Minutes: AGM 2016


Minutes of the Harvard University Club of Ottawa

Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat

November 24, 2016

1. Outgoing President's Report - John Baenziger

Reflecting on his two-year tenure, John Baenziger said it had been a pleasure and an honour to serve as President. His goals had been to offer a broad range of stimulating and thought provoking events and to make steady improvements to the website. Twenty five such events had been held and, while still a work in progress, the website was vastly better, thanks to the efforts of Meghan Sullivan and our contract technician. He thanked the executive for their support, noting that Jim Junke, who was stepping down. He also highlighted the Club's goal of establishing the Davis Johnson Scholarship Fund in 2017, in honour of the Governor General, once he completed his term of office. It would be based on student need.

2. Treasurer's Report - Gabriel Poliquin

Gabriel Poliquin said the Club was doing well financially in large part because of two very successful Annual General Meetings which generated many new members. The main expenses were related to the ongoing work on upgrading the website, to improve the member experience.

3. Nomination and Election of 2017 Executive - Lew Auerbach

Past President Lew Auerbach proposed that the slate be approved. Martha McDougall seconded the motion and it was approved. At the request of Barry McLoughlin, the newly elected executive stood to be recognized. John Baenziger, as soon to be Past President, will lead the nominating committee for 2017, in an EX official capacity.

4. Incoming President's Remarks - Margaret Huber

Margaret Huber said that she was honoured to follow Lew and John. She hoped Jim would remain active in the Club. She stressed that we needed to stay connected to each other and to reach out to new members. She commended Meghan for her work on the website, calling the executive a coalition of the willing. She urged members to let the executive know of activities that would be of interest. She praised John for the exceptional job that he had done despite being extremely busy in his work as a professor and researcher at the University of Ottawa, his cottage hospitality, his warmth and his collaborative spirit. He had left big shoes to fill. She expressed excitement about Club prospects with growing membership, a much improved website and real progress on the scholarship fund.

5. Other Business

Barry McLoughlin asked about the work of the Schools Committee, lead by Chris Baird, which interviews local candidates for the Harvard College undergraduate class. What had been the latest outcomes? Was there a report on the website? Margaret undertook to work with Chris to post a report on the website. She noted that new graduates had a role to play in speaking to local high schools about applying.

6. Adjournment

Moved by Barry McLoughlin, seconded by Lew Auerbach.

7. Presentation by David Johnson, Governor General of Canada

John asked Dr. Mahmoud Eboo, Special Representative of His Highness, the Aga Khan, in Canada, to introduce the Governor General. Dr. Eboo noted that both he and his brother were Harvard graduates, as was his daughter, so he had been pleased to respond to Margaret's suggestion to co-host the event. He highlighted the Governor General's distinguished career in academia, beginning with graduating magna cum laude from Harvard College and being class marshall. He spoke of Dr. Johnston's recently published book, The Idea of Canada, Fifty Letters, in particular a letter to an Inuit boy in his response to his question about who he was. His answer stressed the importance of learning and philanthropy.

8. Remarks by the Governor General

Dr. Johnston spoke of his days at Harvard, saying that it had opened his mind to the world. He used the analogy of being parachuted in a completely new and dynamic environment. As a political science major he had been influenced by Professor's Robinson's work on why nations fail. He referred to his installation speech, noting that in reply to Chancellor Merkel's question on why Canada worked, he said that the key was to be an inclusive society. And he stressed an education system that was outward looking, that emphasized curiosity, empathy, tolerance and analytical skills.

9. Closing Remarks

Following a question and answer session, Margaret noted that Harvard, established in1636, was still seeking to improve itself as an institution. It had provided its graduates, like the Governor General, with inspiration throughout their lives. She thanked all volunteers, both with Aga Khan Foundation, and the Club, for their help in organizing and executing this event. Upcoming events in 2017 included a mid January visited to Ottawa of the Krocodillos, the Harvard a cappella singing group and the mid February visited of Keen easy school graduate students. She noted that Dr. Eboo and his staff were offering tours of the building, designed by Harvard trained architect, Humahito Maoi. She closed by thanking everyone for attending and invited them to mingle over drinks.