The Central European Political Science Association (CEPSA) was established in the year 1994 as a common forum of Central European political scientists. The basic idea behind the founding of the CEPSA was to develop links among political scientists from post-Communist countries who were making effort to establish political science in their respective countries. However, the idea of a common Central European identity played an important role in discussions about the necessity of a collective political science association in the region as well.
Political science features among the social sciences that were suppressed severely within Central and East European single-party systems. The regimes preferred their own “scientific” approach to political issues, namely the Marxist-Leninist ideology and dialectics. Nevertheless, research and study in politics still at least partly developed in (some) Central European countries during the period of the 1940s till the 1980s.
The fall of the single-party systems in Central European countries was followed by a rebirth of political science as an independent social science discipline. From the very beginning, political science manifested its importance during the period of immense and complex social, economical, and political transformation. Societies expected a scientific analysis of numerous, up till then unfamiliar events, and often even a prognosis for the future. Moreover, the process of development in the “zone of big transformation” attracted attention and raised curiosity of political scientists and politicians from the transatlantic community. Political scientists in Central European countries found the task of providing a general view of the political development in their respective countries often almost impossible to conclude, working on their own or in small groups, lacking both strong financial support and expert knowledge of contemporary theoretical and methodological approaches.
All reasons mentioned above constituted the rationale for the establishment of the Central European Political Science Association as a scientific organisation that provides support and floor for intensive scientific discussion, exchange of knowledge and networking. The Central European Political Science Association is based on the idea of collective membership. It was founded by six national political science associations from Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Currently, national political science associations of Croatia and Lithuania are also represented in the Central European Political Science Association, and the CEPSA occupies a position of the largest collective member of the International Political Science Association.
The main activity of the Central European Political Science Association is being carried out via the idea of Annual conferences of the Association. The conferences have taken place in Bled/Slovenia, Bratislava/Slovakia, Budapest/Hungary, Pilsen/Czech Republic, Vienna/Austria, and Vilnius/Lithuania. The next one, 11th Annual conference, is due in Bratislava in spring 2006. The conferences focus on contemporary and key issues related to political research and development in Central European countries. In recent years, sessions of post-doctoral students have been an important part of the conferences. The annual conferences of the Central European Political Science Association became a significant venue of networking processes among political scientists from Central European countries and their colleagues from other regions.
The conferences have resulted in publishing of edited books and academic articles. In previous years, the Central European Political Science Review, edited by Janos Simon, functioned as the official scientific journal of the Central European Political Science Association. Since 2005, a new scientific journal has been established jointly by the Central European Political Science Association and the Department of Political Science and International Relations/Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, under the title Politics in Central Europe. The Journal of the Central European Political Science Association.
From the establishment to the year 2003, Prof. Jerzy J. Wiatr occupied the position of the first President of the Central European Political Science Association. At the 8th Annual conference of the Central European Political Science Association in Vilnius (2003), Prof. Attila Ăgh was elected President of the Central European Political Science Association.
1. Name, membership, objectives
There has been established, in accordance with action taken by the Sixth Regional Conference of the political science associations from Central Europe, held in Popowo ( Poland ) on April 17 and 18, 2000, an association which will take the name of "Central European Political Science Association" (hereafter referred to as the "Association").
The Association has been established by the unanimous decision of the representatives of the political science associations of Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. These associations have therefore become the founding members of the Association.
The Association is constituted as an association with professional and scientific objectives and functions within the framework of the International Political Science Association.
Other political science associations, collective members of the International Political Science association, may become members of the Association subject to the acceptance by all members of the Association.
The Secretariat of the Association is established at the location of the Secretary General.
The general purpose of the Association shall be to promote the advancement of status of the political science profession, to improve the quality of teaching of political science, and to facilitate the spread of information about the development of political science, both within the Central European region and between countries of Central Europe and of the other regions of the world.The Association shall organize regional conferences and special sessions at the World Congresses of Political Science, promote regionally planned comparative research, facilitate joint publications of members of the member-associations and exchange of scholars and students.
2. The Ruling Organs
The ruling organs of the Association are the Council and the Executive Committee.
The Council shall be composed of representatives of the member-associations. Each member-association shall have two seats on the Council and shall be entitled to designate two alternates to represent it at any meeting of the Council.
The Council shall normally meet in regular session once in three years at such time and place as may be designated by the Executive Committee.
Half the members of the Council constitutes a quorum.
A special session of the Council shall be convened by the Secretary General upon request of more than half of the member-associations. The Secretary General shall give reasonable notice of the date, place and object of any session.
The Council shall determine the policy of the Association and review the activities of the Executive Committee. The Council shall make its decisions by plurality vote, except on the admission of new members which require unanimous decision of all member - associations.
Each member of the Council shall have one vote.
The Council shall elect the President, the Vice-President and the Secretary General of the Association, and members of the Executive Committee. They shall hold office until the new Executive Committee is elected. The election of the new Executive Committee shall take place at the annual conference of CEPSA which will take place during the third year after the one in which the outgoing Executive Committee had been elected.
The Executive Committee shall consists of the President, Vice-President, the Secretary General and one member from each of the member-associations.
All past presidents become Honorary Presidents for life with the right to attend meetings of the Council and of the Executive Committee as voting members.
The Executive Committee shall regularly meet at least once a year. Special meetings may be convened when needed, upon the request of the President or of a majority of the members of the Committee.
Each member of the Executive Committee shall have one vote.
The Executive Committee shall make its decisions by plurality vote.
The Executive Committee shall execute the decisions of the Council and exercise general control over the administration of the Association.
The Executive Committee may establish its own rules and regulations and may delegate authority to act on its behalf to the President, Vice-President or Secretary General, or to subcommittees of its members.
The President of the Association shall chair the sessions of the Council and of the Executive Committee and shall represent the Association in its contacts with the member-associations, the International Political Science Association and other bodies.
The Vice-President of the Association shall substitute for the President when he or she is temporarily prevented from performing the duties of the President. Should the President die, or resign, the vacancy shall be filled by the Vice-President.
The Secretary General of the Association shall be responsible for supervising the administrative and financial operations of the Association.
3. Administrative and Financial Matters
The member-associations shall share the cost of the functioning of the Association, particularly by financing the annual conferences on the basis of rotation.
The expenses of the President, the Vice-President and the Secretary General are covered by their national associations or institutions where they are employed.
The Council may decide to introduce membership dues and set their scale.
The working language of the Association is English.
The dissolution of the Association may be declared by the Council at any time providing two thirds of the members of the Council concur.
The constitution may be amended by two third majority of the members of the Council, providing that the members present constitute at least half of the total membership of the Council.