1. Welcome + announcements
At 12:06 president Azeb Amha opens the meeting. She mentions the documents that have been sent prior to the meeting via e-mail and asks whether people want to add anything to the agenda. This is not the case. Azeb continues by saying she feels saddened we cannot meet in person this year, since the NVAS decided to host their Africa Day on line this year due to the uncertainty of the corona measures. She hopes to see everyone in person next year.
Azeb mentions Felix Ameka and Anneke Breedveld, who have both left the NVAS board after many years of hard work and service for the association. We will have a festive goodbye for them in 2022 – which will be a 2-day conference focusing on language and words. The conference will also celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the NVAS.
2. In- and outcoming board members
Last year, we welcomed Karin Willemse to the NVAS board. This year, we have also welcomed Iva Pesa as our new board member. Iva is Assistant Professor Contemporary History at University of Groningen and we are happy to have her on our team.
3. Adoption of minutes
All members have received the minutes of the 2020 AGM prior to the meeting. There are no questions or issues regarding the minutes. The minutes are adopted with thanks to the secretary.
4. NVAS report 2020
All members received the NVAS report 2020 prior to this meeting. One member notices a spelling mistakes (verwelkomt = verwelkomd) but other than that, there are no comments on or questions about the report.
5. NVAS financial report 2020 + report by auditing committee
There are no questions about the 2020 financial report or the report of the auditing committee.
Our treasurer Jan takes the floor to discuss the membership of the auditing committee. The membership of such a committee should rotate every three years, yet, our member Heleen Henstra has been a member of the committee for many years. The board felt it was the right thing to do to relieve Heleen from her duties as auditing committee member. Similar to Felix and Anneke, we hope to celebrate her hard work during the 2022 conference.
Jan asks if anyone present would like to volunteer to be on the auditing committee. Member Jan Abbink volunteers. The current auditing committee members are now Jos Damen and Jan Abbink.
6. Upcoming NVAS events
The theme of the 2022 conference will relate to language. Language will be considered as a tool that brings people closer [spoken language, identity, belonging, social coherence], but can also divide people [populism, isolating groups]. Next to spoken language, we will pay attention to visuals as well, e.g. monuments. We expect the call for panels to be coming out soon.
Member Felix Ameka compliments the NVAS board to have chosen a topic concerning language, especially since 2022-2032 is the official ‘international decade of indigenous languages’. The theme is, thus, very timely chosen.
Board member Iva mentions that the board would like to hear from its members whether the NVAS should be organizing/doing other things next to organizing the conferences. Board member Karin agrees and adds that people are always welcome to send their suggestions via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Member Jan Abbink asks whether the 2022 conference will be in honor of the 25-year jubilee of the NVAS, or whether there will be a separate event to celebrate this jubilee. Azeb replies that we hope to integrate it into the conference. Since it is a 2-day conference we will have space to organize social events for NVAS members as well. Karin adds to this, to highlight the 3 fact we will not just focus on the academic part but also aim to engage with and look at poetry, lyrics, spoken word, etc. to bridge practice and academia
Finally, Jan Abbink asks whether the NVAS could – next to thought-provoking conferences – play a more active role in policy matters in the Netherlands and respond to those matters as a body of Africanists. The Dutch government sometimes reports about Africa in a problematic or condescending way – NVAS could perhaps send out a statement in these cases.
Azeb replies and says the board will take this up and discuss further in our meetings. Linked to this, the NVAS hopes to seek out more active collaborations and links with ‘sister’ institutions but have not been able to do so yet, partly due to the Covid-19 measures. Similarly, the current board is very much reflecting diversity (e.g. in terms of regions – Rotterdam, Leiden, Amsterdam, Groningen) and we hope to attract more active engagement and diversity in our members as well. This is something the board will look into.
Karin adds to this and finds Jan’s suggestion very good. However, there are only a few of us in the NVAS committees. It would be good to see whether there are any NVAS members that would like to take this up, perhaps based on specific issues such as Sudan, Tigray, etc. Karin is sure that the expertise of these different matters is present in our organization.
8. Closing statement
Azeb closes the meeting and says it is time to transit to the rest of the day: After a short break the 2021 Africa Day will commence in the same Zoom meeting. She thanks everyone for their presence today.