Minutes of the General Meeting in Warsaw, Poland (2014)

Minutes of the General Meeting of the International Association for Assyriology
held during the 60th RAI in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday 24 July 2014 16:00 – 18:00h
(Old Library aula)

 1. Opening by the president
    At 16:05h the President P. 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, 2014.
Those present were the members of the IAA Board and ca. 150 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 the drop in 2011 the number of members has slowly risen from 400 to ca. 410 in 2013. It is expected that the number of members will stabilize around this figure.

b. IAA Office
     Our treasurer Theo Krispijn leaves the Board after a 4-year term. Since the treasurer is chosen from the members of the Board a proposal for a new treasurer will be made after the election. The President thanks Theo Krispijn for all his work for the IAA.

c. The website
     Last year we discussed the introduction of a new combined website for the IAA and the Rencontre by using the content management system of the application WordPress. Mr. Bart Volgers, who provides technical support, built the new website and finished it in January of this year. In the same month it was up and running and we received positive reactions from the members, some also suggested corrections. The costs for building this website are in accordance with what we agreed during the Board meeting in Ghent.
R. Beal asked if the link for the coming Rencontre could be made more prominent. J. Fincke would prefer to have full lists of data immediately at her disposal instead of having to choose this option every time. The Secretary will convey these remarks to Mr. B. Volgers.

d. The newsletter
    Three editions were published during the year 2013, in January, April, and August. The 4th edition was delayed to January of this year due to unforeseen circumstances. The President thanks Karin Beumer for all her work.

 4. Financial report over 2013
a. Report of the treasurer
    The Financial report for the year 2013 was submitted by the Treasurer Th.J.H. Krispijn and in his absence it was explained by our administrator K. Beumer. It shows a positive balance of €5,674.27 with as main revenues membership dues amounting to €4,410 (including payments made through Paypal). A donation of € 9080 ($10,000) to the IAA was made by one of our members, see 6d. The balance of the savings account is €30,000.

b. Recommendations by the controlling committee
    K. Beumer 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 the 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: Th.J.H. Krispijn (2012, Treasurer), K. de Graef (2013), M. Sandowicz (2014), and A. Cavigneaux (2015).
– 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. P. Michalowski stepped down as the president of the IAA. In the category of officers and elected members J. Fincke, G. Frame, and C. Wunsch, rotated off. In the category of presidents of RAI organizing committees Th. Krispijn rotated off. Since the latter was also our treasurer the Board will have to appoint one of the Board members as the new treasurer.
This means that 5 seats on the Board are open end the candidates for these positions are the following. For the presidency C. Michel and M. Tanret, for the Board H. Baker, J. Fincke, S. Garfinkle, C. Waerzeggers, and C. Wunsch. As the president of a RAI organizing committee G. Frame is the candidate for Philadelphia 2016.
At this point M. Roaf remarked that the procedure of the election was not clear enough. Three new Board candidates were mentioned in an email sent to the membership, but the Board members who stood for re-election were not mentioned. The Secretary pointed out that they were mentioned in an earlier letter sent to the members (which he read), but that it might have been better to repeat their names in the later email. D. Katz pointed out that all candidates should be treated in the same manner, including the support of 15 members and a CV. Some of the members wanted to postpone the election by a year (Sasson), others said that the General Meeting was now fully informed and that the election could go ahead as planned (Frahm, e.a.). An exception was made for the members who had sent in a vote by proxy. They should have the chance to vote again and the Secretary will see to that. Finally, E. von Dassow pointed out that the constitution should be changed if it is not in accordance with what the General Meeting would consider necessary.
Then the election for the president and the new Board members was held and the results were as follows:

President: C. Michel (93), M. Tanret (48)

Board members: H. Baker (110), J. Fincke (43), S. Garfinkle (111), C. Waerzeggers (90), and C. Wunsch (49).

Thus the new president is C. Michel, the new Board members are H. Baker, S. Garfinkle, and C. Waerzeggers. The president thanked the members and congratulated the new president and the new Board members.

 6. Other issues
a. IAA prize
    The second edition of the IAA Prize has been as successful as the first one. 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, J. Tavernier, and N. Veldhuis. Tavernier gave a summary of the conclusions reached by the committee and he announced that the winner is K. Stevens with the article “Secrets in the Library: Protected Knowledge and Professional Identity in Late Babylonian” (Iraq 75, 2013: 211-253),the runner-up is Y.S Chen with “The Flood Motif as a Stylistic and Temporal Device in Sumerian Literary Traditions (JANER 12, 2012, 158-189). The Secretary will inform all applicants of the results of the competition.

b. De Gruyter prize
    The second edition of the De Gruyter Prize has also been successful. Ten doctoral dissertations were submitted, the committee consisted of E. von Dassow (chair), M. Jursa, P. Michalowski, and D. Schwemer. Von Dassow informed the meeting of the conclusions of the committee and she pointed out that the general level was lower than the previous year. The winner of this year’s competition is Julien Monerie for his dissertation “Aspects de l’économie de la Babylonie aux époques hellénistique et parthe”.

c. Maureen Kovacs Subsidies
    This year was the first edition of the Maureen Kovacs Subsidies. Five young scholars sent in an application to receive a subsidy for the research that they envisage. The committee consisted of S. Garfinkle, D. Katz, M. Tanret (chair). M. Tanret informed the members of the results of this edition: the winner is Alexandra Kleinerman. Her application concerns the funding of travel costs to Oslo in order to collate and publish a large collection of cuneiform tablets preserving excerpts from the Old Babylonian Sumerian and Akkadian personal name lists.

d. Mesopotamian database
    Walter Sommerfeld gave a powerpoint presentation that contained examples of all the parts of the database project which he has set up with the help of some colleagues in Germany. The aim of the project is to help assyriologists to find their way in the many publications that appear each year. It is now possible to search for words, names, lemmata and many other things. The meeting welcomed this initiative with enthusiasm.

f. Miscellaneous announcements

7. Honorary council
    Two applications for new HC members have been received, one for Jack Sasson and one for David Owen. The necessary documents (cover letter, CV, three supporters) were also received. The Board discussed the applications during its meeting on Tuesday and concluded unanimously that both scholars will become members of the Honorary Council. The decision was announced during the meeting.

 8. Proceedings of past Rencontres
    J. Eisenbraun provided the members with the latest information:

a. Münster 2006
    The volume has appeared in the AOAT series (2014).

b. Moscow and St. Petersburg 2007
    The volume has been published by Eisenbrauns (2010).

c. Würzburg 2008
    The volume has been published by Eisenbrauns (2012).

d. Paris 2009
    The volume has been published by Eisenbrauns (2014).

e. Barcelona 2010
    The volume has been published by Eisenbrauns (2013).

f. Rome 2011
    The proofs of the volume went out in July, the book will probably be published in November 2014.

g. Leiden 2012
    The manuscripts are still being collected.

9. Future Rencontres:
a. Geneva-Bern 2015
    C. Suter and P.M. Michel (Geneva) informed the meeting about the Rencontre in Switzerland. The dates will be June 22-26, the theme will be “Text and Image”. A presentation showed the venues and provided many other details concerning this Rencontre.

b. Philadelphia 2016
    The Rencontre 2016 will be held in Philadelphia. The theme will be “Ur”. The dates are July 11-15. Detailed information will be given during next year’s Rencontre.

c. Marburg 2017
    For 2017 there is an invitation from Marburg. Since this is three years ahead the meeting took a vote and accepted this venue unanimously. W. Sommerfeld told the meeting that more details will be given during the next Rencontre.

d. Other Rencontres
    For 2018 there is an invitation from Innsbruck. The theme will be “The Intellectual Heritage of the Ancient Near East”.
For 2019 there is an invitation from Paris (theme? dates?)

10. New business

– M. Roaf asked if the posters could be put on the IAA website. The Secretary said that this is possible.
– M. Geller and L. Vacin told the meeting about the current state of Assyriology in the Czech Republic which according to them is deplorable. As a result the President has been in contact with one of the colleagues there. He informed the meeting that the Board had decided not to interfere in this matter.
– Finally, the Secretary addressed the President and thanked him on behalf of all the members for everything he has done for the IAA.

11. Closing the Meeting
     The President closed the meeting at 18.05h.