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faculty of arts

Mitrany

GMM

Date

Subject

3 June 2016

Year report 15-16 for General Members Meeting

Summary of 2015-2016
Following the advice of our predecessors in the board of 2014-2015, the board organized varying
activities corresponding with the different target audiences of the Mitrany network. As such, Mitrany
has organized several activities together with different partners: the department of IRIO, students
of IRIO, study association Clio, alumni abroad and alumni in the Netherlands. These activities were
more or less limited to low-key gatherings, with the exception of the BA graduation ceremonies and
the symposium.
Activities:
Network drinks Amsterdam, 27th of October 2015
Brussels reunion, 1st of February 2016
BA graduation and drinks, Groningen October 2015
Clios visit to Career Days, Utrecht 27th of November 2015
BA graduation, Groningen January 2016
Career event IRIO, Groningen 26th April 2016
Mitrany Symposium, Amsterdam 13th of May 2016
By far, the most important and significant event organized last year was the symposium that took
place on the 13th of May in the IJ-kantine in Amsterdam. The main focus of the symposium, Leadership
and Sustainability, proved to be very useful in identifying key speakers from our alumni database. In
the end, 3 out of the 4 key speakers were alumni from International Relations (either BA or MA), and
are fond of their memories to the university. Addressing a general and socially relevant topic
illustrates that it is easier to attract both speakers and participants from different fields because it
has nothing to do with a specialization, background or current field of work. Personal leadership and
sustainability are relevant across sectors and across countries. Although the actual amount of
participants (24) was significantly lower than the sign-ups for the event, the board looks back on a
nice evening that inspired all of us. In addition, it was great to see other alumni, which could not make
it earlier, showing up after the event for drinks and to mingle with the participants.
As for the BA graduation ceremonies and corresponding drinks in the Van Swinderenhuys
(Groningen), the board has actively sought to seek new members amongst the graduating cohort.
Since the alumni of IRIO are increasingly internationalizing, BA graduates are more likely to move
abroad or to another city for their MA programme. Therefore, the Mitrany has been very involved in
organizing BA graduation drinks together with the department, firstly to make the graduation festive,
and secondly to maintain contact between department, Mitrany and alumni in a different setting. The
board found that approximately 5-10 BA graduates enroll for Mitrany membership on the spot,
during the BA graduation drinks.
Next to the BA graduation drinks, the board has recognized the interest of alumni for activities with
more content. Based on advice from the previous board, current alumni members, and the Advisory
Council, the board concludes that future activities should include a content-related component to a
greater extent. This may also require more intensive cooperation with other networks and
associations, such as the Student association for International Relations (SIB), the Dutch Association
for International Affairs (NGIZ), and so on. A specific paragraph about cooperation with Clio is
included in this report and can be found on page 4.
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Besides the focus on content in most of the activities, future endeavors to reach older generations
could be very successful by labeling activities as a reunion. Alumni members from older generations,
that have graduated 10-15 years ago (or earlier), have expressed their interest in meeting their old
classmates rather than networking (which would be more of a focus point for junior alumni). The
fact that the older generations have voiced this specific need and interest to members of the Advisory
Council, indicates a very specific task for Mitrany to identify: 1) a geographically central location to
meet with older generations, 2) a theme or topic that would attract those generations, and 3) spark
involvement of long-term professors in the IRIO department in these activities. A combination of
these steps should enable Mitrany to organize succesful reunions with a socially relevant topic for
older generations. For example, the board considers organizing a reunion in The Hague with a
refresher course in international negotiation, taught by one of our well-known senior professors.
Furthermore, the board can not stress enough how important it is to organize activities in
Amsterdam and the Hague at least once a year, to maintain and further deepen contact with alumni
living and working in those cities. After all, Amsterdam is the central location for many social
enterprises, and the Hague shelters many of our alumni working in the public sphere as
representative, policy adviser or lobbyist.
PR and Communication
In the past academic year, Mitrany and its activities have been promoted in a consistent manner.
Promotion was done by spreading posters and occasionally flyers and through different online
channels such as social media and email. For each activity, posters were created, a Facebook event
was set up and the members have been contacted via the Facebook and LinkedIn groups and via
email. Additionally, the board identified possible participants and guests via geographic
differentiation in the database.
The board designed a PR plan including a timeline for promotion of activities. The PR plan covered
social media strategy, geographic selection, schedules, and so on. In addition, the plan included
various activities that would be relevant to diverse alumni. That way, the board aims to attract alumni
from different fields, sectors and locations. Considering the fact that alumni are often busier and
harder to reach than students, it is important to start promotion well in advance (at least 1 month).
Next to the general PR plan, another PR strategy was used in order to promote the symposium. Since
we invited key speakers for the symposium, we decided on a layered PR plan with mini-profiles of
the key speakers. Announcements of the different speakers were published during the weeks before
the symposium, which contributed to a higher amount of sign ups.
In cooperation with the department of IRIO, certain documents have been made available for alumni.
Every two months, a report of the research output by the IR/IO department has been published. Also,
the research report from 2014 on alumnis employment prospects has been made available on the
website. This signals an improved cooperation with the department that moves beyond activities for
alumni or students.
Focus groups and ambassadors
In order to be able to reach more alumni and to increase connectivity between them, the board
advises to establish focus groups for the big cities in which alumni are present. These locations can
be identified via geographic differentiation in the membership database. These focus groups exist out
of alumni who are willing to promote Mitranys activities among other alumni in their city. Smallscale activities such as drinks are mainly targeted at alumni in one single city. It is harder to promote
these small-scale activities, as alumni are more likely to show up when invited by someone they know
in person. These focus groups serve to make smaller, regional groups of alumni more connected and
inclined to meet up more often. The focus groups will exist out of 2 or more alumni, who are willing
to promote Mitrany and think along, based in large cities such as The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht,
Brussels, Hamburg, Geneva etc. The members to the focus groups will also function as ambassadors
in each city, further spreading promotional materials via LinkedIN and Facebook to invite fellow

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alumni in their city.

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Newsletter and emails


The board has made a format for the distribution of an online newsletter, which should be send out
every one or two months, including news for the department and interesting activities. This
facilitates contact with alumni in a more personal way, namely by email. For some activities, it is still
recommended to send out a separate email, which has proven to be useful before the Symposium
Leadership & Sustainability. For activities focusing on alumni in a single city, target emails can be
send out to those who live there.
Other promotional materials
The board took action to make Mitrany more known amongst alumni as well as students. A banner
was created to draw attention during activities Mitrany is involved in, such as information sessions
for bachelor students, presentations but also for Mitranys own activities such as drinks, the
symposium, the annual dinner and the GMMs. Mitranys presence during graduation ceremonies
should continue but the flyer that is handed out should be revised. The flyer should be made more
attractive by including some personal stories from alumni and department members about Mitranys
added value and giving some recent examples of Mitranys activities.
Mail account & archive
The mail account is the responsibility of the Secretary. Although at the beginning of the year the mail
account was not yet checked very regularly, now the secretary ensures that it is checked on a regular
basis (at least 3 times a week). Moreover, the account is checked daily during time periods leading
up to bigger events, such as the weeks before the symposium. Also emails receive a response within
one week.
Besides, it is strongly advised to re-organize the mail account with labels and archives to prevent
unread emails from piliing up. As such, the board suggests that, when the new academic year starts,
inbox should be emptied and the new secretary may need to store the old emails that are of relevance
in a cloud, dropbox or the googledrive.
The google drive has been used to store documents and minutes, the drive was also updated with
some documents from the first year (2012) of Mitranys existence that were retrieved from an old
board member. For example, it now also contains the research report with an analysis of the current
positions of IRIO alumni.
Membership & Database
When the boardmember in charge of the database left the board halfway the year, the secretary took
over her tasks. This has gone well and resulted in only a minor extra workload, due to the fact that
only a few people per week sign up tops. All new members received a confirmation of their
membership. The database is now ordered alphabetically. When having done so, it appeared that
there are quite a lot of people that are listed in the database twice, which gives a wrong impression
of the number of members Mitrany actually has. The secretary plans to remove all double names
from the database this summer. An estimation of the current accurate amount of members is 900.
This ammount is roughly 100 less than the status quo in last years report. This has to do with
removing double names and updating the files that had nog been processed in 2014-2015. New
members seem to find us quite easy, but we do see that most members that apply through the website
are people that graduated between 2010 and 2015. It is thus hard to reach people from before,
especially those graduated before 2005. We still have a meeting planned with the secretariat to go
through the old hard-copy archives. As this is a time consuming activity we were very relieved to
hear the enthusiastic input from the secretariat. New members apply on a regular base, and on
average we add one new member per week. The symposium of 13 May has also boosted new
membership applications.

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The past year, the database was used to send out promotion emails, sometimes based on geographic
location and sometimes an email was sent to all members. The PR-commissioner executed that
communication in cooperation with the Secretary. This often resulted in quite a number of delivery
failure emails, which shows that some information is not up to date anymore. In the future, those
delivery failure emails should be stored in a separate folder, so the secretary can go through these
one by one and look if there are ways to find the current email addresses, for example through
contacting them via LinkedIn. Moreover, members should be more encouraged to change their
contact details. This is essential to reach as many alumni as possible. The database has also been
used to contact alumni and ask them to give a lecture during one of our events for example. In general,
alumni responded enthusiastically to this.
More importantly, the board created an online form on the website to give alumni the possibility to
update their employment status and contact details at any time. This feature has been promoted and
should continuously be promoted during the next year as is imperative to have the correct contact
details in the database for the sake of alumni contact and promotion.
Cooperation with Clio
This year Mitrany and Clio strived to organise several events together. In principle this collaboration
worked out well for both Clio and Mitrany. In the end, two events were planned for this cooperation.
The first one was planned in November, during the Career Days in Utrecht where Clio members
would visit the Career Days and afterwards join Mitrany drinks in order to socialize with alumni.
Unfortunately, due to the date of the Career Days no Clio members were able to attend neither that
event, nor the drinks. However, Mitrany and Clio still decided to organize drinks for our alumni in
Utrecht, but only few alumni showed up.
The second event was in Brussels where Clio members would join while they were on their yearly
excursion to Brussels. Although the interest among Clio members to meet alumni was very high, the
turn up of alumni was quite disappointing.
The Mitrany board has thus deliberated with the Advisory Council on how to improve the number of
attendees at these events. The board concluded that also Study Association Clio could play a big role
in this. A general finding was that the Board should try to improve the binding alumni have with
Mitrany via Clio. Clio could well facilitate this process by promoting Mitranys activities in a way
similar to Clio and IRIO reunions because a lot of alumni still remember Clio from their study years
while the name Mitrany might be too new for them.
The Mitrany board has directly implemented this idea in their last event, namely the symposium on
Leadership & Sustainability that was held on the 13th of May at the IJ-kantine in Amsterdam. As part
of the promotion campaign the Clio representative sent a personal mail to a number of old Clio
chairmen whom she requested to promote the event amongst their old board members and
personally invited them to the event.
Although it is difficult to evaluate what part of a promotion campaign is effective and what not, the
Mitrany board was happy to welcome a larger number of attendees at the latest event, among which
some old Clio board members. It would therefore be advised to continue this kind of campaigning for
next year.
It is advisable to continue organizing events in cooperation with Clio as it increases the chance of
current Clio members becoming a member of Mitrany after their graduation. Furthermore, it is a
useful opportunity for Clio members to start a network in their field of interest and explore their
career perspectives by hearing the experiences from alumni.

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Finances and acquisition
In order for Mitrany to become more self-sufficient and to be able to organize more activities
independently, more funds should be required. Last year, the department has financed Mitranys
activities. Therefore the main task of the treasurer was to discuss Mitranys budget with the
education manager of the department. The current (new) education manager was appointed in
January 2016. This change in department had a positive outcome for Mitrany as the new education
manager was very willing to provide us with the necessary funds. Furthermore, the treasurer
works on a financial report that can be found in Appendix 2 to this document. According to the
statutes, the financial year runs from the 1st of January until the 31st of December. However, in
practice it turns out that previous boards followed a distinct financial year starting the 1 st of
April and ending the 31st of March. The board proposes to change the financial year to the 1st of
September until the 31st of August. In this way, the financial year aligns with a board term and
the allocation from the University.
Even though the department is mainly responsible for the payments of the activities, Mitrany has an
own bank account of which the treasurer and the secretary are the administrative assignees. Last
year, the treasurer opened a new bank account at SNS Bank and closed the bank account at the
Rabobank, because it turned out that the bank costs of the latter were higher than at SNS. The
transfer to SNS was discussed with the previous education manager and the remaining debit was
solved accordingly.
The Faculty of Arts is running at a deficit and therefore the department announced that they will
cut back in costs in the upcoming years. This will also have consequences for Mitrany. In the
upcoming three years, the department will finance respectively 75%-50%-25% of Mitranys
budget. These calculations will be based on Mitranys expenses in 2015-2016. These cutbacks will
have consequences for the new treasurer. The new treasurer will have to seek other possibilities to
acquire funding from third parties (possibly alumni sponsors). The current board discussed three
different options to receive funding.
First of all, Mitrany could introduce the concept Friends of Mitrany: a voluntary yearly donation of
members who wish to do so. A new section could be added to the Mitrany website named Friends
of Mitrany. In this section, Mitrany will explain how the donations will be used and how it could
help us to broaden our possibilities. An online form will be set up in which members can authorize
Mitrany to withdraw a yearly donation from their bank account by direct debit. As a token of
appreciation and thanks we could send a small present every year, for example, around Christmas.
Second, the new treasurer should focus more on acquisition in the upcoming years. Even though
past experiences have proven that gaining acquisition is difficult for Mitrany, it will be necessary in
the upcoming years. When organizing large events like a symposium, Mitrany should seek sponsors
that would be willing to pay for the costs in exchange for promotion. Mitrany could for example
offer promotion on its Facebook page, in newsletters and on flyers.
Also, Mitrany could consider introducing a membership fee. However, Mitrany is currently still too
young and unknown to actually implement this fee. Members will only pay if they think Mitrany is
valuable to them and offers great activities or information in return. The advisory council has also
put forward several arguments against a membership fee. However, due to the cutbacks of the
department, Mitrany will have to implement a membership fee in the long run. The board therefore
advises the new board to further explore the possibilities of implementing a membership fee in the
upcoming years. Next year, the board could think about the fulfilment of a membership fee. The
advisory council suggested that members might become interested in paying a fee when they will
have access to a database with up-to-date information of other alumni (e.g. where they work and
live). The current board therefore advises the new board to examine whether this is not contrary to
the privacy laws. Besides that, the advisory council introduced the idea of different types of

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membership (e.g. gold/silver/bronze). In this way, members will be able to decide for themselves
how much they are willing to pay in exchange for less or more personal details of other alumni.
Moreover, the future boards of Mitrany have to think about the administrative difficulties of
introducing a fee: in what way will the membership fee be collected, what will happen if members
do not pay and do the current members have to pay as well?
The new treasurer will therefore face a challenging year and will have to work hard in order gain
insight in the implications of membership fees or Friends of Mitrany and acquisition. After all,
without an independent budget to work with, Mitrany will not be able to further develop itself as an
independent network.
Board & positions
As a result of abovementioned changes, the geographic spread of our alumni, working with focus
groups, and the decreased amount of funding, the board has discussed several transitions to maintain
stability in the board itself by new or changed board positions:
Chair & staff member IRIO
Secretary & vice-chair
Commissioner External Affairs
Treasurer & Acquisition
Clio Representative
PR Commissioner
First of all, the board discussed the possibility to merge the position of chair and staff member of
IRIO. In the past, the staff member was a regular member of the board without a specific
responsibility besides communication with the department. As the board and the current staff
member have discussed, it would be wise to connect these positions for the sake of institutional
stability in the Mitrany board. In addition, this will entail a financial compensation for the intensive
task of the chair of Mitrany, as the staff member will be compensated via the department. The
suggestion to merge these positions resulted from a discussion with the Advisory Council in which
members of the council stressed the necessity of having staff in the board. This staff would then need
to have a fixed amount of hours available to further develop the network and reach. This suggestion
is currently under discussion with the educational manager and the department board of IRIO.
Secondly, the board is advised to combine the functions of secretary (incl. vice-chair) and database
in the coming year, because it is easy to combine in terms of workload. Moreover, it is more efficient
as the secretary then can add the member to the database and send out the confirmation mail at one
time. In the past, these tasks were split between the secretary and the database commissioner, which
proved to be unnecessary and unpractical. This means that the position of database commissioner
will be removed from the board vacancies.
Thirdly, the board discussed the suggestion to add a commissioner for External Affairs who will be
responsible for setting up focus groups (as mentioned above in the document) and coordination with
alumni ambassadors. Currently, these tasks were more or less executed by chair, secretary and PR
commissioner although it would be logical to have one board member in charge of this
communication.
Last but not least, as a consequence of the decreasing funding provided for by the department, the
board underlines the necessity to include acquisition responsibilities in the tasks of the Treasurer.
As mentioned before in this report, the treasurer will then be responsible for the budget, finances
resulting from fees or donations, and finances resulting from sponsorship from third parties. Even
though past experiences have illustrated that gaining acquisition is difficult for Mitrany, it is
imperative in the upcoming years. When organizing big events like the annual symposium, Mitrany

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should seek sponsors that would be willing to pay for the costs in exchange for promotion. By making
this a key-task of one of the board members, the new board will be able to be more independent
financially.
The positions and tasks of the PR commissioner and the Clio representative will remain unchanged.
Both positions have a full set of tasks, which were very clearly outlined and executed throughout the
year.

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Appendix 1: Flyers & promotional material
Poster Network Drinks Amsterdam, 30th of October:

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Poster Network Drinks Brussels, 26th of February:

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Poster Symposium Leadership and Sustainability, 13th of May:

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Poster GMM & Alumni Dinner, 3rd of June:

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Mitrany Membership Flyer (BA and MA Graduation Ceremonies)

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