Dear Members of ISHMap,
As you are all aware, the planned AGM of the International Society for the History of the Map, had to be cancelled for substantial problems regarding the confirmation of membership status. The lack of information on membership made it impossible for the Secretary to confirm who had voting rights, and because of this constitutional problem the Chair had to postpone the meeting until the problem is solved. Members of the Society were all notified of the cancellation of the official meeting, at the same time, ISHMap members were asked to help Council in finding solutions.
Unfortunately, the situation has not improved since this summer, and ISHMap Council is most disappointed to report you that we could not solve the problems. We sincerely apologise for the unfortunate situation and we ask for your understanding. We are an international society and Council, apart from sending polite requests, has no power to influence matters caused by a single person who does not want to cooperate (for more see note below). Although ISHMap Council members are frustrated to see the inefficiency of its speciall efforts, we think that the control over a bank account does not necessary involve control over people in an international scholarly community. Now the ISHMap Council is forced to turn to its members and all who is interested in the succes of our society. However, we agree that the reasons for the foundation of ISHM still prevail.
For the postponement of the AGM there was no official election this year, so elected members of the Council are still responsible for the Society.
Considering the situation we propose the renewal of ISHMap as a more inclusive, international scholarly society - how it was the idea from the beginning. To continue more effectively we need a much simpler organizational structure and a different legal status. As the most urgent task is to elect new leaders, who are committed both to the original aims of ISHMap and the transformation and renewal.
ISHMap Council, acting as a body to arrange the election, proposes the online election of the new leaders. Voting rights will be given to all how demonstrate their commitment to our aims and who agree with the principle of the proposed action plan. Shortly all members will receive a short questionairre and practical information regarding nomination and voting procedure.
Please, consider staying with us - and help the Society to continue as an independent and democratic international scholarly society.
We must inform you that the recent constitutional and legal problems of ISHMap were caused by one Trustee, Leif Isaksen. As the Treasurer of the society, first he could or would not do his job, later refused the assistance offered by society officers, in the end he did not communicate with other Trustees. Isaksen, who is the only person with access to the society's bank account in the UK, did not not send the Webmaster the information necessary for updating the online payment function, the PayPal widget, on our website. From January 2017 Members of the society has been unable to use the PayPal widget and could not pay membership fee or subscribe to the journal. Despite repeated requests, the Treasurer did not offer any solution to the problem. A the same time, he distorted the facts, misled people and pretended he worked for the society. As a result of his deconstruction activity the society was not only paralyzed, but due to desinformation originating from the same source, Council became divided and could not react properly.