This month has been huge for the European fellowship as a number of counties have signed translation agreements with the WSO: Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and The Netherlands.
Norway: They submitted their translated “free-to-download” literature for approval for the website.
Sweden: I approved a flyer for an invitation to a convention for the Swedish fellowship on the 23rd of April, because I’m able to read Swedish. The Swedes are opening their first English speaking meeting and have asked me for literature to use at the meeting.
The Netherlands: The Dutch fellowship is having their 2nd Annual ACA Day on the 9th of April and I have been invited to attend. They are getting their translations for their “free-to-download” literature on the website as well.
Italy: They submitted a piece of literature “I 5 Saggi” presumably a piece like The Basic Five. They are also working on their translations for their “free-to-download” literature for the WSO website and began translating the BRB.
Latvia: They are signing a translation agreement later this month. The progress of translating is slow because English is spoken by less than 1% of the fellowship.
Russia: The BRB in Russian will have a huge impact on the translation process in the East European countries (East of the Vistula river) because many people speak Russian.
Faeroe Islands: They have registered their first ACA meeting and will receive a Lights on Starter kit. I’m in contact with them to see if it would be more practical for them to get a Danish BRB, since Danish is their second language, having been a part of the Danish Krone (Kingdom).
Events posted on the WSO website:
Russia is posting the 3rd annual ACA European Event on the 23-25th of September this was decided in Helsinki last year.
I gave a talk about service in Riga, Latvia, on the 13th of February at their conference. As always I was greeted with warmth. There were about 80-100 members present, including representatives from Italy and Sweden, and more than half stayed for the Service meeting. My talk was translated into Russian, Estonian, Lithuanian. Please see my report in the repository.
Countries I’ve been in contact with this month; Switzerland, The Netherlands, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Faeroe Islands, Greece, Germany, Spain, Norway, Italy. I have been speaking with four of these countries over Skype and the list keeps growing.
Secretary (Acting): Jeffrey is currently acting in the capacity of Secretary for the European Committee until we create a new job description that will be part of our first plan and budget that we will seek approval from the Board. This month he set up a free account for our monthly call, which includes local dial-in numbers in 33 countries in Europe as well as about 30 other countries around the world, including the US. This now makes is easier for members to join the call if they don’t have internet access, and also allows us to record our calls for easier transcribing and minutes.
Finance Sub-Committee: Jeffrey is continuing to gather information to put together the first budget to request funding for the European Committee. This includes putting together for the first time numbers pertaining to sales of literature purchased in Europe, which has never been separated and analyzed before to see where the demand is coming from in Europe. The same goes for 7th tradition contributions. They are all listed but not separated out by country and city in Europe so that you can see any gaps. These are important numbers to have.
Literature Sub-Committee: Jeffrey is continuing to work on the first annual plan for the European Committee, which will not only include budget information as already noted, but also some of the initiatives we would like to undertake such as creating our own web site to more easily gather and disseminate an awful lot of information to and from members all around Europe. This should eventually include country representatives who can act as ambassadors for their fellowship in their country and as advisors to the European Committee in terms of formally keeping it up to date with
regular reports and information. Jeffrey is also working on a proposal for the WSO to print Danish language literature in Denmark and will soon be working with the Russian fellowship to put together a proposal to consider printing Russian-language literature in Russia (see following proposal).
Proposal regarding printing Russian-language literature
1) The European Committee (EC) requests the WSO Board (Board) to postpone any decision regarding when, where and with which printer, the Russian language version of the Big Red Book (BRB) will be printed and delivered.
2) Furthermore, the EC requests that any decision made by the Board related to this matter, be made only after they review an assessment of all known costs, printing options, logistics and risks associated with this activity. This assessment will be prepared and submitted in a few months’ time by the EC in cooperation with the Russian Intergroups.
Background: This issue was raised by Jeffrey in Prague (Chair of the European Finance and Literature Sub-Committees) on the 17 February weekly call of the Finance Committee (FC), because of the related announcement he heard on the 13 February WSO Teleconference, when he pointed out potential financial difficulties for the Russian fellowship in being able to afford the cost of printing in, and shipping from the USA, because their currency (the Ruble) has collapsed against the US Dollar in recent months due to the crash in oil prices. Furthermore, Jeffrey pointed out the potential financial risk for the WSO and Russian fellowship associated with political tensions in the Middle East between Russia and the US. All that would be needed is a similar incident to happen between Russia and the US, like what happened between Russia and Turkey, and all imports into Russia from the US might be halted at the border.
Mary Jo (Chair of the FC) said she would bring this issue to the Board’s attention and it was added as an unofficial note from that meeting’s minutes as: Translations and financial risk management – before printing here and shipping, investigate printing there first; currency risk management.
The EC however was prompted to submit this formal proposal to the Board, in accordance with the spirit of Article X.A. of the OPPM 2010 (Revised 13 October 2012) based upon the concerns of the Moscow Intergroup representative (Denis) who spoke on the EC’s monthly Teleconference which was held on 5 March. The following is a transcript of what Denis shared on this call:
“I am Denis from the Moscow Intergroup of ACA. In Moscow we have 17 meetings now. Also we have an Intergroup in St. Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia. And we have an independent Translation group who translates all of our literature. And I know that our Translation group sent to the WSO the complete translation of the Big Red Book (BRB). So it is a very exciting moment for all the Russian-speaking fellowship.
And now we face the question of how we can get the books printed. The WSO told us they will print 500 books and send them to Russia. But they will print in the USA and we need to pay for the printing and shipping and maybe customs, and I think this is a great (i.e. major) problem… an organizational problem, financing problem and I don’t know exactly how we can resolve this issue.
I was elected as the representative from my Moscow Intergroup to connect with the St. Petersburg Intergroup, and other Russian groups, and with our Translation group and with WSO to make negotiations to find a solution how we can make it.
Because I personally think the strategic goal is to print all Russian ACA literature in Russia legally. As I know, all the big Russian fellowship communities like AA, NA, Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, all of them print their literature in Russia legally. And I think it’s possible for ACA too. I don’t know how long the way will be (i.e. how and when this could be achieved) but I think it’s the best solution, and not to print our Russian literature in the USA.
But I don’t know how to make it happen. I think it is a very huge problem. And maybe not only for Russia. Maybe for other countries in Europe too. So I think we propose to St. Petersburg to establish a Region in Russia. I sent the email proposal last week and I hope to receive their answer next month. And maybe after that, I think we can take more steps with it. I think that’s all. Thank you.”
The full discussion on this topic from our 5 March Teleconference will be covered in the minutes from that meeting which will soon be available on the repository. I also had an extensive talk with Dennis on Skype about this after our Teleconference and he mentioned he is in the process of reviewing best practices of other Russian 12-step fellowships like AA, NA, Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, AO etc. He said they print and distribute all their approved literature in Russia legally, and that CoDA is also waiting for final approval from their World Office to print in Russia.
Chair, European Committee