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1st Annual Meeting of the Executive Council (Prague, Czech Republic, 3-4 March 2005)

Executive Council of the CEACS/AECEC

1st Annual Meeting

Prague, Czech Republic

3-4 March  2005


A. Afternoon session, 3 March (1.00-5.00 p.m.)


Executive Council members

Marian Gazdik (MG) – Slovakia

Ivo Josipovic (IJ) – Croatia

Petr Kylousek (PK) – Czech Republic

Judit Molnar (JM) – Hungary

Radojka Vukcevic (RV) – Serbia and Montenegro

Diana Yankova (DJ) – Bulgaria


Members of the Executive Committee

Don Sparling (President, /DS/)

Ana Olos (Vice-President /AO/)

Janos Kenyeres (Treasurer, /JK)

Vesna Lopicic (Secretary, /VL/)

Katalin Kurtosi (CE Journal of Canadian Studies, /KK/)



Jason Blake (JB) – Slovenia

Radek Rybkowski (RR) – Polish Association for Canadian Studies (PACS)


1. Opening

The meeting was opened at 9.00 p.m., upon the arrival of all members of the Executive Council and Executive Committee. DS welcomed all present to Prague and the first annual meeting of the Executive Council. Voichita Sasu could not manage to come so AO was wearing two hats, representing her country both on the Council and the Committee. People introduced themselves. RR was a guest from the PACS while JB was an observer from Slovenia. They abstained from voting.


2. Adoption of agenda

The agenda was adopted as proposed, having been earlier sent by e-mail to all Executive Council and Executive Committee members.


3. Approval of reports

The report on the 1st General (constituent) Meeting of the CEACS Executive Council held in Krakow, Poland, 2 May 2004, which can be found on the CEACS website, was approved as submitted since there were no comments.


4. CE Association for Canadian Studies

4.1 Activities of the Executive Committee

DS reported that the Executive Committee had met once in Szeged in October, at the Graduate Student seminar, where some of its members gave papers; the minutes from this first meeting are on the web. It was generally held that the Association is well established and with a good reputation in Ottawa. There have been a series of activities:  the CE Journal, conferences, new responsibilities for the FRP and FEP grants, etc. DS said that the Executive Committee believed there was a need to have more activities at a lower level, to cooperate more between countries, centres and individuals. Therefore, it would appreciate new initiatives.


4.2 Membership fee

DS: The first fee was for the period up to 2005. In 2003-4 there was a lot of enthusiasm for CEACS, many people joined, started courses, received grants etc. On the other hand, some were rather inactive. It is a question if they will renew their fees. There are 160 members, but some will fall out. JM reported that in her country there were 16 members who paid the fee, 3 promised, so that at the moment there was a maximum of 20 people. It was 30 before. DS: Are they people who teach Canadian Studies? JM: Most give courses, apart from students. JB said that all the Slovenian members were involved in activities, and paid the fee. IJ promised to collect the money at the annual meeting of Croatian Canadianists next month and send it to DS. RV pointed out that paying the fee in Serbia and Montenegro is very complicated. She would meet people at Novi Sad and collect the money or postpone it till October and the Nis Conference. DS suggested this would be too late because in January she would have to collect it again for 2006. DY reported that there were now 26 members out of the original 27. Half of these people are active in teaching and doing research in Canadian Studies. Other representatives were not that confident in maintaining numbers. PK said the Czechs would speak about it the next day at their annual meeting, and collecting the money. AO reported that Voichita-Maria Sasu had opened a bank account for the members to pay in the fee. The deadline was 28 February. DS summed up by saying that Bulgaria and Croatia were successful at maintaining the membership, and that other countries looked promising: it seemed the numbers were stable.


DS was not sure whether the membership fee was for the calendar or the fiscal year. It was decided for the calendar year. It was important to fix the date by which membership should be paid, since for a whole series of activities the only people who are eligible are members. For example, FRP and FEP grants come from the Canadian Government and anybody can apply for them. But things done from our budget or the ICCS budget are restricted to our members. In future, we will make it very clear which offers are general, and which apply only to members. In January we should ask the people to renew membership and by the end of March collect the fees for the following year. The method for doing this could be worked out differently in different countries. By 10 April each country representative should send JK an e-mail with the updated list of members. DS said he would prepare a letter on what being a member implies, including a survey of grants available. Each member of the Executive Council would get the letter and could change it appropriately and send it out, in his or her mother tongue, to members and potential new members (the membership form is available on line at the CEACS website).


4.3 Country reports

DS thanked everyone for their country reports. He had standardized them and they are by now on the web. He asked the Executive Council members to check the country reports, and see if there were any blunders. Next time they should follow that model. They are a good piece of propaganda for the Association. Ottawa appreciates them for their transparency. Two points :

- stick to the time frame;

- in the section on Young Canadianists, stick to the things that are actually defended and completed (not just to those that are being “worked on”). Now that some people are doing BA theses in Canadian Studies, they should also be included. The name of the supervisor may also be included.


MG asked about Ph.D. students giving lectures that are not published? DS: Put them in the last category, “Others”. JB asked what should be included in the report. DS: There are border areas like productions by Canadian theatres: this is not quite Canadian Studies but it is interesting. Put it under “Other”. AO: What about seminars? DS: They should not be included if they are part of the regular teaching.


4.4 Grants

4.4.1 CEACS grants for attendance at conferences

DS reported that he had gone back four years to 2001/2 to check the people who got grants to attend conferences; he distributed a list of successful grantees, which he said would be posted on the CEACS website. In that year, twenty CE Canadianists could attend Grainau. Next year, the number of CE participants was reduced (the capacity at Grainau is limited, and the GKS did not want to restrict its own members). In 2003/4 places at Grainau were reduced to six, and we began having a series of grants broken in two parts. In the first part, in February/March we offer grants for conferences during the following year and in October we allot the remaining grants to the end of the fiscal year. The second round includes the possibility of going to Grainau. This fiscal year, we awarded five grants to the five people who applied in the first round. So we had ten places left. Two people could not go so we carried these grants on to the next year. It was agreed the list of recipients should be published on the website. It was also felt that the work of the selection committee should be made transparent. In the first round it was done by e-mails among Executive Committee members; for the second round, the members of the FRP and FEP pre-selection committee did the job. How was it to be done in future? PK: Grants must be separated. FRP and FEP from CEACS grants. DS: The conference grants selection should be done by each association separately. The Polish Association decides it its own way. We should do the same to be more efficient. We will ask grants for members only. Shall we reduce the number of grants to 12 or keep it up at 15? Also, when we announce the first round of grants in April, should we say X grants for Y country or throw it all open? DJ: Keep it open. DS: Supposedly there are ten applicants from Hungary. Should all of them get them? Let’s keep it open but decide on the criteria. In a given year a maximum of three people from one country within a fiscal year. PK: Keep it balanced and keep one place a reserve. RV: Let’s have confidence in the selection board. DS: I am afraid of perceptions in this part of the world. It is better to have a limit. JM: An excellent abstract is not enough. DS: To make an objective decision with twenty lines is not easy. It is even more complicated with Grainau because they are not giving papers. Four from one country should be the maximum.


4.4.2 FEP and FRP grants

DS: For the first time there was a pre-selection done by us; as is always the case, Ottawa has the final decision. The original agreement was that the Executive Committee would do the selection, but all three members of the committee applied themselves for grants. VL stepped down, and RV was too busy to be able to replace her, so PK was asked to be on the committee, along with Voichita-Maria Sasu and JK, who had been pressured to withdraw his application by DS, and did so (many thanks, Janos – DS). This year in particular it was important that senior CEACS members were grading the applications. The pre-selection committee members met on 7 January in Brno, along with DS (as non-voting chair) and Magdalena Firtova (from the Canadian Embassy in Prague as observer), and made the pre-selection. It was an interesting learning experience. There were guidelines from the European Network but they were not adequate. People used somewhat different criteria. Next year we will create our own set of criteria and a better instruction sheet for the applicants. FRP applications were more difficult because of questions as to whether the fields belonged to Canadian Studies. This was pointed out in comments added to the final gradings – Ottawa (via the ICCS) would decide.  PK noted that it is important to have good criteria, and then to have experts from different fields on the selection committee. DY noted the problems connected with the late application date – could this be changed. DS though no; this is something that people have complained about for a long time, but there have not been major changes. Perhaps it has something to do with the federal budget processes. RR asked whether reading the material is paid. DS: No! Or rather perhaps yes and no! This year, Cornelius Remie of the ENCS ent money to Brno for us but this covered the courier and travel, accommodation and meals for the pre-selection committee. The question was raised as to who should be on the pre-election committee. One idea was that the Executive Council members should suggest possible pre-selection committee members. AO: Should they be bilingual? DS: This is very complicated issue. PK noted that eight applicants were in French (mainly literature), so at least a reading knowledge of French is really necessary. DS said that it was decided that commentaries on their applications should be sent to people who did not receive the grants. We will also work out guidelines and put them on the web for the benefit of young academics.


4.4.3 ICCS grants (biennial conference, doctoral students)

DS: Regarding doctoral student grants there were six applications: three from Romania, two from the Czech Republic, one from Hungary. The seventh applicant was too late. We can select three people as candidates. In the end, three were chosen, one from each country; the final selection will be made by the ICCS in Ottawa.  DS pointed out that not all of these students were members of our association. He felt they should be members of CEACS; we should get the message across that they should become members. VL: Who provides the money for the grants? DS: The ICCS: programmes offered in the name of the ICCS come from special funds to support ICCS members.


Regarding the biennial conference, there was no really convincing application. No application was forwarded to Ottawa; in any case, it would have been merely one of many nominees.


One other ICCS grant we decided not to apply for: the grant for the best doctoral thesis defended in the previous two years. Every national association could nominate one person. In our case it is complicated but next year we will try it. Each national chapter should somehow select the best doctoral thesis and submit it to us. Information on this award should be available on the ICCS website. RR: Is there any money for the people reviewing the theses? In Poland there are three possible languages. People do not want to do it without a fee. DS: The numbers are not huge so it will not be much work. We read only the summary. JB: It should be self-regulating. The mentor probably would not like to be exposed in Ottawa as a supervisor of a lousy doctorate. DS promised to discuss this in Ottawa in May.


4.4.4 Brno research grants

DS had made a survey of grant winners for the period from 2001 to 2005, and felt that the opportunity to apply should be opened up to Canadianists in general, not exclusively students. We will be posting the complete CS collection of books in Brno on the website (at present the only access is through a Czech programme at the Central Library). Photocopying will be limited since books may be scanned which is cheaper. Accommodation will be paid for.


5. CE Association for Canadian Studies

DS reported on the activities of the CE Canadian Secretariat in Brno since the last meeting:


· Distribution of information. Though Petr Vurm has been in Canada doing research since the fall, he continues to be responsible for the webpage (including the new design) and for sending out information on the CEACS listserve. He has been doing a lot of work for us from Canada, and will be back in the Czech Republic by the end of March.

· Organizational activities. These include in particular the work connected with FRP and FEP grants, doctoral student grants, the grant for student assistance at the ICCS biennial conference, research stays by students in Brno, and the current meetings in Prague.

· Publications. This means mostly technical editing and printing of the CE Journal for Canadian Studies and conference proceedings. PV has been doing all this from Canada. For more information see section 5.


6. Publications

The forthcoming publications are the following:


6.1 Krakow conference

The Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference of Central European Canadianists held in Krakow are being prepared by the Polish Canadianists, who are making the final selection of papers. It has been a slow process: often reports are diametrically different and therefore new readers must be found. The same format will be used as for the Proceedings of the Brno and Bucharest conferences, with both names (of the Polish Association and CEACS) on the cover since it was a joint event. DS and Agnieszka Rzepa will write Introductions.


6.2 CE Journal of Canadian Studies

6.2.1 Vol. 4

KK expressed her puzzlement regarding the fourth issue of the CE Journal. The CE Journal offers a great opportunity, especially to young students. However, the fourth issue was problematic. It seems there was not much self-criticism and the level of submitted articles was extremely uneven: it looked as though some people thought anything could go. KK asked the Executive Council members to point out to their respective members the possibility of publishing in the CE Journal but reminding them that this is a peer-reviewed, international academic journal: they would have to prepare good articles if they wished to be published.


6.2.2 Vol 5

DS gave information regarding Volume 5 of the CE Journal for CS. The first call for papers went around in January. The reminder goes in March. KK suggested that contributors of other types of articles should be included like work in progress, interesting topics, theses, essayistic papers, country events. KK: variety is our good point. VS: Should we try to approach Albania with something on Canadian Studies? DS felt this was not the right moment. DS: Regarding the web presentation, we have only the table of contents on the web. Six months after the publications appear, we should put the complete version on the site. The contributors should know beforehand that it will be electronically available.


6.3 Proceedings of graduate seminars

DS informed the Executive Council members that it was only in November 2004 that they had received the material from Barcelona concerning the September 2003 seminar there. But Petr Vurm was in Canada, so no work could be done; in any case, some additional editing was in order. He hoped the publication would be available for distribution at the next seminar. KK: The proceedings from the 13th Seminar are being prepared. DS: How does it compare to Berlin volume? KK: Favourably.


The afternoon session of the Executive Council meeting ended at 5.00 p.m.


B. Morning session, 4 March (9.04 a.m.-12.04 p.m.)


All those present at the afternoon session on 3 March were present, with the exception of Radojka Vukcevic and Vesna Lopicic, who had to return home early. The meeting was opened at 9.04.


7. Financial Report

DS explained the accounting details and format (see Executive Committee report, item 8). JB expressed surprise at the high bank charges. DS explained that is simply a fact of life in the Czech Republic, and that we can expect them in future.


DS pledged to make the financial reports even more transparent and detailed in future (by breaking down costs by individual event, etc.). There were no questions, comments or concerns about the financial report.


7.1 Auditors

Though our constitution calls for two auditors, we do not have one. On the one hand, this is redundant and merely a formality because we already have an accountant; on the other, this is useful both as a “factual” and “ideological check” - i.e. to make sure both that the books balance and that money is being spent properly and responsibly. The auditors chosen will understand Czech, the language of our international banking. Two names were proposed, Karel Foustka from the Czech Republic, Maria Huttova from Slovakia.


8. Next Meeting of the Executive Council

The next Executive Council meeting will be in Debrecen, coinciding with the 4th Central European International Conference on Canadian Studies, to be held there in October 2006.


9. Any other business

9.1 Class-set programme

It was agreed to make another bid for class sets; that is, to ask Ottawa to revive the three-year pilot program that provided entire sets of individual books for teaching purposes. DS said that a renewal of this programme (each grant 1000 CAD) means a probable reduction in library support grants. If accepted by Ottawa, this programme (including the application process) should be advertised on the listserve, so that all members are properly informed of its existence.


9.2 Summer schools

9.2.1 Summer school in Croatia

IJ stated there will likely be no summer school in May in Croatia. If cancelled, however, money could perhaps be re-allocated for a visiting lecturer in Zagreb.

9.2.2 CEACS summer schools

DS stated that a Central European Summer School should be proposed as a pilot project of at least three years. This school would take place in various centres (Debrecen, Brno and Katowice were proposed) and concentrate on a different topic each year (theatre, multiculturalism and gender issues, respectively). It would be a 7-10 day summer school. DS pointed out that ICTS ('Bologna' credits) should be awarded in order to facilitate recognition at the students' home universities. Although it was planned that the program start in Debrecen, this would prove too difficult due to scheduling conflicts at Debrecen – it clashes with other events at that university. Instead, we agreed that Brno 2006 would be a more achievable goal, aiming for follow-up schools in Katowice (2007) and Debrecen (2008). RR, the guest from the Polish association, anticipated Embassy support for this undertaking. The possibility of bilingual (French/English) summer schools was discussed, but we determined that there would not be enough bilingual students to make this possible. The fourth year, therefore, should be in French, with Romania being the most likely candidate - their association can decide where it should take place. JM asked if Romania must necessarily be the “last year”. No, it need not be the final year. In any case, the proposal should be for a four-year pilot program.


9.3 Oral history project

AO suggested we take a look at a Romania-based oral history project that investigates, among other things, emigrant populations. This was looked upon favourably, and perhaps a conference section on this at Debrecen (2006) could be arranged. DS pointed out the matter of funding. What financial resources would we have to ask Ottawa for?  JB anticipated interest in Slovenia, as at least three professors have published on Slovene emigrant populations in Canada. KK reminded us that volume 2 of the CEJCN contained an article on the topic that could serve as a possible guideline. PK pointed out we should elicit help regarding methodology from those outside literature. Various colleagues came up with possible contacts. Eventually we decided that a workshop on the topic would be a primary goal.


9.4 Socrates/Erasmus

DS pointed out that this program “could be used more” to encourage student exchanges. While it is not realistic to focus exclusively on Canadian Studies – no university offers that many courses – Socrates/Erasmus could be a Trojan horse to extend knowledge in both the geographical and educational areas. A listserve message should be sent to remind all of this opportunity.


9.5 Translations

JB asked about how Canada supports translation of “our” literature into other languages. DS said that Canada Council Grants are available for such projects, with the money going to the domestic (i.e. Central European) publishing house. Information is available on the Canada Council Website; this is not a fiscal concern of ours.


9.6 Country reports, information sharing

We discussed the actuality of country reports. DS pointed out that there were both redundancies and lacunae. Some activities were entered on two successive reports; other activities such as FEP and FRP grants were not always mentioned. We also addressed information-sharing in general. DY's example seems desirable for all, i.e. information might be better shared through reports at the level of national chapters (perhaps in the language of the land). Specifically, “each CEACS member should send a summary to the Executive Council representative for his or her national chapter to distribute to the other members of the national chapter after he/she comes back from an FEP or an FRP grant, as well as after attending Grainau or any other Canadian studies conference.” DS also reminded people to update Brno on mini-conferences and other Canadian Studies related activities.


The meeting was closed at 12.04.