ETHICAL FUNDING A DILEMMA FOR GLOBAL ORGANISATION
The issue of ethical funding was a hot topic during the Sixth World Archaeological Congress in Dublin, which hosted 1,800 archaeologists, the largest ever international gathering of archaeologists in Ireland.
Around $300,000 was raised to support the participation of people from economically disadvantaged countries and Indigenous groups at the Congress.
“The World Archaeological Congress is committed to increasing the richness of archaeological discussion through drawing on the knowledge of our colleagues in economically disadvantaged situations,” said Professor Claire Smith, President of the World Archaeological Congress.
“We raised our support for economically disadvantaged participants through factoring some support into Congress costings and by seeking funding from a range of sources, including government departments, transnational companies and philanthropic organisations,” said Professor Smith.
“We have found that some members object to each source of support, but especially to funding from large international corporations.”
“The World Archaeological Congress has members in some 90 to 100 countries. Because our membership incorporates a wide range of political and cultural backgrounds, no sponsors would be acceptable to every single member,” said Executive member Jon Price.
“If all members were given a veto on our funding sources the World Archaeological Congress would find itself unable to continue bringing together archaeologists, anthropologists and Indigenous peoples from around the world."
“Who and how we engage with external organisations is critical to who we are as an organisation,” said Professor Smith. “While the operation of the World Archaeological Congress involves interacting with other organisations every day, we have not yet developed a formal process to guide our actions on this.”
“Given that there is such diversity in member views it is essential that we develop processes that are consistent with our core principles, and that these are applied in a transparent manner,” said Professor Smith.
The World Archaeological Congress will develop an ethical funding policy in consultation with membership in the immediate future,” said Professor Smith. “We hope to be able to present recommendations to members by the end of 2008.”
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Professor Claire Smith
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The World Archaeological Congress (WAC) is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization and is the only elected international body of practising archaeologists. WAC holds an international congress every four years to promote the exchange of the results of archaeological research; professional training and public education for disadvantaged nations, groups and communities; the empowerment and betterment of Indigenous groups and First Nations peoples; and the conservation of archaeological sites.
The Sixth World Archaeological Congress (WAC-6) was held from 29th June—4th July at the University College Dublin. This was the first World Archaeological Congress to be held in Ireland. It was attended by over 1,800 archaeologists, native peoples and international scholars from 74 nations. Motions from the Plenary session of the Congress were considered by subsequent meetings of the World Archaeological Congress Council and Executive.
The Congress Patron for WAC-6 was President Mary McAleese. Previous Congress Patrons include Harriet Mayor Fulbright, Prince Charles and Nelson Mandela.