of contacting foundations to solicit support for the Congress including the Portuguese Council for Science and Technology. He also mentioned that he anticipated that the Luso-American Foundation will provide support for the participation of invited speakers, especially from North America. He also indicated that he intends to contact European Embassies in Portugal to request that they support travel to the Congress of speakers from their respective nations.

He mentioned that one day of the Congress will be devoted to tours. Among options that they are considering are tours to areas that were involved in the agrarian reform of 1975, to organic farms and to typical agrarian schemes, such as those which undertake extensive grazing. He also mentioned the possibility of visiting Portuguese wineries and fishing communities close to Lisbon.

The registration fee for the Congress has provisionally been set at three different levels. Tentatively, Europeans, North Americans, etc. would be expected to pay an early registration fee of 250 Euros or a late fee of 300 Euros. Attendees from transitional nations would be expected to pay an early registration fee of 200 Euros and a late registration fee of 250 Euros. Students and representatives of developing nations would be expected to pay an early registration fee of 150 Euros and a late registration fee of 200 Euros.

The Local Arrangements Committee is in the process of procuring help from a local firm with substantial experience in organizing conferences. He indicated that accommodations for attendees would not be a problem since there has been a surge in hotels, etc. He indicated that transportation to/from hotels may be problematical since many of the hotels are located downtown rather than near the campus where meetings will be held. Considerable discussion ensued about transportation options and Manuel indicated that he would be following up on alternatives.

Mustafa Koç, Chair of the Program Committee for the upcoming World Congress, reported on its activities. He indicated that they are following the 4M principle which reflects the membership of this Committee – Mustafa Koçc, Mara Miele, Marie Christine Renard – and assistance from Manuel Moreira. He indicated that the Committee intends to pursue a two stage process in soliciting papers for presentation. The first stage would consist of a call for session proposals. Conveners of sessions would be expected to identify themes and also invite others to participate in the sessions and solicit their abstracts and papers. The second stage would consist of an independent call for abstracts and subsequent papers. These would be submitted to Manuel Moreira. Mustafa Koç will set up a blackboard on the internet to which the initial abstracts would be posted. Members of the committee would review the abstracts and determine acceptability for the Congress. In addition to abstract quality, additional screening will be undertaken to assure that proposed abstracts are genuine. There was extensive discussion about how to call for papers and sessions. It was agreed that Session Proposals would be solicited from March – October 2011 and Paper Proposals would be solicited from September, 2011 – January, 2012.

Mustafa Koç requested those in attendance to provide the Program Committee with the names of good potential keynote speakers for the plenary sessions. He indicated that they do not necessarily have to be rural sociologies or even academics. He indicated that the Committee would provide guidance to the plenary speakers about themes that they might address. Several potential themes mentioned were local-global food systems and rural policy in Europe. He indicated that we need to think broadly in regard to themes relevant to rural society.

Reidar Almas indicated that he had been contacted by several interested parties regarding the possibility to host the 2016 World Congress. These contacts were from Venezuela, Ireland, Australia (Melbourne), Canada and Mexico. Mention was made of the possibility of holding the World Congress in Toronto by Mustafa Koç, Ryerson University. He indicated that he would be interested in contacting a number of colleagues in Toronto and surrounding areas, such as Guelph and Waterloo, with the idea being that they might collectively propose to host the World Congress. Reidar Almas asked that it be reflected in the minutes that the IRSA Council encourages the Canadians to prepare a bid for submission, but that other formal bids would also be most welcome.

Reidar Almas then informed that the IRSA website has moved from the U.S. to Norway. Mark Jarvis, former web site manager, has been replaced by Kajarten Sarheim Anthun, Trondheim. He indicated that the website has been much improved and that it has been frequented by a large number of parties. Lynda Cheshire asked if it would be possible to link the website to an e-list which could then be used to inform interested parties which new items are posted to the website. Other mechanisms to facilitate communication of IRSA news were also mentioned, such as listing IRSA on face book. Reidar Almas indicated that he would consult with the web site coordinator about these options.

Reidar Almas, then asked David Hansen, Secretary-Treasurer, to provide a financial report to the Council. He indicated that IRSA’s finances are in good shape, with about $30,000 currently at IRSA’s disposal. IRSA depends on Regional Association annual dues and returns from the quadrennial world congresses for its income. Organizers of the last World Congress in Seoul provided IRSA was a check for over $6,000. Ray Jussaume asked why a relatively large certificate of deposit had been cashed during the past year and if some of the funds were in a money market account or similar financial mechanism. David Hansen replied that interest rates on CDs are currently very low, but promised to explore alternatives and put some of the funds in the checking account into an interest bearing account. He shared information showing that the regional associations are up-to-date on payment of their annual dues. AON, ARSA, IRSA have paid their dues through 2011. ESRS and RSS have paid their dues through 2009 and will be requested to pay their dues for 2010 and 2011 on an annual basis as has been the custom.

Reidar Almas brought the Council Meeting to a close at 20:00, thanking those in attendance for having taken the time to participate in the meeting.

David O. Hansen

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