General Meeting Ghent 2013

Minutes of the General Meeting in Ghent, Belgium (2013)

General Meeting of Members of the IAA
on Thursday 18 July 2013 16:00 – 17:30h
(Auditorium NB1)

1. Opening by the president
At 16:09h the President Piotr Michalowski welcomed the members of the IAA as well as other colleagues in attendance. He informed the meeting that anyone may participate in the discussion, but only members can vote.
The invitation for this General Meeting together with the agenda and relevant documentation were sent to the members on March 25, 2013.
Those present were the members of the IAA Board and ca. 100 Rencontre participants, most of whom were IAA members.

2. Report on the previous meeting
There are no comments.

3. Report of the secretary
a. Membership:
After a considerable drop in the number of members over 2011 a rise can be reported. At the end of 2011 there were about 400 members; during 2012, 40 members signed up and if we deduct the members that cancelled their subscription the number at the end of 2012 was 421. At the moment that the meeting took place it stood at 444.
b. IAA Office
Over the last year two new co-workers have joined the IAA Office. One of them is Ms. Karin Beumer, who did the registration of new members in 2012 in Leiden. She is now our new administrator, which means that she takes care of the membership administration. She is also in charge of preparing the Newsletter of the IAA, for which see below (6c).
c. The websites.
The Secretary informed the members that the two IAA websites needed to be updated. They were designed using frames and we need to replace them with a content management system (CMS) by using the application WordPress. This will make updating our websites much easier. Our technical consultant is willing to do this work and he has submitted a work plan that was discussed and approved by the Board. The costs for the IAA are specified and they will amount to €1200, that is, €600 for each of the websites. The sites will be merged into a single website under a new domain name. From 2013 the annual cost will be €510.
The meeting votes and accepts the report of the Secretary.

4. Financial report over 2011
a. Report of the treasurer
The Financial report for the year 2012 was submitted by the Treasurer Th.J.H. Krispijn. It shows a positive balance of €5,974.27 with as main revenues membership dues amounting to € 6,042.57. The balance of the savings account is €20,500.
b. Recommendations by the controlling committee
The Treasurer read the testimony of the controlling committee, consisting of D. Katz, N.J.C. Kouwenberg and M. Stol, that the report accurately reflects the current state of the IAA finances.
c. Vote of acceptance and discharge of Board and controlling committee
The meeting approved the report unanimously and discharged the Treasurer. The controlling committee was also discharged and its members will be asked to perform the same job next year.

5. 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, F. Abdallah, G. Frame, V. Matoïan and C. Wunsch (elected members).
– Four chairs of RAI organizing committees: A. Archi (2011), Th.J.H. Krispijn (2012, Treasurer), K. de Graef (2013) and M. Sandowicz (2014).
– 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. Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding no election was prepared for the office of President. Since our current President was elected in 2009 an election should have been held in Ghent. The Board apologized for this oversight. Several members (Fincke, Franke) said that we cannot hold an election now, because a procedure needs to be followed that will take much time. Archi pointed out that we have a problematic situation that will have to be solved quickly and he suggested that we postpone the election to 2014. A vote was taken and the motion was accepted with two opposed.
Thus, there was only one slot open for membership on the Board. One seat needed to be filled by a president of an RAI organizing committee. In accordance with the rotation schedule, A. Archi, president of the RAI organizing committee for Rome (2011), stepped down this year. He was succeeded by the A. Cavigneaux, president of the committee for the Rencontre in Geneva and Bern (2015).
c. New and re-elected Board members
The meeting welcomed A. Cavigneaux and thanked A. Archi for his contribution to the Board.
d. A limited number of terms?
During its meeting on Tuesday, July 16, the Board discussed the possibility of limiting the number of terms (one term is 4 years) to two per person. The idea behind it was that it would be easier for other colleagues to become a Board member and that we would avoid exceedingly long Board tenures. The Board took a vote and the motion was passed with one opposing vote. During the General Meeting the proposal was discussed and several members voiced criticism. Some were against limiting the number of terms (Asher-Greve), others pointed out that any change that might go against the wording of the constitution (Fincke, Franke, Neumann) needs to be checked by a lawyer. The Board will make sure that this will be done. Next year the meeting will take a vote on a proposal of the Board.

6. Other issues
a. IAA prize
The first edition of the IAA Prize has been successful. In total 12 young scholars submitted an article that they had handed in for publication within the last two years and no more than five years after completing their PhD dissertation. The committee consisted of A. Archi, M. Roaf, D.R. Frayne, and J. Tavernier. Roaf gave a summary of the conclusions reached by the committee and he announced that the winner is Dr. G. Spada with the article “A Handbook from the Eduba’a: An Old Babylonian Collection of Model Contracts” (ZA 101, 2011: 204-245), the runner-up is Erik van Dongen with “The Hittite Song of Going Forth (CTH 344): A Reconsideration of the Narrative” (WdO 42, 2012: 23–84). Unfortunately, Frayne did not respond to the questions of the committee and he had to be replaced by another IAA member. N. Veldhuis was appointed as the fourth committee member. The Secretary will inform all applicants of the results of the competition.
b. De Gruyter prize
The first edition of the De Gruyter Prize has also been successful. Nine doctoral dissertations were submitted and the committee consisted of E. von Dassow, M. Jursa, P. Michalowski, and D. Schwemer. Von Dassow informed the meeting of the conclusions of the committee and she announced that all members agreed to award the prize to Tobias Scheucher for his dissertation “The Transmissional and Functional Context of the Lexical Lists from Hattusha and from the Contemporaneous Traditions in Late-Bronze-Age Syria.” She added that evaluating the dissertations was strenuous work; the committee members would like to receive a copy of the book to be published by De Gruyter.
c. The Newsletter
After several months of preparation the IAA Newsletter was launched in January and the reactions were positive. A new website was started and a number of people were approached for articles and interviews. The organizational work is done by Mrs. Karin Beumer, who is responsible for the contents of the Newsletter and its regular publication. Technical assistance is provided by our technical consultant. The Newsletter is sent to all IAA members, but it can also be viewed on the website (http://mar-shiprim.org/). Members and other readers are encouraged to give feedback so that the editors can learn from their comments. Von Dassow said that she was positive about the newsletter and that its information is useful. There were no other comments.
d. Donation Maureen Kovacs
A donation of €10,000 has been made by Dr. Maureen Kovacs. The Board proposed that for ten years a yearly sum of €1,000 will be given for the best project. Applicants are young colleagues who will fill out a form in which they explain what their project is about. A budget and a letter of support by the supervisor are required. If the budget is lower than €1,000, the lower sum will be given and the rest will be given to another applicant. After completing his/her project, the winner will hand in a report. Only IAA members can apply. The time schedule will be the same as that for the IAA prize. Katz suggested to divide the prize over two winners, who would each get €500. The President said that nowadays more money for one project is needed. Von Dassow suggested alternative use of the prize, such as a subsidy for publications. The President said that research is preferable. Asher asked about financing the use of photos and the copyrights. Podany answered that the student can decide by him/herself on the basis of the available budget. The members voted in favor of this proposal. The committee for this subsidy will consist of D. Katz, M. Tanret, and S. Garfinkle. M. Tanret will be committee chair.
e. Mesopotamian database
Walter Sommerfeld has notified the Board that everything takes longer than expected. In the last four years large amounts of data have been collected. The design of the website is presently developed and in a few months the first version of the database will be put online.
f. Miscellaneous announcements
None.

7. Honorary council
No candidates have been put forward this year for the membership of the honorary council, but during the Board meeting the name of Burkhard Kienast was mentioned and the Board agreed with this proposal. Franke is in favor of this proposal, Fincke objects because the procedure has not been followed. The President asks the meeting not to be too legalistic. Archi points out that we should choose a person only for his/her achievements, not because of special conditions. The meeting votes in favor of the proposal, with none opposed.

8. Proceedings of past Rencontres
J. Eisenbraun provided the members with the latest information:
a. Münster 2006
The volume will appear in the AOAT series in the coming months.
b. Moscow and St. Petersburg 2007
The volume has been published by Eisenbrauns.
c. Würzburg 2008
The volume has been published by Eisenbrauns.
d. Paris 2009
The manuscript has been sent to Eisenbrauns, the book will soon be published.
e. Barcelona 2010
The volume was presented during this Rencontre.
f. Rome 2011
The volume is being prepared by Eisenbrauns.
g. Leiden 2012
The manuscripts are still being collected.

9. Future Rencontres:
Warsaw 2014
M. Sandowicz gave an informative presentation about the Rencontre in Warsaw. The theme will be “Fortune and Misfortune”; the dates are July 21-25, 2014. It is the first time that the Rencontre is held in Poland. The venue will be the so-called Old Library where also ICAANE and the Hittitology Congress took place. The venue is located on the university campus.
b. Geneva-Bern 2015
A. Cavigneaux (Geneva) informs the meeting about the Rencontre in Switzerland. The dates will be June 22-26, the theme will be “Text and Image”.
c. Other Rencontres
For 2016 there is an invitation from Philadelphia. The theme will be “Ur”. The dates are July 11-15. G. Frame provided information about this Rencontre.
For 2017 there is an invitation from Marburg.
For 2018 there is an invitation from Innsbruck. The theme will be “The Intellectual Heritage of the Ancient Near East”.

10. New business
S. Franke asked if the final session could be held in auditorium NB1 rather than in C. The updated list of participants will soon appear on the website.

11. Closing the Meeting
The President closed the meeting at 17.30h.