Report of the Commission on Reform
Completed after the Bureau meeting in Amsterdam, February 5th and 6th 1999
By Richard Sutch, Chair of the Commission
The Commission on Reform met in Utrecht on December 11 and 12, 1998.
Present on 11 December were Ritta Hjerppe, Giles Postel-Vinay, Peter Solar, Richard Sutch (chair), Jan Luiten van Zanden (ex officio), and Oscar Gelderblom (reporter). On 12 December this group was joined by Patricia Thane. Pascal Bertrand replaced Oscar Gelderblom as reporter for the second day. Leandro Prados de la Escosura was unable to attend the meeting.
The Commission on Reform solicited suggestions and proposals for organizing the XIII Congress from interested scholars and from the member organizations. Approximately 16 responses were received. In addition a considerable amount of discussion of the issues has been publically available on the internet site established by EH.NET. The Secretary General of the IEHA also sent a questionnaire to each session organizer following the Madrid Congress.
The discussions of the Commission on Reform were greatly facilitated by the careful and well-organized summaries of the correspondence received and an analysis of the questionnaire prepared by Jan Luiten van Zanden and Oscar Gelderblom. The chair has also benefitted from the excellently recorded, detailed minutes of the two days of meetings prepared by the reporters. This assistance and the generous hospitality of the Universiteit Utrecht deserve the gratitude of the Association.
The first day of discussions were devoted to suggestions for changes in the format of the World Congresses of the IEHA. It was decided that these proposals should be transmitted to Roberto Cortes Conde as non-binding suggestions for possible implementation for our Congress in Buenos Aires in 2002. After modification by the Bureau at its meeting in Amsterdam in February, they will be forwarded to all member organizations for comment. At the meeting of the Executive Committee in Riverside, California, in May, they will be considered for adoption to apply to all World Congresses subsequent to the XIII Congress.
The second day of discussions were devoted to listing possible changes in the structure and organization of the IEHA. The tentative proposals that emerged from this discussion will be discussed by the Bureau in February, further refined by the Commission on Reform, and then transmitted to the member organizations for comment. The final set of proposals for reform will be presented to the Executive Committee in May. However, any change in the Statutes of the Association must be approved by the General Assembly.
This report has three attached documents. First, a set of proposals regarding the format of the World Congress. Second, a draft of a call for sessions to be organized for the Buenos Aires Congress. Third, a preliminary set of proposals for reform of the IEHA.
Proposals Regarding the Format of the World Congresses of the International Economic History Association
General Principles: There was agreement on the following general principles:
1) The World Congresses are a meeting ground. The informal social occasions are as important as the formal sessions. Congresses bring scholars together for face-to-face discussion. Introductions are made, relationships renewed, and ideas are exchanged in informal discussions. This social function is particularly important for younger scholars, for those who reside a distance from the major universities of the world, and for those with limited personal and institutional support for international travel. Congress sites (hotels and meeting facilities) should be chosen, and the congress format should be designed, to facilitate these important informal social interactions.
2) The World Congresses should be as inclusive as possible. The goal should be to exhibit the diversity of the field of Economic History. The formal sessions should include reports from both young and mature scholars, from and concerning different parts of the world, and should display the full range of methodological approaches in use by scholars. When feasible these objectives should be applied for each individual session as well as being required for the full set of sessions considered collectively. "Economic history" should be considered in its broadest sense to include social history and demographic history and other related social science histories. The program should span all epoches of human history. Attendance by scholars who are not formal participants in the sessions should be encouraged and supported as much as possible.
3) The World Congresses should leave an impact on the field by changing the research agendas and teaching priorities of participants. We want Congresses that promote open dialog, free from political and ideological censorship. Sessions should be organized to facilitate debate and initiate new and fruitful communications. Themes should be chosen to challenge, to inquire, and to inspire work on important and exciting topics.
4) The Association should recognize the need for flexibility and permit the Congress organizers considerable latitude in making local arrangements.
Frequency and Timing of Congresses: At this time the Commission on Reform sees no reason to depart from the current practice of holding one World Congress every four years. The next Congress, our thirteenth, is scheduled for July or August of 2002. Thus the Committee proposes that the XIV Congress be held in 2006. In what follows we will designate a year during which a Congress shall take place as "Year Four." Thus the calendar year following the year of a Congress is "Year One." This year, 1999, is Year One.
Responsibility: The current practice is that the President of the IEHA is also the person responsible for organizing the Congress. This individual has two roles that may come into conflict. Some people hold the opinion that in the matter of resolving the difficulties with Proconsur the interests of the Association and the interests of the organizers of the XII Congress were conflicting. Whether or not this was so, the Reform Commission suggests that for XIV Congress in 2006 the President-Elect should organize the Congress. Following the Congress the individual chosen would serve as President of the Association for a four-year term. Thus during the Congress in 2002, the General Assembly would elect both a President for a four-year term and a President-Elect who would organize the Congress in 2006 and then serve as President until 2010. The President selected in 2002 would have no personal responsibilities for organizing a Congress. The Reform Commission felt that the title of President-elect, rather than that of Vice President, would be useful, perhaps crucial, for fund raising.
The over-all responsibility for the Congresses should be returned to the Executive Committee. The President-Elect should be a member of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee and the President-Elect should have a clear, full, and written agreement about the respective organizational and financial responsibilities of both parties. Also see the recommendations on Financial Responsibilities in the next section.
Financial Responsibilities: The finances and the cash flows of each Congress should be kept separate from each other and separate from the general treasury of the Association. In Year Three (2001, 2005, ....) the potential designate(s) for President-Elect should present a year-by-year budget for the proposed subsequent Congress to the Executive Committee. Expenditures for that Congress should be divided into three distinct categories: (1) the costs of the Secretariat (to be agreed upon between the Secretary General and the Executive Committee), (2) fixed costs that will be independent of the attendance, and (3) variable costs that are proportional to the attendance. Registration fees should be set to cover the variable costs and the costs of the Secretariat. A fund-raising effort should be planned to cover the fixed costs with a limited guarantee (say US $30,000) from the general treasury of the IEHA to insure against a short fall.
Registration fees and contributions of national associations should be deposited in a Congress account owned by the Association and overseen by the Treasurer of the Association. This account would be opened by transferring the amount of the guarantee from the general treasury. The Treasurer would be authorized to release funds to the President-Elect or to the Congress organizing committee as appropriate and needed. The Treasurer would report the cash flows and the status of the Congress account to the Executive Committee at its annual meeting. Funds raised by the President-Elect or the Congress organizing committee may be received and disbursed from accounts established for that purpose in the host country. Such accounts should be owned either by the IEHA or by a non-profit corporate entity such as a University or a national economic history association. The President-Elect would be expected to make annual and closing financial reports concerning the activities of these accounts to the Executive Committee. A clear understanding should be recorded about the disbursal of any funds that might remain in such accounts after all business of the Congress has been completed.
The Commission on Reform further recommends that the Bureau investigate the need for and cost of liability insurance and personal bonding and report on those issues to the Executive Committee in May.
Location of Congresses: In the past most, but not all, of the World Congresses were held in the country of residence of the Congress organizer. This makes both local arrangements and fund raising easier. At the same time, this practice has prevented the consideration of certain individuals for the Presidency because of their incapacity or unwillingness to host a Congress in their home country. It might also be argued that attractive locations stimulate attendance. It would seem a good thing if the location of the Congress could be less tightly restricted. For this and other reasons, the Commission on Reform is proposing to keep the fixed costs (and thus the need for fund raising) as low as possible. Specific proposals designed to accomplish this are below.
The Commission on Reform also proposes that a more open process for nominating host cities be designed and that, when possible, the host city and the President-Elect be selected independently. Here is a suggestion of how this might be implemented. In Year One member organizations and interested individuals could be invited to nominate a location for the Congress. Members of the Executive Committee would be strongly encouraged to make such a nomination as well. The proposal of a host city should include some specifics about who would take on the task of coordinating the local arrangements and some ideas about the capacity to raise funds locally. The proposal would not need to anticipate the choice of the President-Elect. The Executive Committee would then form an ad hoc committee to consider some or all of the proposals, to solicit additional proposals if necessary, and to recommend to the Executive Committee in Year Three both a city to host the Congress and a candidate for President-Elect. Obviously, the candidate for President-Elect would have to be someone who could work with the local organizing committee, but with a strong local committee and the modern conveniences of communications and transportation, it would be feasible to have a President-Elect from a country that did not include the host city. In the past our Presidents have been selected from the members of the Executive Committee, so it might be anticipated that the President-Elect recommended by the ad hoc committee would be a member of the Executive Committee although this would not be a requirement. In any case, the designated President-Elect would present the proposed budget to the Executive Committee in Year Three. At the Congress in Year Four, the Executive Committee would be asked to approve of the written understanding with the designated President-Elect.
Lodging: Unless reasons can be given for doing otherwise, the Commission on Reform recommends that hotel reservations, advanced deposits, and lodgings arrangements should be the responsibility of the participants. This will avoid the need for the Association or the Conference organizers to handle the advance deposits. The local organizers should make arrangements to hold blocks of rooms, negotiate a Congress rate, and (if necessary) post a financial guarantee. A menu of suggestions should then be provided to participants who would book their own arrangements.
It is desirable to have some low-cost lodging alternatives (such as in a university dormitory). This would encourage participation by young scholars and those with limited personal and institutional support. Such facilities might be an exception to the proposal that participants deal directly with the hotels.
Fees and Grants: Registration fees should not exceed $200 US and should be set to reflect the estimated variable cost of participation plus a proportional contribution to the costs of the Secretariat. Reduced fees should be offered to Graduate Students and perhaps to participants from third-world countries. Travel grants to young scholars and those with inadequate resources or institutional support should be financed either from funds specifically raised for this purpose or from voluntary contributions of other participants solicited as an "extra registration fee."
Timing and Length of Congresses: After discussing the alternatives at some length, the Commission on Reform recommends keeping World Congresses to the traditional five-day schedule. Either a Monday through Friday calendar or a Tuesday through Saturday calendar could be used. Congresses should be scheduled for July or one of the first three weeks of August.
Sessions: In response to considerable complaints about the current hierarchical structure of sessions (A-, B-, C-, D-, and E-sessions) the Reform Commission recommends replacing this with a simpler structure. As proposed, most sessions would be Regular Sessions selected from those proposed in answer to two separate calls for proposals. Please, see the attached draft of a call for proposals for details. The Committee recommends retaining the dissertation sessions. In addition the Committee proposes creating three Executive Sessions, one Presidential Session, and one Keynote Address. The Executive Sessions would be created by the Executive Committee in Year two (see below for details). The Presidential Session would be organized by the President of the Association. The Keynote Speaker would be selected by the President-Elect. The Presidential Address would be eliminated. However, the President may choose to address the Congress at the Presidential Session.
Use of the internet to broadly advertise the call for session proposals and to assist individuals looking for others to join together to make a proposal is strongly encouraged.
Each day of the Congress would be divided into four 90-minute time blocks (or possibly 105-minute blocks): two in the morning separated by a thirty-minute coffee break, a long lunch break, and two blocks in the afternoon separated by a thirty-minute coffee break. The Commission feels strongly that long coffee and lunch breaks are essential to a well functioning congress. These are times where informal discussion takes place and where participants have the occasion to make contacts.
Proposals for sessions may request one, two, or three consecutive time blocks depending upon the nature of the proposed theme and the number of participants proposed. The first block of the first day would be reserved for registration. The last block of day two would be reserved for a general meeting of the whole to provide information and to discuss the business of the Association (in structure, this would be similar to the Wednesday meeting held in Madrid). No sessions would be held during the afternoon of the third day. This time would be reserved for excursions, sight seeing, assemblies of national associations, or informally-organized meetings called for special purposes. The third session of the fourth day would be reserved for the dissertation sessions. The final session of the fifth day would be reserved for the meeting of the General Assembly. The remaining fourteen time blocks would hold the scientific sessions.
Each time block could hold twelve or more concurrent sessions. If, for example, the Executive Committee selected 5 three-block sessions, 40 two-block sessions, and 60 one-block sessions, we would have a total of 110 sessions including the 3 Executive Sessions, the Presidential Session, and the session set aside for the initial lectures. This is comparable to the roughly 100 sessions that were scheduled for Seville.
Session organizers should be given great discretion over how their sessions will be organized, the number of papers, the use of formal discussants, etc. However, they should be strongly encouraged to allocate approximately 20 percent of the available time for discussion and questions from the floor. Guidelines for session organizers should be written and distributed with the call for proposals. The IEHA should distribute a more detailed version of the guidelines to organizers whose sessions are selected.
Languages: It should be the principle responsibility of the session organizers to insure that the participants can effectively communicate with each other. The Commission on Reform suspects that in most cases this can be most effectively achieved by listing English as the preferred language. When other languages are used, the session organizer should make an effort to provide a summary or translation into English. As a courtesy to those whose native language is not English, the use of overhead transparencies and handouts should be strongly encouraged.
Program Committee: The Executive Committee of the Association should continue to serve as the Program Committee for the World Congresses. It should select the sessions, allocate the number of time slots, and make suggestions for changes and improvements in the sessions as proposed. However, the responsibility for the organization of individual sessions remains with the session organizer(s). Prior to the meetings of the Executive Committee, the Secretary General will distribute the session proposals to all members of the Executive Committee by e-mail or internet.
The Executive Committee should continue to serve as the Jury for the Dissertation Sessions.
In Year Two the Executive Committee meeting should include a substantive conference with written contributions from its members circulated in advance (and perhaps with invited speakers from outside of the Executive Committee) to consider the state and direction of the field of economic history. The goal of this discussion would be to create three Executive Sessions for the upcoming Congress. These Executive Sessions would replace the A-Themes of the present arrangement. The President is offered the privilege of organizing the Presidential Session. The theme for this session should be announced at the Executive Conference in Year Two.
Receptions: There should be an open reception on the first night of the Congress. This is an essential meeting place for people to find each other and to make plans to get together during the Congress. The Committee recommends abolishing the opening session and scheduling the welcoming remarks of the organizers and local dignitaries for the evening reception. A closing reception is nice, but might be made a fee event if a donor cannot be easily found.
Executive Committee Meetings: The outgoing Executive Committee should schedule a day-long meeting the day before the Congress opens. The new Executive Committee should meet either on the evening of the fifth day or on the morning of the day following depending upon the amount of business to be conducted. The costs of these meetings should not be part of the Congress budget, but should instead be born by the general treasury of the Association.
Proposals for Reducing the Cost of Congresses: The Commission on Reform feels strongly that the financial burden on the conference organizer should be reduced as much as possible. It offers the following recommendations:
1. The cost of the excursions should not be born by the Congress. Instead, it is recommended that local tour operators be invited to the Congress venue to promote their own programs and that the cost of tours should be the responsibility of those taking tours.
2. Concerts and other entertainments should not be subsidized.
3. Electronic means of communication should be used as much as possible to reduce the cost of printing and mailing brochures. The Reform Commission urges the Bureau to fund a Association web site to disseminate information and to post and periodically update the program of the Congress as it develops and to post both abstracts and the actual papers as they arrive.
4. The Commission felt that the Congress proceedings are too expensive to warrant their continued publication in book format. Moreover, the advance time required for publication, meant that papers had to be completed a year or more in advance of the Congress. Consideration should be given to electronic publication of the proceedings (perhaps as a CD-ROM) following the Congress. Orders could be taken during the Congress itself. Session organizers should be encouraged to pursue other publishing options with commercial publishers or as special issues of scientific journals. There was some sympathy for retaining two volumes: (1) the volume of dissertation abstracts (since publication is a kind of "prize" in itself), and (2) a volume of papers by distinguished economic historians that address some of the broad themes of the Congress, including the Keynote Address. This publication might be needed to bribe distinguished members to attend the Congress and would stand as an encapsulation of the Congresss legacy. The Committee recommends that the Bureau solicit the interests of commercial publishers in a contract for either or both of these publications.
5. The cost of lodging of the officers and the members of the Executive Committee should not be part of the Congress budget. If these costs are to be subsidized by the Association, the funds should come from the general treasury.
The Cost of the Reform Commission: The Reform Commission respectfully requests that the travel costs of the Commission on Reform members to its meeting in December of 1998 be reimbursed from the general treasury of the Association.
Proposals regarding the Reform of the Governance of the International Economic History Association
At its meeting in Utrecht the Commission on Reform of the International Economic History Association began its discussion of the governance structure and modus operandi of the Association. This memorandum is a preliminary report on the Commissions thinking. It is presented at this stage to the Bureau to elicit the reaction of the Associations officers. If there is general support for the direction we have outlined, then the Commission on Reform can in most likelihood complete its business by e-mail and fax without the need for another meeting. If, however, the Bureau would wish for a different approach to some of the problems we discussed, then it may be necessary to hold a second meeting of the Commission. In either case, it would be our intention to have a final report ready for distribution to the members of the Executive Committee and the member organizations by early April. The Committee also proposes to circulate a revised version of this document to the corresponding members of the Association and to all members of the Executive Committee following the Bureau meeting in February.
The Statutes of the Association as approved in Milan are sketchy. On many practical issues they are silent. It was agreed that there is great merit in a simple document that provides the framework for the Associations organization but not the detail. At the same time the Commission believes that a seperate document describing the practices and procedures of the Association would be desirable. We are proposing, therefore, to submit two documents to the Executive Committee in May. One will be a proposed revision of the Statutes and the second would be a set of "house rules," or Huishoudelijk Reglement. It is proposed that the Statutes could be changed only by a vote of the General Assembly, while the House Rules could be changed by the Executive Committee. This would give the Association the flexibility to make changes as needed, but provide a clear set of procedures that could be consulted by any member organization or individual.
Goals: The Committee set three goals to guide its discussion:
Organization of this Report: This report is organized into three sections. The first section comments on each Article of the Statutes in turn and covers both proposed changes in the Statutes and some of the additional details that might be incorporated into the House Rules. The second section proposes a set of transition rules to move the Association from the old structure to the new. The third section treats the financial issues.
Section I -- The Statutes: To aid the reader who does not have a copy of the Statutes at hand, the text of each Article precedes the commentary from the Commission on Reform.
Article I: Name
The International Economic History Association is the name given to a corporately organized association enjoying the rights of civil responsibility in accordance with the provisions of article no 60 and following in the Swiss Civil Code.
After some discussion of possible changes in the name of the Association, including the proposal that it should be called the International Association for Economic and Social History, it was decided not to propose a change. In particular, it was seen as ill advised to attempt to compete with other international organizations for social science history.
Article 2: Aims
The Aims of the Association are:
The Commission on Reform did not discuss a modification of the aims of the IEHA. However, it did give considerable attention to suggestions for broadening the scope and nature of the Associations activities. These are discussed later in this report.
Article 3: Seat
The seat of the Association is in Geneva.
Secretary General Van Zanden circulated a document on the legal status of the IEHA prepared by Anna van Gelderen. This memorandum has been circulated separately to the members of the Bureau. On this basis the Reform Commission saw no need to change Article 3.
Article 4: Membership
Membership of the Association is open to national or international organizations devoted to economic history in either general terms or in one of its major specifications. Admission to membership of the Association is decided by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Executive Committee. Application should be made to the Executive Committee, through the Secretary General, and should include a copy of the constitution of the organization, a list of its officers, and members of its directing Committee, with confirmation of the total numbers of registered members.
The Commission received proposals from several quarters that the Association convert itself into an organization of individual members. This proposal was discussed at length. Particular attention was given to problem of representation of individual scholars who reside in countries that do not have a national association dedicated entirely or in part to economic history. It was ultimately decided to propose no change in this Article of the Statutes but, instead, to work toward the goal of increasing individuals participation by expanding the range of activities of the IEHA.
It was proposed that the present practice of holding our Congresses open to any scientific scholar whether or not he or she belonged to a member organization should be continued. The use of open calls for session proposals and papers and the advertisement of these opportunities on the Internet web should be encouraged. These proposals are discussed in a separate document on the format of the World Congresses circulated earlier to the members of the Bureau.
The Committee also discussed the wisdom of imposing a rule that permitted only one organization per country to join the IEHA or to limit membership to national organizations only. It was decided not to pursue these suggestions since the Executive Committee or the General Assembly could prevent any abuses of the membership rules. It is also suggested that the Association could be more active in soliciting the membership of national organizations and in encouraging the establishment of national organizations. Moreover, the IEHA should try to make sister organizations, of social and political sciences for example, members of the associations.
Article 5: Subscriptions
The level of annual subscriptions payable by member organizations shall be decided by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Executive Committee. Any member organization which has failed to pay the annual subscription for three consecutive years will forfeit its membership if, upon the recommendation of the Executive Committee, the General Assembly so decides.
No change in the wording of this Article is proposed. However, the House Rules should state the subscription rates explicitly. There were two proposals from the Reform Commission concerning these annual contributions. First, subscriptions should not be the sole source of income for the Association. There was some support for a reduction in dues for small or newly-formed member organizations. Alternative income sources are discussed in the section on financial issues. Second, whether or not the subscriptions for small organizations are lowered, it was felt that the dues for large organizations should be greater than those for small organizations. The Committee did not make a specific proposal for the boundary line between small and large, nor did it discuss the optimal structure of subscription fees.
Articles N1 through N6: Officers
There are no Articles in the current Statutes that describe the officers of the Association. The Commission on Reform proposes to add six new Articles at this position in the document. The following draft was prepared by the Chair of the Committee, to capture the essence of the proposed changes. After listing the proposed new articles, some comments of explanation are offered.
Article N1: Officers
The offices of the Association are:
e. Secretary General
To sign a contract or to legally obligate the organization, the President and the Treasurer or to the President and the Secretary-General must sign on behalf of the organization. The signatories to such documents may be bound by the directions of the General Assembly or the Executive Committee. In the absence of applicable direction from these organs, the officers are required to act in the prudent interests of the Association.
Article N2: The President
The President is the chief executive officer of the Association.
b. The President is an advisor to the Organizing Committee of the World Congress.
Article N3: The President-Elect
The President-Elect serves as the Chair of the Organizing Committee for the World Congress.
Article N4: The Vice President
The Vice President may perform the role of President in the latters undisputed absence or incapacity.
Article N5: The Treasurer
The Treasurer is the chief financial officer of the Association. The Treasurer has signature authority over the deposits and accounts owned by the Association including those of the Organizing Committee for the World Congress. The Treasurer makes annual financial reports to the Executive Committee and makes such reports to the General Assembly as directed by the Executive Committee.
Article N6: Secretary General
The Secretary General is the administrative officer and secretary of the organization.
Articles N1 through N6: Comment
The Commission on Reforms arguments for creating the office of President-Elect are spelled out in the separate report on the format of the World Congresses. The wording of these proposed Articles presumes that the Association is willing to make the organization of the World Congresses one of its official responsibilities. This issue is discussed under Article 6.
The Commission on Reform recommends that the two offices of Vice President and Treasurer be combined into one (thus holding the number of elected officers to four). However, the wording of this draft would permit the two offices to be kept separate if that is desirable. We rejected the proposal that the Association have two Vice Presidents.
Note that the Reform Commission is proposing the removal of age restrictions on the officers of the Association. In addition, this wording permits officers to be selected from individuals who have already served the maximum number of terms as a sitting member of the Executive Committee. It is presumed that in most cases the President-Elect will be chosen from the membership of the Executive Committee, though this is not part of the Statutes.
The Commission on Reform proposes that the Executive Committee endorse only one candidate for each office to the General Assembly. However, the wording of the Statutes would permit two or more candidates to be named. It is also proposed that, as a rule, the Executive Committee should not publicize the names of candidates considered but not suggested. The House Rules would permit contested elections in the General Assembly. Only member organizations could nominate an alternative to the candidate(s) recommended by the Executive Committee. (Procedures for this have yet to be worked out.) House rules would also say that contested elections in the General Assembly would be decided by secret ballot.
Article 6: Organization
The organs of the Association are:
It should be noted that the Bureau is not mentioned as an organ of the Association. The Committee proposes that it not be made so. The mention of the Bureau in Article 8 should be removed. The Bureau, its membership, its duties and responsibilities should be described in the House Rules.
The Committee also felt that each organizing committee of a World Congress should be an official organ of the Association. However, this change might have important legal implications. If, after receiving legal advice, it is decided to make the organizing committee an organ, Article 6 should be amended to include:
This change would require a new Article (to follow the current Article 8) to describe the Organizing Committee, its membership, its duties and responsibilities. The Commission on Reform has not yet drafted such an Article, but will do so before mid-April either for inclusion in the Statutes or for inclusion in the House Rules.
Article 7: The General Assembly
At this time the Committee has no substantive changes to propose for this Article. However, a change in the wording of the Article may be desirable to accomplish the following:
Article 8: The Executive Committee
The Committee proposes a number of changes in this article. To simplify the discussion the article will be discussed paragraph by paragraph.
Paragraph a might be redrafted as follows:
The Committee felt that mention of the Bureau should be removed and that the door should be opened wider to permit the selection of officers from the sitting membership of the Executive Committee. The re-election limit is placed only on the sitting members. As discussed the below, in most cases the reelection to a second term would be automatic subject to the approval of the General Assembly. The Commission on Reform recommends the removal of the age restriction.
The Commission on Reform favors replacing this paragraph with a looser restriction intended to accomplish the same end.
The House Rules on these nominations would include the following details:
Member organizations would be urged to consider scholars of distinction who are not members of their organization or citizens of the organizations home country as potential nominees. Members of the Executive Committee should not be thought of, nor should they act as, representatives of their country or of any member organization.
The Executive Committee would, in normal circumstances, recommend only one candidate for each of the twelve 12 sitting positions. It would take into account the geographic, demographic, and scholarly (methodological, chronological, and regional specialties) balance of the membership of the Executive Committee. Members proposed should be fluent in English or French, or be willing to arrange for the necessary translation assistance to permit them to fully engage in the deliberations of the Committee. It is proposed that the old rule of reserving safe seats for certain countries or regions be abandoned.
The slate of nominees prepared by the Executive Committee in Year Three, should be circulated to all member organizations and publicized on the web. Individuals originally recommended to the Executive Committee but not endorsed by the Executive Committee could be reinstated to the slate by any member organization. This could be accomplished by writing to the General Secretary in advance of the General Assembly meeting. One such re-submission would be allowed per member organization. These re-submissions should be accompanied by evidence that the individual so nominated is willing and able to serve (not a small matter when the financial burden of membership is considered).
If the number of individuals so nominated for the 12 regular seats on the Executive Committee exceeds 15, then each voting member of the General Assembly may vote by secret ballot for 12 names. The 15 candidates with the most votes are elected.
This last rule was not explicitly formulated in Utrecht. It is proposed by the Chair of the Reform Commission to achieve the desire of the Commission on Reform to protect the interests of member organizations which might feel their concerns were being overlooked by the Executive Committee. In practice, up to three additional members could be selected by member organizations which felt slighted.
The Reform Commission proposes an expanded role and responsibilities for the Executive Committee and a reduction in the role and responsibilities of the Secretary General. However, these changes are probably best dealt with in the House Rules. The specifics are discussed in the World Congress Report and in what follows. Other than changing the wording of this Article to include the Executive Committees duty to nominate candidates for the Offices of the Association, the Commission proposes no other change.
If the wording of Article N1 is accepted, then the second sentence could be removed.
The Reform Commission proposes eliminating this paragraph. The house rules could give the right to recommend these and other honors to the Executive Committee. The house rules could also permit the Executive Committee to invite past Presidents (or any one else) to attend its meetings. However, the Reform Commission strongly believes that the "right" to attend meetings should not be extended to the Honorary Presidents nor to any others without the right to vote. Arrangements should be made in the House Rules or Statutes for the possibility of extra meetings of the Executive Committee.
Article N7: The Organizing Committee for the World Congress
If it is decided to make the Organizing Committee an Organ of the Association, the Reform Commission will draft this new Article. Some of our ideas are spelled out in the accompanying document on the format of the World Congresses. Chief among our concerns are the legal and financial ramifications of adding the World Congress organizing committee as an offical organ of the Association.
Article 9: Amendment of the Statutes
Every change of the Statutes must be approved by a two-thirds majority vote of members of the Association present at the meeting of the General Assembly. Every proposal for a change of Statute must appear as an item on the agenda of a meeting of the General Assembly. The General Assembly shall only vote on a written text, which shall be sent to member organizations at least two months in advance of the meeting.
Article 10: Dissolution and Liquidation
The dissolution and liquidation of the Association can only be approved at a meeting of the General Assembly where two-thirds of the members are present. A decision to dissolve the Association must be approved by a majority of two-thirds of the member organizations present. If the Association is dissolved the General Assembly shall decide on the disposal of the assets of the Association and shall designate the person authorized to conduct the liquidation of the Association.
The General Assembly acts as arbitrator in the case of any dispute between the Association and any of its member organizations.
The Commission on Reform did not discuss Articles 9, 10, or 11 in Utrecht. There have been calls for easing the two-month restriction mentioned in Article 9 and for easing the double two-third majorities required by Article 10. No objections have been raised to Article 11.
The authorized text of the Statutes of the Association is the text of the English and French versions. If there is conflict in interpretation, then the English version of the statutes will take precedence.
The Commission on Reform has not proposed a change in this Article. However, it did discuss the question of "official" languages. For the World Congresses, it was recommended that each session organizer be made responsible for insuring that all invited participants are able to effectively communicate with one another. It was also proposed, as a house rule, that future official correspondence and public communications be conducted and recorded in English. Translations into other languages be provided where this would be both practical and necessary, helpful, or courteous. It is proposed that the discussion on Reform will take place in English. A French translation of the Statutes will be provided for after the agreement on reforms.
Section II -- Transition Rules: If the proposals so far considered by the Reform Commission are adopted, then several problems must be addressed in making the transition from the old to the new governance structure. Some of these were considered in Utrecht.
The XIII World Congress: It was proposed in Utrecht that the Reform Commissions proposals for a change in the format of the World Congresses should not be binding on the organizers of the XIII Congress. They are offered to Roberto Cortes Conde as suggestions and as licence to depart from past practices.
Revising the Statutes: The next meeting of the General Assembly is scheduled for July 2002. Since the Assembly has the sole power to amend the Statutes, full validation of any reform must either wait until that date or require the convening of an extraordinary session of the General Assembly. The Reform Commission is of the opinion that much of the reform can be begun before 2002 without violation of the Statutes. If the Executive Committee approves the House Rules, they can be implemented without need to consult the General Assembly. Other changes contemplated by the Reform Commission can be undertaken as if the new Statutes were already approved, provided that care was taken to prepare the necessary ground work in case some or all of the reform is overturned or modified by the General Assembly.
The President-Elect: One of the major reform proposals involves the selection of the President-Elect who will organize the World Congress in 2006. The Reform Commission proposes this elections be conducted under the new rules. Should the reform prosal not be adopted in Buenos Aires, the person selected could under the old rules be the President. Perhaps that might require a waver of the age or term limitations in the present Statutes, but there is some precedent for that in the case of De Maddelena. The Commission on Reform proposes that the Executive Committee nominate someone other than Cortes Conde for the Presidency for the term beginning in 2002 under the assumption that the reform as proposed will carry. It would consistent with the reform if that person were Cortes Conde (who would then serve a second term as President, a possibility that is not precluded by the proposed Article N2). However, the Executive Committee recommended instead that someone else be nominated for President (who would have no role in the organization of the Congress of 2006). As a transitional move, Cortes Conde could be nominated for an extraordinary (perhaps non-voting) additional four-year term on the Executive Committee and to serve as a consultant to the Organizing Committee for 2006. This would give him a follow-up term to replace a term as Honorary President that would be his under the current Statutes. There after the Congress organizers would succeed to the office of President.
Vice-President and Treasurer: The Commission on Reform suggests that one individual be selected under the proposed new procedures to serve both as Vice President and Treasurer. This would not be Johansen who will have served three terms on the Executive Committee (ineligible under the old rules) and two terms as Treasurer by 2002 (ineligible under the proposed new rules). If the reform proposal is not passed, then the individual selected to be the transitional President could be instead nominated for the Vice Presidency and the person selected for the dual job could be nominated for the position of Treasurer under the current rules.
Sitting Members of the Executive Committee: It is proposed that following its meeting in 2000 the Executive Committee ask for recommendations of candidates for the officers and members of the Executive Committee and that the Nominations Committee and the Search Committees for Treasurer (and if necessary Secretary General) be appointed. At its meeting in 2001 the Executive Committee will prepare its slate of nominees for all offices and circulate this to the member organizations, which will have much of a year to propose, if they wish, alternative candidates. It suffices to formulate the preference of the Commission on Reform to have at least six new members of the Executive Committee in 2002.
There are currently 12 sitting members of the Executive Committee; counting our four officers the total is 16. Of the sixteen, only three are beginning their third term (Cortes Conde, Johansen, and Sutch) and are ineligible under either the current or proposed rules for reelection to a regular seat. Thus only three vacancies will exist in 2002 if we follow current practice. Moreover, in 2002 the Association will need to select a President, a President-Elect, and a Vice President/Treasurer. Unless one or more of these three officers were chosen from the current board there would be no regular seats open in 2002. In the spirit of reform, it might be desirable to increase the number of new committee members who could be elected in 2002. For this reason, the Commission proposes that the number of sitting members be expanded for the next four-year cycle from 12 to 15 (as allowed by both the present and proposed Statutes). If necessary, this would mean the election of six new individuals and would bring the full committee to 18.
If approved in Buenos Aires, the two-term limitation for sitting members should apply to those members now in their first term (Borodkin, Fridenson, Kochanowicz, Lloyd, Pamuk, Metzer, Saito, and Szmrecsányi). These nine would be eligible for reelection that year, but not in 2006. However, the two-term limitation would not apply to the four members now in their second term who could under the current rules be eligible for reelection in 2002. Without retirements from the 15 regular seats, there would be thirteen vacancies in 2006. The Commission on Reform proposes that the Committee size be moved back to 12 regular members at the elections in that year.
A proposal considered and rejected by the Commission on Reform would request the members now in their second term (Eddie, Pohl, Reis, and Thane) to voluntarily withdraw from a third-term thus opening more seats in 2002 without the need to expand the Committee as dramatically as proposed. This idea was rejected for two reasons. First it seemed unfair to the individuals and difficult to arrange unless the Statutes were amended before the nomination process begins in June of 2000. Second, it would deprive the Association of experienced committee members who might be willing and able to serve as officers of the Association.
Section III Financial Issues
The Commission on Reform began its consideration of the finances of the Association with a discussion of the proposal to make the IEHA a membership organization rather than an association of organizations. However desirable this proposal might be as a long-run goal for the IEHA, it did not seem practical at the moment. This is because there is currently no service or benefit the Association presently offers members that would induce them to pay dues. It seems undesirable to close participation in the World Congress to non-members. This discussion lead to a consideration of other activities and services the Association might provide that would make individual membership desirable and affordable.
The Commission on Reform discussed the possibility of founding a Journal or a series of Publications that dues-paying members would receive. While there was general approval of such a plan, it is not clear that such a new venture could be easily launched or that its financial success could be taken for granted.
It was proposed that the Association sponsor conferences on regional or specialized topics and that individual membership in the organization be required for an invitation or attendance. As the value and popularity of such conferences grows, the Association might be able to attract a sufficient number of individual members that significant flows of income is generated from member dues.
The Commission on Reform also considered allowing for the possibility of instituting a second class of membership. This idea would retain organizational membership under the present rules and the representative General Assembly, but add a provision by which individuals could also become members paying nominal dues and having a vote on certain matters in a kind of "lower house of parliament."
Without exhausting the subject of new initiatives, the Reform Commission decided to recommend that the Executive Committee have an extensive discussion of financial issues in May.
The topic of finances were raised again when the costs of running the Secretariate and the financial burden placed on members of the Executive Committee by the current arrangements were discussed. These costs have been born in the past by volunteers. This had lead to the reality or the appearance that the Association was run by a financially-privileged or -positioned elite and that individuals who were not so fortunate could not afford to participate in the governance of the Association. The Reform Commission believes that the costs of the Secretariate and the travel, food, and lodging costs of the Executive Committee members and officers of the Association should eventually be financed by the Associations Treasury. The creation and maintenance of a Internet web site for the Association was also suggested. This too will cost money. The Commission on Reform recognizes that these initiatives, if adopted, will require a greatly expanded flow of income.
To help increase the income of the Association, the Commission makes the following suggestions. It realizes that these may not be sufficient to meet the Associations financial needs.
The registration fees for the World Congress should be set to cover some or all of the costs of of the Secretariate.
Individuals should be requested to consider making a donation to the Association at the time that they pay their registration fees.
Large member organizations should be asked to pay subscriptions proportionate to their membership size. Perhaps a surcharge on the membership dues of these Associations could be collected on behalf of the IEHA. It is recommended that the Executive Committee consult with the officers of several of the larger member organizations about their receptivity to such a plan. This should be done in conjunction with presenting the package of reforms to these member organizations.
The Executive Committee should explore the interests of commercial publishers in a proposal to create a new journal or publication series which could be marketed both to libraries and provided to individual members who pay dues.
The Commission on Reform believes that resolving the financial issues, either by finding a new source of revenue or by reducing the costs of governing the Association, will be the key to achieving a long-lasting and successful reform. It suggests that financial issues should be a priority for discussion by the Executive Committee at its meeting in May.