The General Assembly (GA) was held in the offices of IHEU
Member Organization the Centre d’Action Laique in Belgium on the first weekend of
In the preliminary session on Thursday, three presentations
highlighted some of the activities that IHEU and its member organizations are
running. International Director Babu Gogineni presented some of the campaigns
with focus on promoting science and fighting superstition. Specifically the
work done to save the girl Sambabvi from a life as a Hindu girl goddess and get
her back to normal school was described. Roger Lepeix and Sam Ayache led a
session on the separation of religion and state, with short reports from many
of the other countries present. And Sonja Eggerickx gave a presentation on the
work of the major Humanist organizations in Belgium.
In the formal session of Friday, the usual business of the
General Assembly was conducted, with adoption of minutes from the 2009 GA, the
2009 activity report, the 2009 accounts and the strategic plan for 2010-2014. Membership
of four new organizations were approved; the Humanist Academy of Scotland, the
Pink Triangle Trust, the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust and the Freethought
Society (of Greater Philadelphia). A policy resolution on education in schools
was passed by the GA (with two votes against).
Following the new Bylaws and Internal Rules that were
adopted last year, the EC presented the membership review and the work done in
changing membership category for some of the MO’s and recalculating the dues
for all. Some of the MO’s did not respond to the membership review, and the
follow-up of these was discussed. There was also a session on regional
co-operation, were Roar Johnsen presented some of the possibilities for such
co-operation and the related advantages, while Deo Ssekitooleko told of the
emerging regional co-operation in East Africa.
Baard Thalberg of the Norwegian Humanist Association
presented the plans for the World Humanist Congress in Oslo in August 2011, and urged all
organizations to promote the Congress to their members. An Award for Distinguished Service to Humanism was presented to Jean and Barrie Berkley (see https://humanists.international/distinguished-service-humanism-award-presented-jean-and-barrie-berkley).
Jack Jeffery left the executive committee after serving two
full terms, and Andrew Copson, the chief executive officer of the British Humanist
Association, was elected as a new vice president. Roger Lepeix was also reelected
to the executive committee. In the EC meeting following the GA, Roger Lepeix
was reelected as treasurer and Roar Johnsen was elected as first vice president. Sonja Eggerickx continues as president. (An IHEU organizational chart showing the members of the executive committee is available at: https://humanists.international/orgchart.)
The last session of the GA, on Saturday morning, was a workshop
on IHEU strategy in the form of a Socratic dialogue, with focus on “the most
fundamental questions”. After a long process five areas were identified, and
these turned out to be the same as those already in the strategic plan. Better
communication and more focus on how the IHEU can be a tool for international
influence of the MO’s, were noted as points for improvement.