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Minutes of 2015 AGM (Manila)

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Annual General Meeting
Asia Pacific Writers and Translators
3:41-4:22 pm, Friday, 23rd October 2015
Auditorium, Institute of Physics, University of the Philippines
Minutes recorded by Qaisra Shahraz

Present (37 members and observers):
Gernino H. Abad, Sally Breen, Jane Camens, David Carlin, Thomas David Chaves, Isagani R. Cruz, Jose Dalisay (Director), Karlo Antonio G. David, Franaz Delgado, Geolette Esguerra, Dai Fan (Director), Steven P.C. Fernandez, Kate Griffin, Robin Hemley (Director), Hiromitsu Koiso, Gerry Los Banos, Beatriz Nicole C. Mariano, Bonnie McDougall, Pranesh Prasad, Francesca Rendle-Short, Ryan Pesigan Reyes, Cheryl Robson, Neville Sarony, Angel Lan Sarony, Timothy Sanchez, Qaisra Shahraz (Director), Sarah Lumba-Tajonera, Ravi Shankar, Ian Smith, Iwan Sulistiawan, Tse Hao Guang, Runar Vignisson, Nury Vittachi (President/Chair), Xu Xi (Director). Apology: Shirley Lee (Director).

1. Meeting Opened at 3:41PM by Nury Vittachi (NV).
2. NV called for acceptance of previous minutes. Accepted without objection.
3. Recognising the informal nature of APWT (prior to incorporation), non-members were also allowed to sit in through the meeting.
4. Finances
a) Jane Camens (JC) reported APWT’s finances. In the LEAP+ Paypal account (effectively APWT’s working account) APWT had US$6,372.42 @ 23 October 2015. Of this, US$2,170 came from memberships, the remainder from conference fees and workshops. Additional (cash) payments taken from the conference should bring APWT’s balance to around US$7,500.
LEAP+ is an acronym for ‘Literary Events Asia Pacific Plus’. It’s the name of APWT’s magazine (
b) Banking Issues: JC & NV reported that, due to insufficient commercial activity on our HSBC account in Hong Kong, the Bank has deactivated APWT’s account. NV has not been able to link the HSBC account directly to Paypal. Consequently, all payments to and from APWT are made the LEAP+ Paypal account, linked to an (AU$) account in Australia. It has been financially unviable to transfer the small amounts of money that APWT receives from the Paypal account to the HK account without incurring prohibitive bank charges and currency exchange fees. JC is not a signatory on the HSBC account so has been unable to make payments from the HSBC account.
c) Banking Solution: The HSBC account will be closed by the three signatories—Nury, Xu Xi and Shirley Lee. JC will open a new APWT bank account in Australia that will link directly to Paypal. APWT must first become a legal entity in Australia.
5. Registration in Australia
a) JC called for a resolution from members enabling her to register APWT as an incorporated association in Australia. Seconded by Xu Xi. The motion was carried.
b) JC recommended that if registration is financially and logistically prohibitive APWT ‘embed’ within an Australian University. Cheryl Robson advised against ‘embedding’ APWT in any one university, but instead to partner with universities, and, or, other organisations to ensure independence. JC called for approval to investigate a relationship (initially) with Griffith University and Monash University. Neville Sarony proposed this motion. Seconded by Pranesh Prasad. Passed without objection.

6. Membership Fees
a) JC proposed that while APWT confirms its registration in Australia membership fees be abolished. Seconded by NV. Passed without objection.
NB: The membership fee ‘amnesty’ is applicable from the date of the AGM (23 October 2015). All recurring fee payments after that date are to be refunded until a new standardised fee structure is decided.
7. Definition of ‘Writers’ to include Screen/Script Writers.
a) NV noted a need to widen the definition of ‘writer’ to include other genres, including screen/script writers.
b) JC mentioned an interest from the Asia Pacific Film Festival and awards.
8. UNESCO definition of ‘Asia Pacific’
a) NV read out the definition of countries listed in the UNESCO list. See the list on this link.
b) JC and NV recommended that we follow the UNESCO model.
c) NV called for any objections. There were none.
9. (Re) Election of the Board of Directors
a) NV described the role of directors, including exploring future funding.
b) Nomination of New Board Members

o Sally Breen (present): JC nominated and Qaisra Shahraz seconded. Sally talked about her role at Griffith University in the Creative Writing department. She highlighted the advantages of APWT having a formal connection with the University, particularly in terms of the potential for funding.
o Mridula Nath Chakraborty (absent): Jane Camens nominated and Xu Xi seconded.
o Herman Van Eyken (absent): Director of Griffith University’s film school. Nominated by JC, and seconded by Neville Sarony, but the nomination was not acknowledged. Herman did not accept nomination. 
c) Nury Vittachi called for any other new nominations. For the purposes of purposes of formal registration in Queensland, the Board unanimously elected Jane Camens as Secretary and Ian Geoffrey Smith as Treasurer.

Neville Sarony proposed the existing Board and new nominated members be elected. Seconded by Pranesh Prasad.New Board elected without objection. 

ii. The 2015-2016 Executive Board is now comprised of the following members: Sally Breen; Mridula Nath Chakraborty; Jose Dalisay; Dai Fan, Robin Hemley; Shirley Lee (in absentia); Qaisra Shahraz; Nury Vittachi, and Xu Xi. See Profiles of the Executive Members. Secretary: Jane Camens; Treasurer: Ian Smith

10. Review of the previous year
a) LEAP+: JC paid for the start of our new LEAP+ Magazine, begun on the recommendation of Robin Hemley. This achieved UNESCO funding for 2015 (only). With this funding we were able to produce a special hard copy Filipino edition in conjunction with the Manila conference. The online version can be accessed through this link
b) JC called for a vote of thanks to Sarge Lacuesta (for production of the Filipino issue), and also Manisha Anjali Kumar for finding and uploading the magazine’s monthly Events and Opportunities updates.
c) NV discussed the World Readers Award. He mentioned the “golden egg event” and writers cordially invited to it. Also the award for the published novel and the unpublished novel. Short-listing in November. First award presentation in March 2016.
11. Conference Plans for 2016
a) Next conference in Guangzhou, China, 25-27 November 2016, hosted by our Director Dai Fan at her centre for English-language Creative Writing, School of Foreign Languages, Sun Yat-Sen University. Dai Fan cordially welcomed everyone to China at the next conference.
b) JC spoke of the plan (to be confirmed) to hold a conference in Jakarta in March 2017 in conjunction with the 2017 ASEAN Literature Festival. However, a university partner has yet to be identified and the invitation confirmed. Alternatively, or in addition to, a 2016 conference might be feasible near the end of the year in Malaysia in conjunction with Monash University. A tentative plan is afoot to hold the 2018 conference in Brisbane, Australia, in conjunction with the Asia Pacific Triennial and Asia Pacific Film Festival.
12. Appreciation of Service
a) Butch (Jose Dalisay) presented Jane Camens with a certificate of thanks from the board and other members. Commending her on her brilliant work for APWT over the years.
b) Jane Camens: thanked the Manila Conference hosts, Butch, Lily Rose Tope and Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo (Jing) for hosting a terrific conference.
c) Nury Vittachi: Thanked all the people who helped the conference including the transport supervised by Gerry.
13. New Assistant Executive Director
JC flagged that, thanks to Mridula Nath Chakraborty, we might have found an assistant executive director willing to work alongside JC for a year or so before possibly taking over the role. The recommended candidate is Sanaz Fotouhi. See Sanaz’s profile.

Meeting closed at 4:22PM

Minutes recorded by Qaisra Shahraz. Late (approved) additions and amendments by JC.

post Board meeting