Statutes of the European Center for Kurdish Studies
Berlin Society for the Advancement of Kurdish Studies (registered association)
Kurdology or Kurdish Studies within the meaning of these statutes refers to the systematic examination of social scientific as well as philological, historical, and artistic questions. It includes the scholarly examination of topics that concern the historical Kurdish settlement region (Kurdistan) as well as the Kurdish migration, in particular to Europe.
The purpose of the European Center for Kurdish Studies—Berlin Society for the Advancement of Kurdish Studies (registered association) is the promotion of Kurdish Studies, especially in cooperation with universities and other academic institutions. To the extent possible under the prevailing conditions in the Middle East, the ECKS particularly seeks to cooperate with partners in the countries of origin of the Kurds and gives special weight to integrating issues related to gender as well as to the analysis of the human-rights situation.
On the basis of this scholarly inventory, the ECKS seeks to strengthen civil-society and democratic structures in the countries of origin of the Kurds and in the diaspora. It therefore strives to promote development cooperation—particularly in the areas of youth and education, women and education, gender equality, and environmental protection—as well as international understanding. In this manner the ECKS seeks to support the search for solutions in the Middle Eastern conflict regions and contribute to domestic peace and understanding between established and immigrant populations in the Federal Republic of Germany.
The European Center for Kurdish Studies—Berlin Society for the Advancement of Kurdish Studies (registered association) is committed to exchanges beyond disciplinary boundaries and national borders and between people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Its active members do not pursue any party-political goals in their work for the ECKS.
§ 1 Name, domicile, fiscal year
- The association bears the name »Europäisches Zentrum für Kurdische Studien/Berliner Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Kurdologie e. V.« [European Center for Kurdish Studies—Berlin Society for the Advancement of Kurdish Studies (registered association)].
- The association is based in Berlin.
- The fiscal year is the calendar year.
- The association is entered in the register of associations.
§ 2 Purpose of the association
- The association has the objective of promoting the research in and teaching of Kurdish Studies. It fulfills this purpose by
- creating a specialized library for Kurdish Studies, which shall be open to an interested public;
- supporting young scholars by awarding research grants in accordance with § 3 No. 44 of the German Income Tax Act [Einkommensteuergesetz];
- carrying out research projects, in particular fieldwork and qualitative studies, in the Kurdish settled regions and in the diaspora;
- continued publication of the academic series »Beiträge zur Kurdologie« [»Contributions to Kurdology«] and the academic journal »Kurdische Studien« [»Kurdish Studies«];
- carrying out conferences, workshops, podium discussions, and seminars that are open to an interested public;
- carrying out information sessions and making informational materials available to disseminators in media, education, administration, and politics.
- Furthermore the association has the objective of promoting public artistic events related to Kurdistan or Kurds. To this end it organizes
- theatrical performances,
- and readings
that are open to an interested public.
- Furthermore the association has the objective of promoting development cooperation in the countries of origin of the Kurds. It fulfills this purpose by:
- developing education and training centers, in particular for adolescents and women;
- carrying out activities in the area of environmental protection, for example, information campaigns, projects for waste removal, greening projects, and the like.
- Finally the association has the objective of promoting international understanding. This particularly pertains to understanding between Kurds and Arabs in the countries of origin of the Kurds. It fulfills this purpose by:
- carrying out activities that help the Arab/Turkish majority population in the countries of origin of the Kurds understand the living conditions of the Kurds and vice versa; these activities may include information sessions, publications, or films;
- the explicit inclusion of Kurds and Arabs in development cooperation projects (see above).
§ 3 Non-profit status
- The association pursues objectives that are exclusively and directly for the public benefit in accordance with the section »Tax-privileged Purposes« [»Steuerbegünstigte Zwecke«] of the tax code. The association is a charitable organization; it does not primarily pursue its own financial interests. The association is not intended to be a profitable business. All resources may only be used for objectives set out in these statutes.
§ 4 Volunteerism
- The board of directors performs its executive responsibilities on a voluntary basis. Neither the board of directors nor other members of the association will receive general allowances from the association’s resources.
- No person may benefit from expenditures that are contrary to the purpose of the association or from disproportionately high compensation.
- If the association finances contracts for services or employment to prepare or carry out projects, or if it awards grants or teaching assignments, pays honoraria for lectures, applies for external funding in the area of human resources, etc., members and board members may also be considered as a matter of principle. If commissions are awarded to board members, the board member to be commissioned is ineligible to vote on the decision.
§ 5 Funding
- The association is funded by fees from members and sponsoring members, donations, external funding, and other contributions.
- In derogation of § 12, the amount of membership and sponsoring membership fees can be amended by a simple majority of the general assembly. Membership fees are due on the first day of each month and are to be paid to the association’s account.
- The association accepts donations from natural and legal persons as well as contributions from government and church organizations provided there are no associated conditions that are incompatible with the objectives of the association.
§ 6 Membership
- Full members
- Any natural person of legal age who recognizes the objectives of the association and is willing and qualified to substantively promote the purpose of the organization, especially through volunteer work, may become a member of the association.
- In order to acquire membership, the prospective member is to inform the board of directors in writing of his or her intention to join. Membership, which is decided upon by a simple majority of the board of directors, begins with the confirmation of admission by the board and the receipt of the first membership fees. A refusal of membership by the board may not be contested; there is no right to admission.
- Full members are eligible to submit proposals and to vote in the general assembly in all matters concerning the association provided that they have been a member of the association for at least six months. They have both the right to elect and run for an office, which is also tied to at least six months of membership. They will receive an agenda for the general assembly and the protocols thereof, the board’s written annual report, which is comprised of an activity report and a financial report, as well as the budget. They may access all of the board’s records.
- As of January 1, 2006, the membership fees for new members are 6 euros per month.
- Sponsoring membership
- Any natural or legal person who recognizes the goals of the association can become a sponsoring member.
- Sponsoring membership begins with a written application and requires regular payment of contributions.
- Sponsoring members have a right to speak and submit proposals to the general assembly in all matters concerning the association; they do not have the right to vote in the general assembly nor do they have the right to elect or run for an office. They receive an agenda for the general assembly and the protocols thereof, the board’s written annual report, which is comprised of an activity report and a financial report, as well as the budget.
- As of January 1, 2006, the sponsoring-membership fees for new members are at least 10 euros per month.
- Unless pursing the purpose of the association in accordance with § 2, members do not act on behalf of the association.
- Membership is terminated by death, resignation, deletion from the membership list, or expulsion.
- Resignation must be provided to the board in writing and takes effect once a statement to this effect has been submitted.
- The board may delete a member from the membership list if a member owes three months in fees and does not fulfill his or her obligations within one month of being sent a reminder.
- A member can be expelled by a simple majority of the board of directors if he or she has violated the statutes or if his or her behavior has been detrimental to the association. The board notifies the member of the expulsion in writing. If the member appeals the expulsion within a month in writing to the board, a simple majority of the next general assembly will make a decision about the expulsion. Until then the membership is suspended.
- Former members have no claim to a refund of contributions paid or to other benefits from the association’s assets.
§ 7 Organs of the association
- The organs of the association are
- the general assembly,
- the board of directors.
§ 8 General assembly
- The general assembly is the supreme decision-making body. It determines the guidelines for the association’s work within the framework of the association’s purpose as stipulated in the statutes.
- The general assembly has the following tasks:
- adoption of the final agenda,
- selection of a minute taker,
- selection of the board of directors,
- receipt of the board of directors’ annual report,
- approval of the actions of the board of directors,
- if circumstances require, the selection of an auditor in accordance with § 11,
- setting the amount of membership and sponsoring-membership fees,
- decisions on amendments to the statutes if not otherwise stipulated in § 12 and decisions on the dissolution of the association,
- decisions on a member’s appeal of expulsion,
- decisions on proposals by members and by the board of directors,
- recommendations on the association’s program of work and development plan.
- The general assembly meets once a year for a regular session. All full members and all sponsoring members will receive notification in writing from the board of directors along with the provisional agenda at least one month in advance.
- An extraordinary general assembly may be called at the request of the board of directors or of a third of the members. An agenda explaining the necessity of the request should be included in the proposal for an extraordinary general assembly. In urgent cases, the notification period can be reduced to one week.
- Proposals from members for the agenda must be submitted to the board of directors in writing at least three days before the session.
- The general assembly constitutes a quorum if at least one third of the voting members are present. Voting rights are not transferable.
- If a quorum is not present, the board of directors will notify members in writing within three days of a new general assembly, which will take place within the following two weeks. This general assembly constitutes a quorum in any case and will follow the previous agenda.
- The session is led by the chairperson or the deputy chairperson. If they are unable to do so, the general assembly will select a chair for the meeting.
- Unless the statutes stipulate otherwise, the general assembly passes resolutions by simple majority. In the event of a tie, the chair of the meeting casts the deciding vote.
- The general assembly’s resolutions are to be recorded in a written protocol that is to be signed by the member selected as a minute taker at the beginning of the assembly and by the chair of the meeting.
- In urgent cases a resolution may be passed at the behest of the board of directors without an assembly. In such cases, the majority of voting members must agree to the proposal in writing within an appropriate period of time that shall not be less than two weeks. The date of the end of the voting period must be stated. Votes are to be submitted to the board. The board will count the votes and communicate the result in writing.
§ 9 Board of directors
- The board of directors is responsible for all of the association’s affairs unless the statutes delegate them to another organ of the association. The board is responsible, in particular, for the following:
- Drawing up the budget and the annual report (comprised of activity and financial reports),
- preparing for and convening the general assembly as well as drawing up the agenda,
- implementing the resolutions of the general assembly,
- making decisions about the program of work,
- securing financing for the association’s objectives,
- making decisions about the use of funds raised unless this is stipulated in the budget or by external funding sources,
- concluding contracts and cooperation agreements,
- appointing members to the board of trustees,
- making decisions about admissions and expulsions as well as deletions from the membership list,
- hiring and dismissing the association’s employees; if board members are also employees of the association, they are not eligible to vote in decisions that affect them personally.
- The board of directors is comprised of a total of three members who must be full members of the association.
- Selection of the board of directors
- The board of directors is elected to a five year term by a simple majority of the general assembly and remains in office until the election of the new chairperson by the new board of directors. A majority must be reached in no more than three rounds of voting during a general assembly. If a new board of directors cannot be elected, the old board will notify members within three days of a new session, which will take place within two weeks.
- Individual members of the board of directors or the entire board may be voted out of office by a two-thirds majority of the voting members of the general assembly provided that members were given due notice of this agenda item. Proposals to dismiss board members are not permissible during an ongoing session. In the case of a recall, new members may be elected at the same general assembly in up to three rounds of voting by a simple majority of members.
- If an elected member of the board vacates the office due to death, recall, or resignation, the board may name a replacement member for the remaining term of office.
- If three or more seats on the board are vacated by death, recall, or resignation, members must be notified within a month of a general assembly for which a new election is an agenda item.
- The board runs the ongoing business of the association. The individual board members are assigned areas of responsibility, which may be exchanged or altered during the term in office. Members are to be informed of any changes. Obligatory posts are those of chairperson and treasurer. The treasurer is also the deputy to the chairperson.
- The chairperson and treasurer are authorized in cooperation with each other or with another member of the board to represent the association and to sign on its behalf. The treasurer must be present for financial decisions.
- The treasurer regularly reports to the board about financial developments. He or she will coordinate the preparation of a financial report for the previous fiscal year and a budget for the coming fiscal year.
- The board of directors will meet at least once a month. Board members are to be given sufficient notice of the appointed time. The agenda will be set prior to the beginning of the session. The board constitutes a quorum when at least half of the acting board members are present. Decisions are made by a simple majority. In the case of a stalemate, the chairperson casts the deciding vote.
- The board may delegate specific tasks to full members and build committees of board members and ordinary members for specific tasks.
- The board may appoint a full-time managing director to conduct ongoing business and may assign tasks to him/her. The managing director may also be a board member. In this case, he/she is not eligible to vote on the hiring decision.
§ 10 Auditing of accounts
- The general assembly has the right to appoint an independent auditor for a period of time that it shall determine.
- The auditor may not be a member of the board of directors or entrusted with business by the board.
§ 11 Amendments to the statutes
- The statutes may be amended by a resolution of the general assembly if members have been given sufficient notice of the agenda item. A two-thirds majority of voting members is required. The notification must include the text of the old and the planned version of the relevant article. Proposals to amend the statutes are not permitted during an ongoing general assembly.
- Paragraph 1 also applies to amendments to the purpose of the association in derogation from Article 33 Paragraph 1 Sentence 2 of the German Civil Code [BGB].
- Amendments to the statutes which are required by regulatory, judicial, or financial authorities on formal grounds can be carried out by the board of directors. The members are to be promptly informed of this.
- The board of directors may also undertake amendments to the statutes in other urgent cases. The members are to be promptly informed of this in writing. If a member raises an objection to the amendment in writing within one month, the amendment to the statutes will be voted upon at the next general assembly according to the stipulations of Paragraph 1. If no member raises an objection, the amendment to the statutes takes effect upon the expiration of the objection period.
§ 12 Dissolution
- The association may be dissolved by a resolution of the general assembly which requires a two-thirds majority of voting members, provided sufficient notice has been given of this agenda item. Proposals to dissolve the association are not permitted during an ongoing general assembly.
- If a quorum is not present, the general assembly may be postponed for no more than three weeks, but in derogation to § 8 Paragraph 7, the decision to dissolve the association may only be made by a two-thirds majority if at least one third of the association’s members are present. In the case that a quorum is again not present, the board must convene an extraordinary general assembly within three weeks, which will constitute a quorum regardless of the number of full voting members present and can dissolve the association with a two-thirds majority. The decision about the dissolution of the association must be the only agenda item of the session.
- Should the association become unable to act, with the result that contrary to the statutes, no regular general assembly has taken place in at least four years, any member may call for the dissolution of the association.
- In the case of the dissolution or suspension of the association or the discontinuation of its previous purpose, its assets will be transferred to the German branch of Amnesty International, which is to use these assets for direct and charitable purposes. The association’s library holdings will be transferred to a body governed by public law, to be determined by the board of directors.
- Unless the general assembly resolves otherwise, the last acting board of directors is responsible for conducting the dissolution.
§ 13 Association law and jurisdiction
- In addition to these statutes, the legal provisions for incorporated associations in the Federal Republic of Germany apply.
- The district court in which the association is entered in the register of associations has jurisdiction over all disputes.
- These statutes were adopted on September 1, 1999 and amended on December 31, 1999, on February 27, 2006, and on March 23, 2011.