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The Annual Reunion and General Meeting, Zurich, Sunday, 29.6.2014: Programme, New Officers, Minutes, State of the Association, Financial Report and Charitable Foundation
  1. The Secretary General opens the General Meeting at 11:30, welcoming the assembled members to a fully packed meeting agenda.
  2. Starting his State of the Association address, the Secretary General acknowledges the success in attracting a new cadre of volunteers to serve the members as Events Officers. Apart from Officer recruitment, the situation in the other fields of activity have remained largely unchanged. Still worrying is the sizable balance of dues receivables accrued because a significant number of members are not paying their dues on time. The Association has responded by significantly increasing the activities related to dues communication and collection both in intensity and frequency. As a result, printing and postage outlays related to dues collection will continue to rise. Currently, they take 15% of the annual dues of CHF 40.
  3. The Secretary General also reports that once the financial accounts are submitted to the tax authority of the Canton of Berne, new external auditors will be commissioned to verify the financial accounts.
  4. For the last 3 years, our membership has hovered around 600. The Secretary General notes, however, that with the proposed expulsion of 75 members with very large balances of unpaid dues, the first such action since our foundation in 1998, the membership will shrink to below 530 members.
  5. At the same time, the Secretary General highlights the huge potential for significantly growing our membership in the coming years. Up to last year, both the School and, as a result, the Association set the number of LSE alumnae and alumni in Switzerland between 800 and 900. A new function introduced by the professional networking company LinkedIn last year revealed that the true number of LSE alumnae and alumni in Switzerland is over 1'700. Given that not all LSE alums maintain an user account on LinkedIn, it is estimated that we may have up to 2'000 LSE alumnae and alumni in Switzerland.
  6. Of the 162 events held since our foundation, the Secretary General notes that about 1/3 were held in Geneva, another 1/3 in Zurich and the rest in other cities throughout Switzerland. The Secretary General mentions that 28 speakers are currently lined up to address the Association in the coming months and years.
  7. The Secretary General announces the newest member benefits: special subscription rates for the Global Policy Journal as no. 16, specialized recruitment services for supervisory board appointments as no. 17 and members refer new members as no. 18. Several members remarked that for benefit no. 18, the requirement to recruit 20 new members is too challenging. The number should be lowered to a more manageable 10, 8 or even 4 new members. The Secretary General will change the benefit so that members, who recruit 8 new members, get their dues paid for 2 years by the Association.
  8. Upon the Secretary General concluding his State of the Association address and in reference to Article 2, Section 3, of our Articles of Association, Motion 1 is presented for a vote: "Members are motioned to approve the Report of the Secretary General on the State of the Association." Motion 1 is approved by members. The Secretary General thanks members for their continued confidence.
  9. The Secretary General proceeds to provide some background information on the next Motion. The Association has members, all of whom have unpaid dues in excess of CHF 200 (5 years of unpaid dues) and most in excess of CHF 300 (more than 7 years of unpaid dues), who have not made any dues payments for at least the last 360 days, who have repeatedly ignored payment requests, and who have ignored repeated and explicit requests to update their details and who have let their electronic and postal mail addresses become invalid over time. The Secretary General notes that it is not reasonable by any measure for a member to let dues accrue unpaid over so many years. The Secretary General points out that, based on the Expulsion Policy approved by members in 2013, these delinquent members are to be expelled from the Association.
  10. In the subsequent debate, the Secretary General notes that national LSE alumni clubs in some countries retain all members, whether they pay their dues or not. A member asks whether the Association could also retain members in bad standing. The Secretary General responds that under such a regime, the members, who actually pay their dues in full and on time, would be feel very much cheated.
  11. The Secretary General presents Motion 2 for a vote: "Members are motioned to expel the members as listed (below) from the membership of the Association with effect 29 June 2014 based on the Article 2, Section 5, of the Articles of Association, the SLSEAA Expulsion Policy of 30 June 2013 and Article 72 of the Swiss Civil Code, and to instruct the Officers to recover any unpaid dues based in the SLSEAA Expulsion Policy of 30 June 2013 and Article 73.2 of the Swiss Civil Code."
  12. A member requests a more qualified "to attempt to recover" and the Motion so amended is presented for a vote. Motion 2 is approved by members.
  13. As Acting Treasurer, the Secretary General reports on the accounts for the financial year 2013. Expenses of CHF 10'548 have been recorded with a large expenditure related to the Stand-Up Economist invited to perform at last year's Annual Reunion and General Meeting in Geneva. The CHF 10'000 ceiling has, hence, been breached twice between 2007 and 2013, the first time in 2009 with its 3rd Pan-European LSE Alumni Outing to Basle.
  14. Our balance sheet is CHF 144'081 per 31 December 2013 with CHF 104'737 in dues receivables on the asset side and CHF 19'566 in dues provisions on the liability side. CHF 12'692 in Officers' expenses payable have accrued over the past years which will be fully reimbursed in the weeks following the General Meeting.
  15. A member suggests that dues income should be recorded as revenues only as received. A former Treasurer notes that the system related to dues could be changed to one on a cash basis. The Acting Treasurer responds that this would be looked into while noting that individual dues accounts will continue to correctly show dues obligations and payments.
  16. The endowment funds of CHF 35'000 set aside under the Second Decade Campaign launched in 2008 will be used to co-establish the LSE Alumnae and Alumni Foundation of Switzerland.
  17. Motion 3 is presented to a vote: "Members are motioned to approve the Financial Accounts 2013 as presented by the Acting Treasurer." Motion 3 is approved by members.
  18. As Acting Treasurer, the Secretary General calls attention to the fact that 56 members, who have properly resigned their membership effective at the end of 2013 or at the end of earlier years, still owe dues to the Association. The Officers recommend that these members be given the courtesy of the Association setting aside their unpaid dues if, after the second payment reminder, they still chose not to settle. Motion 4 reads: "Members are motioned to set aside, with effect on the 10th day after the 2nd payment reminder, any unpaid dues of the former members as listed (below)". Motion 4 is approved by members.
  19. Noting the provisions of Article 3, Section 1, of our Articles of Association, the Secretary General presents the 2014-2016 slate of Officers for appointment and invites each of the Officer candidates to brief introduce her/himself. On the slate are Alexander Radzyner (incumbent) for Treasurer and Amal Safi, Darshana Towakel, Gil Shidlo, Ivan Sobol, Josef Perrez, Nurit Soni, Raffaele Petrone and Susan Brown-Shafii all for Events Officers.
  20. Motion 5 is put to a vote: "Members are motioned to appoint the Officers for the 2014-2016 term of service." Motion 5 is approved by members.
  21. The Secretary General administers the Oath of Office, asking the new Officers whether they respond in the affirmative to the following statement: "I do solemnly swear to faithfully execute the duties of my office, to protect and promote the interests of the School in Switzerland and abroad, and to uphold the Articles of Association and any acts based thereon." All new Officers respond in the affirmative. The Secretary General congratulates Alexander Radzyner on this appointment as the Treasurer of the Association and Amal Safi, Darshana Towakel, Gil Shidlo, Ivan Sobol, Josef Perrez, Nurit Soni, Raffaele Petrone and Susan Brown-Shafii to their appointment as Events Officers of the Association.
  22. The General Meeting continues into the lunch.
  23. The Secretary General outlines the proposed charitable foundation. The aim of the foundation is to use income from its assets to fund scholarships and research grants to Swiss citizens and permanent residents tenable at the LSE. The foundation would also directly support the School with funds given to it by donors for such a purpose.
  24. The initial assets of the foundation will be CHF 50'000 or more. Indeed, the CHF 50'000 target was reached at the General Meeting owing to a leadership gift of CHF 5'000 by a second Officer of the Association. It is projected that within a 20-year period, the foundation assets will surpass CHF 250'000, which would generate income for scholarships and research grants of up to CHF 13'000 annually.
  25. The foundation would be led by a board whose members serve for 10 years respectively, in case of the accredited representatives of the Swiss LSE Alumni Association, for 2 years. Indefeasible responsibilites of the foundation board include the granting of scholarships and research grants, the mandating of the management of the assets and the enactment of regulations in regard to the organisation and management of the foundation.
  26. In a standing order, scholarships and research grants for a single recipient will be limited to a maximum of CHF 4'000 per academic session. Scholarships and research grants will be granted for one academic session in the first instance with the possibility for one anew to cover a second academic session.
  27. The Secretary General outlines the lengthy process of formalising the foundation including applications to the tax authorities for preliminary and permanent tax exemptions. If the General Meeting approves Motion 6, the Secretary General will finalize and submit the documentation to the tax authorities.
  28. After questions by members and answers by the Secretary General, Motion 6 is put to a vote: "Members are motioned to co-establish the LSE Alumnae and Alumni Foundation of Switzerland under a deed, acknowledging the gift from the Secretary General of CHF 5'000 respectively CHF 10'000 towards its establishment, acknowledging any other gifts from members of CHF 5'000 or more towards its establishment, and contributing CHF 35'000 of its own assets as set aside under the 'Second Decade Campaign' scholarship endowment. For the Swiss Confederation and the several cantons to grant the Foundation tax-exemption, members accept that the final text of the deed may slightly vary from the draft version without substantially changing the general aim of the Foundation." Motion 6 is approved by members. The Secretary General congratulates members on initiating the establishment of a charitable foundation.
  29. The Secretary General thanks members for their continued support and confidence in the Officers and ends the General Meeting at 14:15.

 
 
 
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