Dear members and friends of the Nordic Summer University!!
What is a General Assembly? And why go to all that trouble? Why would I be interested? What can I expect when I become a delegate? Why is it important to be(come) a delegate? (And: YES! Where do I sign up?!!)
What is a General Assembly?
The Nordic Summer University started in 1950, and up to this day has been a self-organising, mostly hierarchical organisation. There are coordinators for each study circle who organise the symposia, there is a Board who manages the day-to-day affairs, and there is… the General Assembly. The General Assembly (GA) is the highest organ, making all decisions. It is made up of all the NSU members… the members together choose delegates (41 delegates in total). All NSU members are welcome to attend the GA, and can speak and be heard. Only the delegates get to vote. They get to vote for the new study program 2022 (which circles will be part of it??!!), decide on the budget for 2022, and also approve the (financial) reporting from 2020. And they will decide who is to be on the Board in 2022. (And some other things.)
But why go to all that trouble?
Democracy isn’t easy, but it is a nice way to make sure an organisation keeps in touch with the changes in society. NSU aims to “support the development of emerging research initiatives and communities” (NSU statutes), and to do that the community itself needs to decide on its direction and goals. The Board is merely there to facilitate the community, and to do what the General Assembly tells them to.
Why would I be interested?
Why would you be interested in democracy in practise? It is fun, exciting, frustrating, slow, ridiculous, amazing. Or, it can be all those things. Being a delegate is a nice way to experience a different part of NSU, and it directly supports to ensure the future of NSU. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been to NSU several years or that this is your first experience. All perspectives matter, the only way to bring in new voices and new directions, is when new members feel invited to join. Please let us know if you can think of any way to support you in this. Contact your coordinator if you have questions or doubts about any part of this process, or write directly to the Board.
What can I expect when I become a delegate?
There will be two main meetings: October 17 and October 30. (Register on Zoom here.) There is an agenda, where you can see what will be discussed, many documents have been already linked in the agenda for you to look at. Some items are presentations or open discussions, some require a formal vote. We will try to set up the voting in such a way that most of it can be done between the two meetings (through doodle). (But this is up to the tellers, two of the delegates who will volunteer to take care of this.) So even if you cannot attend both meetings, you will be able to vote. All the documents to vote on will be online and can be found in this Google Drive folder. This will be updated throughout the month.
For most decisions, the Board will prepare a proposal, which the GA can discuss and change according to their wishes. Most of these discussions will take place at the first meeting, and then the Board will prepare new proposals based on the decisions of the GA. But other items like the proposal for the new Board that is being prepared by the Nominating Committee 2021 will be presented during the second meeting, and then voted upon.
There is also an option for people to send in new proposals, which are not yet part of the agenda. All NSU members can do this. The deadline and information can be found in the agenda.
Why is it important to be(come) a delegate?
If there is no active community to decide on the future of the Nordic Summer University (like in the case there are no delegates), then there is no future of the Nordic Summer University.
YES! Where do I sign up?
Here is the list of delegates for the NSU General Assembly 2021. There are two types of delegates: regional (based on the region of your affiliation), and circle delegates. If you would like to become a regional delegate, please contact the Board (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you would be interested in becoming a delegate for your circle, please contact your coordinators, as they will make sure three are chosen together to represent the circle.
With warm regards, looking forward to seeing you and all delegates at the General Assembly!
Nicole des Bouvrie
Chair Nordic Summer University 2021
ps. Let’s make sure this pandemic is finished next summer, so that next summer we can hold the General Assembly in person, in Norway, and have a real party afterwards.