Tuesday July 5, 2016

Meeting commenced 10:10am
Dunwoody room, Hyatt Regency Hotel, 265 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta GA. 30303 United States of America.

21 people signed in for the ISA Membership meeting, with visitors periodically arriving and leaving.  For voting purposes, the following people represented their associations;

Name Country Association
Anita Blom Sweden Stamningsförbundet / Swedish Stuttering Association
Andri Bjarnason Iceland Malbjorg
Hermann Christmann Denmark Stammeforeningen i Danmark (FSD)
Thomas Grevelhoerster Germany Bundesvereinigung Stottern & Selbsthilfe e.V.
Bruce Imhoff Australia Australian Speak Easy Association
Mario Gotovac Croatia Croatian association for People Who stutter “Hinko   Freund”
Casey Kennedy Canada Association des bègues du Canada Inc.
Maartje Borghuis The Netherlands Nederlandse stottervereniging Demosthenes
Keisuke Saito Japan Japan Stuttering Genyukai Association
Annie Bradberry USA National Stuttering Association
David Resnick Stutter Social Online Community Stutter Social

The following gives an indication of nations represented at the meeting;

Australia 3 Iceland 1 Sweden 1
Canada 1 India 1 USA 3
Croatia 2 Japan 2 Stutter Social 1
Denmark 2 Israel 1
Germany 1 the Netherlands 1

Anita Blom held proxy votes for associations in Finland, Belgium, Bulgaria and ELSA.

Nan Bernstein-Ratner participated on behalf of the International Fluency Association, but did not have vowing rights.

Meeting opened by Dr Gerald Maguire, Vice Chair of the ISA in the absence of the Chair.  Dr Maguire read a statement prepared by Keith Boss, outgoing Chair, ISA.

Voting rights clarified, proxy votes acknowledged, all voters signed in. Noted India not eligible to vote.

Minutes from 2013 Membership Meeting were reviewed. Motion to accept minutes by Bruce Imhoff, seconded by Hanan Hurwitz.

Actions from 2013 Minutes

  • Anja Herde was to look into reduced costs. Not complete, will be investigated for next conference.  Jerry noted that move of location from California to Georgia was a cost reduction. Hanan indicated for international attendees much of the cost is flights. Some discussion toil place about potential to host in a university, as they often present as a less expensive option.

Financial report and statements

Report on ISA finances and Accounts for the membership were presented for 2013-2016.

The reports were discussed and how the ISA uses the funds. Most of the funds were applied to scholarships with minor costs for website.  Jerry suggested a need to be clear with our strategic direction and to have clear management of funds aligned with the mission and vision.

Scholarships were discussed briefly, specifically the disappointing outcome that 4 of the 8 awarded scholarships were unable to attend due to problems getting visas. It was suggest that scholarship recipients should have 6 months notice to ensure sufficient time to arrange visas.

The current financial arrangements/management was discussed and was considered a risk of the ISA because it put the full accountability of financial management on a single individual and put the ISA at risk by doing so. Options were discussed including large international banks (eg HSBC, Citibank) with multi-person approval in place where transactions exceeded a specific threshold. The ISA bank account should remain in one location and not be moved when the treasurer changes.

Hermann Christmann noted the Danish accounts had not been fully cleared, with a remainder of €18. [Hermann provided this in US$ in cash at the conference]

Bruce suggested that one of the first priorities of the new board needs to be to issue 2016 invoices. There was also suggestions that we issue 2015 invoice for those that have not paid fees for that year. Noted that costs for international money transfers can be expensive. A strategy to reduce costs could be for the treasurer to pay accounts directly, removing additional payment steps. PayPal linked to ISA account may be useful to enable other payment options. Maartje queried the report stating 2015 invoices were sent, but it was believed they were not issued. Bruce to clarify with Keith.

the meeting agreed that the ISA should invoice both 2015 and 2016 fees where not paid. Motion by Hermann Christmann, seconded by Hanan Hurwitz. Motion was carried.

A cover letter will accompany the invoices explaining the delay in requesting payment.

Reports from current board members

Hanan talked about his work with people from Africa to help set up self help organisations including materials, Facebook page and website. A major success, Botswana, approached the ISA for help. We created a webpage for them on the ISA website. They created their own Facebook group with is active and gaining support.  Hanan sent printed materials to them provided by the Stuttering Foundation and the NSA. Noted the logistical problems sending physical materials to Africa and the need for very clear addresses.  Annie Bradberry had sent some books to Africa which had a huge impact on those receiving them. Sharing information really helps but there is a need to translate materials into local languages.

Hanan explained how he has also been able to help the self help movement in Togo, Morocco, Mauritania, The Gambia and Liberia. It was rewarding work, but there is a lot more work to be done. Challenges of time, relying on volunteers who have limited time, difficulty with communications, both language and technical. For example, approaching established groups for advice and net getting a response (eg Burkina Faso, Uganda, Zambia), noted as an issue, not a judgement.

We need to do more proactive help for third world countries in Africa to get them started and give them advice and tips for public relations, for example, how to get on TV or radio. It would be helpful in the ISA Board could provide better overall project management support and follow up,  or necessarily do the work themselves.  I believe in proactive support and hope we find a way to help. Africa suffers terribly and if we can help with a few things like website presence, Facebook  and printed materials it would make a huge difference.

Thomas from Germany suggested it would be helpful to have self-help kits available to download in different languages.

Jerry thanked the outgoing board for their efforts.

World Congress

Two bids to hold the next World Congress for People Who Stutter were put forward, Iceland in 2019, a stand-alone World Congress, and Japan in 2018, a World Congress in collaboration with the International Fluency Association and the International Cluttering Association.

Iceland presented their Reykjavik 2019 option as a low cost event where they would seek funding to assist, with an event catering for 400+ people noting the many accommodation options available. Iceland has experience arranging Nordic conferences so they are not inexperienced. The event would include day trips to visit landmarks and would include an exciting program.

Japan presented their Hiroshima 2018 option in combination with the International Fluency Association and the International Cluttering Association. The event would include discussion on the latest information but would cater for all groups. A conference in Asia has the advantage of attracting other Asian countries to participate.  Nan Bernstein-Ratner, President Elect of the IFA also spoke in support of the conference, as did a representative of the International Cluttering Association.

After much discussion it was agreed to vote on three options.

  1. Hold the next World Congress in Iceland with ISA not supporting the Japan event as a World Congress for People Who Stutter.
  2. Hold the next World Congress in Japan.
  3. Agree to hold both the Japan and Iceland events as World Congresses for People Who Stutter.

Option 1 gained three votes, option 2 gained one vote, while option 3 gained 10 votes.

International Stuttering Awareness Day Online Conference

Bruce spoke briefly about the online conference working with the team Anita Blom, Dan Hudock, Hanam Hurwitz and Keith Boss, after transitioning from Judy Kuster in 2013, with additional effort going into related awareness type activities this year including selling t-shirts with the logo, and doing a video project to raise awareness.

Strategic Planning

Annie asked countries to share where they think the ISA should focus. There was much general discussion but the following points were clear:

  • Need to constrain the ‘bureaucracy’
  • Achievable projects should be defined, not broad lofty goals
  • Advisory Board has a great depth of experience and should be used more
  • IFA could work more collaboratively with ISA to deliver outreach to Africa, Internet classrooms. They have a strong relationship with universities and this could also be helpful to the ISA.
  • Better communications are essential. The many emails before the congress were unmanageable
  • The people involved in ISA are often people leading other significant work for PWS and may not have the time needed to invest
  • Need to focus on Africa
  • It was suggested the ISA focus on English speaking countries
  • Other countries could be targeted with language specific resources or Google Translated versions of the English message
  • Member countries who have a well established presence could mentor other less developed organisations and new organisations.
  • ISA needs to get closer to member countries and work with them.
  • Should ISA be also reaching out to places other than Africa?
  • Need a clear consistent message from the ISA, not different messages from different people.
  • Streamlined communications are needed
  • Fundraising must have goals

Bert Bast from The Netherlands presented on fundraising, the clinical guideline developed by the Dutch group, their discussions with the World Health Organization and how the English version of the guideline could be used by other national associations for policy making and by ISA for fund raising.

Election of Officers

The nominees for the ISA board presented themselves, a total of seven candidates.  All were elected to the board without opposition.

Name Country Position
Bruce Imhoff Australia Vice Chair, acting Treasurer
Anja Herde Germany
Andri Bjarnsom Iceland
Dhruv Gupta India Website and Communications
Keisuke Saito Japan
Annie Bradberry USA Chair
Pam Mertz USA Secretary

Positions not yet filled include Editor and Treasurer.  Dhruv was going to contact someone who may be interesting in doing the work. A treasurer will be appointed in due course but the work cannot be delayed and will be started by Bruce Imhoff in the short term.

India is not currently a member of the ISA and this issue will need to be resolved by the board. Advice from Dhruv is that there currently are no membership fees for Indian participants in groups, complicating the matter of ISA membership fees.

The new board was encouraged by additional offers of support in their work from Hanan Hurwitz, Anita Blom and Maartje Borghuis.

As its first action the new board unanimously agreed to appoint Keith Boss and Hanan Hurwitz to the ISA Advisory Board.

The ISA membership meeting was closed at 6:30pm.

Minutes prepared by Bruce Imhoff