Program for Hikma

Middle East and Islamic Studies Student Association, Leiden, The Netherlands

After a thoughtful consideration and discussion with students from various master programs (Arabic, Islamic, Middle East, Area studies etc.), we came to the conclusion that the necessity of establishing a Master Student Association would be indeed beneficial for our own studies, and personal endeavors, as well as for the student community as a whole.

The necessity of establishing a Student Association lies with social as well as academic activities which would enable the students to grasp not only the content of their studies but rather to link it with their own understating in critically addressing the issues and events that concern us as students and academics.

Apart from the social activities, (e.g. thematic movie nights, excursions, gathering etc.) more frequent meetings and discussions among interested students regarding critical reflection upon our studies as well as other relevant social, political and cultural happenings around the world (e.g. lack of student contribution in the academic domain, the Arab spring, the rise of right-wing parties in Europe, the question of Islam in the West and other broader social issues concerning other areas) would enable us to address these issues in an organized and sophisticated manner.

We believe that Leiden University (as a community of teachers, scholars and students) is a prominent institution due to the specialized and high quality (research) master programs, which are linked also with the international ranking of the University itself. Furthermore, the studies of most of the students interested in establishing the student association are inextricably related to the collective and have a research orientated spirit.

However, apart from some student associations there are no knowledge-producing student groups which would bind social events with the academic framework in our fields of interest. The main aim of the Association would thus be the students’ contribution on the academic as well as social domain, linking our understandings, personal experiences, knowledge of languages and study fields with the broader image of the domestic, international and specific-area related topics.

Due to the broad, multidisciplinary approach of our studies we, the students, have agreed
to establish Middle Eastern and Islamic Master Student Association. This does also include Arabic studies, Near Eastern studies, African studies, Judaism and Christianity in the Middle East, as well as other areas which bare proximity. Therefore, the association is not affiliated exclusively with the programs of Middle Eastern Studies, but also for example Hebrew and Jewish Studies and Religious Studies.

Since the Association itself is an open group, students with an interest in contributing towards the well-being of the association from other areas of study, e.g. sociology, political science, philosophy etc., in order to address certain issues from social science and humanities perspective, are more than welcome to join as well.

The aims of the association are

  1. Critical thinking and reflecting upon the social and broader-related questions and phenomena in the fields of our studies
  2. Producing alternative approaches in understanding the sociopolitical-religious-cultural layers of areas and theories involved
  3. Questioning specific fields of establishments themselves and encouraging students to actively contribute in the domain of their own studies
  4. Sharing knowledge of our fields of study and beyond in order to gain multidisciplinary approach in addressing social phenomena
  5. Alerting upon the marginalized topics, groups and including them in the mainstream
  6. Organizing peer review sessions
  7. Publishing magazine/articles/reviews etc. online and publishing twice a year a magazine with peer-reviewed articles by members of the group
  8. Organizing academic events e.g. lectures, presentations, public plenums, meetings etc.
  9. Organizing social events e.g. movie nights with discussions, dinners, excursions etc.
  10. Co-organizing abovementioned events and cooperating with BA Leiden Arabic student Association “Sheherazade” as well as with other international student associations

For our voices and contributions as individuals, students and future academics count, we strongly believe that the Middle East and Islamic studies Master Student Association Leiden would enable us not only to address certain social events, but also to seriously engage in multidisciplinary academic issues, bearing an overall scholarly benefit.

Leiden, 10.1.2011

Board of Middle East and Islamic Studies

Master Student Association, Leiden – (MEISSA)


General provisions

Article 1 – Name and Location

  1. The association carries the name Hikma.
  2. It is located in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Article 2 –  Purpose and Foundation

  1. The purpose of the association is to maintain and improve the student life, as was laid down in the program written in January 2012.
  2. The association is based upon the conviction that every person can claim all the rights and freedoms contained within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, without any distinction of any kind, such as race, skin color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political affiliation or any other conviction, national or societal heritage, birth or any other status.

Article 3 – Means

The association will attempt to achieve its goals by:

  1. the organization of social activities
  2. the organization of academic activities, such as lectures and excursions
  3. the promotion of contacts between the members
  4. the organization of assemblies and other meetings

The Hikma board will strive to organize at least two academic activities and social activities a month.

Article 4  – Duration

The association is established for an indefinite period of time.


Article 5  – Members, Honorary Members and Former Members

  1. The association has members, honorary members, and former members.
  2. When the statutes or decisions of bodies of the association speak of members, this includes honorary members, unless from the provision it appears differently.
  3. Members of Hikma are primarily enrolled in the departments Middle Eastern Studies, Hebrew and Jewish Studies or Religious Studies at Leiden University. Students of other departments with an interest in the Middle East or Islam can be admitted as members as well.
  4. The names and addresses of the members will be registered by the secretary of the board

Article 6  –  Commencement of Membership

  1. Any person who:
    1. Has knowledge of the foundation and the purpose of the association.
    2. Agrees with the foundation and purpose of the association.
    3. Follows higher education at the time of application.

can apply for membership.

  1. Admission occurs by the general assembly. The admission can occur tacitly. In case the general assembly decides to not admit a potential member, this does not change financial obligations of the refused members with regard to the association.
  2. After admission the prospective member will be inaugurated as a general member during the same general assembly.
  3. Further regulation regarding the interpretation or enactment of this article will be given under internal rules.

Article 7  – Honorary Membership

The board can nominate members who have served the association particularly well for a honorary membership. This honorary membership is awarded by the general assembly by a majority vote.

Article 8 – Ending of Membership

  1. Membership ends when:
    1. At death of the member.
    2. At termination by the member.
    3. By termination by the association.
  2. When membership is terminated in the course of the fiscal year, the dues for that year will still be owed by the member



Article 9 – Finances

  1.  The monetary assets of the association consist of:
    1. The yearly contribution by association members
    2. Fines
    3. Donations
    4. Every other legal income
  2. Members are obliged to pay a yearly contribution. In February 2012 the contribution was established at 15 euros per year.
  3. The board can decide in special cases to (partly) lift the financial obligations of members.
  4. The fiscal year of the association runs from the 1st September until the 31st of August


Article 10 – Board: Composition

  1. The board will consist of no less than 3 persons: the president, the secretary and the treasurer are positions that should be filled at all times.
  2. Elections for board membership will take place annually in January.
  3. Board members will be appointed by the general assembly from the vote qualified members who have fulfilled their payment obligations.
  4.  Board members will be appointed for the period of one board year. The board year is the period between the first general assembly meetings of two concurrent fiscal years.
  5. Every board member resigns at the end of the board year, but can also be re-elected by the general assembly.
  6. Members of the board can resign from the board themselves as well as be dismissed by the general assembly with a 2/3 majority vote .
  7. Board members going abroad for an entire semester will be replaced. In order to fill the open spots, extra elections can be held in September if necessary.
  8. At the end of their term, the resigning board will nominate candidates. Nomination cannot take place without the consent of the nominated member. The board is obliged to reveal the identity of the nominated members before the general assembly, so that opponents can step forward.

Article 11 – Board: Duties and Privileges

  1. The board is charged with managing the association.
  2. The board is authorized to engage in agreements in which the association serves as bond or is severally liable.
  3. The board represents the association internally and externally.
  4. The board is mandated to keep records at all times in order that all rights and obligation of the association are known.
  5. The board is required to keep the books or any other methods of carrying data, as referred to in the previous paragraph, for a period of seven years.
  6. If there are no more than three board members, the board members are obliged to search actively for candidates to fill the open places.
  7. Decisions made in board meetings will be recorded by the secretary. The minutes of every meeting will be send to all the board members afterwards.

Article 12 – Board: Functionaries

  1. The board will consist of the follow functionaries: president, vice-president, internal relations officer, external relations officer, treasurer and secretary. They are supported by a web designer and an editor.
    1. President
  1.                                                               i.      Responsible for composing the agenda for the board meetings and general assemblies as well as presiding over the meetings
  2.                                                             ii.      Representing the association on formal occasions
  3.                                                           iii.      Responsible for the cooperation within the board
  4.                                                           iv.      Supporting the other board members with their tasks
  5.                                                               i.      Replacing the president in his/her absence
  6.                                                             ii.      Attending faculty meetings
  7.                                                           iii.      Supporting the internal relations officer in organizing the events
  8.                                                               i.      Responsible for organizing the events
  9.                                                             ii.      Responsible for the newsletter (with the editor)
  10.                                                           iii.      Internal communication
  11.                                                               i.      Responsible for contacts with persons or institutions outside the association
  12.                                                             ii.      Attend faculty and departmental meetings
  13.                                                           iii.      Responsible for the PR of the association – increase awareness of the existence of the association and the recruitment of new members. Also responsible for the publicity surrounding the activities.
  14.                                                               i.      Responsible for financial matters, such as drawing up the budget and controlling the bank account
  15.                                                             ii.      Responsible for communication related to financial matters
  16.                                                               i.      Responsible for the administration of the association
  17.                                                             ii.      Answering emails related to the association
  18.                                                           iii.      Responsible for the archive of the association
  19.                                                           iv.      Responsible for keeping the details regarding members up to date
  20.                                                               i.      Responsible for technical matters concerning the website
  21.                                                               i.      Responsible for the content of the website
  22.                                                             ii.      Responsible for the newsletter (with the internal relations officer)
    1. Vice-president
    1. Internal relations officer
    1. External relations officer
    1. Treasurer
    1. Secretary
    1. Web designer
    1. Editor

Article 13 – Board: workings

  1. The board can only decide during board meetings by a majority vote.

General Assembly

Article 14 – General Assembly: General

  1. A general assembly will be held when:
    1. In case of prescription by statutes.
    2. When the board finds it necessary.
    3. When at least one-tenth of the vote-qualified members of the general assembly requests it in writing.

Article 15 –  General Assembly: Meeting itself

  1. General Assemblies will be held in thecountyof Leiden, at least once a year.
  2. The general assembly will be led by the president. In his or her absence, the vice-president will lead the general assembly.
  3. The general assembly is assembled by the board. Members are invited at least a week in advance. The subjects to be discussed are communicated beforehand to the members.
  4. During the general assembly minutes will be recorded by the secretary or in the case of hindrance by a member appointed by the chair of the general assembly.

The minutes will be fixed at the same or the subsequent meeting of the general assembly and as proof thereof signed by the chair of the general assembly and the secretary of that general assembly.

Article 16 –  General Assembly: Decision-Making

  1. Vote-qualified in the general assembly are members. These members can each cast one vote.
  2. Every vote-qualified person is competent to allow by written authorization another vote-qualified member to vote.

This written authorization is only allowed once per vote-qualified member.

  1. Every decision in which the law or the statutes do not require a large majority, will be taken by the absolute majority of the authorized cast votes.
  2. Board members participate in the voting as well, unless the vote is about their functioning.

Annual report and accounts

Article 17 – annual report

  1. The board will present an annual report at the general assembly following their resignation, answering for their policies of the bygone year.

Changes in the statues

Article 18

  1. The statutes of the association can only be changed by a 2/3 majority vote at the general assembly. At least half of the members of the association have to be present in order to adopt a change in the statutes.


Article 19

  1. The association can be abolished by the general assembly.
  2. Any surplus money will be equally divided among the members.

Committee of recommendation

Article 20

  1. The association has a committee of recommendation.
  2. The board is responsible for the composition of the committee of recommendation.
  3. The board will keep contact with the members of the committee of recommendation on a regular basis.

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