After the General Assembly (GA) at the end of July in Ronse didn’t reach the quorum and was given up in favour of a members’ meeting, IHEYO had to convene an extraordinary GA this last 3 november in the Hague, the Netherlands. As agreed at the members’ meeting, this GA did not discuss new topics, but restricted itself to merely adopt and thus officialise the latter meeting’s decisions. However, intermediate evolutions allowed that a few improvements and slight additions be made.
The action plan for 2008, which was further developed in view of a European grant application, has been adopted. As the GA meeting also gathered a large part of the executive committee members, these could specify the long term perspectives of IHEYO, alongside expectations for funding. Focuses are on the continuation of the communication project through a staffed office, as we equally hope that the tolerance campaign will find a successor in the next year, and have included a few extra joint activities with member organisations. A training seminar is planned in Eastern Europe. The preparations for this seminar are under way, as are those for the formal establishment of the European Working Group which will take place alongside this seminar.
At both the July and November meetings, concerns about the membership base of IHEYO were voiced, and in response, a pledge was made to intensify contact with the member organisations. An update of the membership has taken a start, and next year’s plans involve closer collaboration with the member organisations – as exemplified in the setting up of the European Working Group which aims to follow up on European grass-root developments.
Between both meetings and following the members’ meeting’s complaint about the disorderly state of the folders it had to work on, the 2006 accountings had been restyled by a professional accountant. This in-between work allowed for satisfactory auditing by the committee appointed at the last GA. Although the committee made recommendations that should allow an easier interpretation of next year’s accountings, the 2006 accounts were eventually approved and the Executive Committee (EC) was formally cleared.
(For those of you not acquainted with these procedures: the GA appoints an auditing committee that checks whether an organisation’s money has been spent correctly. If this check is satisfactory, as was the case, the EC is cleared of the formal suspicion of the contrary.)
As a result, the GA could proceed to the election of new EC-members to the vacant offices. A new member, Gurinder Singh Azad, was elected into the EC, the office of secretary general will from now on be manned by Asaba Lawrence, Silvana Uhlrich can from now on claim the title of second vice president while Sara Wastijn takes over from Yemi Johnson as first vice president. The GA expressed the wish to elect more candidates from non-European countries, which prompted Sara to say that, rather than commencing a two-year’s term, she would only be happy to fill out Yemi’s term and vacate her office at the next GA in 2008. The GA thanked the previous EC-members for their commendable work, and whilst regretting the remaining vacancies for deputy treasurer and ordinary EC-members, it congratulated the newly elected ones.
As always, the GA was the occasion to welcome new members to IHEYO. Via the Tolerance campaign, IHEYO had already been in touch with the Polish Rationalist Association, which is from now on a full member of our organisation, as are the Polish Humanist Association and the Society for Humanist Youth (SOCH) from Nepal. The recently formed Norvegian Humanistisk Ungdom (which translates as Humanist Youth, see Autumn YouthSpeak) also gained full membership status.
With this festive note and after the approval of the 2008 budget, IHEYO is ready for the take off of a new year, which promises a few highlights. There will be the events in Europe that were already mentioned, the African Working Group plans its own training in the fall of next year while the Asian Working Group is also gaining momentum. IHEYO will moreover be present at the International Humanist and Ethical Union’s 2008 world congress in Washington, where it will host several workshops on youth humanism in a global environment and communication. The Washington conference will, with all its buzz, allow to reach out to new members and to forge better trans-atlantic relationships, so check the announcements further in this Youthspeak!