Salon Dufour, Clarendon Hotel
May/Mai 22 - 23, 2009
Cornelius Remie (The Netherlands) President
Klaus-Dieter Ertler (Austria) President-Elect
Martin Howard (Ireland) Treasurer
Patrick James Association for Canadian Studies in the United States
Susan Hodgett British Association for Canadian Studies
Jean-Michel Lacroix French Association for Canadian Studies
Luigi Bruti Liberati Italian Association for Canadian Studies
Yutaka Takenaka Japanese Association for Canadian Studies
Hartmut Lutz Association for Canadian Studies in German-Speaking Countries
Stewart Gill Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand
Elizabeth Tilley Association for Canadian Studies in Ireland
Peter Bakker Nordic Association for Canadian Studies
Jianwen Feng Association for Canadian Studies in China
Conny Steenman-Marcusse Association for Canadian Studies in the Netherlands
R.K. Dhawan Indian Association for Canadian Studies
Daniel Ben-Natan Israel Association for Canadian Studies
Marisa Cales Spanish Association for Canadian Studies
Vassili Sokolov Association for Canadian Studies in Russia
Rosa Berardo Brazilian Association for Canadian Studies
Diego R. Zambrano-Nieto Venezuelan Association for Canadian Studies
Hyun Seog Yu Korean Association for Canadian Studies
Salvador Cervantes Mexican Association for Canadian Studies
Cristina Lucchini Association for Canadian Studies in Argentina
János Kenyeres Central European Association for Canadian Studies
Delegates (Associate Members)
Roseanna Dufault American Council for Québec Studies
Serge Jaumain Centre d'études nord-américaines, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Beatriz Diaz Cátedra de Estudios sobre Canadá, Universidad de la Habana
Krzysztof Jarosz Polish Association for Canadian Studies
Sergio Stange Chilean Association for Canadian Studies
Stael Ruffinelli de Ortiz Canadian Studies Centre in Paraguay
Luke Anderson International Education and Youth Division (PRE), DFAIT, Canada
Eduardo Barajas Universidad del Rosario, Colombia
Zilá Bernd Universidad Federal Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Claude Couture Editor-in-Chief, IJCS, Canada
Marie-Laure de Chantal International Education and Youth Division (PRE), DFAIT, Canada
Noëlla De Maina International Education and Youth Division (PRE), DFAIT, Canada
Nadine Fabbi Canadian Studies Center, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
Alicia Garro ASAEC, Argentina
Joseph Glass Canada
Jean Labrie International Education and Youth Division (PRE), DFAIT, Canada
Robert Laliberté Association internationale des études québécoises
Jaap Lintvelt The Netherlands
Brian Long Canada
Delia Montero SEMINECAL, Mexico
Raul Rodríguez Centro de Estudios Hemisfericos y sobre Estados Unidos, Universidad de la
Christopher Rolfe University of Leicester, United Kingdom
Cheng-Feng Shih National Don Hwa University, Taiwan
Don Sparling Masaryk University, Czech Republic
Maria Susana Tabieres Director, Centro Bonaerense de Estudios Canadienses, Argentina
Marion St-Cyr Lachance International Education and Youth Division (PCE), DFAIT, Canada
Christl Verduyn Canadian Studies Network, Canada
Beatriz Ventura Embassy of Canada in Argentina
Guy Leclair Co-Director
Cristina Frias Co-Director
Lise Nichol Administrative Coordinator
Gaëtan Vallières Financial Consultant
1. Welcoming Word from the President
The President of the ICCS, Cornelius Remie (The Netherlands), welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending the 28th Board of Directors and Annual General Meetings of the ICCS.
2. Introduction of Directors, Delegates of the Associate Members and Observers
Cornelius kindly asked the members of the Executive Committee, Directors, Delegates of Associate Members and observers to introduce themselves. He then asked for a minute of silence in memory of colleagues who had passed away during the year.
3. Adoption of the Agenda
The agenda was approved by general agreement with two changes: Item 21 Varia - a) Christl Verduyn will present a report on behalf of the Canadian Studies Network; Item 14 Proposed 2009-2010 Objectives - b) the bid for the International Scholarship Program will be discussed.
Motion 2009 - 1 (Stewart Gill/Susan Hodgett)
To accept the proposed agenda with changes
4. Adoption of the Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Directors of May 30-31, 2008 (Document # 4)
The President presented the minutes, distributed in advance. No corrections were proposed.
Motion 2009 - 2 (Conny Steenman-Marcusse/Marisa Cales)
To approve the Minutes.
Motion approved with one abstention.
5. President's Report (Report attached, page 20)
President Cornelius Remie read his report, highlighting the actions he had undertaken with the Executive Committee as well as the ICCS Secretariat. Actions included the preparation of the ICCS International Conference, the implementation of the Strategic Plan, the development of the World Seminar on Canada, the implementation of the ICCS Communications Strategy, preparation of a Roundtable on international perspectives on Canadian Studies to be held at the ACSUS conference with presentations from colleagues around the world. With respect to finances he reported that ICCS is in good shape (a surplus for the 2008-2009 fiscal year and a balanced budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year).
6. Message from the Representative of the International Education and Youth Division (PCE), DFAIT
Jean Labrie (Deputy Director, DFAIT) introduced his staff - Luke Anderson, Marie-Laure de Chantal, Noëlla De Maina, and Marion St-Cyr Lachance. He announced that Nancy Hector has been seconded for one year to Edu-Canada, International Promotion of Education in Canada. He invited everyone to meet with his personnel for any clarifications regarding the programs and noted that he would try to make himself available as well. He announced that Drew Fagan had been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Tourism Commission and that Denis Stevens would take over the position of Director General, Intergovernmental Relations and Public Outreach on an interim basis.
Jean was pleased to announce that there were no forecasted budgetary cuts for program funding but that there would be changes to the budget for program delivery. He wanted to reassure everyone that the budget for the programs would not be affected.
Jean announced that a letter of intent had been received from the ICCS Secretariat supporting the DFAIT's Transformation Agenda proposal, a project which could enable a small number of DFAIT employees to relocate to the offices of the ICCS Secretariat.
Jean pointed out that the Understanding Canada program has been in force for one year and that the outlook was very positive. He noted some confusion last year regarding the procedures. However, improvements have been made during the year. He reminded everyone that the first criterion of selection was academic quality. After the pre-selection has been completed, further discussions are held. The budgetary report for the programs will show the impact of the new program and the report will be posted on the DFAIT web site.
Jean announced that the Internship program may be re-instated and that the final decision would be made soon. The budget would allow 25 internships (15 Canadian students going to Latin America and 10 going elsewhere) and 9 internships for foreign students coming to Canada. Jean explained the program requirements. Cristina Lucchini (Argentina) asked when the program will take effect and if an agenda will be available soon. Jean replied that the ICCS presented a proposal and if the program is accepted, the first students could be posted abroad in September 2009. He did indicate that the interns would need to devote 25% of their time to the promotion of Canada as a study destination.
Jean confirmed that the weekly allowance for the Faculty Research Program and the Faculty Enrichment Program was increased by $100 and is now totaling $900 per week. He also broached the subject of the procedures in requesting funds from DFAIT. He added that it is the responsibility of the association to submit a report for all project funds received. The report should also present a balanced budget. He also mentioned that, since 1997, funds could not be accumulated and used on other projects. Jean added that requests for project funds are sometimes refused because of the history of improper reporting. Requests must demonstrate a show of needs, focusing on operation and production (newsletters, journals, website, etc.) costs. He noted that models of application forms and a glossary would be posted on the DFAIT website in the near future.
As in previous years, Jean spoke of the role expected of the associations. He stressed that one of the most important responsibilities of the associations was the dissemination to their members of all information related to Canadian Studies in their respective countries, their regions and in the world. Jean gave examples of the existing reporting problem, asking why it was so difficult to get responses to the questionnaire project or why post-ICCS AGM information did not often reach individual members. He emphasized that it was important that various projects and their deadlines be reported consistently.
Finally, USB keys with promotional material on Education in Canada were distributed to all members present. Cornelius thanked Jean for his presentation, and reminded everyone to complete and forward the questionnaire as soon as possible.
Cornelius announced the arrival of Daniel Ben-Natan, President of the IsACS and of Zilá Bernd, Past-President of the ICCS.
7. Report from Brian Long on the survey questionnaires
Cornelius asked Brian Long to report on the Questionnaire Project. Brian began by mentioning the important points. The survey will identify the impact of the return on the Canadian government's investment in Canadian Studies. The survey is made up of three questionnaires aimed at 1) Canadian Studies Associations, 2) Canadian Studies Centres and 3) individual Canadianists. Brian stressed the need to receive prompt responses to the questionnaire. He added that the results would help justify the Canadian Studies programs and the value of an enterprise such as the ICCS. He emphasized the statistical value of the questionnaire.
Brian announced that 240 questionnaires were sent out to Canadian Studies centres, 47 responses were received which represents a response rate of 16%. The study regarding the impact of the program cannot be carried out without the questionnaire. Brian reported that the results of the survey would be broken down by regions. The ensuing report may be the key to the continuation and the enhancement of the Canadian Studies programs.
Discussions followed regarding the length and the complexity of the questionnaire. It was suggested that perhaps the questionnaire should be shortened and simplified. It was pointed out that some centres did not receive the questionnaire. The importance of this project should also be made known. Brian offered his assistance, if required, in filling out the questionnaire.
Jean was asked to clarify the difference between the various Canadian Studies centres. He described the differences between centres and programs. Susan Hodgett thanked Jean for the very informative details. Lastly, Jean pointed out that the Board members were notified at last year's AGM of the survey project and were requested to distribute the questionnaire to the centres. He explained that during the course of the summer, samples of the completed questionnaire will be posted on the Department's web site.
8. Report from the Co-Directors on Secretariat activities 2008-09
Guy Leclair presented Document 8, the Status Report and mentioned that he would start by presenting the academic activities of the ICCS, that is, the IJCS, the 2010 Conference and the World Seminar on Canada. Guy gave an update of these projects. Cristina reviewed the Canadian Studies programs including the Book Display program. Guy announced that the Web resources portal would soon be launched and that a name and a password would be required to access the Canadian Electronic Library (CEL). He noted that access to the CEL could be used as an incentive to have the questionnaire filled out by individual Canadianists. He also explained the Érudit project, through which the IJCS will be available free of charge to our members, adding that paper copies would still be sent to institutions.
Patrick James (USA) suggested that perhaps a letter should be sent indicating the registration procedure and other helpful information. Cristina Lucchini asked if books can be sent directly to Érudit. Guy replied that Érudit enabled only publishers to disseminate their publications. Therefore individuals cannot send books directly to them.
9. Report on the ICCS Adjudicated Programs (Scholarships and Awards)
Guy outlined the details of the applications received for each program, and the numbers of awards. Concerning the Governor General Award, Guy pointed out that there may be a possible problem with the existing guidelines since applications are retained for a period of 6 years. At the present time, there was a high number of applications to be considered for the GG award (international component), giving rise to a surplus of applications which could become a problem during the next few years. He noted that this situation would be monitored. Finally, Guy asked the members to help promote all of the ICCS scholarships and awards.
10. Report on the Understanding Canada - Canadian Studies programs managed by the ICCS on behalf of DFAIT 2008-09
Cristina presented Document 10 and reported on the DFAIT Canadian Studies Programs administered by the ICCS and explained the most important points. A table with the statistical figures for this year was presented by regions and by countries. She explained the table of activities and pointed out the decrease in applications received compared to the previous year. She described the evaluation process and confirmed that the adjudication results were sent to the embassies with detailed comments on acceptance or refusal for each applicant. She noted that 517 applications were received and 259 scholarships were awarded. She also noted that there were 112 fewer applications received this year under the FEP program and 124 fewer applications under the FRP program. In total, there were 196 fewer applications received this year while the Government of Canada offered 259 awards compared to 243 last year. Cristina then provided information regarding the following programs: the Canada-Asia-Pacific Awards, the Canada-Europe Awards, the Canada-Latin America-Caribbean Awards and the International Research Linkages. She added that the number of applicants received for this year's competition was encouraging.
Hyun Seog Yu (South Korea) asked why South Korean applications were adjudicated with those from Australia and New Zealand. Jean Labrie replied that the Canadian government decided to go from a national to a regional competition, and that South Korea was included in the regional competition.
Susan Hodgett (UK) had a question concerning the eligibility of adult students/older adults to the Doctoral Student Program. Danny Ben-Natan (Israel) also requested clarification on the definition of a part-time student. Jean responded that the definition differed from country to country. Serge added that the guidelines indicated that a student would be accepted if he/she qualifies and that it is not specified if they need to be part-time or full-time. It was agreed that a definition of a full-time doctoral student must be established. Jean replied that he does not have a problem removing the full-time wording from the guidelines.
Cornelius thanked Cristina for her report.
11. Report from the Editor-in-Chief - International Journal of Canadian Studies
Claude Couture (Editor-in-Chief, IJCS) presented his report, Editor-in-Chief Report, May 2009 (Document 11), on the activities for the year. He was pleased to announce that publication of the Journal is up to date. He announced that issue 46 would be his last one as Editor-in-Chief. He also announced the good news concerning the amount received from SSHRC, which has doubled. He added that he has been successful in obtaining from his university institutional support worth $50,000.
He noted that the organization of the adjudication process for the World Seminar on Canada was completed, and that the selection would take place this Sunday. Serge Jaumain (Belgium) requested information regarding the number of applications received and the country of origin.
Serge also wanted to know if the funds received from SSHRC would be used to cover some staff salaries and other general expenses. Claude replied that he would have a budgetary report for next year's AGM. Guy added that the application included a request to help cover the costs of on-line publication, for training and material to put the IJCS on-line.
Cornelius thanked Claude for his report.
12. Report of the Secretary on activities of members and associate members for 2008-09
Since the position of Secretary is vacant, ICCS Treasurer Martin Howard (Ireland) presented the Secretary's Report. In the report, Martin provided an overview on the activities of ICCS members and associate members through a detailed bilingual Power Point presentation. He highlighted the important developments and special events of each association. The presentation outline consisted of the key areas of the ICCS Strategic Plan: Research, Teaching, Outreach, and Rejuvenation. It also presented the up-coming Events and Projects, and highlighted the diversity and vitality of Canadian Studies. Martin pointed out that the 400th Anniversary of Quebec City was celebrated at Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, British Association for Canadian Studies, French Association for Canadian Studies, Association for Canadian Studies in German-Speaking Countries and Polish Association for Canadian Studies conferences. He concluded by emphasizing the importance of organizing youth events to ensure the continuation of Canadian Studies.
Serge thanked Martin for his exceptional work. He suggested that the web report should be more accessible. Martin replied that perhaps the location of the report should be included in the next copy of Contact. Jean-Michel Lacroix (France) also thanked Martin for an excellent presentation. Beatriz Diaz (Cuba) thanked Martin and announced that another Canadian Studies centre in Cuba had been created. Danny Ben-Natan announced that the Israel Association would hold its conference in 2010. Vassili Sokolov (Russia) added that he was very impressed with Martin's report and made a suggestion regarding the importance of mentioning important meetings and the names of the dignitaries who attend.
Robert Laliberté from the Association internationale des études québécoises addressed the meeting and suggested that the association activity report should mention the existing collaboration between the ICCS and the AIEQ. Martin agreed with Mr. Laliberté and added that this could be done in the reports of both the ICCS and the AIEQ.
Cornelius Remie thanked Martin for his well-prepared and well-presented report. A round of applause followed. Cornelius congratulated the associations for their effort throughout the year. He also pointed out that Martin's report would be accessible to all through the ICCS web site.
13. ICCS World Seminar on Canada
Guy reported on the three elements comprising the program of the ICCS World Seminar on Canada: master classes, presentations by seminar participants and the round table. Information on these three items was presented as well as a schedule for the week's activities. The ICCS received 39 applications for the 16 places available. The Seminar is a pilot project and the participants' travel and accommodation are covered.
14. Proposed objectives for the ICCS Secretariat 2009-10
a. 2009-10 Objectives
Guy noted several corrections to be made in Document 14, Objectives Report. He presented and reviewed the document point by point. He invited the Board to examine the document to obtain the list of ICCS planned activities and programs. Serge suggested that perhaps the activities of the European Network should be incorporated in the document. It was also suggested that the Web Resources Portal project be included in the document. Danny suggested that the Association of Canadian Studies (ACS) should be contacted to try to re-establish their membership of the ICCS. It was mentioned that even though there was no Association for Canadian Studies within the ICCS, there were activities being organized by Canadianists in Canada. Cornelius mentioned that Guy and himself participated in a recent meeting of the Network of Canadian Studies Coordinators in Sackville where Canadian Studies in Canada was thoroughly discussed.
Motion 2009 - 3 (Patrick James/ R.K. Dhawan)
To approve the 2009-10 Objectives Report.
Motion approved unanimously.
b. Contracts and Transformation Agenda
Martin informed the Board that the bid for the renewal of the International Scholarships contract will be released soon. Martin mentioned that the ICCS' current main contract is the Canadian Studies Programs. Other smaller contracts are the Office of the Commission of Official Language (OCOL) contract and the Library & Archives Canada (LAC) contract. Martin continued by stating that four years ago, the ICCS had not been successful in winning the bid for the management of the International Scholarships Program which had been managed by the ICCS for two consecutive 5-year terms Following its unsuccessful bid, the ICCS Secretariat had to downsize its staff and relocate to its current premises. Biding and winning a new scholarship contract would also increase the possibility of bringing the ICCS secretariat to its previous size or larger. Related to the issue of whether the ICCS should make a bid for the Scholarships contract is the issue of DFAIT's Transformation Agenda ( with the aim of increasing the number of DFAIT employees in the field ), whereby some DFAIT staff could be relocated to the ICCS offices. The Board members were invited to share their opinions and to discuss the pros and cons regarding the possibility of submitting a bid for the scholarships contract.
Jean added that the International Scholarships contract included additional programs and that the budget was close to 12 million dollars.
Jean also explained that, under the Transformation Agenda, it would not be the whole DFAIT team which would be transferred to the ICCS and that those transferred would continue to be DFAIT employees. It was pointed out that if DFAIT staff joined the ICCS, it may be viewed as a conflict of interest if the ICCS submitted a bid for the International Scholarships. Jean reassured the Board that it would not be perceived that way and that DFAIT is not in the position to influence the outcome of the bid. Jean added with regard to the Transformation Agenda that a Letter of Intent had been received from the ICCS.
Brian Long supported both projects, the proposal to bid on the scholarships contract and the transformation agenda. He believes that the ICCS has a good chance of winning the bid. The financial implications should also be considered.
Jean-Michel Lacroix pointed out that Brian's view is very important and asked the Executive Committee to voice their position. Cornelius was in favor of bidding on the contract. Danny added that it was a tragedy when the contract was lost. He did mention that he does not understand the logic in the Transformation Agenda. He explained that he is concerned with the well-being of the ICCS. What is the implication of being successful in the bid and perhaps losing it in 5 years? We currently have a very stable situation at the secretariat with the two co-directors and it is going well. Patrick James added that it might be the right time to upsize. Serge provided an overview of the events surrounding the previous bid. He mentioned that at the time, a good number of Board members were not in favor of managing the programs. This is again now a very important decision and one that should not be taken lightly. Since 2005, the secretariat has reached a stable level. If we are successful in our bid, what does that mean for the direction the ICCS takes and its organization? Our mandate is Canadian Studies and not the management of scholarship programs. Serge added that we should also look at the image of having DFAIT people at the ICCS. Cornelius suggested that a document should be prepared describing the pros and cons of managing the scholarship programs.
Jean informed the Board that DFAIT wishes to have the new contract in effect as of April 1, 2010 and that the timeline for the bid is November 2009. Danny stated that if the ICCS presents a bid in the fall, the Board has to make a decision now. Gaëtan added that, with his experience in directing the scholarship programs and in preparing two previous bids, he was concerned with bidding this time. He mentioned the limited number of personnel available to work on the preparation of the bid, adding that interviews would have to be conducted, and staff hired, pending winning the bid, prior to submitting the bid. Winning the competition for a contract basically means creating new jobs (or transferring jobs from the former contract administrator), without much allowance for 'profit' or even 'overhead'. The main advantage of winning the scholarship contract would be to make the ICCS secretariat a larger international and educational organization, and bring related benefits. Christopher Rolfe (Observer, UK), Past-President of the ICCS, expressed his concern regarding bidding on the contract. He offered words of caution when dealing with this matter. Perhaps looking into getting other more appropriate contracts would benefit the ICCS more. Susan Hodgett supported Gaëtan's and Christopher's opinions and added that the ICCS employees should also be consulted before the final decision is made.
It was decided to continue the discussion under varia.
15. 2010 ICCS International Conference
The Call for Papers (Document 15) was sent and disseminated through various means (sent to Presidents, announced on the Web and in Contact, etc.), and the ICCS was now waiting for proposals to arrive. The Academic Committee has been created at the beginning of the year, and Gustave Goldmann, a demographer at Statistics Canada, was named co-chair, as well as Cornelius Remie, who is also co-chair. Serge asked if the structure used at the last conference would be maintained. Guy replied that it would. Cornelius said he hoped that about 60 speakers would participate.
16. Election to the positions of two Members-at-Large of the ICCS
ICCS President-Elect Klaus-Dieter Ertler (Austria), who chaired the Nomination Committee, explained the nomination procedure that led to the presentation of the three candidates for the positions of Secretary and Treasurer of the ICCS. The Nominating Committee was composed of Klaus-Dieter Ertler (Austria), Teresina Gutierrez-Haces (Mexico), Gerry Turcotte (Australia) and Christopher Rolfe (United Kingdom). Klaus presented to the Board the applications of Rosa Berardo (Brazil), Stewart Gill (Australia) and Susan Hodgett (UK) and informed the Board that the call for candidates had been posted on the ICCS website and in the ICCS newsletter Contact.
Each of the three candidates made a 10 minute presentation, after which Cornelius opened the floor for questions from the Directors. Martin Howard and Lise Nichol (ICCS Administrative Coordinator) were appointed voting scrutineers. Cornelius noted that three names were indicated on each voting ballot. If a ballot has more than two votes, it will be void. If a second vote is necessary, Cornelius will use his right to vote.
The Directors of the Board proceeded to vote. Once the votes had been counted, Martin announced the election results: Rosa Berardo, not elected, Stewart Gill, elected, and Susan Hodgett, elected.
17. Treasurer's Report
Martin Howard started by thanking Gaëtan Vallières (ICCS Financial Consultant) for his valuable assistance. Martin presented Document 17, the Treasurer's Financial Report, explaining the reporting format. He first reviewed page 1, Revenue for 2008-09, and then looked at Expenditures for 2008-09. He proceeded line by line, stopping where there were variations between the forecasted budget and the actual budget. He reviewed items #4085, 4299, 4300. He also presented the various Projects' Income and Expenditure Summaries such as the IJCS, Conference, Communications, Adjudication, Understanding Canada Program, web base application system and the ICCS web site. Overall, he was pleased to report a budget surplus of approximately $14,000.
Danny commended Martin and Gaëtan for their good work and for the detailed project reports. He talked about membership fees and suggested that the report should include a list of the associations which have not yet paid their membership dues. He also questioned the higher audit fees. Danny requested further information regarding item 5530, Representation at conferences and events, and the over budget expenses. He stressed the importance of respecting budget items. Regarding membership dues, Martin replied that each association receives an invoice. Gaëtan added that a forecast for membership fees is prepared for each association but that there may be some adjustments requested by the Associations based on their actual membership. On item 5530, Martin explained that last year had been an exceptional year due to attendance at a number of conferences outside Europe. He explained the importance of attending such conferences to ensure geographical representation around the world.
Serge commended Martin for carrying out the positions of both Secretary and Treasurer. Serge supported Danny's remarks and voiced his own concern regarding the over budget amount for international representation.
Jean-Michel Lacroix was interested in knowing how many people are subscribed to the Journal and if there will be an impact when the electronic system is in effect. He also asked why is it not mandatory to have the associations and centres subscribe to the Journal. Guy replied that the IJCS has 350 subscribers, and that each association received two free copies. He added that DFAIT subsidized centres that could not pay their own subscriptions.
Vassili Sokolov reiterated the importance to have the ICCS represented at various conferences.
Motion 2009 - 4 (Daniel Ben-Natan/R.K. Dhawan)
To approve the Treasurer's Report.
Motion approved unanimously.
Martin raised the issue of the ICCS Endowment Fund. He noted that the endowment was initially set up both from funds reserved for rainy days and from funds received from DFAIT. The invested amount had grown and the funds now total 2.2 million. Martin then described the interest returns
for the past year: although not doing so bad given the worldwide economic situation (and in comparison with other endowment funds), the Endowment Fund did not bring sufficient returns to cover both the inflation and the annual $130,000 withdrawal needed for the Endowment-funded programs, such as the student scholarships, publishing grants and awards, etc. Martin pointed out that in both 2004 and in 2006 his predecessor Joseph Glass had transferred $100,000 each time from the deferred contributions directly to the capital balance of the endowment. To offset this year's shortfall of endowment returns ($47,000), he suggested to temporarily reverse one of the transfers mentioned above, that is $100,000.
Danny cautioned the Council not to decrease the capital. He would prefer to see a deficit rather than decreasing the endowment capital. Perhaps another solution would be to review the endowment-funded (not generated) programs. We should not spend what we do not have. Serge agreed with Danny.
Gaëtan gave details on the 2004 and 2006 transfers, which had also allowed the Endowment-funded programs to be increased from $120,000 to $130,000. He added that he had consulted with the auditor's firm concerning the proposed reversal, which was deemed possible.
Danny insisted that the amount of $100,000 should not be transferred from the balance of endowment fund. A good solution would be to borrow from the endowment fund instead. Klaus thanked Danny for his suggestion.
Motion 2009 - 5 (Daniel Ben-Natan/Patrick James)
That, in recognition of this year's low return on the endowment portfolio and in order to maintain the current year's endowment-funded programs, a loan of $50,000 (fifty thousand dollars) be taken on the endowment capital, to be repaid within a reasonable timeframe.
Motion approved unanimously.
Annual General Meeting
18. Adoption of the Auditor's Report and Financial statements for 2008-09
Martin presented the Auditors' Report from the firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton highlighting certain items and reading the last paragraph of page one from the Auditors' Report which approved the Council's financial statements for 2008-9.
Motion 2009 - 6 (Stewart Gill/Conny Steenman-Marcusse)
That the Auditors' Report and Financial Statement from the firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton be approved for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, provided that the above motion concerning the Endowment Fund be reflected in them.
Motion approved with one abstention.
19. Appointment of auditors for 2009-10
The Treasurer, Martin Howard, reminded everyone that last year the Board of Directors requested that the Secretariat look into the possibility of changing auditors so as to follow good practice of changing auditors every few years. He reported that the ICCS had sent out a call for tenders and that it received three proposals offering the same services, but with different prices. He informed everyone that the lowest bidder was the one from the firm Marcil Lavallée, Chartered Accountants. He noted that this firm was bilingual, and had experience with NGO's such as the ICCS.
Motion 2009 - 7 (Daniel Ben-Natan/Stewart Gill)
That the firm Marcil Lavallée be appointed to audit the financial statements of the ICCS for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
Motion approved unanimously.
Board of Directors Meeting
20. Proposed budget for 2009-10
Martin presented the proposed budget line by line, detailing the projected revenue and expenditure, and comparing them with last year's forecasted and actual budget.
In particular, the following revenue items were reviewed: 4020, 4110, 4124, 4300, 4410, and 4420; while the following expenses items were reviewed: 5399, 5510, 5530, 5639. Martin explained that the budget will be very tight this year but that it will be manageable. Martin then presented the individual projects. Danny said that the budget does not reflect the endowment fund deficit. Martin replied that it was too soon to predict a significant shortfall of returns on the Endowment with a view to reviewing and decreasing the Endowment-funded programs.
Jean Labrie said that he had discussions with the Executive Committee concerning the Endowment Fund deficit. He described the two-stage payment procedures in place for the FEP and FRP programs and added that some scholarship recipients do not claim the second payment. He added that some funds were left over from the last Contribution Agreement and, if they were still available at the end of the fiscal year, they could also be transferred in aid to the endowment-funded programs.
Danny replied that the Board appreciated the offer but added that he does not feel comfortable with accepting a proposed budget that was not realistic since it has a deficit. He did not think that a budget could be approved by the Board knowing that there is already a loan against the Endowment, which will affect the possibility of funding the Endowment-funded programs at their current level. Martin said the Executive would have a better idea of what needed to be done later in the year, including a review of the Endowment-funded programs, and argued that the proposed budget should be approved.
Motion 2009 - 8 (Daniel Ben-Natan/Patrick James)
To approve the proposed budget for 2009-10
Motion approved with two abstentions.
Danny asked that a proposed motion be put forward to thank Martin for his excellent work performed during his four-year mandate as Treasurer (2007-2009) and Secretary (2005-2007) of the ICCS. He also added that the ICCS staff should also be thanked for the work well done.
Motion 2009 - 9 (Daniel Ben-Natan/Connie Steenman-Marcusse)
That the Board of Directors thanks Martin Howard, Gaëtan Vallières and the ICCS staff involved: Guy Leclair, Cristina Frias and Nadyne Lacroix for their excellent work in producing the financial reports.
Motion approved unanimously.
Discussions followed regarding the Transformation Agenda. Jean-Michel Lacroix mentioned that sending people abroad as opposed to sending people to work from the ICCS secretariat are two very different issues. Jean said that the project had been launched and that 400 positions will be affected. Guy said that program delivery would benefit from having our DFAIT counterparts in our offices. Jean agreed that it would improve the program delivery. The moves expected won't happen until after the 2010 AGM. A Motion was proposed by Danny not to go ahead with the Transformation Agenda. The Motion was not seconded.
Motion 2009 - 10 (Daniel Ben-Natan/Elizabeth Tilley)
That a non-committing negotiation be discussed further with DFAIT regarding the Transformation agenda and that the Board empowers the Executive Committee to consider appropriate action on this.
Motion carried unanimously.
Further discussions were held regarding the decision whether to bid on the Scholarship Programs. It was observed that it would involve a lot of human resources to prepare the bid. The cost of one full-time person and more would be needed to work on the bid for a couple of months. The ICCS has to consider the limited human-resources base at its disposal. This would involve a cost investment before we know if the ICCS is successful in obtaining the contract.
Jean provided further information - the staff would have to be identified such as a team leader, financial administrator etc. He gave the example of Cristina, who is already in place and who has extensive experience in the administration of the programs, adding that this would increase chances of obtaining the contract. If staff were not hired before the bid results, a letter of intent would have to be provided. It is expected that the call for tender will be posted in November but in reality it will most likely be in April.
Danny said that is very difficult for new members of the Board to get the history of the programs and how they have affected the ICCS. The possible profit is marginal. The office was previously twice its current size and it had been very difficult when the secretariat had to downsize. There may be a danger in winning. The Canadian Studies will become secondary once again. He suggested that expansion should be in the core area of the Canadian Studies.
Serge commented that it would be a lost investment if we were not successful. He reminded everyone that the second time ICCS had bid on the contract, it was principally done to save the staff from losing their jobs.
Hartmut Lutz (Germany) asked what the risks were if we did not bid. Gaëtan replied that the risk was to stay small. Hartmut said that the ICCS personnel should be consulted before a final decision is made. Susan agreed that we should consult the personnel. Patrick James suggested that we probe further to help make a decision. Christopher Rolfe commented that we should have an open mind and offered his help. He believed that the ICCS should stay with the core - the Canadian Studies Programs.
Motion 2009 - 11 (Daniel Ben-Natan/Patrick James)
That the ICCS does not go forward with the submission of the Scholarship program Contract at this time.
Motion carried with five abstentions.
News from The Canadian Studies Network
Christl Verduyn, representative for the Canadian Studies Network was pleased to report on the activities of the network and explained its interest in international research. The network first met in 2008 at the University of Ottawa. Following this meeting, the next meeting was held at Mount Allison University. In 2010, the meeting is scheduled to take place at Trent University, in 2011 at Brock University, and 2012 at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Danny stated that the Canadian Studies Network should be invited to join the ICCS as an associate member. Cornelius responded by saying that this matter had already been discussed and further talks were expected to take place. Serge Jaumain supported Danny's proposal and added that it is unfortunate that the ICCS did not have a Canadian structure representing Canada. He reminded everyone that the ICCS was born through the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS). He wished Christl and the Network all the best and expressed his wish to have them part of the ICCS. Cristina Lucchini supported the network and said that their initiatives were very good for the ICCS.
Cornelius finished by inviting the Network to continue to participate as an observer at the next AGM and encouraged it to continue its excellent work.
23. Date and location of the next Board of Directors Meeting and Annual General Meeting
The next Board of Directors and Annual General Meeting will be held in Montreal on May 27-28 and the ICCS International Conference will be held on May 29-30, 2010.
Motion 2008 - 12 ( Connie Steenman-Marcusse/Hartmut Lutz)
To accept the proposal that the next Board of Directors and Annual General Meeting be held in Montreal on May 27-28, 2010, followed by the ICCS International Conference on May 29-30, 2010.
As this was Martin's last meeting as a member of the Executive Committee, Cornelius Remie thanked him for his outstanding work during his mandate as both Treasurer and Secretary of the ICCS. Cornelius Remie then presented him with a special gift as a token of the Executive Committee's gratitude. Martin was warmly applauded by all those present. Martin expressed his thanks to the Board, to his colleagues over the years on the Executive Committee, and to the staff of the secretariat for their support during the last 4 years. Stewart Gill and Susan Hodgett were welcomed as the new Directors-at-Large. Klaus-Dieter Ertler was welcomed as the new President of the ICCS. Klaus spoke on his vision for the ICCS during his term of office as President, making particular reference to the publication of a volume to celebrate the upcoming 30th anniversary of the ICCS.
The President adjourned the meeting at 4:00 pm.
Cornelius Remie Lise Nichol
President Secretary for the Meeting
Cornelius Remie, president
Last year I ended my report expressing the hope that ICCS had reached a point where the Council could be pro-active rather than re-active as had been mostly the case in recent years due to adverse external conditions. I also expressed confidence that from then on we could become the architects of our own development again.
In this report I will look back at my second and last year of ICCS presidency and evaluate whether the optimism expressed last year was justified. I do hope that the information I am going to share with you will provide the building blocks for a positive assessment and for reaching the same conclusion that I - and with me the Executive Committee and the Secretariat - reached, namely, that the International Council for Canadian Studies is largely back on track again.
Setting sail for new horizons requires a good sense of direction. Preparations for the new direction started two years ago with the Edmonton Forum and last year we decided on what course to take when we unanimously accepted the Strategic Plan 2008-2013. In this plan we identified the goals and strategies that are essential to accomplish the mission of the ICCS.
During the past year most of our energy was spent on implementing the strategic plan. In doing so, we gave high priority to the communication and outreach aspect of the Strategic Plan. The rationale for this was the wish to make the Council more visible. In what follows I will keep to the various chapters of the Strategic Plan.
With respect to research the Strategic Plan stipulates that more efforts should be made to open up new or non-traditional research areas. Strategies to diversify the study of Canada should include the creation of links with scholars in new fields, as well as the promotion of the comparative dimension.
This is exactly what we started out to achieve when we initiated our preparations for the 2010 ICCS Biennial Conference on Ageing Societies. The Dynamics of Demographic Change in Canada.
My visit to Jerusalem in June 2008, where I represented ICCS at the 12th Biennial Jerusalem Conference in Canadian Studies held at the Hebrew University, was extremely helpful in bringing conference preparations forward. In Jerusalem I met Prof. Gustave Goldmann of the University of Ottawa and of Statistics Canada. He turned out to be the past president of the Canadian Population Society, which is the association of Canadian demographers. This was a unique opportunity that I immediately grasped. I discussed with him the upcoming ICCS biennial conference. As you can imagine he was quite enthusiastic about the conference theme and he immediately suggested various topics that are not usually discussed in Canadianist forums.
We followed up on our Jerusalem conversations in the fall, when the Executive Committee met in Ottawa. As a result we invited Prof. Goldmann to co-chair the scholarly committee, an invitation that he whole-heartedly accepted. In the months that followed we continued our conference planning and prepared a call for papers that has recently been posted on the ICCS webpage. A quick glance at this call for papers will reveal our attempts at diversification of the study of Canada and the development of an interdisciplinary and comparative dimension.
With respect to the 2010 Biennial Conference, we have established contacts with the Federation of the Humanities and the Social Sciences, which will have its annual conference next year at Concordia University in Montreal. The Federation is quite happy with our participation in the 2010 conference, which it sees as an eminent opportunity to develop international collaboration. To that effect Guy Leclair and I have been invited to a special meeting in Ottawa next Monday that will be devoted to building a planning framework for a major International Symposium on Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities to be held in Montreal in 2010. Perhaps this symposium can be the beginning of long-term international research co-operation.
With regards to the dissemination of research results I should mention several developments pertaining to the International Journal of Canadian Studies. Communicating the results of research has for years been a major facet of the work of ICCS. For this we established years ago the International Journal for Canadian Studies, now a well respected and internationally recognized high quality scholarly journal that will soon publish its 40th issue. I am very happy to be able to report to you that the further development of the International Journal is now guaranteed through an extension of the Memorandum of Understanding that we signed with the University of Alberta in 2006. To that end the provost of the University of Alberta and I have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding outlining the extension of the intensive and very fruitful co-operation for a period of another three years.
In order to ascertain stability and continuity within the Editorial Board, the terms of the members were reviewed at the January 2009 Editorial Board meeting. At the recommendation of the Managing Editor, the Executive Committee approved to grant a second term to the Editor-in-Chief, as well as to appoint Associate Editor Chantal Maillé as the successor to Editor-in-Chief Claude Couture. Claude Couture's term will then end in June 2012, at which time Chantal Maillé will take over the helm of the Journal.
We have more good news concerning the International Journal. Recently ICCS has received notice from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) that the ICCS has been awarded a grant of $81,000, to be paid over a period of three years. We had applied for such a grant in order to put the International Journal fully on line. With this grant we will be able to realize this.
With regard to research, the Strategic Plan also refers to the promotion and support for programs such as the International Research Linkages (IRL), Canada-Europe Awards (CEA), Canada-Asia-Pacific Awards (CAPA), Canada- Latin America-Caribbean Awards (CLACA). In the first year of the operation of the Understanding Canada Program ICCS has promoted the programs as actively as in the years before. Yet, there have been fewer applications than in other years. Why this is so, is not quite clear. A possible reason could be a decrease in promotional activities on the part of the Canadian missions abroad, and on the part of Canadian Studies Associations, a decrease that could be directly related to the uncertainty around the announcements of cuts that DFAIT has sustained over the past years, resulting in less representation abroad. Cristina will elaborate on this in her report on the Canadian Studies contract. In any case this should be carefully monitored.
With respect to research the 2008-2013 Strategic Plan also refers to the development of an open access web-based resources portal that gives thousands of Canadianists around the world access to over 60 websites that offer open access web resources. Among those websites there is e.g. one by Canadian Electronic Library. This is a company that offers full-text web access to over 10,000 titles of Canadian scholarly books. Subscription is usually sold to universities, but they are willing to accept our subscription, if we can prove that access will be restricted to Canadianist members of a Canadian Studies association. We are presently working on the technical details to enable access.
It is obvious that such an open access web-based resources tool is an important instrument for research. And it will make association membership definitely more attractive. To illustrate what the characteristics are of such a web-based resources tool, Guy will give a presentation during this annual general meeting so you can understand its characteristics, advantages and mode of operation.
Let us turn now to teaching. Concerning this issue the Strategic Plan mentions improvement of the accessibility of teaching resources to all Canadianists around the world as a primary objective. Accessibility to traditional resource materials for the study of Canada has always been difficult due to reasons such as cost, language and distance. The efforts should focus not only on facilitating access to resources material, but also on the identification, production, and dissemination of this material.
It may be clear that the remarks that I made with regards to the development of an open access web-based resources portal does not only apply to research, but to teaching as well. That is also the reason why we are putting so much energy into getting this off the ground and running.
With regard to the promotion and support of teaching Canada, the secretariat carried out its tasks energetically. But as in the case of research, applications for faculty enrichment decreased in numbers likewise. I assume that the factors mentioned earlier - decrease in promotional activities on the part of the Canadian missions abroad and on the part of Canadian Studies Associations, - may be at work here too. However, it cannot be ruled out that other factors play an important role here too. In this respect one could e.g. think of the effects of the Bologna process that has reduced the margins of operation in the teaching field to a considerable degree. Here too, then, we will have to monitor closely what is happening.
Other activities in support of teaching concern the information of the Canadianist community on teaching opportunities. We have done so on a very regular basis through Contact that is sent to the Canadianist community at regular intervals.
Let me now turn to rejuvenation. The Edmonton Forum identified the need for rejuvenation as one of the most important challenges for the continuity and further development of the study of Canada. Indeed, we have to ensure that a new generation of Canadianists will be able to take over and provide future continuity to the study of Canada. Hence we decided to put our energy on attracting a new generation of bright young minds interested in the study of Canada. We try to do so through a series of programs (DFAIT as well as ICCS) and by developing new projects. The most important new project here is the World Seminar on Canada, specially geared to young people that are trying to make their way into academia. In developing the program of this seminar we have tried to carefully balance research, teaching and outreach aspects. We will discuss the program of the seminar later today, but allow me to make some preliminary remarks.
During the seminar the young scholars will present and discuss their research findings in a conference setting. While academic excellence is the primary aim of the seminar, participation will also allow young Canadianists to enhance their understanding of Canada and Canadian society. To that end we have planned four master classes to be given by Canadian experts and expert Canadianists. And as for outreach, we are planning meetings with the media and a roundtable with policy makers that focuses on knowledge building and transfer to policy analysis/making/implementation to increased knowledge capital.
The World Seminar on Canada - and mind you the first one still has to be held - already has its critics. There are those who question its goals and who see it as a mere attempt to impress the technocrats and show the politicians what we are doing.
That there is an outreach aspect to this seminar should be clear. That is our specific intent, for one of the basic problems of international Canadian Studies is its relative invisibility in Canada itself. That's why we are negotiating with CPAC, the Canadian parliamentary channel, to get the seminar or parts thereof televised and broadcasted.
But let me assure you that this project was not developed as an attempt at impression management. It rather is the logical outcome of a series of initiatives that have been taken in the past, such as the establishment of the European Student Seminar on Graduate work in Canadian Studies and of its regional counterparts in Latin America, Pacific-Asia and North America. These regional seminars were developed as tools to identify potential successors of the present generation of Canadianists and therefore primarily serve recruitment purposes. In that context it is only logical that we not only look for new blood within our familiar constituencies, but also beyond.
Communication and outreach
I now come to the issue of communication and outreach. Here our primary target was to further update and develop our website. The new format that was started in 2007-2008 was finalized and new aspects were developed and added, the most important innovation being the introduction of a newsroom. This newsroom features reports and summaries, success stories, news items, press releases, and since the summer of 2008 the International Canadianist, that appears now only on line. Reactions to the newsroom have been invariably positive, also from outside Canadian Studies circles.
Work on the website is by far not finished yet. We are at the moment very busy updating our various databases that can be used for a multitude of purposes. A project that we are preparing is the development of a database of expert Canadianists per country and per region. This database should allow us to locate specific expertise and respond quickly to requests from e.g. media, NGO's or governments.
I have already referred to the development of an open access web-based resources portal. Again, this is a major tool that gives thousands of Canadianists around the world access to over 60 websites that offer open access web resources.
The secretariat continued to dispatch at regular intervals ICCS Contact. Here too, we constantly meet with very positive reactions. Contact is widely read and the information it sends off is highly appreciated.
With regard to communication and outreach I would like to mention the organization by ICCS of an international roundtable that will be held as part of the ACSUS conference that will take place in San Diego later this year. The idea was born when Guy Leclair and I participated in the annual conference ACSUS held in Toronto in 2007. In one of the workshops on Canadian Studies internationally, some persons that I will not identify by name here spread totally erroneous and rather discomforting news about Canadian Studies in the countries where they came from. The messages were so erroneous that Guy and I felt obliged to formally distance us from these utterances. We did so in a letter to Christopher Greenshields, Director of the International Education and Youth Division of DFAIT, who was in the audience when the incidents occurred.
So in San Diego ICCS will take care of a panel on Regional Perspectives on the Study of Canada. Representatives from all regional networks will speak to the developments in their respective areas and exchange ideas and discuss possible ways of international co-operation that will be important in the light of the International Collaboration Initiative of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences that I referred to earlier.
Contacts with members
Communicating with our members has been an important activity in the past year. As referred to earlier, in June last year I represented ICCS at the 12th Biennial Jerusalem Conference in Canadian Studies that was dedicated to the question of how to respond to the challenges of diversity. The Jerusalem conference was a highly interesting conference with state of the art presentations and, as an extra-curricular activity, a visit to the Israel Museum, where an impressive memorial session took place to commemorate the late Arieh Shachar, founder of the Biennial Jerusalem Conferences. I have already highlighted the importance this visit had for the development of our 2010 Biennial Conference.
August 2008 brought me to Tromsø, Norway, where I participated in the 9th Triennial Conference of the Nordic Association as an ICCS representative, but also as a session organizer and chair and as a co-presenter of a paper. The first full day of this conference was held in co-operation with the Norwegian Political Science Association. This was a truly innovative element of the conference program. Keynotes were alternately given by Canadianists and by Norwegian political scientists. This form of cooperation is a good example of reaching out to other audiences and exposes them to things Canadian.
Both in Jerusalem and in Tromsø I was encouraged to visit India that had not had any ICCS representation for a very long time. So in late September I participated in two conferences in India, one in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, and one in Mumbai. Before going there I briefly visited New Delhi where I was briefed on the actual state of affairs with regard to the solution of the legal problems the Indian Association finds itself in and where I paid a visit the Shastri Institute and the Canadian High Commission.
In Khajurao I attended a conference on Indigenous Art and Economic Development in Canada and India that was organized by the Centre for Canadian Studies of de Hari Sing Gaur University of Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, in close co-operation with the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The linking of art with economic development certainly was an innovative element in this conference.
In Mumbay I participated in a comparative conference on Economic Development and Competitiveness held at the S.N.T.D. Women's University. The conference was extremely well organized, had a very balanced and good structured program, high quality papers and provided an excellent forum for young scholars who were just entering the academic system. Rejuvenation was certainly taken seriously by the organizers, as was the comparative dimension, its multi-disciplinarity and the necessity to reach out to other audiences. Early October I left India in a very positive state of mind and with high hopes, especially when I learned that the last obstacles for the implementation of a reconciliation agreement had been taken away and that IACS could now prepare for making a new start. I am sure our delegate from India can present us with more details later on during the meeting.
At the end of October I traveled to Dublin, Ireland, where I participated in the 17th European Seminar of Graduate Work in Canadian Studies and in the meeting of the European Network of Canadian Studies. Although present as a representative of the Netherlands, I used the occasion to touch on ICCS matters. I particularly encouraged ENCS members to take the DFAIT survey that is carried out by Brian Long very seriously as it is of crucial importance for the evaluation of the Understanding Canada Program.
Back in Ottawa in November for the fall meeting of the Executive Committee, Cristina Frias, Martin Howard, Guy Leclair and myself attended the National Workshop "Strengthening Networks in Canadian Studies" that was held at Carleton University on November 21st. The workshop was organized by the Network of Canadian Studies Programs Coordinators and attended by some 50 people including students. Topics addressed during the workshop concerned the way in which Canadian Studies should be taught, what place it should have within Canadian universities, what frames of reference should be used and what steps could be taken to organize a viable Canadian Studies Network. It was in the network-session that I gave a brief exposé on network building using my European experience as long time convener of the European Network.
There appeared to be widespread dissatisfaction with the action taken by the ACS executive that was no longer considered to represent their academic interests. Following lengthy discussions it was decided to create a steering committee, to continue these workshops, to develop an internet portal, and to create a mandate.
A follow-up of the Ottawa meeting took place at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, in February during a conference on the state of the art of Canadian Studies in Canada. The conference ended with a panel on Networking in Canadian Studies. Decisions taken in November were further elaborated and detailed. Generally speaking there is the distinct wish to aim for some form of institutionalization so that Canadian Canadianists can be represented at different forums. In this respect I invited a representative of this network to participate as an observer in this meeting, a gesture that was accepted enthusiastically. I am vary happy that we can welcome here Prof. Christl Verduyn who, later on in the meeting will inform us of the latest developments.
During the Networking session I also pointed at the existence of over 260 centers of Canadian Studies worldwide, which are waiting to line up and collaborate with Canadian programs and centers. I focused on the signing of Memoranda of Understanding and suggested that each Canadian Studies program in Canada should be connected in this way to at least three of four non-Canadian programs or centers. This could result in a true worldwide web of Canadian Studies, the promotion of which is the basic mandate of ICCS.
At the end of March I represented ICCS at the annual Conference of the British Association for Canadian Studies that was dedicated this year to Multiculturalism, Diversity and Social Inclusion. This was an extremely well organized and highly interesting conference, not in the least because of plenary speakers such as Gérard Bouchard of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on reasonable accommodation. At Oxford I addressed the BACS annual general meeting, focusing on various aspects of the new Understanding Canada program that I will detail in a minute when I will discuss the contracts that ICCS administers.
Before doing so I would like to mention my presence at two events where I was called upon because of my arctic and/or Canadianist expertise, but which I used to make participants aware of the work of the Council. The first event that took place on December 10th 2008 was an Energy Roundtable on Pipeline Politics: oil, gas, and people in the Arctic that was organized by the Canadian Embassy and the Clingendael International Energy Program. Clingendael is a high profile prestigious think-tank in the Netherlands that often advises the Dutch government.
The second event concerned a meeting on April 7 of this year of the Directorate Western Hemisphere of the Netherlands Department of Foreign Affairs in The Hague where I participated in a brainstorming session in support of the development of a strategic plan for the years 2010-2013 for the Dutch diplomatic posts in Canada. At the meeting I could liaise with the new Dutch ambassador in Ottawa, mr. Wim Geerts, whom I briefed on the work of the ICCS. I will meet with ambassador Geerts later this year when I am in Ottawa for the Executive Committee meeting.
The reason I mention these events is to encourage you to inform the secretariat when you are involved in such activities or in consultancy work. Participation in such events provides evidence of what I have tried to make clear on many occasions to people in the higher echelons of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, namely, that Canadianists all over the world serve as ambassadors for Canada at practically no cost at all.
Let me now turn to contracts. Of all contracts that ICCS carries out, administering the larger part of the Understanding Canada program is the most important. That program is now just over one year old and generally speaking experiences are positive. So far ICCS was actively involved in the adjudication of the Canada Conference Grants Program twice. Notwithstanding these experiences there remains a misunderstanding with regard to the role of political priorities of the current government and the alleged anti-literary position that has developed in recent years.
On several occasions and in various places I have insisted that we should not be afraid of political priorities as long as our academic freedom is not put into jeopardy. Of the latter we do not have any proof and unless we have proof to the contrary, I think we should belief what DFAIT is telling us.
Then there is the allegation of an anti-literary stance. As I do have some doubts about this allegation I asked Cristina Frias, our co-director, to take a good look at the figures about grants and scholarships awarded in the past. These figures suggest that cultural topics (in particular literature) were strongly represented among the awards given in the 1970s and 1980s: some 45 to 50 per cent of the awards (and sometimes more) went to the cultural sector. But from the early 1990s onwards a change set in and from then on we do see a gradual decline in cultural topic grants as against an increase in grants for disciplinary, interdisciplinary or comparative social science topics. By 2000 the number of awards for the cultural sector had gone down to about 17 per cent and since then the figure has more or less stabilized.
On the basis of these figures I have to conclude that grants keep being awarded for cultural projects. However, it is noticeable that applicants from the cultural sector have started to make a clear effort to link their projects to one or more of the priorities, in particular to the managing diversity priority. This is one of the foci that we identified in the 2008-2013 Strategic Plan. So they have taken up the challenge posed by the new priorities and used their imagination and creativity to look for new paths to approach old problems and tackle new ones that are appearing on our intellectual horizon.
As a last remark on the Understanding Canada Program, I would like to draw your attention on the evaluation of this program that will take place in 2011, and for which preparations will start next year. The survey that Brian Long carries out with the assistance of the ICCS secretariat is part of this preparation. Later on during this meeting we will hear in more detail from Brian what the first results of this survey are and what concerns he has about the response.
Apart from administering the Understanding Canada program, ICCS carries out contracts for the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) and for Library and Archives Canada (LAC).
OCOL materials have been distributed at conferences and seminars and renewal of the contract was no problem. As for Library and Archives Canada, the ICCS Secretariat has managed to increase by 40 per cent the amount of publications we supply to LAC. This contract has also been renewed.
OCOL and LAC contracts are minor ones, and a question that has come up in the Executive Committee is whether we should aim to acquire more contracts and, if yes, what kind of contracts? In answering this question we should realize that preparations for a bid are very time-consuming and that the staffing of the Secretariat is limited. I suggest we take some time during the meeting to discuss this.
Speaking of contracts automatically brings along the issue of finances. I am happy to report to you that despite the credit crunch and the worldwide economic depression ICCS is in good shape financially. We have closed our books with a slight surplus, and we will be proposing to you a balanced budget for the new fiscal year. Martin Howard will present you with the details tomorrow. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gaetan Vallières for the expertise and assistance he has provided. At our request he has taken upon him the task of training some members of the secretariat on budgeting and financial reporting. This training is part of a transition that has to lead in 2011 to total independence of ICCS from external consultancy in financial matters.
In closing my report I would like to thank Klaus-Dieter Ertler and Martin Howard for their continuous support and comradeship. They are excellent team players and I value their partnership and friendship highly. It has really been a privilege working with them.
These same words do apply to:
• Anne Hébert and Matt Pierce-Koop who worked on the databases;
• Sylvie Provost for her work on the publications;
• Nadyne Lacroix who very ably handles our day to day finances and who has eagerly signed up for courses to upgrade her expertise on handling financial matters;
• Michael Jamieson, our wiz kid, for his incessant attempts to find creative and easy solutions to difficult technical web construction problems;
• Lise Nichol, our extremely efficient secretary, event organizer and logistics expert who will assume greater responsibility for external communication in the coming years;
• Cristina Frias, our co-director and Canadian Studies programs manager, who without any complaints carried the full burden of the transition to the Understanding Canada program;
• last but not least to Guy Leclair, our acting director who manages to put 36 hours in a day's time, assisting the Executive Committee in policy development and policy implementation, in steering the work on the International journal and in leading the secretariat together with Cristina.
Their commitment, their resolve, and their friendship have relieved my task of leading the Council during the past two years tremendously. My feelings about this transcend by far the meaning of the simple words of thanks that I express here. I close this report therefore with a well-meant and profound thank you. It was a great honor and privilege to serve the Council as its president.
Thank you, merci.
Québec, 22 May 2009.
28th meeting of the Board of Directors and Annual General Meeting