Il contributo a TERENA
The contribution to TERENA
Stefano Trumpy

Extract from the book "A history of international research networking", 2010, ISBN: 978-3-527-32710-2

  • During the first part of 1993, it was becoming increasingly obvious that the EARN (European Academic and Research Network) network services, and consequently the EARN Association, had no long-term future.
  • With some reluctance, the EARN Board of Directors concluded that some action was needed to maintain those activities that were still of value.
  • In May a joint meeting of the EARN Board of Directors and the RARE (Réseaux Associées pour la Recherchee Européenne) Executive Committee agreed that they would start negotiations with a view to merging the two organisations.
  • The two services which EARN were particularly concerned about were NJE (Network Job Entry) and coordination and maintenance of LISTSERV software.
  • At a meeting of the RARE Council of Administration on October 24 1994 to which EARN representatives were invited as observers, RARE members unanimously approved the amendments to the statutes and the accompanying regulations, the changes became official, and the meeting continued as the first General Assembly of TERENA (Trans European Research and Education Networking Association).
  • The first vote was for the position of President and there were two candidates for this position, one of them (Frode Greisen) previously associated primarily with EARN, the other (Kees Neggers) with RARE. It was generally accepted that Kees Neggers as the outgoing President of RARE would go on to lead the new organisation and that the election would be little more than a formality. The actual result was very close, with the "EARN" candidate receiving 56 votes and the "RARE" candidate 53.
  • The new Executive (Marco Sommani was member) inherited the responsibility of ensuring that steps were taken to deal with the practical issues that arose from the merger.
  • At the December meeting there were ominous signs that the new organisation was not working well. There was still no plan for a transition to a lower budget; TERENA was also experiencing cash-flow problems.
  • The Executive was asked to produce a revised budget for the year, in time for discussion at the May 1995 meeting of the General Assembly. By May 1995, however, the situation had gone from bad to worse.
  • One member of the Executive had resigned in April 1995 and three more members resigned just before the General Assembly meeting started.
  • Several members of the General Assembly threatened to leave TERENA altogether if management problems were not resolved.
  • The conclusion of a long discussion was that the remaining members of the Executive should be asked to resign, leaving the field clear for the election of a new Executive with a more manageable size of five members.
  • In the elections that then took place, Stefano Trumpy was elected President.
  • The two 1994 candidates for President were appointed as special advisors to the Executive so as to maintain continuity of approach in areas which were working well.
  • Twelve months later, the Executive was able to show that decisions vital to the good health of TERENA had been implemented and that a large degree of consensus over the activities of the organisation had been restored: TERENA was "back on track".
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