Constitution
1. Mission Statement

The Second World War Research Group (hereafter Group) was founded by Professor Andrew Stewart and Dr Jonathan Fennell in 2014. Initially, the group aimed to coordinate and encourage the activities of the numerous scholars at King’s College London who were conducting research on the Second World War. Building on a number of successful early events, and a merger with the Second World War Military Operations Research Group that was created by Dr Ross Mahoney, the Group has since evolved to become an international network of scholars focused on supporting the study of the Second World War. The Group aims to promote innovative research on the conflict and its global aspects and act as a forum for:

 

  • Bringing together new perspectives on the conflict;

  • Publicising recent and current research into the conflict and its global impact;

  • Encouraging collaboration in research across the scholarly community and across academic disciplines; and

  • Providing an organisational hub for conferences, seminars and other events relating to the conflict.

 

The Group is especially focused on building an inclusive and open community of scholars interested in the study of the Second World War. With this aim in mind, it strives:

  • To encourage scholars from all backgrounds, regardless of age, seniority, gender and race, to participate in its organisation, events and outputs;

  • To promote comparative research and seek a global rather than national perspectives on the Second World War;

  • To establish collaborations and partnerships with other learned or academic societies, research centres, universities, libraries and museums.

2. The Organisation of the Group

2.1 The Group is run by a small number of committed volunteers.

2.3 The overall direction and strategy of the Group are set by the International Council (IC), in consultation with the Advisory Board.

2.3 The IC, in turn, coordinates the work of the Regional Groups whose responsibility it is to hold events in each region/territory.

2.4 The Group also recognises the contribution of volunteers to its activities by acknowledging them as ‘Fellows’ of the Group.

3. The International Council

3.1 The overall direction and strategy of the Group are set by the International Council (IC), in consultation with the Advisory Board.

3.2 The named roles in the IC are as follows:

  • President

  • Vice-President  (Impact)

  • Vice-President (Events)

  • Vice-President (Membership)

  • Vice-President (Online)

3.3 The responsibilities of the IC are as follows:

President 

  • To lead the development of the Group;

  • To be the key representative of the Society externally;

  • To chair the Annual General Meeting (AGM);

  • To organise the election of the next group of office-holders;

  • To oversee the appointment of Regional Group directors.

Vice-President (Impact)

  • To establish collaborations and partnerships with other learned or academic societies, research centres, universities, libraries and museums.

Vice-President (Events)

  • To coordinate the organisation of conferences across Regions;

  • To provide support to Regional Groups regarding conference organisation;

  • To encourage standardisation across the Group’s events.

Vice-President (Membership)

  • To develop Group membership;

  • To respond to membership requests;

  • To maintain the Group’s membership database;

  • To take minutes at the AGM;

  • To act as Fellowship secretary.

Vice-President (Online)

  • To lead the Group’s online presence;

  • To ensure web hosting provision.

3.4 One of the Vice-Presidents will be nominated to run the Group in any situation where the President is unable to fulfil his/her duties.

3.5 The appointment of office holders:

3.5.1 Office holders must be Fellows of the Group;

3.5.2 Office holders will hold their position for five years. Their position is renewable, if they choose to stand for election;

3.5.3 Office holders will be nominated by two members of the IC and/or the Regional Group Directors and will be elected by the members of the IC and the Regional Group Directors, one member, one vote, by means of a secret ballot. 

3.6 The make-up of the IC will reflect the Group’s commitment to encouraging scholars from all backgrounds, regardless of age, seniority, gender, and race, to participate in its organisation.

4. The Regional Groups

4.1 The Regional Groups are run by Directors (no more than five in number).

4.1.1 The Regional Directors are nominated by the Regional Groups and appointed by the IC.

4.2 The Regional Groups are responsible for organising Group events in their region.

4.2.1 The Regional Groups are semi-autonomous, and, as such, are encouraged to use their own initiative in organising events and building a community of scholars in their region.

4.2.2 Regional Group initiatives do, however, have to reflect the overall strategy and values of the Second World War Research Group.

4.3 Regional Group Directors may appoint Deputy Directors, and other positions deemed necessary for the efficient organisation and running of the Regional Group

4.4 The make-up of the Regional Groups will reflect the Group’s commitment to encouraging scholars from all backgrounds, regardless of age, seniority, gender, and race, to participate in its organisation.

5. Fellows of the Group

5.1 The Group recognises the contribution of volunteers to its activities by acknowledging them as ‘Fellows’ of the Group.

5.2 Fellowship is earned by making a significant and sustained contribution to the Group, such as running a conference or workshop.

5.3 Any member may propose herself or himself for consideration or may be proposed by another member (with the permission of the nominee).

5.4 The process of electing Fellows will be overseen by a member of the IC designated as the Fellowship Secretary.

5.4 Members are elected to the Fellowship after a vote by the IC and the Regional Directors. Successful Fellows should have the support of 50% of the electors.

5.5 If a proposal for a fellowship is rejected, the applicant has the right to receive guidance from the Fellowship Secretary on what further activities in the service of the Group might be required in order to apply in the future successfully.

6. Advisory Board

6.1 The purpose of the Advisory Board is to provide strategic guidance for the Group.

6.2 Membership of the Advisory Board is open to any member of the Group and is by invitation from the IC.

6.3 The Advisory Board should draw its members from all regions represented by the Group.

6.4 The make-up of the Advisory Board will reflect the Group’s commitment to encouraging scholars from all backgrounds, regardless of age, seniority, gender, and race, to participate in its organisation.

6.5 The Advisory Board will serve renewable terms of 5 years. These terms will be staggered to allow for continuity.

6.6 Ordinarily, there should be no more than 12 members of the Board. 

7. Standard Operating Procedures of the Group (in addition to the above)

7.1 To ensure representation from all regions, the Group will hold its AGM at a location with good internet access (to facilitate attendance via Skype or Facetime).

7.2 The AGM will receive the following reports as appropriate:

  • The IC’s report on the Group’s activities – to be coordinated by the President.

7.3 In order to be quorate, the AGM will require the (virtual) attendance of 4 of the five members of the IC, a Director from each region and 50% of the Advisory Board.

7.4 The AGM will be open to all members who wish to attend in person and will consider any items of interest to the membership. The agenda of the AGM should be finalised and circulated to the membership at least a week before the meeting. In recognition of the geographic dispersal of its membership, the reports will be circulated via email to the membership subsequent to the meeting.

7.5 Any emailed responses to the pre-circulated agenda will be read out at the AGM.

7.6 Documentation arising from the AGM should be stored in a private area of the website once that has been made technically possible. Until that time, any member may request a copy from the IC.

7.7 If it should arise that a member of the IC, Advisory Board, or one of the Regional Directors has brought the society into disrepute, or working relations with that colleague have irretrievably broken down; then they may be asked to step down from their role by the IC.
The IC may only take this step after reasonable discussions, and a majority vote have taken place.

7.8 The constitution of the Group may be amended by a 50% vote of all members of the IC and Regional Directors. 

7.9 If it should come to pass that the Group needs to be dissolved, the membership will be advised by the President of an Extraordinary General Meeting where the merits of the proposed dissolution will be discussed. 

7.10 Dissolution must command the support of a majority of the IC and Regional Directors.

8. Membership of the Group

8.1 Membership of the Group is open to anyone with an academic affiliation or who can demonstrate a commitment to the study of the Second World War through other means.

© 2019 by the Second World War Research Group.

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Background Image: Units of the 21st Australian Infantry Brigade marching along a winding track in the foothills of the Finisterre Ranges on their way to the Ramu Valley after being relieved, November 1943. Photograph by Norman Stuckley. (Source: Australian War Memorial)

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