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Constitution

1. Name

The Society shall be called the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES).

2. Aims

The principal aims of the Society shall be to encourage and promote interest and study in the United Kingdom of the Middle Eastern cultural region from the end of classical antiquity to the present day through the dissemination of information and by the encouragement of co-operation amongst persons and organisations concerned with the scholarly study of the region.

3. Membership

Membership shall be conferred upon the acceptance by the BRISMES Council of a written application to BRISMES and payment of the appropriate dues. Every member shall on admission receive a copy of the Constitution of the Society.

The categories of membership are as detailed below:

(i) Fellows (Full members)

Membership in this category is open to those professionally and/or personally concerned with the MENA region and international relations. Fellows vote to elect (and are eligible to become) the Society's Vice-President, Executive Director and Treasurer. They also elect and are eligible to become members of the Council (trustees).

Anyone over the current state pension age and no longer in full time employment is eligible to pay the reduced subscription rate within this category. Similarly, anyone who has been unemployed for a period of more than six months may benefit from this reduced rate, until such time as they find gainful employment.

Upon graduation, for a period of two years, former student members also benefit from a reduced rate.

(ii) Student Members

Membership in this category shall be open to students. This catgegory of membership does not carry voting rights. However, the President of the Graduate Section plus one further representative chosen by the Graduate Section are co-opted onto the Council with full voting rights.

(iii) Corporate Membership

Membership in this category is open to organisations interested in the Middle East.

4. Honorary Fellowships

BRISMES may elect to honorary Fellowships persons who have rendered outstanding service to the Society, distinguished scholars and other figures who have significantly benefited understanding of the region and its cultures. Nomination and invitation to Honorary Fellowships shall be made by the Council on behalf of the Society.

5. Subscriptions

From every member in the above categories, with the exception of Honorary Fellows, there shall be due to the Society on the first day of January in every year an annual subscription fee. The subscription fee of the categories of membership shall be determined from time to time by the Council and approved by the Annual General Meeting.

6. Management and Administration

BRISMES will be managed by the Council.

(i) The Council and Officers

a) The officers are the President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.
b) The Council shall consist of the officers, no more than fifteen fellows elected to the council and such co-opted members as the Council sees fit, provided that such additional co-opted members do not exceed the total of the officers and elected members. The Council shall hold at least two ordinary meetings each year. A special meeting may be called at any time by the Secretary or any five members of the Council upon no less than twenty-one days' notice being given to the other members of the Council of the matters to be discussed.

(ii) The President shall be invited by the Council to take office until he/she stands down or is invited to do so. The President will normally chair the Annual General Meeting of the Society.

(iii) The Vice-President, the Secretary and the Treasurer shall be elected to hold office for three years. Each post will normally come up for election in successive years on a three-year cycle starting in 1997.

(iv) Officers (other than the President) shall be eligible to serve for a term of three years. At the end of their term they may stand for re-election. If an officer retires or resigns before the completion of his/her term of office, a successor shall be appointed by the Council or elected to complete the original officer's term of office.

(v) Elected Council members shall be eligible to serve for a term of three years. At the end of the three year term they shall not be eligible for re-election for a further three years, although they may be co-opted or stand for election as officers. Nominations for election to the Council shall reach the Secretary fifteen clear days before the Annual General Meeting. Proposals will be signed by two fellows of the Society and be accompanied by a statement of the nominees' willingness to serve.

(vi) The outgoing Secretary, the Journal editor and the Newsletter editor may be co-opted to the Council. The organiser of the annual conference may also be co-opted for the year preceding and the year following the conference.

(vii) The Council may at its discretion co-opt additional fellows subject to 6.(i)b) above to ensure a balanced representation of the various disciplines covered by the Society, of institutions interested in Middle Eastern Studies or of skills that would be of benefit to the good running of the Society. Co-option shall be for a maximum of three years. Co-opted members may be co-opted again on completion of their term of office, and they may stand for election during or at the end of their term of office.

(viii) No more than one member of the same institution shall serve as an officer of the Society at any one time. No more than three members of the same institution shall serve as Council members at any one time. If more than three are elected or co-opted, elected Fellows will have priority over co-opted ones, and the most recently elected member(s) will have priority over those elected earlier.

(ix) Quorum

At all meetings of the Council, a quorum shall be defined as one third of those eligible to attend such meetings. Every matter shall be determined by a majority vote of those present. In the case of equality of votes then the chair shall have a second or casting vote.

(x) Annual General Meeting

There shall be an Annual General Meeting following a written notice of 30 days at a venue determined by the Council for the necessary election of officers and members of the Council, for the receipt of the accounts and for the receipt of a report on the activities of the Society. Council and business meetings may be called as required and symposia and conferences may be arranged by the Council or by ad hoc committees. Any members having business for the Annual General Meeting shall notify the Secretary in writing at least 14 days before the meeting.

7. Powers

The Council may exercise all the powers of BRISMES in furtherance of its aims including:

i) the power to raise funds and to invite and receive contributions provided that in raising funds the Council does not undertake any substantial permanent trading activities and that it conforms to any relevant requirements of the law.

ii) the power to buy, or take on lease or in exchange, any property necessary for the achievement of its aims and to maintain and equip it for use.

iii) the power, subject to any consent required by law, to sell, lease or dispose of all or any part of the property of BRISMES.

iv) the power, subject to any consent required by law, to borrow money and to charge all or part of the property of BRISMES with repayment of the money so borrowed.

v) the power to employ such staff as are necessary for the proper pursuit of its aims and to make all reasonable and necessary provision for the payment of such employment.

vi) the power to do all such other lawful things as are necessary for the achievement of its aims.

8. Duties

i) The Secretary is charged with the day to day running of BRISMES and the administration of its affairs in consultation with the other officers. The Secretary shall be the line manager for the Society's administrative assistant. In the event of the Secretary's being in a different institution from the location of the Society's administrative office, the Secretary shall be empowered to delegate his/her authority on a day to day basis to a suitable Council member in the institution where the administrative office is located. Should the person concerned not be a member of the Council, he/she will be co-opted to serve on the Council for the duration of the arrangement, subject to the three member per institution rule above.

ii) The Treasurer is charged with the day to day financial administration of BRISMES. He/she shall submit an annual budget for the year following for approval of the Council at its November meeting. Any additional financial items shall be approved on an individual basis by the Council.

iii) The Vice-President will normally chair the BRISMES Council meetings. In the absence of the Vice-President, those present will decide who shall take the chair.

9. Accounts

i) The Balance Sheet and Income and Expenditure Account of the Society shall be published annually and submitted for approval to the Annual General Meeting which next follows their publication.

ii) The income and property of the Society shall be applied solely toward the promotion of its aims and no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred directly or indirectly by way of dividend, bonus or otherwise by way of profits to its members. No member of Council shall acquire any interest in its property, receive remuneration, or have any interest in any contract entered into by BRISMES. Council members may, however, be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses incurred in the performance of their duties on behalf of BRISMES including the payment of professional charges to such members as usually charge professional fees such as lawyers, accountants or auditors.

10. Alteration of the Constitution

i) The Constitution may be altered by a resolution passed by not less than two thirds of the Council members and then by two thirds of the members present and voting at a General Meeting. The notice of the General meeting must include notice of the resolution, setting out the terms of the alteration proposed.

ii) No amendments may be made to the "name", "aims" or "dissolution" provisions without the prior consent in writing of the Charity Commissioners.

iii) No amendments may be made which would have the effect of making BRISMES cease to be a charity at law.

iv) The Council should send promptly to the Commissioner a copy of any amendment made under this clause.

11. Dissolution

If the Council by a two thirds' majority decides that it is necessary or advisable to dissolve BRISMES, it shall give at least thirty days' notice to all categories of members of its intention to make this recommendation at a special General Meeting for this purpose alone. If such recommendation be confirmed by a two thirds' majority of those present and voting at such a meeting, the Council shall have power to dispose of the assets of BRISMES. Any asset remaining after the satisfaction of any proper debts and liabilities shall be applied towards such charitable purposes for the promotion of the aims of BRISMES as the Council may decide and as may be approved by the Charity Commissioners for the United Kingdom.