General Meeting Paris 2009

Minutes of the General Meeting in Paris (2009)

General Meeting of Members of the IAA
Thursday, July 9, 2009
55th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (RAI)
Lecture Hall, Collège de France, Paris, France
Those present are the members of the IAA Board and ca. 120 Rencontre participants, most of whom are IAA members.

1. Opening
At 16.13 hours the President Jack M. Sasson welcomed the members of the IAA as well as other colleagues who attended this meeting. 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 2009.
Since the Rencontre in Würzburg (2008) the following colleagues have passed away (in chronologial order): Gudrun DOSCH (in 2007), Adnan BOUNNI (82), Jean-Robert KUPPER (89), Henri CAZELLES (97), Ezzatollah NEGAHBAN (87), Khaled NASHEF (67), and Moshe WEINFELD (84).

2. Report of the Secretary
Minutes from the General Meeting of the 54th Rencontre in Würzburg on July 26, 2008 had been communicated electronically to the members and no emendations have been proposed.
The members administration has been digitalized, Paysquare used to be paid by fax, but now the bills are paid online.
For the Würzburg Rencontre only participants outside the euro-zone were able to use the IAA credit card service. For both Rencontres a special mailform was created.
As in previous years, membership identity cards have been readied for distribution at the IAA desk. These cards are meant for new members only; the other members have received a membership code. On presentation, publishers offer special discounts to IAA members in good standing. The membership cards, lists of codes and name boards were made by Christiano Randau, who is also responsible for the updating of the IAA and RAI websites. Mrs. R. Kalvelagen is responsible for the membership administration.
Much time was invested in the preparation of the election of a new president, see below, 5b.
There is a question by A. Horowitz concerning the IAA website. The weblink to the Rencontre in Russia does not work anymore. It will be disconnected.

3. Membership
The number of members of the IAA rose from 310 at the end of 2007 to 344 at the end of 2008, an increase of 34. Most of these new members signed up during the Rencontre in Würzburg.
During the Rencontre a special desk is available to apply for new membership. Members are asked to pay their dues at the beginning of the new year, the deadline is February 15.

4. Financial matters
Financial Report. The Financial report over the year 2008 was submitted by the Treasurer J.C. Fincke. It shows a positive balance of EUR 887.41, with as main revenues membership dues amounting to € 1,513.73. The balance of the savings account is € 5,000. 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 membership approved the report and discharged the Treasurer. The controlling committee was also discharged, but its members will be asked to perform the same job next year.
The salary of the administrator Mrs. R. Kalvelagen will be raised to from €1,000 to €1,200 per annum. The growing number of members causes her to do more work for the IAA. The IAA office facilitated paying by credit card for the Würzburg Rencontre. This service was only for members from outside the EU. The IAA still owes the Würzburg organization committee part of the fees.
The savings account shows the same balance as last year. Money will be transferred to this account as soon as the IAA budget permits it.
M. Roth inquired about the possibility of life membership. The President answered that the Board decided in 2007 that it is still too early to grant life memberships. The Treasurer added that the IAA is a young association and that the membership fees are not stable enough for such a membership.
The fee for students has been lowered to € 10 per year for a trial period of three years. The President suggested that prizes be awarded to the best presentation at the RAI by a doctoral student, each in Assyriology and in Archaeology.

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: J.M. Sasson (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: N. Koslova (2007), G. Wilhelm (2008), J.-M. Durand (2009) and J. Sanmartín (2010).
– 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. This year the president J.M. Sasson will step down. He has announced that he will not be available for a new term. A committee consisting of three Board members (G. Wilhelm, C. Wunsch and W. van Soldt) and three other IAA members (S. Mazzoni, C. Michel and G. Rubio) was formed and from the available candidates five names were selected. Three of these were prepared to stand for election and they are present at the meeting: M.G. Biga, P. Michalowski and D. Owen.
Representatives of Organizing Committees. N. Koslova (2007) rotated off (the announcement in the minutes of 2008 was incorrect). A. Archi became Board member on behalf of the RAI in Rome in 2011. W. van Soldt will become the representative of the organizing committee of the Leiden Rencontre in 2012.
Representatives of Scholarly Associations. There are no new members.

c. New board members
Election of a new president. Ballots were handed out at the meeting to all members in good standing. When the 105 ballots had been collected and counted by the treasurer and three volunteers from the membership they revealed that P. Michalowski was elected as President of the IAA for the next four years. Michalowski gratefully accepted this charge.
A new member in category 2 (organizing teams) is Prof. A. Archi; he is the head of the organizing team for the Rencontre in Rome (2011).
For the coming year the Board will have the following composition:
– Three officers and four appointed members: P. Michalowski (President), W.H. van Soldt (Secretary), J.C. Fincke (Treasurer), C. Wunsch, G. Frame, N. Marchetti and F. Abdallah (elected members).
– Four presidents of RAI organizing committees: G. Wilhelm (Würzburg 2008), J.-M. Durand (Paris 2009), J. Sanmartín (Barcelona 2010), and A. Archi (Rome 2011).
– Four members of affiliated scholarly associations: H. Neumann (DOG), D. Charpin (SEPOA), J. Klein (ISAANES) and J. Taylor (BISI).

d. New business
Ottervanger resigned as legal advisor. The president thanked him for all the work he has done for the IAA, especially in the initial stage, and for his considerable financial contribution to the founding of our association. The meeting thanked him by acclamation.

6. 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 Not many contributions have been received, but it was decided that the project will continue.
The President called on members to contribute from their translated material. 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 called upon the members to communicate their projects and other information to him.

c. Biography of Assyriologists and ANE Archaeologists
The response to the launch of this initiative has been weak. Nevertheless, it is the IAA’s intention that material will be obtained from obituaries from journals and elsewhere and will be made available.

d. Book Exchange.
If colleagues wish to sell or exchange books they will be invited to advertise their sales or exchanges on the RAI/IAA websites. The IAA office will strive to create such a page for easy usage. No reactions have been received so far. However, an offer has been received from Helsinki University Press that IAA members will be able to buy remaining copies of SAA volumes for only €10 each. Members can order by sending an email to Mrs. Ritta Korpipää:

7. Honorary Council
Prof. Wilfred G. Lambert has been nominated by two board members (Frame and Charpin) for his outstanding scientific record and his support of the annual RAI. The Board had already accepted this proposal which was now submitted to the membership and approved by acclamation. A certificate of his membership of the Honorary Council was handed to Prof. Lambert, who accepted it and expressed his gratitude for it.

8. Proceedings of past Rencontres
a. South Africa 2004
The proceedings have been published in the Journal for Semitics / Tydskrif vir Semitistiek 16, 2007, 605-845.

b. Chicago 2005
The volume has appeared as Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilizations, No. 62.

c. Münster 2006
H. Neumann said that the volume is ready and will be published in the Harrassowitz series SANTAG by the end of the year.

d. Moscow and St. Petersburg 2007
L. Kogan reported that the Rencontre volume will be published in the series Babel und Bibel to be published by Eisenbrauns.

e. Würzburg 2008
G. Wilhelm said that the manuscript will be handed in at Eisenbrauns during the spring of 2010. The volume will appear in 2011.

f. Paris 2009
D. Charpin and J.-M. Durand announced that the volume will also be published in the Eisenbrauns series.

9. Future Rencontres
a. Barcelona 2010
J. Sanmartín informed the meeting about the plans for the Barcelona Rencontre. Contrary to earlier annoucements the RAI will take place on 25-30 July, one week later than was originally planned. It will be held on the campus of the university in the center of the city. The financial crisis has made the acquisition of funds problematic, but steps to get such funds have been taken. Nevertheless, the fees will be kept as low as possible. The organizing team consists of J. Sanmartín, G. Del Olmo Lete and two other colleaguess. The topic will be Time and History in the Ancient Near East. There will be sessions for both assyriologists and archaeologists. An excursion is planned for Wednesday. Sanmartín urges the members not to delay their reservations till the last week.

b. Rome 2011
A. Archi informed the Board about the Rencontre to be held in Rome. It will take place during the second week of July at the University of Rome. The topic will be Tradition and Innovation in the Ancient Near East. The proceedings will be organized according to subject and archaeological reports will be included.

c. Leiden 2012
W. van Soldt announced the Rencontre to be held in Leiden in 2012. It 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 in the National Museum of Antiquities. The organization of an excursion will depend on financial constraints.

The General Meeting accepted the Rencontre in Leiden in 2012 by acclamation.
d. Other Rencontres
For 2013 there is an offer from Innsbruck. Ghent has volunteered to organize this Rencontre in case the offer from Innsbruck is withdrawn.

e. Other issues
Sasson invited institutions who are willing to organize a Rencontre in 2014 to send in proposals.

10. New business
M. Geller has written the Board concerning the difficulties that colleagues experience when they want to work in Turkey, in particular in the Istanbul Museum. During the meeting Geller suggested that a letter be written by the IAA to the Turkish representative at UNESCO. Veenhof pointed at the problems that colleagues face when they want to collate already published texts.
L. Gailani Werr suggested that the IAA protests the erection of buildings close to archeological sites in Iraq. She also pointed out that the plundering of sites is still continuing.
M. Cohen spoke about assyriologists who are no longer able to visit the annual RAI. He suggested that letters be written on behalf of the membership to express that they are missed by their colleagues.
A.Y. Aljuboory thanked the organization of the RAI for the warm reception during the Rencontre.
van Ess drew the membership’s attention to a report concerning the damage caused by the American and Polish armies at the site of Babylon.
The Secretary thanked Sasson for all the work he has done and the initiatives he has taken as President of the IAA. The membership thanked him by acclamation.

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

“WHEREAS we have completed our work for 2009 at the Collège de France, 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 galleries at the Louvres; and
“WHEREAS members of the organizing committee, that included, in alphabetical order: Béatrice André-Salvini, Pierre Briant, Dominique Charpin, Jean-Marie Durand, Francis Joannès, Bertille Lyonnet, Valérie Matoïan, and Thomas Römer pooled their talents to make our fifteenth Rencontre in Paris among the most rewarding; and
“WHEREAS Secretaire Lionel Marti and Webmaster Michael Langlois bore the brunt of organizing a meeting and set up smooth paths for our arrival to Paris; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that in behalf of all those attending the 55th 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 Barcelona where “Time and History in the Ancient Near East” will be the theme to yield to our inspection.”
The President declared this meeting closed at 17.40 hours.
W.H. van Soldt, IAA secretary,
8 September 2009

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