24th face-to-face Board meeting

Minutes, 5-6 June, 2004
Pliskovica Slovenia

Enclosures: (1) Work-plan, (2) call for GA + amendment proposals, (3) Guidelines for ACCENT, (4) prep-material for point 7-8-9, (5) validating-yahoo-debate, (6) e-mails from Helena Soares, Barna Kovacs and Eva Valvo.

John Petersen, Conchi Gallego, Jan-Christoph Napierski, Mjellma Mehmeti, Linda Jakobsone, Dasa Bolcina and Laszlo Dani were present at this meeting.
Sign off from Emma Yeoman and Eva Valvo

1. –2. John welcomes the board members at the 24th face-to-face Board meeting and puts the minutes of the previous Board meeting for approval. Board members approve the minutes of the 23rd Board meeting.

3. John presents the Agenda for this Board meeting and thanks Conchi for compiling all the raised issues since our last meeting and the ones that have been postponed so far.
The Board approves this Board meeting agenda with 12 points.

4. Board members review the Annual plan 2003 and plan the coming Annual Plan 2004 by first updating it with the new 2004 activities and the ones coming up in the first half of 2005. John briefly presents the “old” 2003 plan point by point and explains the eventual new developments in each of the items.
He informs about the last developments in the EU and its new generation of Youth Programme and its focus on European citizenship.
It is difficult to exactly say how far has the lobbying process gone so far as what FECC concerns, especially because we still have an open debate of who do we want to cooperate with, or is there some partners that we do not want to work with.
A progress is visible as far as the wording used in the EU-Youth-Unit, so one can say that we and/or others have made some kind of a break through.
- John also addresses the importance of the AWE Journals we have produced so far. The Board evaluates them to be a very successful tool for making ourselves and the issues we stand for public. We thank the AWE for the so far cooperation. One remark still stands that we should have made many more copies of the journal. This is a remark that future publishers of the ACCENT should have on their mind, even though we recognize the eventual existing financial constrains of the committees.
- Guidelines for the ACCENT and other ACC papers on how to make a project, and how to make an ACCENT, things that already are present on the website and what the office can help with, was evaluated by the Board members as a not enough utilized tool. One of the ways of making a better use of such assets is maybe to find space and time on our events, or to organize events similar to the Bridging CC where we could present these things to the people who are interested in going projects in future.
- Confirming membership seems not be such easy procedure, since people tend to either do it later than the deadline provide, or do it before our events, or do it occasionally (whenever they feel like) by sending a postcard to the office from their holiday destinations, new working places somewhere in Europe and so on. And in some cases we must say we have not heard from some of our members for quite some time. John suggests that a member of the board together with him should probably go through the members list and select the ones to call/contact personally from the group of members we have not heard from for a long time.
- John explains the changes to the A30-29 and our ACC situation at the moment. Namely we are still waiting for an answer from the commission on the status of our application for covering the running costs of the office exactly on this funding programme. The coming changes to the A30-29 have to do closely with the way the quality of the programme activities the future beneficiaries of this fund have on their annual programme. This is quite different from the criteria the Commission has used so far where the overall aims and character of the applicant.
- Communication strategy is closely connected with something John has been recently doing at the website. He has been importing some of the Yahoogroups figures in order to link the different “interest” groups of the organization. Now we have not so simple but much more effective communication networks. The aim of the construction is to channel the information to the right audience and not overload mailboxes of our members as well as of those who are preparing projects and being active in some way.
- Volunteers project has been stop for the time being. John informs that in the last turn our project got an “orange” light and needed to be redone. Because of lack of time and financial feasibility of this activity at the office was decided not to reapply for an EVS.
Conchi suggests that she will update the plan for 2004 as we go further with the meeting, since most of the new and coming up activities are a mater of discussion of this Board meeting. The members accept Conchi`s suggestion and agree to come back to this point and close it by the end of the meeting after we have reviewed the remaining points of the agenda.

John informs, that budget and planning was approved already last time. […]

5. Planning the coming GA.
The Board members go from point to point to plan the agenda points and developments taking place at the GA.
John presents the previous plan to hold a GA in Rhodes this year. But since this event is planned for later this year (October) and its funding is still pretty much uncertain the board accepts the suggestion to hold the GA 2004 near Trieste. Since it will be linked up with the event this summer and in the second part the event will be transferred in Pliskovica, Slovenia, our GA will take place there on the 7 of August after a board meeting and be followed by a board meeting where the Board will constitute itself.
Two members of the Board are going for re-election this time (Linda, Jan-Christoph and Conchi). Unfortunately Linda considers dropping out of the Board because she feels she has much more to offer to the ACC through her work with the ACC Latvia and carrying through activities in Rite. This particular case rose the discussion on the renewal of the board seats with new people and the options we have to it the most painless way for the organization as well as for the people/person leading the office. John notes that it is very important to have people introduced to our structure, tradition and way of working which is equally big job to a classical coaching. Since the work in the office is already a two person´s engagement an additional coaching task will be a little too much. At this point Conchi suggests that for future replacements and renewals of the seats in the Board, the board member leaving the position should be in charge of coaching his/her successor. A broader debate developed where the overall role of the Board itself was discussed in the overall organizational frame, and all of the members agreed that there is a need of thinking this item through in future while remembering that the main role of the Board is to keep the organization alive and together and make it possible for the committees to organize events conform our statutory determinations.
Laszlo noted that until the ACC is not strengthened institutionally, and fully institutionalized (steady funding and regular events) we should aim at organizing and repeating the Bridging CC as a way to introduce more people to our ideas. These events should be the pool that we in future can recruit new board members.
On this point Linda followed up by adding that maybe we should also aim at organizing the Bridging CCs at Rite since we are a part of the founding body of this school and we should make use of it as much as possible.
- Resolution proposal by Jan-Christoph and one from John is an item for discussion of the next GA. This proposal will go on voting and the GA will decide upon it. It has to do with the passing on responsibility from the Board of the organization to the Committee as an organizational body of the project.
Laszlo has proposed an amendment to this resolution in order to make it clearer and broader.
A discussion took place on both proposals. For the good of all parties involved Conchi suggested that all matters of concern in these terms should be included in a detailed contract made between the responsible from the Board of the ACC and the responsible in the Committee. The conclusion is that this point too has to be taken up by the Board after we have taken the more principal matter discussions of this agenda first, especially the centralized/decentralized one. John concludes that we should not make it more difficult than it actually is and aim at defining all details as they come in a broad contract.
The Board discussed the proposals and amendments and the suggestions coming from Jan-Christoph and John and recommended them for further consideration while Laszlo withdraws his amendment. Moreover Linda suggests that we should propose to the GA to view these resolutions (especially the one coming from Jan Christoph) in three paragraphs, as: 14(2), 14(3), 14(x)…
The Board decides that the handing in authority from the Board to the Committee should be combined. It should both refer to the cases when there is a need for an authorized signature, and when there is a need for a pronunciation on behalf of the organization. On the basis of John and Jan-Christophs proposals the Board moreover decides to produce an amendment that will not include “to speak on behalf of the ACC” in the already suggested amendment to the resolution (to be included in the Statute art. 14) and be explained and clarified further by a working group within this Board meeting from the present Board members. By accepting this, John closes this agenda point and suggests it be reopened at the AOB point.

6. ACCENT evaluation
The Board is very happy that our association has managed to establish a magazine like the ACCENT. The first two numbers have set a sound base for the production of the future issues. The Board expressed its gratitude to the Committee members and editorial boards that produced the ACCENT number one and ACCENT number 2 for their excellent work.
Further more the Board evaluates the usage of the general guidelines for the ACCENT
as successful and encourages the coming publishers of the ACCENT to make an even better use of them.
The Board also analyzed the possibility to create a group that some time in the future will take a closer (critical) look at the published ACCENTs and give a qualified feed back on the good and not so good practices of the produced issues and possibly renew the recommendations.
John suggests that we should improve the already existing guidelines for the ACCENT in order to add one or two more clauses which will serve towards ensuring that in the future numbers of the ACCENT there should be at least a page that will be used for a general organizational introduction of the ACC. The Board unanimously agreed with this suggestion.
Conchi suggested that there should be an addition to the general guidelines for the production of the ACCENT that will note clearly that the ACCENT is a publication of the ACC and not of the individual projects. This suggestion was also supported and adopted by the Board.
The Board adopted two more suggestions for change in the guidelines and the status of the Committee producing the ACCENT goes in the direction that (1) it should be clear in the general guidelines for the production of the ACCENT that the Committee editing and producing an issue of the magazine does not work with but within the ACC and the ACC is not a partner of the ACCENT Committee and (2) that the responsible one for the contents of the ACCENT should not be the Board member within the Committee but the Committee leader, with a note that some times these roles may overlap.

7. Role of the Board in the Committees and board members in committees
On this particular point the Board members present at the meeting tried to brainstorm around this point by referring to previous experiences and the ideas on how can this role be ideally fulfilled.
One suggestion that came out of the discussion developed around this issue, as that the role of the board member in the Committees should be to remind the committee members of the hot issues that may raise, as the implementation of the project takes off.
Another one sounds like: Board members should not be contact persons to the Board, but rather the link the Committees have to the Board.
The Board members also took into considerations some of the suggestions on this point made by the Board members unable to take part on this meeting. One coming from Eva (the idea of the enlarged Board): everyone thought that this is a very good idea, but unfortunately too expensive for our financial possibilities. At the same time this idea is somehow solved by the organization of the Bridging CCs. A remark was made also while preparing for prep-meetings and it is a common understanding that the Board representative should/must be invited.
This discussion also broadened a bit because it is impossible to talk about the role of the Board in the Committees without talking about committees and their needs, motivations and aims when they undertake projects within the ACC.
An overall suggestion is to aim at making a short book on what, when and how to go about and when making a project. This should look like a collection of good practices and advices for new committees.
A suggestion shaped up: New committees except from presenting a draft of their project, they should also write one page explaining their motives for organizing an event.
The Board members agreed that this agenda item should be kept open whenever good suggestions come across, and rather encourage everyone to think in this direction.
To this point a discussion rose concerning the role of the Chairperson and the office leader on many different levels of decision making (organizational, project/activity level, institutional ACC level).
The Board members agreed on the following formulation: The Chairperson acts as a spokesperson, speaks on behalf of the ACC, and takes decisions on the organizational level when necessary/needed (when urgency of the decision demands it). The chairperson also directs the work of the office leader, but until there is a proper funding for an office leader these two positions in our case grow into one (role, position and person) so we can say that the office leader has free hands to take decision on the issues in concern.

8. Who and how can present the ACC
John presents this topic by saying that it is originally inspired by the many experiences of the TCC. He also noted that the committee of the TCC has learned a lot from their first event and improved the process in their second one. The efficiency was improved less troubles appeared and all in all we should take note of their creativity and organizational thoughtfulness.
However John suggests that we should formalize the hand over of responsibilities and the idea of the contract can be used in this case. All details connected to the handing over of responsibilities on tasks connected with the concrete project should be covered by the contract.
The board members agree with this suggestion and further the Board members consider the “legal” proceedings in order to do this in accordance with our Statutes. First there should be made some interventions in the Statutes so that handing over responsibility is possible. This should be done in two steps. Step I: to make the needed changes in the Statutes so that the Board can hand over tasks and authority to the Committees; and Step II: to create the Contract with the tasks listed.
At this point Board members started to brainstorm on the list of tasks and this is the outcome:
- first task should be the responsibility on the amounts of money the committees are approved by the foundations they have applied at and the amounts of money they spend during the event. For example if a Committee has booked a venue for a CC which means it has put an amount on it already. In case this event is cancelled in future or faces difficulties that can not be overcome, the amount of money will be lost. This means that ACC has been put in debts even before the event has started. Such and any other issues that vary from case to case should be a responsibility of the Committees and their leaders.
- another responsibility should be “employment” of the responsible for the project. As far as the taxes on income are concerned, ACC is not responsible for this because it is only natural that the one receiving the amount should also pay tax for it. But as “employer” ACC is responsible to hand in the information (about honoraria paid) to authorities in Denmark (where the office is).
The Board decided that an equal amount that is paid to the implementer(s) of the event should be transferred to the ACC office as well. This is so because the office leader spends a considerable amount of time on each of the events and there are expenses made in the process that are not covered by anyone.
- as a spokesperson, the leader of the Committee can only speak in the name of the project and activities within the project and not in the name of the ACC as an organization – unless authorised.
- whatever outcome, document, resolution, publication comes out of our events does not represent policy paper of the ACC unless it is approved as such by, minimum, the Board of the organization or the General Assembly. At this point Conchi made a comment pointing at the “publication” as some times being too much in focus that at the end overshadows the living and learning together aim during the event (which is and should be the overall aim of all our projects), but the Board still agrees that these and matters of this nature are up to each Committee and organizers.
- the bank issue while transferring money to events wherever in Europe. For example Eva´s case and the way she solved it. The Board took note of it, and approved that this case has been probably solved in the best possible way. However, the Board also noted that the Italy case is so far unique, and decided that there is no point at drafting models for money transfers.

9. Political versus activity oriented organization/ ethical funding ethical cooperation
John updates the Board members on the origins of this issue by saying that many times the discussion about the choices we need to make as organization on the co-operators we have on events and the funds we uses has been an issue of controversy.
After this debate the Board decided that as far as projects are concerned these issues should be a matter of the Committees and their consciousness, even if the board upholds the right to stop co-operations that goes against out statutory determinations.

But the debate proceeded when the same dilemmas were presented for the funding of the FECC. There was a long discussion on the personal supporters of the FECC and the people we would like or dislike to be on our list of supporters for different political/ethical reasons. The office got the back-up to go on with FECC-co-operation on the same conditions as committees, but considering the character of the activity FECC represents (it is a central/organisational initiative) the office needs to be more cautious on the sensitivity of these co-operations. Who should we lobby and how still remains a big question with many different answers and considerations among the Board members.
One thing the Board members all agreed is that we should always have in mind that the ACC is and should maintain being a project-based-organization as it is defined in our Statutes. This should remain like it is until we have more resources to invest in examining these matters that would bring to an eventual different determinations of the ACC in future. ACC limits itself to act politically only within headlines e.g. non-formal education, European, residential school format, public sphere and not to involve itself in other political issues, but rather provide space for discussion among Europeans on whatever common political issue (activity-based).

10. Update on projects

Challenges of Enlargement CC
There is financial safety for this project. The co-operators in the Good Will Committee have taken an energetic action in fundraising and cooperating with organizations that can provide the event with the needed materials, space… The Board members could also see from meeting with the Good Will Committee before the Board meeting that they have very efficiently organized themselves and manage the tasks quite good even though there are many details to be taken care of since this project will take place in two different venues and in two different countries. The Board wishes everyone good luck.

The largest part of the funding for this event has been secured and some of the additional fundraising activities have resulted with a success and on some of them we are still waiting for a reply. Even though the Committee members for this event themselves are quite restrained by time, they have solved this issue by engaging “helping hands” partly from last years´ participants and partly by engaging new people.

This Committee intends to make an ACCENT and/or to publish a CD. Emma is very active in the preparation of this event. Rishiart has found the place for the event, even though a little expensive and this goes above the budget he has for the event. He is also still uncertain about the time frame of the event.

We have failed to establish a sound bases for cooperation with this Committee even though the process of developing the project and bringing it on the stage for applying went within reasonable working frames. Because we did not succeed to convince the Committee of the CaCC on the values of the ACC we have handed over the project to the Committee Leader Nana to copy and use it in any context she pleases.

Demos CC
Maria has applied in the EU and the CoE with the project and we are still waiting for an answer. However the CoE has reacted on it with a requirement to make some corrections on the budget section of the project. Apparently there were some miscalculation in the original version that were detected by the officers at the EYF. John has made the needed corrections and the project was re-sent to the CoE.

Linda explains and reports for the oncoming activities and events in Rite this summer. Green Issues Project, Diverse World and Rural development are some of the projects taking place this summer. We were also discussing about the possibilities to revive the Apple Campaign this year too.

There is a trace for coming up project in Finland. The Board warmly welcomes it but will still wait for a draft description before taking a stand on this initiative.

Naomi Woltring has an idea to make a CC as her Future Capital

Natalya Nikolova from Bulgaria has a coming project too, and at the same time she has involved the ACC in an exhibition. What is important to note is that Natalya has also nominated the ACC for the XXX Prize and we actually won the Prize for XXX. The Board thanks Natalya for her engagement and encourages other members to get inspiration from such examples of active members.

An idea for the coming SECC III can be the validation of non-formal education as this has been on of the the issues of the adequate body of the EU Commission.

Barcelona World Youth Festival.
The Board was informed and approves the initiative coming from some of our members to organize themselves and apply in the name of the ACC for financial support in order to participate and represent the ACC at the World Youth Festival in Barcelona this year.

There is a fair chance that Bridging CC can be organized next spring in Rite.

CV and match making initiative
John informs the board members that this initiative unfortunately has not proved itself successful. There have been to few CVs coming in the office and it appears that our members are not so much interested in this service that the office has offered them since some of them have already got engagements individually.

ACCENT- subscription
We did not manage to raise money for the postage expenses for the ACCENT, this is why the magazine has been so far sent to or members only. The Board agreed that the ACCENT could be also used as a commercial announcing media for institutions dealing with education or other kinds of activities in Europe. The Board members also remind that the Bulletin of the ACC can be used as an announcing commercial media as well. But as far as this issue goes in Demark, John says that we are still not in the list of priorities of the FFD and for now we can not give any more input on this matter.
The ACCENT subscriptions have still not arrived because the ACCENT is still not sent to the potential users of this service in future.

Attempts to find sponsorships had been temporarily stopped because of the issues raised in the past which implied that we could hardly cooperate with any commercial company in sponsoring the magazine or anything else connected with the organization.

The Board has decided to treat this issue the same way as is the case with the FECC and the committees.

We have also applied for running costs at the CoE but we still have no answer.
The Danish Lottary Funds case is still open but not for long. We can apply for this money as running costs for organizational matters with a precondition imbedded in their regulations (§ 8a). We have been approved as such organization but we are going to soon loose this status because we have no incoming gifts over the limit of 500 DKK per gift.

CC- related income
John explains that from his discussions with Maria and with some of the people from Demos we have been advised to expand our age limit and to work with other than young people. This may in some way save a lot of the financial troubles we have while financing events, primarily because adults (working people) can pay their participation themselves as long as they see something they can get out of an event like that. Another circulating idea has been to generate income from the photos we have. There is a fair number of photos with a high quality that could be sold to interested parties. But so far this has been a difficult task for the office because such requirements have reached the office basically from institutions that are unable to compensate. And another thing is that for the ones who need such images our photos may be too amateur.

FECC Seminars and publications
John informs the Board members that we have got support from the EU on this project. It comprises of distribution of the AWE Journal and organizing web seminars. Even though there is still not a final concept on how to organize these web seminars one thing is for sure that for any kind of additional intervention on our website a more advanced technical support and upgrade is needed. What could be possible topics of these seminars is to improve the Statutes of the FECC, or to ad more contents and to improve the Action 6 (Citizenship in Action). The result of these web seminars will be presented in our ongoing events this year.
So another thing that we need to do now is to organize ourselves, inform the Committees of the events taking place this year and set fixed time frames for the visits the Board needs to make to the events in order to present some of the ideas of the FECC to the participants.
specially this part of the project will make our determinations on the upper mentioned topics strong because we will have three hearings on whatever we have been debating on the web. Since the running costs (A30-29) have still not been approved by the EU we may consider asking to postpone this project because of liquidity matters.
The Board in this agenda point postpones the status of the FECC until there is more concrete and possibly positive developments coming up.
The Board members on this point approve the conclusions from the validation of non-formal learning and agree to include them in the description of the FECC.
The Board also takes note of Johns information that Jan-Christoph has on several occasions visited the office and worked from Copenhagen on encouraging people from the business life in Denmark to join the list of supporters of the FECC.
The Board also takes note on Johns information that during May 2004 Mjellma has forwarded a request for support for the Two Year Working Plan of the ACC to 10 ChurchAid Funds and we are still waiting for a reply from them.

11. Rites Tautskola News
Linda informed the Board about the establishing of the new Rite NGO. ACC is one of the here founding parties and has the position of the vice-chairperson.
Rites Tautskola as an NGO was finally approved by Latvian authorities on April 1st and a General Assembly of the RTNGO had been successfully carried out on May 22nd. “Representatives-Board” members from ACC were still the same, just as the board had been re-elected with Inese Ardone and Linda as board-members and John as a substitute.

12. Cooperation with concrete folk high schools / linking up with concrete school
John informed the Board members of the new initiative of cooperation on a concrete idea with a folk high school in Denmark. The Board supported this and encouraged John to go into more detailed negotiations with this or other schools on the basis of an “academy-idea”.
The Board also scheduled the next face to face Board meeting to be taking place at the same place in August just before the General Assembly.

13. AOB
John explained the Board members the “Odyssey” of Sopron.
He also informed the Board that will withdraw from his position a Board member of AWE Denmark in order to find more time to search for a job.
J-C explained about the progress and the process of the cooperation with the German Embassy in Denmark on the issue of the FECC, and told the Board that actually there is no progress made whatsoever.
The Board members took up the discussion on who should be on the Active Yahoogroup. The Board authorized John to contact the Committee leaders to engage one or two more people from their Committees to have an access on the Active yahoogroup. The Board at this point expressed the opinion that there is still a need to have this yahoo-group restricted to the ones directly involved in planning and implementing concrete activities.
The Board members also think that the point on how to increase the activity of members and how to involve our members should be an agenda point for our next Board meeting.
Concerning amendment proposals to the amendment proposals for the GA, the board agreed to come up with final formulations at the next board-meeting.
The Board expects from conchi to come back with the revised Work Plan for 2004- 2005.
Activities towards working with the FFD and the Folk high schools should be another point in the Workplan for 2004-2005.
The Board suggests that the Contract for the Committees implementing events and the working group book for committees may be a matter of the coming BCC.
The Board announces the new ACCENTs this year: the Challenges of Enlargement ACCENT and maybe Cornwall ACCENT.
The Board also recommends to template the ACCENT in at least 3 programmes: page maker, Illustrator and Quark.
The Board also announces three statutory meetings this summer: the GA and another two face to face Board meetings (one before and one after the GA).
Fundraising: The Board took note on the actions made in order to fundraise; the EU, CoE, Apple Campaign, ChurchAid Funds.
The Board approves the changes at the Yahoogroups
The Board decides to close down the activity called EVS because of the upper mentiones reaons. In this case the Board is not completely closing for the opportunity to have volunteers in the office but this should happen if and when there are optimal conditions (financial and infrastructure) for receiving a volunteer at the office.
The Board took up the discussion of which one of us will be able and should take part on the events organized this summer. This is still a mater of discussion and coordination among Board members the organizers of the events and the office.
After this John closed he Board meeting by thanking everyone for participation and the Dasa and her parents for hosting us.

//Mjellma Mehmeti

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The Association for Community Colleges (ACC) was the 2004 recipient of the Organisational Development Network's Outstanding Global Work award...

Mjellma Mehmeti, board member of the ACC was awarded by the Heinz-Schwartzkopf-Stiftung 'Young European of the Year 2002'