Porto Alegre: Minutes of the Executive Board Meeting

Porto Alegre,
24 July 2004, 9.30 am.

Mauel Parés I Maicas

Frank Morgan, Divinia Frau-Meigs, Marjan de Bruin, Annie Méar, Manuel Parés i Maicas, Ole Preh.


Eddie Kuo and Jan Servaes.

1. Agenda
The agenda was approved with minor changes and amendments.

Report on the Porto Alegre conference a
Jacques Wainberg, chairman of the local organizing committee, reported that the conference would be attended by more than 550 participants, of whom approximately 50% came from abroad, and that Latin America was not well represented probably due to the fact that other conferences were held in the area, and that people had to choose.

The organizers had experienced some difficulties with the payment system, but no major problems were foreseen. He also reported that the total budget for the conference would be about USD 40,000 and that a local bank had sponsored the event extensively. Approximately 25% of the budget was allocated to support people from low-income countries. Morgan added that UNESCO had donated USD 10,000 directly to the IAMCR for supporting participants from low-income countries.

At a general level it was discussed how IAMCR and the local organizers in the future would be able to generate more funding, how division of risk and possible conference surplus should be handled, and it was observed that Africa seemed to be a lost continent in relation to IAMCR. More concretely it was discussed whether the conference format should be changed in order to hold the General Assembly on e.g. Wednesday rather than the last day of the conference. The board decided to propose the latter to the coming governing bodies.

3. Minutes of the Executive Board meeting in Loughborough, November 2003
The minutes needed editing and minor corrections and were then approved.
4. Reports from members of the Executive Board
Morgan briefly presented the headlines of his report emphasising the problems that seemed to arise in relation to the UN, where ICA had emerged as a competitor. Also the relations to UNESCO were problematic as IAMCR did not deliver anything of importance leaving the relations at a formal rather than operative level.

Such issues were taken up in the report from Frau-Meigs who stressed that we have to learn from other organisations, and that we have to cooperate with natural partners. The most important factor was that IAMCR has no real stated vision, mission, and policy. Once such positions were adopted it would be possible to have members representing IAMCR with a clear mandate, and it would be possible to propose research projects either by IAMCR alone or together with other organisations.

We also have to ask our members what they have to give or offer rather than the other way around. It is also obvious that members only rarely mention their affiliation with IAMCR in books and articles, and again this fact can be boilt down to the fact that there is no mission or mandate to refer to. It was therefore recommended that writing up a draft vision statement in a proactive and operative form was given high priority in the coming period.

In relation to the report from the Secretary General the website project was discussed, and it was emphasised that we need discussion or chat rooms, that Kirsten Larsen should be the official web master, and that a concrete action plan for developing the website be produced.

It was further discussed how to improve the quality of conferences. For instance the book of abstracts for the Porto Alegre conference was filled with errors and omissions. It was accordingly suggested that a conference committee would be established.

The report from Jan Servaes was discussed, and the board suggested to the new governing bodies to look into the proposals made in the report, and that this activity also included the possibility of including one journal in each of the IAMCR official languages as part of the membership package.

Marjan de Bruin, editor of the newsletter, referred to her column in the latest issue. She emphasised the difficulties in functioning not only as the editor but also as the writer and handling the production, and she felt that there was a lack of accountability from people commissioned to work for the newsletter. The board congratulated de Bruin for her successful accomplishments and proposed that the new executive board would keep the newsletter a high priority issue.

Treasurer Annie Máer gave a brief report on the Interim Financial Statements as at May 31, 2004 that showed total revenues of USD 43,565 and total expenditures of USD 47,883, which is excess of expenditures over revenues of USD 4,318 and accumulated surplus of USD 90,309. The Schiller Fund severely lacked donations and was at the moment very fragile in spite of a one-time donation from University of Texas/Austin. The report was approved and referred to the International Council.

The treasurer proposed that the coming budget was decreased from USD 55,000 to USD 47,000 annually. This was also approved.

In her concluding remarks as outgoing treasurer, Annie Méar suggested that a five year business plan was to be worked out, and that a permanent head quarters was once again considered. She also suggested that IAMCR creates a scholarship fund.

5. New members
The new members were approved.
6. Proposal on new conference guidelines
The draft proposal was discussed, and it was proposed that the new governing bodies would initiate the production of conference planning handbook.
7. The vacant treasurer position
It was proposed that the procedure would be for the General Assembly to co-opt a member for this position that cannot be vacant.
8. Statutes and by-laws
It was observed that some cleaning up was needed, and that deadlines and definition on paid-up members be clarified.
9. Agenda for the International Council meeting
The agenda for the meeting to take place on July 25, 2004 was approved.

The meeting closed at 6:15 pm.