What is the Divan?
context of the Shrine, the Divan is the "Board of Directors" or "Executive
Council" of the organization, and serves as the management team for both fraternal
and business activities of the Temple. Each Shrine Temple has its own Divan, and the
minimum number of Divan members is set by Imperial by-laws at seven, with each of these
being elected by the Nobility (membership). Therefore, all Shrine Temples have at least
seven members on the Divan, but some have more. For most temples that have more than seven
members on the Divan, the additional positions are usually appointed by the Potentate.
Like most Masonic organizations, the Divan is usually a "progressive" line,
which means that one new person is appointed or elected to the line each year, the other
members of the Divan move "up" one position, and the top man retires from the
line and becomes a Past Potentate. In addition, two more elected officers are considered
part of the Divan, namely the Recorder and Treasurer. These two officers, however, are not
usually part of the "progressive" line, and may serve in the same office for
more than one year (if so elected).
Each position in the line has it's own title, derived from Arabic tradition, and each has
it's own set of defined duties and responsibilities. Potentates (both past and present)
are addressed as "Illustrious Sir", Imperial Potentates (both past and present)
and members of the Imperial Divan are addressed as "Imperial Sir", while all
other Shriners are addressed as "Noble". Assuming an individual is re-appointed
and/or re-elected to the Divan each year, in the time it takes to move up from Oriental
Guide to Potentate, he will have had exposure to and responsibility for every aspect of
Medinah Shriners operation.