SEG General Assembly (January 2008)
With the SEG expanding at a phenomenal rate worldwide, new challenges arise in offering services to some 30,000 members, with more than half of them living outside the U.S.A. Another factor that the SEG executives are looking at is the fact that more than half the members of SEG are Associate members rather than Active members. In order to brain storm on issues currently relevant to the SEG, Fred Aminzadeh asked Past President Leon Thomsen to organize the first General Assembly in Tulsa. The invitation letter stipulated: “The General Assembly will bring together, for the first time in a working session, the chief officers (i.e., the President and/or President-Elect), of the 45 Associated Societies and Sections of the SEG to devise a plan whereby the SEG may better support its constituent societies, and have more productive interactions with affiliated and sister societies.”
The General Assembly consisted of about 80 delegates representing 14 countries. Some of the delegates had traveled three days to get to Tulsa. Canada was well represented: there was myself as Vice President speaking for all the CSEG executive and members, Larry Lines was active within the discussions as SEG President Elect, and finally Brian Russell as Director of the SEG Foundation Board and Past President provided much input.
The CSEG (Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists) is known as an “Associated” society to the SEG (Society of Exploration Geophysicists) based in Tulsa, OK. Another Canadian society associated with the SEG is the KEGS (Canadian Exploration Geophysical Society) based in Ontario, and more active on the mining side of our business (http://www.kegsonline.org/).
The SEG is ruled by its Council: “The Council shall be the governing body of the Society and, subject to the provisions of the Constitution and Bylaws, shall have full control and management of the affairs and funds of the Society.” Representatives on the Council sitting once a year at the time of the annual conference and exhibition are either section representatives, or district representatives: “Active Members who are not represented by Sections will be represented on the Council of the Society by District Representatives.” The Council consists in 45 Sections represented by 58 representatives (the CSEG has four representatives) and 12 Districts represented by 24 representatives. The current list of voting representatives on the Council stands at over 80.
Talking of the worldwide SEG, do you know that the SEG has grown at an impressive rate over the last few years, and has now almost 30,000 members, more than half of them are from outside the USA? The membership has doubled in the last ten years, with most of the new members coming from outside the USA/Canada. This has created a new society. In order to serve those members, the SEG Executives are looking at ways to sustain the society while offering the best service to all members. It might lead to a revamped organization . Underway is a new web site that has been in the works for many months already. At the time you read this column, the new SEG web site should have come to life (www.seg.org). It is a US$2M investment, and will unfold over the next many months. It will be one of the means to better serve the members everywhere around the world.
Under the theme “Redefining the Relationship: Forging a Strategy for the Next Decade and Beyond”, the goal of the General Assembly was ambitious and was outlined as follows:
“This session, with participation of SEG Executive Committee members, SEG senior staff, and SEG Committee Chairmen will address the issues. In the process, we will examine the current state of the relationship between SEG and the associated societies, identify current benefits and programs for sections with ideas for additional benefits and how to maximize the mutual benefits of affiliation and cooperation, moving forward.”
The discussions took place over two full days on January 27 and 28. The two-day meeting was kicked off by having each country/region do a short presentation of the state of the affairs in their local society. My presentation covered the basics: overview of our society, outline of the finances, review of both technical and social activities, and a list of some current issues or undertakings like the implementation of a new member database to better serve our members, and the survey that we issued in December 2007 and will compile the results of in early 2008. The CSEG is probably the strongest affiliated society of the SEG, and the power of our volunteer force was stressed. The Nigeria society is the youngest having received its certificate from the SEG at the General Assembly.
We started out reviewing a number of proposed topics for discussion:
- Constitution and bylaws for sections and associated societies
- Conventions, trade shows, conferences and exhibitions
- Professional development/ continuing education
- Foundation programs
- Student affairs
- Publications, co-publishing possibilities...
- SEG Online, hosting associated societies’ websites...
- Membership, joint memberships...
- Employment support
- Strategic planning
- SEG governance
- Budgets and finance
The final areas of discussion of greatest interest to the majority were:
- Nature of Joint Relations (“tight” vs. “loose”)
- Joint Membership Issues
- Umbrella Foundations/Fundraising
- On-Line Collaboration
- Joint Publication Issues
Many valuable recommendations were formulated. As the recommendations are just that ‘recommendations’, they will be reviewed and I trust many will be deemed valuable and will be implemented. As the face of SEG is changing, you may expect to see many changes take place over the months and the years to come. Keep an eye on www.seg.org. If you have any suggestion or would like to discuss particular issues, the CSEG and the SEG are listening. Contact one of the executives.