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Public Clubs

 

Public Clubs are the most widely used club type and the one the Foundation encourages everyone to create. In fact, we have a program in place that waives fees for Corporate or Restricted clubs for some years if they also create and mentor a Public club.

Membership


A Public club is open to everyone in general. There are no general requirements for joining other than the availability of space. Note that "availability of space" may refer to two things.

  • If the club meets physically in a venue, there must be enough room to accommodate all the members.
  • If the club meets online, then "space" also refers to the capability of managing the number of members. For example, although online meetings can have an unlimited number of participants, managing a club of 150 virtual members is probably too much. As such, the club may impose a space limitation even for online meetings that is completely unrelated to technology limitations.
Clubs that meet completely or occasionally online may additionally impose a requirement that prospective members are geographically close to the club's registered location. This is important to allow the club to transition to physical meetings at any point in time without losing half of the membership due to their impossibility to attend.

While there may not be general requirements for membership, clubs are and remain private entities separate from Agora Speakers International. As such, membership is by-invitation-only and subject to acceptance by members: If members of a club believe that a particular person, due to their own specifics, character traits, or attributes, will hinder or disrupt the work of the club, they are free not to accept him or her as a member.

The above right should not be abused to create an effective general discriminatory policy. If you feel that you're being denied membership due to a de-facto general discriminatory policy, please send a complaint to Agora Speakers International, and we will examine the situation.

Age Limitations

Agora allows Public Clubs to be created as "Youth Clubs", in which attendance is limited to people of non-adult age (where the specific age number depends on the local legal definition) and their parents or tutors.

Please note, however, that this is the only age limitation allowed. If the country's age for adulthood is set at 18, a club that limits attendance to  "Only children 6-18 and their parents" is valid, but ones that limit attendance to "children 14-20", "people under 30", or "only elders above 60", etc. are not.

 

Meeting Venue

Public Clubs must meet in venues accessible to all the members to avoid creating an indirect restriction in membership. For example, a Public Club may not meet in a building that, due to its security, is accessible only to employees of the company because that in effect will preclude anyone that's not an employee from being a member. The same applies if the requirements or efforts that some members have to fulfill to access the venue are drastically higher than some other members. In the above example, if non-employees could access the building only after an extensive background check and many security checkpoints that require them to be scanned, leave their stuff outside, etc., then the meeting venue would still not be valid for the Public Club despite the theoretical possibility of everyone attending.

 

Public Clubs in companies

A club that meets at the premises of a commercial company but allows anyone to become a member (including non-employees) and doesn't limit the content of the speeches is still considered an Open Public Club. 

 

Guests And Visitors

Public clubs must accept guests and visitors from other clubs. If multiple non-members are willing to attend and there's not enough physical space (or virtual seats if using an online platform) to accommodate them all, the following priority order is used:

  • Officers of the Agora Speakers International Foundation and members of the Agora Speakers International Board of Directors (for auditing, compliance, and mentorship purposes)
  • Agora Ambassadors
  • Agora members from other clubs
  • non-Agora Guests
The right of the above collectives to visit a Public Club does not imply that they are allowed to do whatever roles they want. It's up to the club to define what roles the visitors can perform at a club meeting.

Our recommendation for the allowed roles is the following:

  • Agora Ambassadors: Evaluations, Section leadership roles (e.g., Debate moderator, Hot questions leader, etc.), and Workshops
  • Agora members from other clubs: All roles
  • non-Agora Guests: All roles except Speech Evaluations and Prepared Speeches
The right to visit a Public Club should not be abused to the point where the visitor is acting as a club member without the full responsibilities of membership in the club.  Except for the first collective (Officers and Members of the Board), the club is free to decline attendance to non-members if they start using that right as a pseudo-membership in the club. While it's difficult to provide a specific guideline, a good rule of thumb is that anyone visiting the club more often than 1 in 4 meetings should be invited to become a member.

Unless there's an objective per-person and per-meeting cost to be covered (for example, if dinner is served to all attendees), all of the above visitor collectives should be able to attend the meeting free of charge. Note that visitors may only be charged if they have a direct and measurable impact on that meeting's overall costs. For example, if the club rents a venue for a flat monthly or per-meeting rate, the rental price will not change due to the visitor, and therefore in this scenario, guests may not be charged.

 

Financial Requirements

Public clubs may choose to collect fees from their members for supporting their operation. If that is the case, they need to follow all the specific rules for club finances.

Public clubs do not pay any fees to Agora Speakers International - there are no set-up (chartering), periodic or per-member fees of any kind.

Finally, Public clubs are required to use the online Agora Accounting System for keeping track of their finances and for reporting purposes.

 

Listing Requirements

The information about Public clubs is...  well, Public. The following are part of the information that is shared with everyone and that must be kept up to date by the club officials:

Club Information Shared
Information Type Shared with
Club name, number, and chartering date Public
Meeting schedule Public
Meeting venue Public
Club Officers and their contact information Agora Members
Fee structure Public
Club finances Agora Members
Visiting Restrictions Public
Speech Content Restrictions Public
Club Contact Information Public
Awards and Badges Public
Club Languages Public

 

Adherence to the Agora Educational Model

Agora Clubs are required to adhere to the Agora Educational Model and the Agora Educational Program.

This, in particular, means that every meeting should have at least:

The following requirements must also be met:

  • All speeches, roles, and meeting sections must be evaluated according to criteria known in advance.
  • All meeting sections must be timed. No participant is allowed to speak without a time limit.
  • The majority of the prepared speeches must be from the Agora Educational Paths.
  • The majority of the activities must be from the Agora Meeting Activities.
  • The majority of the roles must be from the Agora Meeting Roles.
It's perfectly ok if members give custom speeches or speeches from other educational programs that they own, as long as they are known in advance and evaluated. It's also perfectly ok if the club has activities other than the ones listed in our program. The "majority" rule only aims to preserve that clubs don't do something completely different from what Agora clubs do in general, as then it would be pointless to belong to Agora in the first place.

A special limitation of Public clubs is that they may not be used to systematically promote or advertise any third-party products, services, or organizations, not limit the speech content to that purpose.

 


Contributors to this page: agora .
Page last modified on Tuesday May 18, 2021 16:41:12 CEST by agora.