Asbar Council: Articles of association
“Asbar Council” is an initiative that has a clear vision and specific goals, launched by Asbar Center for Studies, Research and Communication in Riyadh/ Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on April 5, 2015. In the beginning, the initiative carried the name “Asbar Forum”, which was changed to “Asbar Council” on March 19, 2017, to prevent conflict with “Asbar World Forum.”
The Council hosts an important and vibrant space for discussing intellectual, cultural, political, social and developmental issues of concern to the Kingdom, the Arab region and the world at large. Among its most important principles is that it comprises a group of intellectuals and researchers interested in public affairs and societal reform. It is characterized by ease of communication among its members through social networks and other direct or indirect means such as meetings, symposia, and conferences. It acts according to organizational procedures that define its identity, functions and work mechanisms. It also benefits from the multi-disciplinary natureof its members who are keen on their loyalty to the Kingdom and have a sincere desire to contribute to the advancement of their society, follow developments on the internal and external arenas and exchange views.
The preamble above shall be part of these articles of association.
Article (II): Definitions
Asbar Center: Asbar Center for Studies, Research, and Communication (Asbar Media Company Ltd.)
The Council: Asbar Council
Board: Asbar Council Supervisory Board
Secretariat: The Secretariat-General of Asbar Council
Secretary-General: Secretary-General of Asbar Council
Member/s: Members of Asbar Council
Council Management: The Council Chair or the Supervisory Board Chair
Article (III): General frame work
Council’s name: Asbar Council
Head offices: Riyadh – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Council’s official language: Arabic
Vision: Local and Arab leadership in shaping opinions and generating ideas to serve society issues
Council’s mission: Creating a cultural, intellectual and social space to discuss the intellectual, cultural, political, social and developmental issues that concern Saudi society, the Arab world and the world at large.
- Deepening awareness of the latest events and society issues
- Promoting the values of dialogue and exchanging views among intellectual and cultural leaders
- Providing specialized cultural and intellectual visions about the latest issues, and turning them into a reference material for those interested
- Providing scientific and practical recommendations for the current problems and offering initiatives
Article IV:Council management, intellectual property, and legal responsibility
4-1: Asbar Center for Studies, Research, and Communication (Asbar Media Company Ltd.) shall have, when necessary, the absolute right to take the actions and decisions it deems fit for the interest of the Council, and Asbar Center is the intellectual property owner of this Council and its various products.
The Chair of Asbar Center for Studies, Research and Communication is the Chair and General Supervisor of the Council, and he has the following functions:
- Appointing the chairman and members of the Supervisory Board and the Secretary-General according to the mechanism he deems appropriate
- Dissolving the Supervisory Board and restructuring it before the end of its statutory period in the event that it is unable to perform its role for any reason or extend its tenure if he deems that to be in the interest of the Council
- Representing the Council before official local and external authorities
4-3: Supervisory Board
- The Council is supervised by a “Supervisory Board” whose role is to oversee the Council’s activities and follow its performance, set and approve its public policies. The number of the Supervisory Board members shall not be less than nine and not more than fifteen, including the Chairman.
- The Supervisory Board selects among its members at its first meeting a vice-chairman, upon a proposal submitted by the Chairman, or following a discussion among the members. The vice-chairman must have the approval of two-third members to gain confidence
- The Board’s meeting shall be valid if at least two-third members are present, and its resolutions shall be passed by the majority of the members present.
- The term of the Board is one year that begins on April 15 of each year and is dissolved at the end of the specified chairmanship term, unless the Council’s Chairman issues a resolution to extend its work.
- The Chairman of the Supervisory Board takes the necessary resolutions to ensure the application of these articles of association and the interpretation of its provisions.
- In order to ensure the Council’s cohesion, discipline and protection, the Chairman of the Boardshall apply all the dialogue controls contained in Article (VIII) stated herein, in order to encounter the violations stipulated by these articles and apply the necessary procedures thereof.
4-4: Roles of the Supervisory Board
- Organizing and monitoring the Council’s performance.
- Reviewing, amending and approving the Council’s articles of association.
- Accepting or rejecting membership by voting, provided that two-third members agree.
- Submitting, accepting and presenting the initiatives at the Council, which enriches the debate and supports the Council’s cultural and intellectual effectiveness.
- Acceptance by the Supervisory Board’s Chairman of two-third members of the Supervisory Board to raise any issue is a condition for voting by the Board. Any members of the Council, including members of the Supervisory Board, can submit proposals that serve the Council’s objectives and functions.
- The Supervisory Board shall hold 8 to 10 meetings during one session to deliberate on issues of concern to the Council. For this meeting, a specific day is set on the members’ schedules. The meeting is considered legal, with the presence of the two-third members. The Council’s Chairman shall be entitled to attend and participate in the meeting, but voting, however, shall be restricted to the Board members.
- Committees and work teams for the specific tasks in the Council shall be formed from the Council members, and others may be recruited from the non-members of the Councilif necessary.
- Coordinating with the Center to issue and produce different Council products to support the goals and mission.
- Following up the production of intellectual, cultural and social materials.
- Setting and monitoring the controls and rules of dialogue by the chairman of the board or his select member.
- Studying the proposals of the Council members and taking appropriate measures thereon.
- Any proposals put forward for discussion in the Supervisory Board shall be made through the Chairman or the Secretary-General who coordinates with the Chairman thereof. If the Chairman does not have the conviction to discuss the matter, it shall not be discussed. In the event the member or the Secretary-General insists on a proposal, two-third members of the Board must approve it
4-5: The Council Secretariat-General
The Council shall have a Secretariat-General headed by the Secretary-General, and its members shall be formed in coordination between the Council’s Chairman, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, and the Secretary-General. The task of the Secretariat-General shall be to propose the agenda, prepare the minutes of the meetings, and follow up on the implementation of the Board’s resolutions. The Secretary-General attends meetings of the Supervisory Boardand participates in discussions without the right to vote.
4-6: Weekly issue team
The Supervisory Board forms a working group for the weekly issue, which consists of (the Council’s Chairman, the Chairman of the Board, the Secretary-General, the person responsible for the issue and one or more members of the Council), provided that the person responsible for the issue shall be a member of the Board, to review the issues raised and select the relevant ones, their writers and commentators in coordination with the Supervisory Board. This shall take place after proposing issues by any of the Council members according to the mechanism approved by the Board.
Article V: Council membership
Council membership is granted to qualified national competencies
Nomination for membership shall follow two methods:
- The candidate shall be nominated by one of the Council members.
- Membership application shall be filed through the Secretariat-General.
Admission of the candidate or applicant as a member of the Council is conditional upon the following:
- Obtaining the approval of at least two-third members of the Supervisory Board.
- Agreeing to Council’s articles of association. The member joining the Council is considered a tacit approval to these articles.
5-3: Membership Conditions:
- The concerned member has to be a well-known intellectual with objective views.
- He/she has distinguished experience in one of the vital specializations with scientific and professional benefits to society.
- He/ she enjoy a broad outlook and acceptance of the other’s opinion. He/ she has reasonable thinking.
- He/ she has a scientific presence and methodological credibility.
- He/ she have a commitment to active participation in the Council’s discussions and dialogues. If a month has passed without participation by the member, he/ she will be reminded by the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the importance of participation. If his/ her absence continues for another month, he/ she submits his/ her case to the Board to decide whether to continue his/ her membership in the Council or to apologize to him/ her.
5-4: Membership suspension
A member has the right to request suspension of his/ her membership for convincing reasons for a specified period in coordination with the Chairman of the Board, provided that his/ her membership shall remain valid and he/ she is only exempted from participating in the Council’s activities and dialogues during the term of suspension. The Chairman of the Board has the full authority to accept the request and return membership after the term of suspension ends.
5-5: Membership expiration:
The Council’s membership ends in the following cases:
- If the member left the Council upon his/ her free will for any reason.
- If a resolution is issued by the Supervisory Board to terminate his/ her membership, in violation of the Council’s instructions and articles of association.
- If his/ her membership is canceled by the Chairman of the Council.
If the member whose membership has expired indicated his/ her wish to return to the Council, the matter shall be put before the Supervisory Board. The approval of two-third members of the Board is a prerequisite for his/ her return.
Article VI: How the Council works
6-1: The general nature of discussion
The Council members shall carry out a free, continuous and regular discussion on topics of thought, culture, development, and society. They shall exchange specialized scientific and intellectual ideason these issues. The members shall discuss topics and issues directly through meetings, symposia, committees, working groups, or via electronic and social media, or through any of the possible means of communication.
6-2: Determining discussion topics
One of the organized activities is that the Council under takes is dialogue via social media (WhatsApp, for example). A weekly issue is presented through a main paper for discussion, for which a member of the Councilis delegated to write and chooses two or more commentators. It is also possible to seek the assistance of a specialist who is not a Council member. The concerned specialist shall be competent in writing the issue of the week or commenting on it (see clause 6-4 regarding the formation of the weekly issue team).
- The discussion in the Council shall be limited to the issue raised for a period of 48 hours from its presentation, and it is not permissible to discuss or raise any other topic in the meantime.
- After the 48-hour period has ended, members may ask and discuss topics and issues related to the Council’s area of interest around the clock, according to the requirements of these articles of association, as well as continue to discuss the issue of the week by whoever wants.
6-3: The Council keynote speaker
The Council holds meetings with officials, intellectuals or thinkers, who are agreed upon by the Chair of the Council to discuss issues and topics of special interest. These meetings shall be held at the head offices of Asbar Center in Riyadh or in the place that the Chairman deems appropriate.
Article VII: The Council’s printed and electronic products
7-1 A monthly report shall be developed and printed with all topics discussed by the Council during the month and it shall be revised and well-written. The report shall be published on the Council’s website and copies of it sent to institutions, officials and interested people.
7-2 Organizing a general mailing list to which the report shall be sent electronically for review and interaction.
Article VIII: Controls, responses, and comments
8-1: All contributions by the Council members shall be in Arabic. An exception to this is some terms that help clarify the concept or transfer a visual, audible or written text from a foreign media outlet, provided that they shall be accompanied by a comment in Arabic made by the concerned member clarifying the aim of placing it in the Council.
8-2: The Council shall avoid all kinds of excitement, gloating, criticizing, and accusations. It shall also avoid mentioning the names of entities and individuals.
8-3: The members shall realize that their primary mission in the discussion is to arrive at useful ideas and insights that contribute to the development of society in a manner that does not violate or contradict the religious and political principles of the Kingdom, and they must observe the following:
- Full openness to different opinions and respect for others, regardless of their cultures, beliefs or doctrines, and not accepting understating, defamation and insult in any particular way.
- Respect and confidence in others.
- Not to discuss topics of acts of worship, doctrines, sects, and religions from their specialized doctrinal and juristic perspectives, unless they are presented for discussion to the Council’s Supervisory Board, with the availability of specialists considered in these areas for judgment.
- Not publishing or adopting positions and opinions contrary to the best interests of the Kingdom or offensive to religions, sects, tribes, regions, and races, while a discreet scientific approach in discussing matters related to this shall be followed.
- Avoid using verses or any of the Prophet’s sayings (Hadith) on any of the members’ contributions, by other members, in order to deter the course of the discussion or juristic judgment on the contribution to tell whether it is permitted or forbidden in Islam. This does not preclude the invocation of the noble verses and authentic hadiths in the public debate when that is warranted.
- Commitment to the ethics of discussion and respect for the other opinion, regardless of the level of disagreement.
- Commitment to intellectual property rights.
- Commitment to deep serious contributions, avoiding joking or bilateral debates among the members.
- All contributions by the member can be published in one or all products of the Council unless the member requests otherwise for reasons that convince the Council’s management.
- The member’s contributions shall not be transferred by another member out of the Council unless with his/ her express consent.
- No citations to the Council shall be made from other forums or sources unless the source is referenced, and this shall take place when the issue is of high importance.
- No lengthy topics or texts shall be published. When needed, it would suffice to add the topic link.
- Respect for the legal and moral personalities of individuals and institutions in everything the member publishes.
- Avoidance of anything that may offend the Council or one of its members.
- No member of the Council may use the Council for contributions of a special nature such as congratulations, condolences, and special invitations, as those who wish to do so may use the contact of the person concerned. It is also not allowed to welcome new members, the issue writer, and commentators if they are not members to the Council. The Supervisory Board shall act on their behalf and at its discretion.
- A member may not publish material that is considered the property of the Council (written specifically for the Council) in other places except after having been published in the monthly report of the Council.
- The weekly issue papers and comments shall not have been published by any means of communication before they were presented at the Council.
- No member may use the Council for other than its purposes such as filling out questionnaires, making announcements, invitations, and the like. This can be coordinated with the Chairman of the Board to send the material to members directly or publish it in the Council as he/ she deems appropriate
8-4: The notification of violations shall take place in one of the following ways:
- Notification sent to the member’s direct account.
- Yellow Card warning.
- Direct suspension from participating in the discussion using the Red Card.
If the member gets three consecutive warnings (three yellow cards) in thirty days starting from receiving the first warning, he/ she will be given the Red Card immediately, and he/ she will be stopped from participating in the direct discussions and comments for 48 hours.
8-5: The Red Card shall be given directly for everything that violates the ethics or affects religion or political leadership of the Kingdom, with the suspension of member’s contribution for a period estimated by the Chairman of the Board commensurate with the violation.
8-6: Objections to the Council management’s resolutions
Objections to the Council management’s resolutions and alerts shall be made by writing directly to the Secretary-General for presentation to the Supervisory Board, and the resolution of the committee shall be final.
Article VIII: Support and assistance
The Asbar Center for Studies, Research, and Communication provides all the necessary needs for the Councilmembers, its working committees and work teams, for what falls within the Council goals, including offices, meeting rooms and all the services they need.