XXIII International Congress of History of Science and Technology, 28 July-2 August 2009, Budapest, Hungary

General Business Meeting, 30th July 2009

Commission on History of Science and Technology in Islamic Societies

1. President’s welcome.  Mercè Comes (Vice-President acting as President in the absence of the President) opened the session.

2. Secretary’s  report. Robert Morrison, the acting Secretary, presented the financial report, including the costs of the newsletters, mailing ballots for the elections and the grants for the Barcelona Congress and Budapest Symposium.

3. Homage to Prof E.S. Kennedy.  After Benno van Dalen’s exposition of Prof. E.S. Kennedy’s scientific production during the first session of the Symposium, Julio Samsó praised Professor Kennedy’s human and personal side and his generous collaboration with the Barcelona team. Julio reported that it was precisely during one of his stages in Barcelona, coinciding with a visit from David King, that they decided to launch the project of a Commission on Arabic and Islamic Science, our present Commission. The proposal was approved in Hamburg Congress in 1989,with Prof. Kennedy being its first President.

4.New Governing Council elections. There was a break during which the acting President and Secretary, helped by three members of the Commission, tabulated the ballots, with the following result:

There were 4 total abstentions from the election for counselor.  One ballot indicated no votes for counselor, while two other ballots indicated only a single “yes” vote.

A total of 71 valid ballots were cast.  3 ballots were returned, but were deemed invalid (not signed or no external envelope).

As a consequence, the new Governing Council will be as follows: President: Mercè Comes; Vice President: Jan Hogendijk; Secretary: Robert Morrison; Counselors:
Ihsan Fazlioglu and Abdul Nasser Kaadan.

5. Proposal that the journal Suhayl become the official journal of the Commission. After a presentation of the proposal by Julio Samso, there was a discussion of the name, the languages in which articles may be written and the cost in terms of money and work force. Julio Samsó answered, explaining the Islamic function of the star Suhayl as qibla indicator, the difficulty of accepting articles written in languages other than English and Arabic, and the commitment of the Barcelona team to go on running the journal. During the discussion, changing the name of the Commission was once again raised. Finally, it was proposed that instead of considering the journal as “the journal of the Commission” it could be considered as “done in cooperation with the Commission”. Finally, those present decided to present the record of the discussion to the membership.

6. Reforms of Commission governance. The President raised the possibility, already proposed by some members, that the Nominating Committee should present more than one name for every post. After a discussion of the need for changing the bylaws in that respect, those present decided to leave the discussion and reach an agreement through the listserv.

7. Other topics.

a) The need for a conflict resolution procedure embedded in the bylaws was raised. After a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of creating a Committee to mediate in case of conflicts between members, a vote was taken (11 in favor; 0 against; 1 recorded abstention) to approve charging the bylaws committee with considering the need for a conflict resolution committee. 

 b) The need to create a special committee to investigate a problem which arose between the President and one member of the Commission during the past term. Some members thought that it should be considerate a private conflict between two members, while others considered that this matter was the business of the whole Commission. The proposal that the Conflict Resolution Committee (see point a) could look at this conflict, was accepted by general consensus.