European Skeptics elect fresh leadership

Last Sunday, one day before its 23rd anniversary, representatives of member organisations of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations (ECSO) elected a new Board. This happened during the 17th European Skeptics Congress in Wrocław, Poland. The ECSO Board 2017-2019 is constituted as follows:

President: Claire Klingenberg
(Czech Skeptics Club Sisyfos, Czechia)
Vice-president: Tim Trachet
(SKEPP, Belgium)
Treasurer: Amardeo Sarma
(GWUP, Germany/Austria/Switzerland)

Member: Paola De Gobbi
(CICAP, Italy)
Member: Pontus Böckman
(Vetenskap och Folkbildning, Sweden)

Associate member: András Gábor Pintér
(Szkeptikus Társaság, Hungary)
Associate member: Michael Heap
(Association for Skeptical Enquiry, UK)
Associate member: Catherine De Jong
(Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij, Netherlands)
Associate member: Leon Korteweg
(De Vrije Gedachte, Netherlands)

Photograph of the newly elected board.
The newly elected ECSO board, convening at the 17th European Skeptics Congress in Wrocław, Poland. Back row: Catherine de Jong, Paola De Gobbi, Pontus Böckman, Amardeo Sarma, András Gábor Pintér. Front row: Michael Heap, Tim Trachet, Claire Klingenberg, Leon Korteweg. Photo taken by Eran Segev (CC-BY-SA 4.0).

Gábor Hraskó has stepped down as president, and was thanked for his efforts in chairing the rationalist pan-European umbrella in the past four years. Hraskó, though unofficially in capacity, will still be instrumental in the functioning of ECSO.

The Council also welcomed a new member organisation to its ranks: the Polish Skeptics Club (Klub Sceptyków Polskich, KSP), founded in 2010 and co-organiser of the 17th European Skeptics Congress.

Aside from choosing a fresh leadership, reforms and expansions of the ECSO’s functioning, activities and international cooperation were extensively discussed. One of the first orders of business is to analyse relationships that ECSO has with its member organisations and see what the new Board can do to make ECSO a powerful ally for its members, both nationally and internationally.

Get tickets to the ESC ’17

Dear skeptics!

As I am sure you all know by now, the next ESC ’17 will take place in Poland in September of next year.

The Polish Skeptics Club and the Czech Skeptics Club Sisyfos have a holiday surprise for you. Starting tomorrow, December 12th at 12:12 CET, you can start purchasing TICKETS to the ESC! Also, the first 50 Good Tickets are 20% off – 80 Eur instead of the regular price of 100 Eur.

What this all means is that not only do you save on your ticket, but you can get a wonderful present for your loved ones who are skeptics and for your loved ones who aren’t (yet).

Happy holidays!

Today the ECSO is 22 years old

These are the ECSO’s founding documents: the Establishment Agreement and Charter, as adopted on 25 September 1994.
They were drafted during the sixth European Skeptics Congress that was held in Oostende, Belgium. At earlier conferences and in letter correspondence in the run-up to this weekend, extensive negotiations had taken place between eight organisations from different (Western) European countries with the same goal: to protect the public against harmful misinformation, to investigate extraordinary claims and to promote evidence-based science policies. As it happened, the French skeptics’ representative had to return home due to grave family conditions, so seven organisations (including the U.S.-based CSICOP) became the founding members (with the later approval of the national and regional organisations’ boards). Here is a photo of the people who signed on behalf of each (you may recognise some of them):

The seven signers of the founding documents (left to right): Amardeo Sarma (GWUP, Germany/Austria/Switzerland) Michael Howgate (UK Skeptics, Britain), Miguel Angel Sabadell (ARP, Spain), Paul Kurtz (CSICOP, USA), Tim Trachet (SKEPP, Belgium), Arlette Fougnies (Comité PARA, Belgium), Kees de Jager (Stichting Skepsis, Netherlands).

22 years later, the thus established European Council of Skeptical Organisations has grown and expanded to include many more groups across the continent, especially the east and north. Ten more Congresses and several symposia and campaigns have been held in support of transnational skeptical activism. The ECSO is currently looking to cooperate with associations in countries where organised skepticism is still relatively new and could use the support and know-how of the old family. Internationalisation requires skeptics to work together, because pseudoscience and extraordinary claims have also profited from fading boundaries and new technologies.

Date: 25th September 2016

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Original news: link