General Meeting Barcelona 2010

Minutes of the General Meeting in Barcelona, Spain

General Meeting of Members of the IAA
Thursday, July 29, 2009
56th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (RAI)
Caixa Fórum, Barcelona, Spain
Those present are the members of the IAA Board and ca. 70 Rencontre participants, al all of whom are IAA members.

1. Opening.
At 17:08 hours the President Piotr Michalowski welcomed the members of the IAA as well as other colleagues who attended this meeting. A special welcome was given to W.G. Lambert, one of the members of the Honorary Council. Anyone may participate in the discussion, but only members can vote.
The invitation for this General Meeting together with the agenda and relevant documentation have been sent to the members in April 2010.
Since the Rencontre in Paris (2009) the following colleagues have passed away (in chronologial order): Barthel Hrouda (21 July 2009)); Raymond Westbrook (23 July 2009); Ninel Jankowska (12 September 2009); Péter Vargyas (22 October 2009); Yochanan Muffs (6 December 2009); Subhi Anwar Rashid (January 2010); Abraham Malamat (21 January 2010); Donald Wiseman (2 February 2010); Samuel M. Paley (31 March 2010); Michael Heltzer (8 June 2010.); John Britton (8 June 2010).

2. Report of the Secretary.
The report of the Secretary was submitted by W.H. van Soldt.
The number of members of the IAA rose from 344 at the end of 2008 to 410 at the end of 2009, an increase of 66. Especially during the Rencontre in Paris many new members signed up.
During the Rencontre a special desk is available to apply for new membership. Membership identity cards were readied for distribution at the IAA desk. These cards are meant for new members only; the other members received a digital card by email. The memberships cards, the digital cards and name boards were made by Christiano Randau, who is also responsible for the updating of the IAA and RAI websites.
The announcement for this meeting was sent by email to the membertship on April 15. A second anouncement was sent on June 26.
There have been regular contacts with the RAI organizing committee. Questions have been answered and potential problems have been dealt with.
Since the IAA is now using the services of Paypal (see under 3.) some hurdles put up by this organization had to be taken before the system could be used without restrictions. There are now Paypal buttons on the pertinent webpages.
Minutes from the General Meeting of the 55th Rencontre in Paris on July 9, 2009 had been communicated electronically to the members and no emendations have been proposed.
There are no questions and the report is approved by acclamation.

3. Financial matters
Financial Report. The Financial report over the year 2009 was read by the Treasurer J.C. Fincke. It shows a positive balance of EUR 1,058.35, with as main revenues membership dues amounting to € 4,169. The balance of the savings account is € 6,000. The Treasurer read the testimony of the controlling committee, consisting of D. Katz, N.J.C. Kouwenberg and Th.J.H. Krispijn, that the report accurately reflects the current state of the IAA finances. The meeting approved the report by acclamation and discharged the Treasurer. The controlling committee was also discharged, but two of its members (Katz and Kouwenberg) will be asked to perform the same job next year (see under 4.). Grant Frame agreed to be the third member.
The Treasurer told the meeting that she dispatched 532 payment reminders over the past months. This she could only do after she had put together a new database of all the IAA members. Since sending reminders will henceforth have to be done by someone who will be paid the costs will be high. She urged those members who had not yet paid to do so as soon as possible. Members who have not paid for 2011 are requested to do so before February 15. The members who have not paid for over two years will be given the choice to pay their dues or to cancel their membership.
Collecting the dues from the members has been greatly facilitated by the introduction of our new Paypal account. Many of our members have already made use of this possibility. At the same time the use of credit cards has been discontinued.
J.C. Fincke will not continue to serve as the Treasurer. The President thanked her for all her work and the meeting thanked her by acclamation. Theo Krispijn has been asked to become the new Treasurer and he has agreed to do so provided he is accepted as the new Board member for Leiden 2012. The membership approves this decision by acclamation.

4. The Board
a. Composition of the Board
According to the By-laws the Board can comprise a maximum number of 15 members divided over three categories: 4 members representing affiliated scholarly associations, 4 representing the organizing committees of RAI (the preceding, the current, and the succeeding two), and 7 officers and elected members.
At present, the board consists of the following members:
– Three officers and four elected members: P. Michalowski (President), W.H. van Soldt (Secretary), J.C. Fincke (Treasurer), F. Abdallah, G. Frame, N. Marchetti and C. Wunsch (elected members).
– Four chairs of RAI organizing committees: G. Wilhelm (2008), M. Durand (2009), J. Sanmartín (2010), and A. Archi (2011).
– Four members of affiliated scholarly associations: D. Charpin (SEPOA), J. Klein (ISAANES), H. Neumann (DOG), J. Taylor (BISI).
b. Resigning members and new candidates
Shifts in Membership. The Secretary presented a list of the Board members and the dates that they will rotate off. This year three Board members in the category of officers and elected members rotate off, these are J.C. Fincke, G. Frame and C. Wunsch. On April 15 the Secretary sent an invitation to the members to present candidates before July 1, but no application was received. A second invitation was sent on June 26 and the deadline was postponed to July 10. Again no application was received.
Representatives of Organizing Committees. G. Wilhelm (2008) rotates off. Since W. van Soldt is already the Secretary Th.J.H. Krispijn is suggested as the representative of the organizing committee for the Leiden Rencontre in 2012.
Representatives of Scholarly Associations. There are no new members.
c. New and re-elected board members
The three Board members that rotate off are re-elected by acclamation.
d. New Treasurer
J.C. Fincke informs the members of her decision to resign as treasurer. The membership accepts by acclamation the suggestion to welcome Th.J.H. Krispijn as her successor.

5. IAA initiatives
Progress reports
Unfortunately, the various initiatives taken by the board of the IAA have so far not proved very successful. These initiatives are the following:
a. IAA sponsorship of web-based Akkadian literature in translation (eTACT)
The purpose of this project is to create a powerful yet easy to use tool with which to post online accurate translations of Akkadian texts of any genre and any length. The eTACT site can be reached at At the beginning of the projects sufficient contributions were received, at present the number is much lower. Nevertheless, it is decided that the project will continue. Submitted translations can be already published, with a link to the original publication. If it comes from a book, a link will take the reader to where to purchase that book. Cornelia Wunsch will help to properly format translations before they are made available on the web.
b. Coopération Assyriologique
M. Tanret gave a short overview of the progress of this project over the past year. Only few contributions have been received and Tanret suggested to the meeting to transfer the data of the coopération to the website of the IAA.
c. Biography of Assyriologists and ANE Archaeologists
The response to the launch of this initiative has been weak. Material can be obtained from Wikipedia. D. Owen suggested to take over obituaries in AfO. The President suggests that we try to collect not obituaries but reminiscencies of the deceased as it is done by the American Philosophical Society. A simple link to their webpage will do.
d. Book Exchange.
The Book Exchange. Our technical assistant Christiano Randau was asked to put the data on the website but due to other pressing matters he has not yet been able to do this.
There have been negociations with the archaeologists, but it is too early to present a report.

7. Honorary Council
Prof. W.W. Hallo was nominated in Paris (2009) by a board member (Ottervanger) for his outstanding scientific record and his support of the annual RAI. The Board has now accepted this proposal and the General Meeting is duly informed. The meeting welcomes the proposal by acclamation. Since Prof. Hallo cannot be present at the meeting a certificate of his membership of the Honorary Council will be sent to him. The President will inform him of the decision.

8. Proceedings of past Rencontres
a. Münster 2006
No news has been received from H. Neumann about the publication of the proceedings. Last year it was said that the volume is ready and contains ca. 850 pages. It will be published in the Harrassowitz series SANTAG.
b. Moscow and St. Petersburg 2007
L. Kogan informs the meeting that the volume has been published by Eisenbrauns and that it can be purchased at a discount during the Rencontre.
c. Würzburg 2008
G. Wilhelm sent an email in which he said that the volume will contain 60 or 61 articles. He hopes to be able to finish it before mid-August or a bit later and to start with compiling the indexes by the end of this year. The manuscript can then be handed in at Eisenbrauns during the spring of 2011 and it should appear in the same year.
d. Paris 2009
D. Charpin said that their staff is collecting the contributions and preparing them for publication.
e. Barcelona 2010
J. Sanmartín told the Board that the proceedings of the current Rencontre will be published as a volume in the series Aula Orientalis – Supplementa.

9. Future Rencontres
a. Rome 2011
A. Archi gave a powerpoint presentation about the Rencontre to be held in Rome which will take place Monday 4th – Friday 8th July at the University of Rome. The topic will be “Tradition and Innovation in the Ancient Near East”. In his presentation he showed the location of the university buildings, the hotel situation, etc.
c. Leiden 2012
W. van Soldt spoke about the Rencontre to be held in Leiden in 2012 which will take place on 16-20 July. The topic will be “Private and State” (“Privat und Staat”). Several receptions will be organized, one of which by the National Museum of Antiquities. The organization of an excursion will depend on financial constraints.
d. Other Rencontres
For 2013 there was an offer from Innsbruck. The Secretary inquired with Profs. Rollinger and Lang if the offer still stands. The answer was that Rollinger is at present working somewhere else and that he will only return to Innsbruck in 2014. Therefore the Rencontre can be organized in 2015 or later. Ghent had volunteered to organize this Rencontre if the offer from Innsbruck was withdrawn M. Tanret announced that the offer still stands. The President has made inquiries with the colleagues from Warsaw with the result that he RAI for the year 2014 will be held there.

10. New business
a. Evaluation and acceptance of papers
M. Roaf draws attention to the fact that a number of papers were if insufficient quality and that some sort of evaluation procedure will be necessary. Owen says that this will be difficult to realize fron archaeologists, because many have their excavation season in the spring. Zimansky objects that such evaluations could cause ‘hard feelings’, with which he has some experience. How does one evaluate papers that cocern matters outside the field. Machinist says that such a procedure will signal an important change for the RAI, because people will be excluded. Since the field is small it is often clear who is behind a certain paper. Perhaps it is better to wait for a proposal at next year’s RAI. Lambert remarks that nutcases hardly occur anymore. An option would be ‘reading by title’, by which a paper is considered to have been read if the title has been read in public. Archi warns that the IAA should not be too dominant in this process. The President says that there should be more coaching of young people, the IAA cannot do this for the teachers. Stone suggests that no paper without abstract should be accepted. Meskhi adds that an abstract and the feedback of the audience are both important. Finally it is suggested that room should be made for more posters.
The President asks M. Roaf to look into the matter together with two other IAA members. These members are G. Frame and C. Wunsch.
Then the meeting accepts unanimously a motion that no paper will be accepted unless an abstract has been provided at a set date.
b. Workshops
It is decided that workshops will be open to all participants at the RAI, which means that everyone can contribute.
c. Papers of colleagues who did not show up
A question concerning the reading of papers of colleagues who have not come to the RAI will be discussed by the Board during the next RAI.
d. Audiovisual documentation
There is a letter from Martin Worthington who suggests audiovisual registration and documentation of the lectures held at the Rencontre. They can then be put on a website for those who were unable to participate. The problem is the quality of the recordings, only few reach an acceptable level. Machinist suggest that we find ourselves a donor. Klein points to the problem of unpublished material quoted in the papers.
e. Impounded books
Owen points out that the impounding of books by custom officials causes serious problems for publishers. The President answers that this will be a matter of acquiring the right customs forms. Some have managed to get all thei books into the country.
f. Book presented to chairman RAI Barcelona
Finally Leonid Kogan presents a copy of the recently published volume of the RAI 2007 in Moscow and St.Petersburg to the chairman of the Barcelona Rencontre organizing team, J. Sanmartín, who expresses his gratitude.

11. Closing the meeting
The President then read the following resolutions:

“WHEREAS we have completed our work for 2010 at the University of Barcelona, where we heard exceptional papers, attended fine panels at nicely organized sessions, listened to stirring oratory, schmoozed at splendid receptions, imbibed excellent refreshments, and enjoyed a private visit of fabled architecture; and

“WHEREAS members of the organizing committee, that included, in alphabetical order: Pedro Azara, Cristina Bentué, Gregorio del Olmo, Lluís Feliu, Joan Filigrano, Agnès Garcia, Rodrigo Hernáiz, Sara Kuli, Sandra Lladó, Jaume Llop, Erika Marsal, Adelina Millet, Elisa Mostazo, Ivana Panzeca, Joaquín Sanmartín, Noemi Selfin, Susana Soler, Ferrán Torra, Eulàlia Vernet, Mariona Vernet, Constantino Vidal and Jordi Vidal pooled their talents to make our fifteenth Rencontre in Paris among the most rewarding; and

“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that in behalf of all those attending the 56th RENCONTRE ASSYRIOLOGIQUE INTERNATIONALE, this INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR ASSYRIOLOGY, tender sincerest expression of gratitude to our host institution, its officers, its professors, and its administrators;

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, inshallah, we will all strive to meet just over a year from now in Rome where “Tradition and Innovation in the Ancient Near East” will be the theme to yield to our inspection.”

The President declared this meeting closed at 19.00 hours.

W.H. van Soldt, IAA secretary,
2 September 2010