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AIA Bylaws Amendment 12-B: Authority to Form an International Region
A message from the International Region Task Group
The International Region Task Group (IR-TG) urges delegates to the AIA 2012 National Convention to support Bylaws Amendment 12-B. The IR-TG is dedicated to completing its mission of giving shape, form, and substance to a new International Region for the ultimate consideration of the AIA Board of Directors.
About the Bylaws proposal:
If adopted, this proposal will amend the Institute’s Bylaws to authorize the formation of a new International Region. The International Region will cover all geographic areas outside the United States and its territories and possessions.
About the International Region Task Group (IR-TG):
The IR-TG came into existence as a recommendation of the Institute Secretary (with the strong endorsement of the AIA International Committee Advisory Group) for the advancement and development of the proposed International Region. AIA President Jeff Potter, FAIA, approved the IC-AG recommendation and established a three pronged charge for the Task Group:
• Identify the broad benefits of this step for the Institute and its members everywhere, for broadcast through various AIA communications vehicles.
• Outline a business plan, key Bylaws provisions, and recommendations for the constitution of an International Region Board of Directors.
• Develop plans and recommendations for the eventual election of the AIA International Director, in accordance with recommended Bylaws provisions.
The IR-TG is inclusive in its composition. It consists of 16 global AIA community members: representatives of current and emerging international components; representatives of the currently unassigned international community; representatives of two domestic regions having established offshore relationships (including one with which several international components are associated); an Associate representative; a representative of the Council of Architectural Component Executives (CACE); two members of the International Committee Advisory Group (one of whom serves as the Chair); and the current Institute Secretary and International Director. The IR-TG is consulting throughout its deliberations with the Institute’s Office of General Counsel.
The IR-TG is already at work
Although much of the detailed work of the IR-TG will occur once the Bylaws authorization is in place, the Task Group is aggressively looking at all three aspects of its basic charge now. To heighten its efficiency, the IR-TG subdivided into three teams reflecting its group charge—Communications, Business Plan, and International Director Selection. Each team has been actively engaged in intensive e-mail and teleconference discussions, reporting back to the entire Task Group during the IR-TG conference calls.
The IR-TG is proving to be an effective forum for the discovery of formational challenges and their potential solutions. Through its work, this group is also validating the case for creating an International Region in terms of value and benefits to AIA members everywhere.
• Generally speaking, establishing the International Region will respond to globalization’s significant influence on the profession of architecture, and will support the many AIA members who now live and work in locations worldwide. More specifically, the approximately 2,400 overseas members will have improved access to:
— Continuing education opportunities, along with new Region Honors & Awards programs, and collective events including Region Conferences, all geared for international practice—as well as providing additional means of networking with colleagues and allied professionals
— Utilizing both existing and newly created communications channels, facilitated networking and relationship building opportunities among international components, and enhanced access to tools, resources and other forms of administrative assistance for currently unassigned members
— Support and encouragement for and mentorship of emerging components drawing on the experience of established international components...along with more structured access to AIA National Headquarters and the entire body of AIA membership.
• The new International Region will be a major vehicle for raising the profile of the AIA around the world, enhancing AIA stature and recognition in the global community. This expanded awareness will benefit AIA members living and working overseas—particularly those currently unassigned members in markets in which AIA penetration is in its infancy—as well as benefitting U.S. based members currently working in or seeking access to international markets.
• Except for changes in the administrative affiliations, existing relationships between domestic components and their international “cousins” will be not be stifled by the creation of an International Region. On the contrary, it is hoped that the formation of the International Region will provide an open, organized way of bringing more domestic and offshore components together with structured opportunities for mutual cultural, educational, and business enrichment.
• The International Region will launch only when the AIA Board of Directors is convinced that the IR-TG has formulated a fair and workable business model capable of self-sustaining regional operations. The IR-TG has already collected significant input from its members regarding concerns and challenges, and is entering into the “imagining” phase of how to respond with an organizational plan. Key issues that will be addressed include such matters as:
— Understanding in more precise detail the demographics of the potential International Region constituency
— Accessing currently available member data and possibly more broadly surveying those who would be directly affected
— Assuring that the annual cost to members of the International Region will be reasonable
— Tackling the unique challenges of time, distance, and diversity in cultures unlike those faced by any of the current 18 regions, and the possible impact of these challenges on the manner in which the International Region is structured
• Devising a governance model that assures all international components and components-to-be of equitable access to International Region leadership opportunities, including the means by which the International Director is selected
• Fostering closer relations with other architectural institutes and professional registration bodies in countries outside the United States.
Enabling the creation of an International Region: the fair thing to do
The AIA currently has 18 regions for members within the United States, but most overseas members have no designated region. Creating the International Region will enable overseas members to govern themselves just as members in the United States do.
What the International Region will not cause to happen
• This proposal will not result in the creation of a new membership category. It will benefit members in their existing membership categories.
• There will be no impact on the current regional director structure. No domestic regions will lose regional directors on the Institute’s Board of Directors. On the contrary, under this proposal overseas members would no longer be included in the member count used to apportion regional directors among existing regions. As a result, even if overseas membership were to grow significantly in future years, it would have no effect at all on how regional directors are apportioned among regions within the United States, its territories, and possessions.
• The International Region will not expand the size of the Institute Board of Directors. Members outside the United States will continue to be represented by a single International Director on the Board, just as they are now. If overseas membership trends in coming years suggest that the International Region should have greater representation, that’s a matter that could be decided at a future convention.
This Bylaws amendment is a crucial first step in making the AIA a national organization with an effective, developed international reach in keeping with today’s global economy
Even though Section 1.03 of the Bylaws refers to the domain of the AIA as being the United States, its territories, and possessions, the AIA has long had members and chapters in other countries. The proposed amendment would nonetheless make clear that Section 1.03 does not preclude the formation of an International Region. This enabling act will be a boost to the International Multi-Year Plan adopted by the AIA Board in 2009 to “…support the voice and presence of the Institute and its members in the global arena to advance practice knowledge and promote the mobility of architects.”