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The Council of the IGS

JZ_HeadshotDear Members of the IGS,

The IGS is not a society of societies; it is a society of singular members. Let me clarify this because it is crucial to how the IGS operates. The member- ship of the majority of our sister International Societies includes “national member societies,” which in turn select delegates that represent them in the council that governs the International Society. That is, they follow a U.N.-like type of representation where the communication between the singular members and the international society should be channelled through the national societies. Instead, the membership of the IGS includes “singular members” (individual or corporate) who directly select delegates that repre- sent them in the Council that governs the IGS. While national member soci- eties of other International Societies may have singular members that opt not to belong to the international organi- zation, such a concept does not exist in the IGS. That is, all members of our IGS chapters are also members, by definition, of the International Geosynthetics Society. The unique structure of the IGS, as designed by the founding parents of our International Society, has fostered rapid communication of our technologies and rich cross- fertilization of ideas.

One of the most definitive occasions when the direct communication between our singular members and the Inter- national mother ship crystalizes is for the selection of the IGS Council. Every other year, half of the members of the IGS Council are elected for a four year-term. And you, the IGS member, are given the privilege of casting a direct vote to select the representatives that will continue to define the direction of our International Society. This oppor- tunity is approaching, as you will soon be asked to cast your vote to elect 8 seats for the IGS Council that have vacated for the 2012 – 2016 term. Please take the time to review the background and ideas of the candidates for the IGS Council, which appear in pages 3 of this issue of IGSNews.

Direct voting of IGS members has historically led to a good balance of constituencies in the IGS Council. As an example, Tables 1 and 2 show the make-up of the current IGS Council, illustrating that the current process has led to a balanced geographical and professional presence in the IGS Council. The IGS council meets typically once a year on the occasion of a major geosynthetics conference. While the decisions that define the direction of the IGS are taken during the meeting of the council, much effort goes into the council activities that take place within the multiple operating units that are related to the IGS Council. Figure 1 shows the current structure of the operating units of the IGS council, showing the flow of work that takes place during a typical Geosynthetics Conference that includes a meeting of the IGS Council. As shown in the figure, Operational Task Forces (e.g. Conference Re- sources, Membership Task Forces) and the Financial Committee provide input to the IGS Officers, who typically meet during a full day preceding the Conference. The IGS Officers are IGS council members holding the positions of President, Vice-president, Immediate Past-President, Secretary and Treasurer. Following the IGS Officers meet- ing, a full day of Council Committee meetings is organized. The Council Committees (Education, Communications, Corporate Members, and Regional Activities) are the “working arms” of the IGS Council and where much of the actual effort takes place. A full day IGS Council meeting, involving plenary meetings of the 24-member Council, takes place typically one day before the Conference, and it is here that the decisions of the course of the IGS are made. These meetings lead to a number of immediate action items that are articulated during Committee Chair meetings and Task Force meetings that typically take place now during the Geosynthetics Conference. The IGS Conferences are also the forum for one of the multiple meetings of the Technical Committees (see IGSNews Vol 26 No. 3 November 2010) that take place throughout the year.

In summary, much of the course of the IGS depends of your choice of the right candidates for the new IGS Council. I encourage you to take full advantage of your voice as an IGS member to select the leaders that will form the IGS Council. Consequently, please review the profile of your candidates and when you receive an email with your cre- dentials as IGS member enabling you to cast your vote: Do vote!

We look forward to the working with the upcoming generation of geosynthetics professionals.

All best regards,

Jorge G. Zornberg, Ph.D., P.E.
IGS President
tel: +1(512) 232 3595
Skype ID: jorgezor
Web site: