Annual Business Meeting of the
Ecuadorian Studies Section of LASA
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, D.C.
8-10 A.M., September 8, 2001
Minutes Prepared by Jennifer N. Collins, Secretary Treasurer
The following 30 people were in attendance at the meeting: Officers: Brian Selmeski (coordinator); Jennifer Collins (secretary-treasurer); Marc
Becker (internet coordinator); Jason Pribilsky (newsletter editor); Liz Lilliot (outreach coordinator). Council members: Adrian Bonilla; Ximena Sosa-Buchholz; Norman Whitten. Members at-large:
Robert Andolina; Enrique Ayala; Tomás Bamat; Victor Bretón; John Cameron; Barbara Grunenfelder-Elliker; Michael Handelsman; Brooke Harlowe; Chuck Kleymeyer; Scott McKinney; Liisa North; Lola Proaño Gómez; Melina
Selverston Scher; Catherine Walsh; William Waters; Eileen Willingham. Non-members (associates): Kathleen DeWalt; Luís Macas; Pachakutik Makas; Luciano Martínez Valle; Armando Muyolema; Juan Fernando Terán.
1. Words of Welcome by Section Coordinator.
2. Reading and approval of the agenda.
3. Reports from officers:
3.1. Section Coordinator – Brian Selmeski briefly reviewed the formation of the section and its mission as well as our actions to date, including the creation of a bi-lingual web site, a
listserv with approximately 160 participants, an electronic journal (the first issue of which will be forthcoming shortly), two collective letters protesting recent Ecuadorian state policies, the selection of an
invited panel for LASA2001 and a well attended reception two days prior. He also noted that our official membership (i.e. those whose LASA dues are paid in full) is now over 120, and should we reach 126 by
October 9th (one month after the conclusion of the Congress) we will be eligible for three invited sessions at LASA2003.
3.2. Internet Coordinator – Marc Becker
urged members to visit the section website and provide feedback, add one's information to our member database (which currently boasts 79 profiles), etc. He thanked Ximena Sosa-Buchholz
for translating his original text into Spanish and Michael Hamerly for publishing his extensive bibliography, "Bibliografía histórica del Ecuador" (2000) on-line. Becker
noted that while the primary focus of the site is not to provide links but instead resources for people interested in Ecuador, members are welcome to contribute new links or abstracts of websites. He then talked about the possibility of getting a new URL for our listserv and finding a new host for our website and listserv, points
Selmeski suggested we return to for greater discussion under Pending Business.
3.3. Secretary Treasurer – Jennifer Collins
reported that the Section now has over 120 official members. Before the start of this Congress, section dues collected for the year 2001 totaled $470. Section expenses incurred as of the Congress included: $50 for Abya Yala gift certificates for this year's awardees and $125 to pay for the meager food at the Section reception. Assuming that some new members were added during LASA, the total amount remaining would be approximately $325. This money can be rolled over from year to year and does not have to be spent immediately.
3.4. There were no other reports from council members or other officers.
4. Pending Business:
4.1. Adrian Bonilla
presented the idea of holding a conference of "ecuatorianistas" modeled on LASA next summer in Quito. He explained that FLACSO has offered to host and provide logistical support for such an event. Holding it sometime between June and August is designed to take advantage of the fact that international scholars tend to be in Ecuador during the summer months. The consensus of those present was that this was an excellent idea and that we should move forward with it for next summer.
- Micheal Handelsman suggested that it could be timed in a coordinated way with an international congress of Ecuadorian literature scholars to be held next July in either Guayaquil or
Manta. 20-25 people are expected to attend the literature conference and some of them might also like to participate in the Ecuatorianista Congress. Along these same lines, Enrique Ayala
noted that a National History Congress is to be held in Guayaquil in July.
- Members agreed that it would be a good idea to schedule the Ecuatorianista meeting so that people from these other two
conferences could participate as well. Given that both the literature and history meetings are scheduled for July it was agreed that the Ecuatorianista Congress should also be scheduled for some time that month,
preferably between these two other Congresses.
- Brian Selmeski stressed that the registration fee should be kept low so as to make the event accessible to the largest number of people
possible. He also emphasized that this Congress needs to be self-financing and multi-institutional.
- It was decided to form a committee to organize the Congress. Adrian Bonilla will
head said committee and the following people were named to it: Enrique Ayala, Victor Bretón, Barbara Grunenfelder-Elliker, Michael Handelsman, Luís Macas and Marc Becker. Someone suggested that
Brian Selmeski and Jennifer Collins
should also be on the committee, but Brian explained that they would better serve as links between the committee and the Section rather than as official members of the committee.
4.2. Proposal for the
section to buy its own URL. Marc Becker explained that NativeWeb was in financial straights and may not survive. At this point the Section's listserv and website are hosted on NativeWeb's computer for
free, and he suggested that we may want to contribute to the cost of providing these resources. This would cost about $10-$20 a month, or $120-$240 a year. He added that the section should at the very
least register the domain "ecuatorianistas.org" in order to secure its Internet identity, which would cost $15 per year. Several members expressed concern for the fate of NativeWeb and the desire as a Section
to help it out. Brooke Harlowe suggested that NativeWeb might consider seeking sponsorship and support from a university that would be willing to host it. Barbara Grunenfelder-Elliker
suggested that the Section pay NativeWeb for use of its website instead of buying its own URL as a way to be of help to Native Web. Marc Becker explained that Native Web had the capacity to survive for at
least one more year.
- After much discussion it was decided that at this point the section did not want to devote a significant chunk of its limited resources to pay for hosting its website. If
NativeWeb eventually folds then ESS would have to rethink its options at that point. The members did, however, decide to go ahead and purchase a specific Internet domain name, which represents an annual
expenditure of $15.
4.3. Proposal to create a network of affiliate-members. Brian Selmeski presented the idea of creating a separate membership category for people who want to be involved
with the Section but who are not members of LASA for financial or other reasons. Generally, the membership concurred with the intent of the proposal, which was to make the Section as inclusive as possible,
however, it was noted by Marc Becker and others that this could create problems for the Section with LASA. At that point, Brian Selmeski and Jennifer Collins
pointed to confusion and difficulties that had arisen when trying to differentiate between official members (i.e. paid) and non-official members on listserv mailings.
- As a solution,
offered, and it was subsequently decided, to create a separate list of only official members that the officers could use to send out mailings that would go only to dues-paying members. Business of this sort would include: votes on section matters, collecting signatures for official section letters, etc. The other listserv will remain open to members and non-members alike to share information and communicate about Ecuador. The advantages and rights that official membership affords will be explained to people when they seek to add their names to the listserv, but the general listserv will continue to remain open to all those who want to be on it.
4.4. Proposal to create official affiliations between the Section and Ecuadorian universities and academic institutions. Brian Selmeski
presented this proposal and it was well received by the membership. The membership authorized him to meet with Ecuadorian university and institutional directors to discuss collaborative possibilities. One idea was to encourage graduate students from Ecuadorian institutions to participate in and present papers at LASA Congresses. In general the idea at this point was to get the word out about the Section and explore possibilities for collaboration.
4.5. Proposal to establish a fund to assist Ecuadorians with travel expenses to attend LASA Congresses. Ximena Sosa-Buchholz
made this proposal, arguing for the need to diversify LASA attendance and to involve more Ecuadorian scholars, indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian students, scholars and activists. Liisa North
pointed out that LASA already has an international travel fund, but others said this was not sufficient and that the problem was that LASA organizers had their own criteria that may not coincide with those of the Section. Furthermore, people explained that LASA travel grants are so comprehensive that they can only be given to a small number of people.
Sosa-Buchholz and Selmeski
emphasized that the Section travel fund should give partial grants for travel with the balance to be covered by the grantees themselves or their institutions. This would allow ESS to help a greater number of people.
Selmeski also suggested that preference should be given to those scholars who are presenting on official section panels. Collins
said that if the goal of the travel fund was to help diversify attendance at LASA, then financial need should also be a major criteria.
offered to organize a committee to work on this, including developing selection criteria and then fund-raising. The goal is to raise enough money to give grants to 5 Ecuadorians to attend the LASA 2003 Congress.
William Waters volunteered to be another committee member.
4.6. Brian Selmeski announced a contest to select a Section logo. Details of the competition will be sent to the section
5. New Business:
5.1. Liisa North
suggested that we should create a position for Section Human Rights Officer. She explained that she felt ESS was too slow in responding to the crisis situation in Ecuador in February 2001, specifically it took ESS too long to get the letter off to President Noboa.
explained that by LASA bylaws for the Section to act as a single entity we must conduct a vote of all paid members and getting input, voting and collecting signatures from such a large group takes time.
- The idea of a Human Rights Officer is based on models from other sections where it seems to have worked well. Under this model the Human Rights officer sends out bulletins and action suggestions
in a timely manner but does not necessarily focus on drafting official section letters. This would permit individuals to respond rapidly and likely increase the number of letters received by officials,
furthering the goal of expressing widespread discontent.
- It was decided that instead of appointing an officer at this time, that a committee would develop a proposal for this type of position.
Melina Selverston offered to chair this committee and organize its work. In her absence, Liz Lilliot nominated Emma Cervone as another possible committee member. Enrique Ayala
informed the group that UASB has a Human Rights program headed by Roque Espinosa. It was suggested that the committee should have someone on it who was based in Ecuador. Jennifer Collins
suggested that perhaps the UASB and/or other institutions in Ecuador could suggest a possible in-country committee member. Tomás Bamat
suggested that the committee should also share the proposal with CEDHU and be in touch with them. Enrique Ayala
noted that UASB's Human Rights program has close ties with CEDHU and is putting together a database and carrying out monitoring activities on the internet. Ayala
also cautioned the Section that while it is a good goal to respond rapidly to situations as they arise, overreaction from the outside should be avoided. This reinforced the need for the Committee to work closely with people in Ecuador, so that ESS doesn't appear to be overreacting or does not allow sufficient time for resolution of the problem in country.
6. Nomination of New Officers and Council Members:
6.1. The posts that were up for reassignment were that of Section Coordinator and two members of the Section Council. Before opening up the
floor for nominations, Jennifer Collins put forth a proposal she had received via email to keep on the current Coordinator and the whole section council until the realization of the Ecuatorianista Congress in
Quito next summer, when elections would be held for the above named posts. The rationale was that the current officers had only served one year, that this coming year was going to be a challenging one,
especially given the upcoming Congress in Quito, and that changing the leadership at this point could be disruptive of the work of the Section. The proposal was approved unanimously by the membership present
and so there was no need to take nominations or go to a vote.
6.2. Elections for a new ESS Coordinator and two Council Members will be held during July 2002 at the Ecuatorianista Conference in
Quito. The terms of all other officers and council members end at the 2003 LASA Congress.
7. Presentation of Awards for Service and Scholarship.
7.1. This year awards were made to Marc Becker for Outstanding Service to the Section, and to Blanca Muratorio for Scholarly Work on Ecuador. The awards were presented by
Jennifer Collins and included a $50 gift certificate to Abya Yala bookstore for each awardee. The gift certificates were paid for jointly by Abya Yala and ESS funds.
8. Close of Annual Business Meeting for 2001 by Section Coordinator.