Constitution draft

Version 0.7 (Tuesday 25.10.2005 10:30 EET)

I. Name and Domicile

  1. The name of the Association is Northern European Association for Language Technology (NEALT), and its domicile is Helsinki, Finland.
  2. The Geographical Area of the Association consists of the Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark including the Faroe Islands and Greenland, Iceland), the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and Northwest Russia.
  3. The Official Language of the Association is English. Official calls and documents of the association will be written in English, which is also the language of its Business Meetings.

II. Purposes

The Association is a scientific, non-profit and non-political association focusing its activities especially to the Geographical Area and to the languages spoken in that area. The purposes of the association are:

  1. To promote research and development activities in the field of language technology, including speech technology.
  2. To promote cooperation and information exchange among related professional and technical societies.
  3. To represent language technology to funding bodies and government agencies.
  4. To disseminate information on language technology to the general public.

III. Membership

  1. Regular Membership is open to any (physical) person with an interest in language technology who lives in the Geographical Area of the Association or who has an explicit interest or connection to the Geographical Area. Each Regular Member has one vote in the ballots and votings of the Association and may hold office in the Association.

  2. Supporting membership is open to commercial companies, associations, institutions and societies which have an interest in language technology or its applications. Supporting Members pay Dues (usually higher than the Regular Members) but they have no vote in the meetings and they cannot hold office in the Association.

    (!)

  3. There are two main classes of Regular Memberships: Normal and Student. Student members are eligible for reduced dues rates. To qualify for the student rate, a person must be enrolled as a full-time student in a university in the Geographical Area.

  4. New members are accepted by the Executive Committee based on applications.

  5. Dues for each calendar year are payable upon receipt of a dues statement. The Executive Committee will drop (!) Members in arrears from membership.

  6. Distinguished scholars in the field may be elected Fellows of the Association by (!) the Business Meeting, upon recommendation by the Nominating Committee (!). The number of living Fellows shall not exceed twenty-five; no more than three may be selected at any Business Meeting.

  7. The Executive Committee shall maintain a list of members. The list of members shall contain information on the name, address, e-mail address, and nationality of the members. All communication from the Association to the Members is sent via email to the addresses supplied by the members.

  8. A Membership is automatically terminated by death of an individual, and for juristic persons (companies and organizations) by dissolution of the company or organization.

IV. Business Meeting

  1. There shall be an Business Meeting of the Association at least every second year, with notice mailed to the membership at least two months before the meeting date. The call will be sent to the email address provided by the Member.

    Business Meetings can be held in conjunction with workshops or conferences (such as NODALIDA), or through electronic means (such as electronic mail).

  2. In votings and elections, the alternative which gets most votes will become the decision of the meeting, or the candidate who gets most votes will be elected. If two or more alternatives share the same highest number of votes, (a) in open votings, the alternative supported by the chairperson will be the decision of the meeting, and (b) in closed ballots and elections, the winning person or alternative is chosen by drawing lot.

  3. The Agenda of the Business Meeting is as follows:

    1. Election of a chairperson for the meeting.
    2. Election of the secretary for the meeting.
    3. Election of two members to check the minutes of the meeting.
    4. Establish if the meeting has been properly convened,
    5. Presentation of the President's report,
    6. Presentation of the Treasurer's report,
    7. Presentation of the Auditors' report,
    8. Adoption of the reports and accounts,
    9. Establishing the annual membership dues for the following two years for each type of Members: Supporting Members and Regular Members of two types, Normal Members and Student Members,
    10. The election of the members of the Executive Committee of the Association (the President, the Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Editor in Chief and (?) one position) (!) as needed and on the basis of the nominations by the Nominating Committee and Regular Members. For each position, a deputy shall also be elected. An option is to elect the deputies according to the succession scheme.
    11. Election of one Auditor and one deputy auditor.
    12. Any Other business which has been mentioned in the call.

V. Administration

  1. The administration of the Association shall be the responsibility of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee consists of (?) six members:

    • a President,
    • a Vice-President,
    • a Secretary,
    • a Treasurer,
    • the Editor in Chief of the publications of the Association, and
    • (?) one additional member.

    The Business Meeting elects the members of the Executive Committee.

  2. The terms of the members of the Executive Committee are as follows:

    1. The Vice-President is elected by the Business Meeting for a 2-year term, and after those two years, the Vice-President becomes the President for a 2-year term.
    2. The President elected by the Business Meeting, or entered that position through succession, leaves that position after the 2-year term (!).
  1. The President and the Vice-President are authorized to sign the name of the Association in all matters, and the Treasurer has the right to sign the name of the Association in financial transactions.
  2. The Executive Committee shall (a) determine the place and time of the Association meetings and appoint members to be responsible for organizing its programs and for local arrangements; (b) select or approve the editors and editorial boards (!) of any publication sponsored by the Association; (c) appoint members to various positions and form committees to assist in conducting the activities of the Association; (d) collect the Dues of the Association according to the decisions of the Business Meeting; (e) be responsible for a review of the Treasurer's Financial and Membership Report before this report is presented to the Business Meeting; (f) establish and oversee Special Interest Groups of the Association; (g) fix the times of the Business Meeting, prepare the agenda and send the calls.
  1. There shall be a Nominating Committee consisting of the two (!) most recent Past Presidents not on the Executive Committee, (!) each serving for the four years following their own Presidency. The member whose term is about to expire shall chair the Committee. In case of a vacancy the Executive Committee shall appoint a member to serve for the appropriate period.
  1. There shall be an Accounts Auditor elected by the Business Meeting and a deputy. The duty of the Auditor is to consider the Treasurer's Annual Report and to review the financial state of the Association, in preparation for the Business Meeting.

  2. Nominations shall be conducted as follows: the Nominating Committee shall nominate (normally two) people who are willing to serve in each position to be filled at an election at the Business Meeting. The Secretary shall announce these nominees to the membership, post their names on the Association web site, and invite the Regular Membership to submit additional nominations. Additional nominations will be accepted by email, provided that two Regular Members of the Association second each such nomination and provided that evidence is presented that such a nominee will serve if elected.

    The nomination has to be completed so that it can be included in the call for the Business Meeting.

    The new Executive Committee elected shall take office on January 1st of the year following the Business Meeting and the term of its members is two calendar years.

  3. The Accounting period is one calendar year. Balancing of accounts will be done every year, and the Reports of Annual accounts are presented at the Business Meeting which are held every second year.

VI. Amendments

  1. Amendments to the Constitution shall be made in a Business Meeting with two-thirds majority of voters based on a proposition made by the Executive Committee or a group of no less than ten Regular Members. The proposition must be part of the call to that meeting.
  1. The Dissolution of the Association requires a two-thirds majority of voters in a Business Meeting. If the Association will be dissolved, possible funds and property of the Association will be used in a way consistent with the Purposes of the Association as decided by the meeting dissolving the Association.
  2. Items not covered in the present constitution of the Association will be regulated by laws on free associations of Finland. If the present Constitution of the Association would contradict with the Finnish legislation, the latter will take precedence.

Comments and Notes (not part of the constitution)

Section V. Officers:

Nationality of the chairperson. "Exemption under Section 35 of the Associations Act". According to Section 35(3) of the Associations Act the chairperson of the Executive Committee shall be a resident of Finland, unless the National Board of Patents and Registration grants an exemption from this. For this reason the association has to apply for such exemption from the National Board of Patents and Registration before the association's basic declaration or notice concerning amendment of rules or change in the signing rights can be entered in the Register of Associations, if the chairperson of the association indicated in the notice does not reside in Finland. The exemption may be applied for by a separate application or the application may accompany a simultaneously made basic declaration or notice concerning amendment of rules or change in the signing rights.

The exemption may be single or relating to a certain chairperson of the Committee. It may also be granted to an association as being valid for the time being, i.e. that the chairperson of the Committee need not reside in Finland.

The exemption procedure also applies to the vice-chairperson of the Committee. (http://www.prh.fi/en/yhdistysrekisteri/poikkeuslupa.html)

The President shall be the principal representative of the Association and preside at all meetings of the Association and its Board, if not otherwise stated in the Constitutions. (Yhdistyslaki, § XXXX)


The English translation of the Finnish Associations Act can be found at:

http://www.prh.fi/en/yhdistysrekisteri/yhdistyslaki.html

Instructions about founding of associations for immigrants (in Finnish):

http://www.mol.fi/mol/fi/99_pdf/fi/04_maahanmuutto/07_aineistot_kirjasto/01_esitteet/yhdist/yhdist_fin.pdf