ARTICLE 1 – Name
The international organisation will be called “European Network of Sign Language Teachers”, hereafter referred to in this document by the abbreviation ENSLT. ENSLT has the legal status of an international non-profit organisation with scientific, humanitarian, didactic, religious, artistic or educational purposes. It is subject to the Belgian law of 27 June 1921 entitling it to the name: international non-profit organisation.
ARTICLE 2 – Internal rules
ENSLT will be run according to the current Articles of Association and subsequent amendments and the internal rules of the organisation and other guidelines passed by its General Assembly and/or by the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE 3 – Duration
The duration of the organisation is unlimited. Its legal status may be amended at any time in accordance with Article 26 of these Articles of Association. lt may only be dissolved in accordance with Article 27 of the current Articles of Association.
ARTICLE 4 –
The registered office is in Belgium in the judicial district of Brussels at the following address: rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 26 bus 15, I040 Brussels.
ARTICLE 5 – Purpose
Section 1. Mission statement
Representing sign language teachers as a profession to other bodies, institutes and groups involved in teaching, didactics, education and assessment in/from/via sign language. lts main objective is to promote teaching in/from/via sign language on a European scale and to maintain high quality and ethical standards within the aforementioned teaching/learning and assessment of sign language. Advising and supporting sign language teachers to promote CPD (Continuing Professional Development) within their target group. The target group of ENSLT are sign language teachers working in countries that are part of the Council of Europe.
Section 2. Aims
Monitoring and observing ethical values within the profession of sign language teaching. Guarding ethical standards of teaching, learning and assessment of sign language. ENSLT will – as far as it is able – enter into collaborations with other interested organisations and bodies which support and/or reinforce the main aims of ENSLT. ENSLT will participate in EU projects relating to the sign language teaching profession and share/disseminate resulting knowledge and information to inform its target group. Maintain, secure and continue the LESICO conference series.
Section 3. Objectives
The objectives of ENSLT will be: To promote knowledge, knowledge sharing and exchange of information/experience relating to professional sign language teaching, learning and assessment on a European scale. To encourage and promote active collaboration and mutual exchange of information between member organisations and partners. Supporting, advising and assisting countries to establish new national sign language teaching organisations. Setting up and maintaining active cooperation, dialogue and representation with European and international institutions and organisations, and their representatives, including but not restricted to the European Union, Council of Europe or United Nations. Conducting, informing and collecting research and data in every area that may influence sign language teaching and – if necessary in collaboration with other organisations – providing this to relevant interested parties and organisations, including but not restricted to national governments, their agents, as well as academic and research institutions.
ARTICLE 6 – Membership
There are two categories of
membership: 1) individual members and 2) donors. Application for membership in all categories is done by registering with the Board, taking into account the procedures that the Board will lay down in the internal rules. All decisions and changes relating to membership applying to all categories will be ratified by the General Assembly. The rights and obligations of members will be explained in the current Articles of Association and the internal rules of the organisation. The procedures for membership registration will be explained in Article 8 of the Articles of Association. All members will meet the annual contribution obligations. No individual member of any category can at any time claim rights or exert pressure on the assets of ENSLT.
ARTICLE 7 – Categories of membership
Section 1. Individuai membership
These individual members can attend the General Assembly and have full voting rights. These members have access to workshops, symposia and other activities organised by ENSLT. Individual membership is open to those who can show that they are legally qualified and/or working as sign language teachers in Europe (member country of the Council of Europe), and can demonstrate experience in sign language teaching. Individual membership is only available to those aged 18 or over. Individual members will respectfully comply with the Articles of Association and the internal rules and support ENSLT by developing activities related to sign language teaching.
Section 2. Donors
Membership for donors is open to any other organisation with legal status and registered office that endorses and supports the goals and objectives of ENSLT. These donor members may participate in meetings but do not have voting rights.
ARTICLE 8 – Membership registration procedure
All applications are submitted to the Board and General Assembly for approval, as explained in the internal rules.
ARTICLE 9 – Cancellation, termination and exclusion
Any member may leave ENSLT at any time by sending a registered letter addressed to the Board containing his/her formal resignation/cancellation. Cancellation is then effective immediately. A member must, in any case, pay all outstanding financial items for the year in which the cancellation was submitted. The start and end of a membership year is laid down in the internal rules. Membership ends upon the death of the member. The ENSLT board may revoke membership if the member does not comply with the Articles of Association, regulations or decisions of ENSLT and/or shows themselves unsuited as regards the above points. Disqualification by the Board is preceded by warnings.
III. STRUCTURE OF ORGANISATION
ARTICLE 10 – Structure of organization
The organisation is comprised of the following organisational structure:
The General Assembly; and
The Board of Directors, presided over by the President;
B. General Assembly
ARTICLE 11 – Powers and competences
The General Assembly has the following exclusive powers under the Articles of Association and internal rules:
1. Triennial elections to the Board: one (1) President, one (1) Vice-President and three (3) Regular board members;
2. Reviewing and approving submitted reports on ENSLT activities;
3. Taking action on the basis of submitted financial reports and budgetary obstacles;
4. Adopting the annual accounts and annual budgets;
5. Assessing and approving the action plan for the coming year and indicating new directions for ENSLT;
6. Giving the ENSLT board a mandate to submit project funding for the coming year(s);
7. Amending the Articles of Association and internal rules of ENSLT;
8. Appointing and dismissing board members;
9. Changing name and/or location of ENSLT;
10. Dissolving and abolishing ENSLT.
ARTICLE 12 – General Assembly (GA)
The time and venue of the GA will be made known by means of a formal letter once agreed by the Board.
ARTICLE 13 – Extraordinary General Assembly (EGA)
Extraordinary General Assemblies can be announced and arranged by the President after consultation with all members of the Board or at the request of a quarter (¼) of the individual members.
ARTICLE 14 – Quorum and votes
The General Assembly is the highest authority of ENSLT.
A decision on matters can only be taken by the General Assemblies if it is on the pre-approved agenda. Only individual members have voting rights under the internal rules. The quorum is always over 50% of those entitled to vote. All decisions are deemed adopted/ratified/approved with a majority of votes cast in favour (over 50%), with the exception of amendments to the Articles of Association/internal rules and dissolution of the organisation which require a two-thirds majority (more than 2/3). Delegates can vote for a specific option or choose to abstain. An abstention counts as a vote. Voting may be as follows: roll call vote, by a show of hands, by electronic vote, a secret ballot or showing a red/green card. Proxy votes are not permitted.
ARTICLE 15 – Invitations and Agenda
The invitations and agenda for all General Assemblies (General and Extraordinary) must be sent to all members under the internal rules.
ARTICLE 16 – Minutes
The minutes of each General Assembly are recorded by a designated person announced by the President at the start of the GA. The minutes are signed by this designated person and the President. The minutes are videoed in International Sign as well as recorded in English text. The minutes will be sent to all individual members within a maximum period of 6 months after the GA. Third parties who want to consult the minutes must submit a request to the Board, which will then decide whether or not to grant the request.
ARTICLE 17 – Procedures
The procedures for voting and decision-making are explained in the internal rules. The voting procedure is presided over by a person appointed by the Board who may not themselves be a member of the Board.
ARTICLE 18 – Composition
The ENSLT board is comprised of five (5) members who may be appointed for a maximum term of three (3) years: one (1) President, one (1) Vice-President and three (3) regular board members. There may not be more than one board member from the same Council of Europe country represented. A board member may not already sit on the Board of his/her own National Association for the Deaf or on the Board of the National Sign Language Teachers Association (if there is one in his/her country). All board members must at all times adhere to the principles laid down in Article 5 of the Articles of Association, as well as the core concepts and principles of ENSLT as defined in the internal rules.
ARTICLE 19 – Powers and competences
The Board will hold all powers which are not exclusively assigned to the General Assembly. Specifically, it will have the powers to:
1. Take responsibility for ENSLT finances;
2. Review actions and make decisions between meetings of the General Assembly and implement policies approved by the General Assembly. To do so, the Board may decide to set up working groups and/or to delegate tasks to one or more persons who will report back on their activities to the Board on a regular basis so they can be evaluated.
3. Recommend/review the revision or change of amendments to the Articles of Association and the internal rules, subject to approval by the General Assembly under Article 14 and Article 26;
4. Decide on the final agenda for meetings of the General Assembly.
ARTICLE 20 – Procedures
The Board will hold meetings at least four times a year via video conferencing and once a year in person. The board meetings will be announced via invitation. The President arranges the meetings. The invitation is usually accompanied by a Draft Agenda sent to all board members. The board meeting is presided over by the President. In the absence of the President, the meeting is chaired by the Vice-President. lf neither is present, the board meeting is postponed. The minutes of each General Assembly are recorded by a designated person announced by the President at the start of the GA. The minutes are videoed in International Sign as well as recorded in written English. The minutes are signed by this designated person and the President.
ARTICLE 21 – President
Section 1 – Powers and competences
The President has the power to delegate his duties to other board members. The President must show that he/she is legally qualified/certified and/or working as a sign language teacher in Europe and can demonstrate experience in sign language teaching. The President must have an academic level of education. The President must have a very advanced command of International Sign and be able to understand written English well and be able to express him/herself in it.
Section 2 – Responsibilities
The President represents ENSLT in foreign policy and political matters. Only in his/her absence can this responsibility be assumed by the Vice-President or assigned to another board member. For a clearly defined task, the President can use his/her right to delegate external representation of ENSLT to another board member. The President is however ultimately responsible for any decisions or actions taken by the representative on his/her behalf. The President will not make any public decision on behalf of ENSLT without prior consultation with the Board. The President oversees the financial planning and financial reports and discusses issues facing ENSLT with the Board. The President may perform other duties that have been assigned by the Board.
ARTICLE 22 – Vice-President
Section 1 – Powers and competences
The Vice-President fulfils the responsibilities of ENSLT President when the President of ENSLT is not available or has specifically authorized him/her to do so. The Vice-President must show that he/she is legally qualified/certified and/or working as a sign language teacher in Europe and can demonstrate experience in sign language teaching. The Vice-President must have an academic level of education. The Vice-President must have a very advanced command of International Sign and be able to understand written English well and be able to express him/herself in it.
Section 2 – Responsibilities
The Vice-President reports to the President and works closely with the President and other board members. If desired, the Vice-President will perform other tasks assigned to him/her by the Board.
ARTICLE 23 – Board members
Section 1 – Powers and competences
The board members must each show that he/she is legally qualified/certified and/or working as a sign language teacher in Europe and can demonstrate experience in sign language teaching. The board members must have an academic level of education. The board members must have a very advanced command of International Sign and be able to understand written English well and be able to express themselves in it. The President, Vice-President and the other board members of ENSLT have powers granted to them under the current Articles of Association and the internal rules. They report to the General Assembly.
Section 2 – Responsibilities
All board members, including the President and Vice-President, will attend all meetings of the ENSLT board. In the event of absence, the internal rules must be applied. ENSLT board members will be volunteers and willing to accept the assignments and to complete them thoroughly and in a timely manner. They keep abreast of ENSLT matters, prepare for meetings, review and comment on the minutes, reports and other documentation, if necessary/asked. The President and the Board cannot be held liable for any legal or financial problem if fault has not been proven.
ARTICLE 24 – Financial year
The start and end of a financial year for ENSLT will be established in the internal rules. The General Assembly has the power to alter the start and end of a financial year.
ARTICLE 25 – Sources of income
The sources of income for ENSLT will be:
a) Regular fees from memberships.
b) Subsidies, grants, gifts, donations, contributions, legacies and other consequences of last will and testamentary dispositions to support ENSLT for general/specific purposes.
c) Funds obtained from projects that meet ENSLT objectives.
d) Funds obtained in other legal ways that are not in violation of the law.
e) The Board may obtain bank loans in exceptional circumstances.
V. CHANGE AND DISSOLUTION
ARTICLE 26 – Change
The General Assembly has the power to ratify and review proposed changes to the current Articles of Association and internal rules. Proposals for changes may come from the Board or at least three- fifths (3/5) of the individual members. The draft of the amended Articles of Association and/or internal rules must be added to the agenda and sent to all individual members two (2) months before the start of the General Assembly. Amendments can only be adopted by the General Assembly under Article 14. The changes to the Articles of Association must be submitted to the relevant authorities and should be published in the annexes of the Belgian Official Gazette under application of the legislation set out in Article 1.
ARTICLE 27 – Dissolution
The General Assembly has the power to dissolve ENSLT. Proposals for dissolution may come from the Board or at least four-fifths (4/5) of the individual members. The dissolution of ENSLT must be added to the agenda of a meeting of the General Assembly and the vote itself will take place in accordance with Article 14. In the event of dissolution, the General Assembly will appoint two liquidators and determine their powers. The General Assembly will also vote on the assets of ENSLT, which must be allocated to another designated non-profit organisation with comparable or similar goals, i.e. is involved in the field of sign language teaching, is engaged in the sign language teaching profession and is based in Europe.
ARTICLE 28 – Official language
The language for all official documents is Dutch, if required by Belgian law.
ARTICLE 29 – Working languages
The working languages of ENSLT are International Sign and written English.
ARTICLE 30 – General Assembly and ENSLT events
All ENSLT events and meetings of the General Assembly are conducted in International Sign, taking into account the financial and structural constraints.
VII. FINAL CLAUSES
ARTICLE 31 – Applicable law and legal texts
The Dutch version of the Articles of Association is the only legally valid version.
ENSLT is subject to the laws in Article 1 of these Articles of Association. Any points not covered under the current Articles of Association will likewise be subject to the laws listed in Article 1.
ARTICLE 32 – Interpretation of Articles of Association
In the event of disagreements over the interpretation of the Articles of Association and internal rules, the Board has the power to mediate or decide. The internal rules are subject to the Articles of Association as explained in Article 1 of the ENSLT internal rules. Points not covered and/or included by the current Articles of Association, and above all specifically not published as such in the Belgian Official Gazette, will be handled according to Belgian law.