Disruption is affecting civil society organisations (CSOs): Shrinking space for civic participation hinders their work in many countries; climate change, persistent poverty and growing inequality make it harder for CSOs to achieve their missions; and the rise of the internet disrupts the business models of many traditional CSOs.
At the same time CSOs are needed more than ever. As humanity reaches and increasingly oversteps the limits of the resources our planet provides and the pollution it absorbs we urgently have to embark on the transition towards a sustainable, fair and equitable world. Governments on their own will not be able to undertake this transition. Effective CSOs have to help charting the way, setting positive examples and bringing citizens on board.
Whether today’s CSOs will be able to contribute to the transformation very much depends on whether they are capable of fundamentally changing themselves. CSOs that are unwilling to react may fade away as a consequence. How successfully CSOs will embrace change will determine whether they will remain relevant and useful in the future.
Disrupt&Innovate – a project by the International Civil Society Centre – provides a platform for civil society professionals and activists to discuss the topics that will determine the sector’s future.
The platform takes its starting point in the book The Hedgehog and the Beetle – Disruption & Innovation in the Civil Society Sector, written by the Centre’s Executive Director Burkhard Gnärig. Please read the book on this platform, or buy a copy of the book (paperback or E-Book).
In our weekly blogs we will sketch different aspects of the fundamental changes many CSOs are facing and consider how they may respond. The blogs aim to encourage discussions among CSOs and in the wider sector.
We invite you to contribute your thoughts, share your experience, develop ideas and propose ways to seize the opportunities and overcome the challenges the civil society sector is facing.
At the beginning of 2007, Burkhard founded the International Civil Society Centre, originally the Berlin Civil Society Center, together with Peter Eigen and shortly thereafter, became Executive Director of the Centre. Burkhard has over 20 years’ experience of international cooperation and management of CSOs. From 1998 to 2007 he was CEO of the International Save the Children Alliance, located in London. Before this, Burkhard was CEO of Greenpeace Germany and terre des hommes Germany. As a field director in Papua New Guinea, Burkhard also worked for the German Development Service. Burkhard has been Board Chair and Board Member of various CSOs in Italy, Switzerland, India, Korea and Japan, and has actively participated in a number of major UN conferences, as well as at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Marianne manages the International Civil Society Centre’s Scanning the Horizon foresight platform, coordinating strategic foresight among ICSOs, bringing diverse actors’ perspectives into the exchange, and supporting the formation of a community of futurists.
She has ten years of work experience in research and consultancy. Before joining the Centre, she has worked as Senior Project Manager in a consultancy and think tank for climate, environment and development, conducting projects on water management and sustainable entrepreneurship on behalf of international and national public donors. In a transdisciplinary research project, she has conducted empirical research on the contribution of social entrepreneurs to water supply and sanitation challenges, with case studies in Ecuador and India.
Marianne holds a Diploma in Environmental Sciences from the University of Koblenz and a Master in musicology, German and English from the Universities of Cologne, Münster and Cardiff.
Peter joined the International Civil Society Centre as a trainee in January 2013. He is now Project Officer in the Convening team. He coordinates the Shared Services for ICSOs meeting series, and supports the implementation various other projects and events. Before joining the Centre, Peter worked for the German Development Institute and the Inter-Parliamentary Working Group in Bonn. During two stays in Nigeria, he worked with a local environmental CSO, and organised educational workshops for youth. He studied at the University of Bonn, and graduated with an MA in Political Science with a focus on multi-stakeholder advocacy.
Read Peter’s guest blog: Leave no one behind: Aligning ICSOs’ efforts for consistent SDG implementation
Helene joined the Centre in May 2011 and was appointed Deputy Executive Director in May 2013, overseeing the general management of the Centre and its projects. Prior to joining the Centre team, Helene worked as a Research Officer at the International Crisis Group’s headquarters in Brussels and as a Junior Consultant at a strategic communications consultancy in Berlin. Helene holds an MA in EU Politics and Government from the London School of Economics and has also studied Cultural Studies at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) and in Wroclaw, Poland.
Brandi joined the Centre as Campaign Manager for the Civic Charter in May of 2017. In her role as Campaign Manager, Brandi develops and oversees a global campaign strategy to defend the space for civic participation by supporting activists and organisations in running local and national campaigns using the Civic Charter as a basis for joint action and solidarity. Prior to joining the Centre, Brandi worked with The ONE Campaign in Washington, DC where she managed grassroots campaigns advocating for US development funding to help end extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Brandi holds a BA in Political Science from Winthrop University where (in addition to finding her activist roots) she conducted original research on the Occupy movement to argue for the adoption of new methodologies to examine the impact of emerging social movements.
Flora is responsible for the International Civil Society Centre’s financial management, while staying current with financial and administrative trends and technology. Prior to the Centre, Flora worked as a Chartered Professional Accountant and consultant at Deloitte Enterprise Risk Services in Toronto. She completed her Master of Advanced International Studies in Vienna in 2013.
Åsa joined the Centre in April 2009. Until August 2013, she acted as manager of the everyday administration and organisation of the INGO Accountability Charter. Since September 2013, Åsa has been the Centre’s Director of Development. In this role, Åsa manages the Centre’s work within the areas of fundraising and communication. In close contact with Rhianon, Åsa monitors the developments at the Disrupt&Innovate platform. Originally from Sweden, Åsa earlier worked for a small consultancy focusing on the evaluation of social projects within the public and civil society sector.
Miriam is the Project Manager of the Securing Civic Rights Project, having initially joined the Centre as Executive Assistant in 2014. Before starting at the Centre, Miriam worked within the GIZ Programme for Local Governance and Civil Society Development in Ramallah, Palestinian Territories. Prior to this, she held positions with VSO International and VSO UK. Miriam has an MA in Near and Middle Eastern Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
Read her guest blog: Let’s all be Hedgehogs
Top UN executive Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen took over as the CEO of Plan International on 1 September 2015.
Ms Albrectsen is the former UN Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director for Management at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). She replaced Nigel Chapman who served as Plan International’s CEO for six years.
A renowned leader in the sector, Ms Albrectsen has worked for over 25 years in international development, human rights, change management and diplomacy. She has held senior leadership positions in times of significant change in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Danish government, and most recently at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Ms Albrectsen is Danish and holds a law degree from the University of Copenhagen. She has a strong background in development and humanitarian work. She served with the UNDP from 1997 to 2004, in Indonesia and later as Director of the Administrator’s Office at UNDP Headquarters. She led country operations for UNFPA in Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan from 2004-2006.
From 2007-2009, she led the Danish government’s humanitarian and civil society affairs work as the director of the relevant division in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Read Anne-Birgitte’s guest blog: Plan International’s Transformation through Transparency.
Dr. Prakash Bhattarai is currently acting as President of Centre for Social Change (CSC), a non-profit research and advocacy institute founded by a group of Nepali scholars and practitioners actively involved in various professional fields. CSC was formed in early 2015 with an aim to adequately respond to three major obstacles to social change process in Nepal, namely, discrimination, violence, and violation of human rights. CSC mainly works with youth, women, political leaders, and policymakers. Dr. Bhattarai has more than 15 years of professional and leadership experience on issues surrounding human rights, democracy, peacebuilding, development, migration, and youth, and has taken leadership role at Youth Action Nepal, Association of Youth Organizations in Nepal, and Collective Campaign for Peace.
Over the past seven years, he has worked as research and evaluation consultant for various organisations including UNDP, IOM, Dan Church Aid (DCA), and The Asia Foundation (TAF).
Dr. Bhattarai holds a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies (University of Otago, New Zealand) and master’s degrees in Population Studies (Tribhuvan University, Nepal) and International Peace Studies (University of Notre Dame, USA).
Follow him on Twitter: @
John Bines is CEO of EveryChild. EveryChild used to be a traditional INGO, but is now close to completing its own obsolescence. It is delighted to have played a part in the development of Family for Every Child (Family), a member-led global alliance of national CSOs working directly with children and families. Family currently has 19 members from countries including Brazil, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey. Find out more at www.familyforeverychild.org or follow @familyforeveryc.
Read John’s guest blog: Ultimate Accountability – The INGO’s Missing Compass
May Boeve is the Executive Director of 350.org, an international climate change campaign. 350.org’s creative communications, organising, and mass mobilizations strive to generate the sense of urgency required to tackle the climate crisis. Previously, May co-founded and helped lead the Step It Up 2007 campaign, and prior to that was active in the campus climate movement while a student at Middlebury College. May is the co-author of Fight Global Warming Now. She lives in Brooklyn.
Read her guest blog: Join the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement
Robin is an agricultural economist and foresight practitioner from the French “Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement” (CIRAD). He is currently Senior Foresight and Development Policies Advisor at the Executive Secretariat of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) based in Rome, Italy. Robin is, in French, “Ingenieur-Agronome”, with a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Montpellier, France. He worked successively at ISNAR in the Netherlands supporting the reform of national agricultural research systems; at IICA in Costa Rica developing participatory commodity-chain analysis and dialogue for action; at UNESCAP CAPSA in Indonesia on poverty alleviation in rural areas; at CIRAD in France and Mayotte on foresight and institutional change and occasionally teaching at MSc level. His domains of research include: foresight, institutional change, inequality and poverty in rural development, collective decision-making in the elaboration of public policies, agro-food systems, research and technology transfer. Robin is currently in charge of strengthening the role of GFAR in foresight and providing an open and multi-stakeholder space for dialogue and action on the future challenges for agricultural research for better development impact (Global Foresight Hub). He will soon join the Centre for Study of Governance Innovation at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Lila leads the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)’s China in global development team, including overseeing team-level project development, fundraising and management, ensuring quality assurance on all research outputs and policy engagements, and fostering multi-disciplinary teams in China to develop their research and policy influence.
In addition, she has been developing IIED’s ‘disruptive change’ initiative, which fosters learning on the practical aspects of NGOs’ structural and functional responses to disruptive change in the post 2015 development world. Before IIED Lila was assistant executive director of the Global Environmental Institute, Beijing, China.
Read Lila’s guest blog: Getting good at disruption: learning from Southern CSO leaders
Jessie Brunner is Program Manager at the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University. With a master’s degree in International Policy Studies from Stanford, Brunner brings policy expertise focused on human rights, democracy, rule of law, and global justice to her research, which is currently focused on human trafficking prevalence data and the use of prolonged solitary confinement in the U.S. prison system. Previously, she served as a researcher at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law’s Program on Human Rights; a Public Affairs Assistant at the State Department in the Bureau on Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; a reporter for Los Angeles Times Community News; and a non-profit public relations/marketing manager. In addition to serving as a trial monitor at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Brunner’s research has also taken her to Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia, Rwanda, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Chile. She graduated with Highest Distinction from UC Berkeley with a BA in Mass Communications and a Spanish minor.
Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken has worked on international development and civil society issues for over 25 years, both in practice as well as in academia. She has been the Co-Director of the Transnational NGO Initiative (TNGO Initiative) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University since 2003, and in 2015 became its Director. She focuses on the governance, leadership and effectiveness of ICSOs, and directs the TNGO Leadership Institute and its related customized leadership development work with ICSOs such as ActionAid, Amnesty International, Greenpeace and Population Council. Tosca also directs the work on leading and managing ICSO’s organisational change processes, and has undertaken applied assignments with Oxfam International, Save the Children, CARE International and Amnesty International on this topic to help them learn from their change processes. Tosca advises Heifer International on strategy planning and works on organisational and program evaluation.
Ms. Nilda Bullain is Vice President – Operations for the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) working to promote an enabling environment for civil society, philanthropy and participation worldwide. Nilda has international expertise in laws affecting civil society, especially the government – CSO cooperation framework, CSO sustainability and self-regulation, philanthropy, public benefit status, volunteering, and delivery of social services. She is involved in ICNL’s work in international advocacy, including development cooperation, Agenda 2030 and the Open Government Partnership.
Nilda is an internationally recognized leader, having served as Chair of the Civil Society Advisory Committee to the UNDP Administrator and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, among others. Earlier, she was Executive Director of the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL), where she assisted legal reform in over 20 Central and Eastern European countries as well as reform of EU policies on civil society. Prior to joining ECNL, Nilda was co-founder and Executive Director of the Civil Society Development Foundation Hungary (CSDF), a leading resource and support center for NGOs in Hungary and the region. Before her involvement with CSDF, she worked as a parliamentary aide in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Hungarian Parliament and assisted the Alliance of Free Democrats. Nilda graduated from the Faculty of Law at ELTE University, Budapest.
As Manager of Research and Learning at Feedback Labs Megan helps to set our learning agenda by determining the right questions to ask, and how we should ask them. She blogs regularly, and leads research and experimentation.
A systems design engineer by training, Megan has over a decade of experience promoting adaptive implementation in international development. She lived for five years in Malawi, working with Engineers Without Borders Canada to help national and local government officers experiment and develop new ways to improve water and sanitation service delivery. As Co-Director of EWB’s programme in Malawi, Megan focused on finding ways to strengthen formal and informal feedback loops in the Malawian water and sanitation sector. She firmly believes that helping information travel within a system is a key prerequisite for learning and iterative improvement.
Upon her return to Canada Megan took on the management of Engineers Without Borders’ incubation portfolio. In that role, Megan mentored and supported early stage social enterprises working to transform service delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa. More recently, Megan worked with the Global Delivery Initiative secretariat at the World Bank to promote a common language with which to explore service delivery challenges and solutions. Megan is an Action Canada fellow and cheers with futility for the Toronto Blue Jays. She is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
Ms Byanyima has been a leader on women’s rights, democratic governance and peace building, spanning the diplomatic, multilateral, legislative and civil society arenas.
Born in Uganda, Ms. Byanyima was elected for three terms and served eleven years in the Ugandan Parliament. A world recognized expert on women’s rights, she founded Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), a leading NGO in Uganda and has served at the African Union Commission and at the United Nations Development Programme as Director of Gender and Development. Ms. Byanyima is a signatory to her country’s 1985 peace agreement and has helped to broker and support women’s participation in peace processes in several African countries.
As part of her drive to bring women’s perspectives into core development issues, she co-founded the Global Gender and Climate Alliance and chaired UN-wide task forces on gender aspects of the Millennium Development Goals and climate change.
Ms Byanyima has served on numerous global boards and commissions and is currently a member of the Executive Board of the International Centre for Research on Women. She holds a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in Energy Conservation and the Environment (University of Cranfield, UK), and a B.Sc. in Aeronautical Engineering (University of Manchester, UK).
Read her guest blog: Transforming Oxfam
Adriano Campolina is the Chief Executive of ActionAid International. He has been working within the civil society sector for the past 22 years, to advance its leadership in human rights-based development programmes and campaigns.
He is an agronomist with masters in agriculture, development and society. He has been a political activist since high school, leading the students’ association, taking part in Catholic Youth programs, and as Youth Secretary of the Worker’s Party (PT). As a young leader, Adriano participated in the Brazilian mobilisations towards democracy, a new constitution, public education, and agrarian reform in the 80s and early 90s.
Mr Campolina started his professional career as a dairy farmer, working with local NGOs in implementing community-level local development programs. Adriano worked as advisor for the national confederation of workers in agriculture (CONTAG), and was an adviser for CUT – the national central organisation for labour unions. He was chief of cabinet for the Worker’s Party (PT), focusing on agrarian and agricultural themes.
Adriano’s early career in policy issues related to food security, and he gradually took over management and leadership positions, focusing on contributing to the internationalisation of ActionAid through devolution of power to the country-level. Adriano took over as ActionAid International’s CEO in 2014.
Read Adriano’s guest blog: ActionAid: Moving towards a networked federation
Sopheap Chak is the Executive Director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), one of the leading human rights organszations working for the promotion and protection of political and civil rights in Cambodia. As one of the country’s most prominent human rights advocates, Sopheap’s work has been recognised by US President Barack Obama.
Sopheap holds two Bachelor’s Degrees in International Relations and Economics, and a Master’s Degree in International Peace Studies, which she completed at the International University of Japan. As one of Cambodia’s leading human rights bloggers, she is also a contributing author to Future Challenges and Global Voices Online. Sopheap also ran the Cambodian Youth Network for Change, which mobilised young activists around the country for greater civic engagement.
Jill joined GKI in 2014. Jill contributes research, writing, and support to several GKI programs and to GKI’s Systems Research and Evaluation program especially. Jill’s research, construction of systems narratives and visualizations is key to GKI’s partnerships with The Rockefeller Foundation and USAID. Previously, Jill supported GKI’s Social Innovation Lab practice, appraising the state of Social Innovation Labs globally, deepening GKI’s understanding of their impact, construction, and potential to transform international development as we know it. Jill also supports the research and design underpinning GKI’s Collaborative Innovation Capacity Building Program.
As Senior Director of Innovation at Save the Children US, Kimberly plays a lead role in the vision, strategy, and delivery of Save the Children US’ innovation program which was formally launched in May 2016. Kimberly joined Save the Children in 2012 as the Director of Fundraising Best Practices & Innovation where she was responsible for developing and implementing continuous improvement efforts and supporting senior management ensure Save the Children’s approach to fundraising was cutting-edge and donor-centric.
Prior to joining Save the Children, Kimberly managed Earthwatch Institute’s new product development program and was the Regional Program Manager for Earthwatch and HSBC’s Climate Partnership in the Americas. The HSBC Climate Partnership was a five-year $100 million collaboration between HSBC, The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and WWF to reduce the impact of climate change on people, forests, freshwater and cities, and to accelerate the adoption of low-carbon policies.
She holds an M.B.A with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Suffolk University and a B.A. in Finance from the University of Connecticut.
As Head of 3 SIDED CUBE Duncan founded the global digital agency to ‘Build Tech For Good’. A leader inspired by impact and not by numbers he has pushed for the team to create award-winning life-saving apps for clients including RNLI, IFRC and Mind.
His vision to change the way people donate blood saw The American Red Cross revolutionise the donation process into a digital system that has created over $70million of revenue. Recognised for his drive to improve global disaster preparedness he was invited to The White House to present the agency’s work on the world’s largest alerting app which saves millions of lives in areas affected by tornados, earthquakes and other natural disasters every day.
Thomas Gass was appointed by the Secretary-General as Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in UN DESA and he took office on 3 September 2013. He brings with him wide-ranging experience in bilateral and multilateral development cooperation. From 2009 to 2013, he served as Head of the Mission of Switzerland to Nepal (Ambassador and Country Director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation), where he established the Embassy of Switzerland in Nepal, and ensured the delivery of a development cooperation programme of up to 33 million dollars a year. He also chaired the Donors of the Nepal Peace Trust Fund, the main instrument for international support to Nepal’s peace process.
Before his posting to Nepal from 2004 to 2009, Mr. Gass was Head of the Economic and Development Section at the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN in New York, where he represented Switzerland’s interests, in particular in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), its subsidiary Commissions, the General Assembly and the Executive Boards of the major UN Funds and Programmes. During this time, Mr Gass was the Chair of the Donor Group of the UN Global Compact.
In 2006, he was the Vice-President for Western European and Other Group (WEOG) of the Commission on Population and Development, and in 2008 he was the Vice-President (WEOG) of the Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA. In 2007, he successfully facilitated the landmark TCPR/QCPR Resolution, the periodic review of the General Assembly operational system for development.
Read Thomas’ guest blog: Shared Ownership & Implementation of the SDGs
Virginie joined Transparency International in August 2012 as Communications Director, before becoming Group Director for External Relations in 2013. Prior to this, she was spokesperson, head of press and public information at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and director of communications, Europe, at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). She is a former investigative journalist, permanent correspondent in Moscow, and research director at the Harvard Davis Center for Russian Studies where she led a seminar on the ‘power of corruption’.
She holds a PhD in History, is the author of three books – including one on Soviet organised corruption – as well as the author of a film, chapters and academic articles devoted to post-Soviet society and elite groups, anti-corruption reforms and the role of the media in post-Soviet transition.
Read Virginie’s guest blog (co-authored with Jed Miller): We Need to “Rotate” the Top-Down Model of CSO Campaigning
Mr. Menno Ettema is the European Coordinator of the No Hate Speech Movement, a youth campaign of the Council of Europe for mobilising young people for human rights online, freedom of speech, and against hate speech. He works closely with the national campaign committees, European partners and online activist on the implementation of the campaign, among others by securing the coordination of the campaign website nohatespeechmovement.org, twitter and Facebook, European trainings, seminars and the various awareness-raising and training activities at national level.
Mr Ettema has previously worked as an educational advisor for the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, supporting European Youth Organizations to develop their human rights education programmes. He has been coordinating intercultural dialogue and peace building projects, and projects promoting access to human rights for young refugees and youth with disabilities. Before starting at the Council of Europe he worked with youth peace organisations in the Middle East and coordinated the international secretariat of the United Network of Youth Peacebuilders.
Mr Ettema studied Psychology of Culture and Religion at the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Sara founded GKI with Dr. Nina Fedoroff and Sam Pitroda. She built GKI from a concept to an organisation serving more than 60 countries and one that The Rockefeller Foundation designated as one of the “Top 100 Social Innovations for the next century”. Sara believes in the power of the world’s 7 billion solvers to connect and to solve the world’s most complex challenges. Collaborative Innovation is her calling card and motivated her to create GKISara manages design and execution for all GKI programs, including GKI’s systems practice, Collaborative Innovation trainings, Network optimisation programs (e.g., formulating/sustaining problem-solving networks), and Collaborative Innovation strategy setting (with partners including the World Bank, East African Community, African Development Bank, etc.). Beyond her executive duties at the helm of GKI, Sara continues to thrive on the ground, running trainings and facilitating networks alongside her incredible team. Prior to GKI, Sara was a Sr. Science & Innovation Strategist, serving the World Bank for close to a decade as well as supporting various aid organizations in the construction of Science, Technology and Innovation for Development strategies and programming. Earlier, Sara graduated with honors from Stanford University where she received an undergraduate degree in Science, Technology and Society and her Masters in International Policy Studies.
Eric Gordon is the founding director of the Engagement Lab at Emerson. He is also a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Eric studies civic media and public engagement within the US and the developing world. He is specifically interested in the application of games and play in these contexts. In addition to being a researcher, he is also the designer of award winning “engagement games,” which are games that facilitate civic participation. He has served as an expert advisor for the UN Development Program, the International Red Cross/Red Crescent, the World Bank, as well as municipal governments throughout the United States.
In addition to articles and chapters on games, digital media, urbanism and civic engagement, he is the author of two books: Net Locality: Why Location Matters in a Networked World (Blackwell 2011, with Adriana de Souza e Silva) and The Urban Spectator: American Concept Cities From Kodak to Google (Dartmouth 2010). His edited volume (with Paul Mihailidis) entitled Civic Media: Technology, Design, Practice will be published by MIT Press in 2016.
Read Eric’s guest blog: Civic Media is the Message.
Moataz El Fegiery is Front Line Defenders’ Protection Poordinator for the Middle East and North Africa. He has over 14 years of field experience in human rights research and advocacy in the MENA region.
Before joining Front Line Defenders, Moataz was the executive director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and MENA deputy director of the International Centre for Transitional Justice. He was also a research fellow at the Foundation of International Relations and Dialogue (FRIDE).
Moataz is the treasurer and member at the executive committee of the Euro Mediterranean Human Rights Network since 2006 and board member of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. He has MA and PhD in law from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
Dr Robert Glasser is Executive-in-Residence at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). From 2008 to March of this year he was the Secretary General of CARE International,. He was previously the Chief Executive of CARE Australia and Assistant Director General at the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). Dr Glasser is a board member of the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA), a global alliance of more than 450 national and international organisations focussing on climate change advocacy and was formerly a member of the Advisory Panel of the Climate Vulnerability Monitor.
Read his guest blog: Mainstreaming Climate Change in ICSOs
Dr Philip Goodwin is the Chief Executive of VSO, an organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries. Philip previously spent five years as chief executive of Treeaid and 11 years with the British Council where he held a variety of leadership roles in Africa and South Asia. He has also worked for the Overseas Development Institute as well as being a community development volunteer based in Timbuktu, Mali, and a professional musician. He is co-author with Tony Page of the leadership book From Hippos to Gazelles: How Leaders Create Leaders.
See more of Dr Goodwin’s writing via The Huffington Post.
Read his guest blog: Four Ways to Develop and Organisation as a Platform of Change.
Lars Gustavsson has spent most of his professional life working in overseas development assistance. Currently, he is an independent author and speaker drawing from his 35 years deeply engaged in global development issues. He identifies megatrends, their effects, and their likely impacts; searches for insights; and develops the most likely major strategic shifts and scenarios.
Most recently, Lars served as World Vision International’s Chief Futurist, engaging mostly in discovery and exploration. Prior to this, Lars was World Vision International’s Senior Executive Officer and Vice President for Humanitarian & Emergency Affairs, Collaboration and Business Innovation tasked to expand World Vision’s capacity to engage more fully in the broad sectors of international development, humanitarian and disaster management, and global policy.
Prior to joining World Vision in 1998, Lars served as Senior Administrator for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International’s Economic Development portfolio and as the organisation’s liaison specialist for the countries of the former Soviet Union and the French-speaking African nations.
Dr Caroline Harper graduated in Physics from Bristol University in 1981, and went on to Churchill College, Cambridge to do a PhD in Energy Studies. She worked in the gas industry until 2002, working for British Gas and then Hess corporation. As Managing Director she built Hess UK’s gas and electricity trading and marketing business from scratch, until it was sold in 2002 for £120 million.
From 2002 to 2005 Caroline ran her own interim management business, specialising in turnaround and sale of energy businesses, as well as travelling extensively. She was also on the board of Notting Hill Housing Association in London.
Caroline joined Sightsavers as CEO in 2005, inspired by the focus of the mission, which has personal resonance for her as she has blindness in her family. The organisation has expanded significantly since then, both in terms of income and impact, and Caroline believes strongly that it needs to tackle the problems of today, while driving for systemic change to deal with the root cause of those problems.
Caroline received an OBE in 2000 for services to the gas industry and an honorary doctorate from the University of Bristol in 2013.
Read her guest blog: Yes to stronger ICSO accountability – but is real time transparency the answer?
Dominic has worked in international development for over twenty years and is Director of Programme and Policy Strategy at Sightsavers. In his position Dominic is responsible for setting Sightsavers’ programme strategy, including overseeing thematic strategy, technical capability, external influencing, research and evidence and institutional relationships.
Dom has been with Sightsavers since 2006. He strongly believes that it is possible to combine a systems-strengthening approach with the delivery of concrete change in the lives of communities Sightsavers works with.
Dominic sits on the board of the International Disability and Development Consortium and is very active in civil society efforts to engage with the Sustainable Development Goals, including what many would consider an unhealthy interest in indicators. Now that commitments to people with disabilities have been made within the international development framework, he is keen to ensure these promises are put into action.
You can follow Dom on Twitter @domhaslam123
Read Dominic’s guest blog: It was big, back in the Eighties
Malayah Harper is the General Secretary of the World YWCA, a global movement working for the empowerment, leadership and rights of women, young women and girls in 120 countries and 20,000 communities.
Malayah has worked for 20 years internationally in the area of social justice and equality. She has significant representational and diplomatic experience, a history in social movement building and a track record for establishing innovative partnerships. She has a deep commitment to ensure that no woman or girl is left behind as we make progress on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Prior to joining the World YWCA, Malayah worked with the Joint UN Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) as Country Director for Uganda and Kenya and subsequently as the Global Chief for Gender Equality and Diversity Division.
Malayah is a Canadian and British national and holds a BA in International Development, with a major in Anthropology, from the University of Toronto in Canada and a Masters in Health Policy, Planning and Financing in the Developing World from the London School of Economics (LSE) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSTHM).
Wael Hmaidan is the director of Climate Action Network (CAN) – International since April 2012, but has been active in the network since 2008. Wael is a social entrepreneur and founder of IndyACT, an organisation that started in Lebanon in 2007 and in less than five years spread all over the Arab World and established presence in Europe and few other regions.
Wael has more than 16 years of experience in NGO management and environmental campaigning in a number of NGOs. His work on this issue started in his capacity as the Greenpeace campaigner for the Arab World, where he helped established the energy and marine reserves campaign in the region. Wael’s focus and main issue is climate change. Through the climate campaign which he established in IndyACT, he was able to influence Arab climate policy and raise the priority of the issue among public and governments.
Wael has been attending all international climate change negotiations for the past four years, including as one of the lead negotiators for the Lebanese government negotiating team in the UNFCCC. Wael has lived all his life in Lebanon, but considers himself as a global citizen.
He obtained an Executive MBA degree from INSEAD, and whenever the opportunity arises, Wael works on strengthening civil society in the Arab region, especially after the Arab spring.
Read his guest blog: Beyond COP 21: Building a global movement for change in which ICSOs play a key role
Mr. Harsh Jaitli is the Chief Executive Officer and Member Secretary of Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), which is the national platform of Indian Voluntary Organisations.
Mr. Jaitli has done M.Phil in International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi.
He joined PRIA, an International Centre for Learning and Promotion of Participation and Democratic Governance in November 1990. During his tenure of 19 years with them he held various assignments in all major functions such as project cycle management, participatory trainings and participatory research. He worked on various themes like occupational and environmental health, urban governance, capacity building of voluntary organizations, organisational development, etc. His last assignment with PRIA was Director.
Since 2009, Mr. Jaitli is working with VANI is an organisation which was founded in 1988 to act as a promoter/protector and collective voice of the voluntary sector. VANI acts as a platform to promote voluntarism and space for voluntary action. It attempts to bring about a convergence of common sectoral issues and concerns for building a truly national agenda of voluntary action in India. As an association, it works towards fostering value based voluntary action and long- term sustainability especially amongst our members. The major engagement of VANI is towards strengthening internal governance of voluntary organizations and research based policy advocacy to create enabling environment for voluntary organization and voluntary action. VANI has the outreach of almost 10,000 voluntary organisations in India.
Moses is a Ugandan and has been working on development issues, mainly in civil society and the NGO sector, for over 20 years. His current work with ActionAid Denmark has a special focus on the Training Centre for Development Cooperation in Arusha, Tanzania. Moses has been seconded since the start of this year to work with Africans Rising as the Deputy Launch Director.
Dr. Wolfgang Jamann joined CARE in March 2015 as the Secretary General and CEO of CARE International, one of the world’s leading non-governmental humanitarian organizations, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Jamann is responsible for coordinating the work of the CARE International confederation, which is composed of 14 national members engaged in emergency relief and long-term development work across the globe.
Dr. Jamann has more than 20 years of experience in development assistance and humanitarian response, and has lived and worked in Africa and Southeast Asia. Prior to his current position at CARE, he was the CEO and Chairman of Welthungerhilfe (German Agro Action; 2009 – 2015), one of the largest international aid organizations in Germany fighting hunger and poverty, with a particular focus on food security and sustainable development. Between January 2014 and February 2015 he was also president of Alliance 2015, a network of eight European development and humanitarian organizations. Before joining Welthungerhilfe, Dr. Jamann had already gained experience with CARE as CEO of CARE Deutschland-Luxembourg (2004 – 2009). Prior to that, he worked in different roles and countries for World Vision as well as the United Nations Development Programme and the German Foundation for International Development.
Dr. Jamann holds an M.A. in Sociology and a PhD in Development Sociology from Bielefeld University, including fellowships at the National University of Singapore, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has published several articles and books on East and Southeast Asia and humanitarian issues.
Read Wolfgang’s guest blog: Changing CARE: Teamwork & Transformation.
Kevin Jenkins became President and Chief Executive Officer of World Vision International in October 2009, following a successful career in business which included being President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Airlines.
Mr Jenkins previously served as a sponsor, volunteer and Board member for World Vision in his native Canada. Joining the Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation full time, his goal is to achieve meaningful, lasting change for the world’s most-vulnerable children and their communities. He is based at World Vision International’s Global Centre Executive Office near London in the UK.
Mr Jenkins is a member of a number of global organisations which, amongst other things, pursue sustainable improvements in well-being for the world’s most vulnerable communities, the increased effectiveness of civil society and excellence in governance. He is a member of the Board of the International Civil Society Centre.
Read his guest blog: Overhauling a Running Engine
Ben is a social entrepreneur with experience and expertise within international development. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of Disberse, a fund management platform that drives the transparent, efficient and effective flow and delivery of development and humanitarian aid, built on blockchain technology.
Ben was formerly a Global Advisor at SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, leading a $30 million project portfolio, primarily across sub-Saharan Africa, whilst developing global strategy. He has also led UK charitable trusts and foundations, and invested in a number of early stage social enterprises, both in the UK and internationally.
Ben is a Cardiff University and UWC Alumnus.
Claudia Juech is Associate Vice President and Managing Director for Strategic Insights at The Rockefeller Foundation where she is charged with maximizing the insight coming into and being generated by the Foundation. This includes leading the Foundation’s “Scan and Search” processes for sourcing and assessing new potential opportunities for impact, which combine social science research methods, concepts from venture capital, and strategic foresight. She also builds and leverages the Foundation’s knowledge networks, oversees efforts to integrate knowledge across departments, and manages residency and conference programming for the Foundation’s Bellagio Center. Ms. Juech established the Foundation’s horizon scanning activities and created a global “Searchlight” network of trend monitoring grantees that provided input into idea generation processes at the Foundation. Previously, Ms. Juech was Vice President at DB Research, Deutsche Bank’s think tank for trends in business, society, and financial markets. Reporting to Deutsche Bank Group’s chief economist, she provided decision-making support on a broad range of topics, ranging from economic issues to demographics and healthcare. Ms. Juech has a degree in Information Science from Cologne University of Applied Sciences and an International MBA from the University of Cologne.
Read her guest blog: Disruptive change is NOT around the corner – it’s here!
Eva Kaplan is the Innovation Specialist at UNICEF Jordan, where she works to develop game changing solutions to entrenched social challenges for and with vulnerable children and refugees. Prior to this, Eva worked at UNICEF’s Policy Planning Unit to develop new tools to understand emerging trends, with a particular focus on data science. For over 10 years, Eva has worked at the intersection of technology, global governance, and development with organizations such as Innovation for Poverty Action- Kenya, PopTech, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the UN Global Pulse. She holds an MSc in Development Studies.
Talia Kaufman is the Programs Director for Skateistan. She grew up skateboarding and snowboarding in Calgary, Canada. She has a Diploma in Journalism, and a BA in Development Studies from the University of Calgary. Since 2012 she has worked with Skateistan in Cambodia, Afghanistan and South Africa. She is currently studying online toward a Master of Education with a focus on Aboriginal Education, while dispatching and administrating from the offices of Skateistan Cambodia.
Kyle Khandikian is a Project Coordinator for Public Information Need of Knowledge (PINK Armenia) CSO based in Yerevan, Armenia. Originally from Los Angeles, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Asian Humanities from UCLA. In search of community and eager to work with others on issues of human rights and social justice, Kyle moved to Yerevan in 2015. He is a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society, a member and contributing writer for the Hye-Phen Magazine and Collective, and a member of the Armenian Youth Federation’s (AYF Western United States) United Human Rights Council.
Diane Kingston (formerly Mulligan) is the Deputy Director of CBM International Advocacy and Alliances (IAA). She is also the UK’s elected member of the Expert Committee for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Her term started in January 2013, and continues for four years.
Diane has worked in the NGO sector on social justice issues all her life, starting with environmental issues and then pursuing human rights issues, including indigenous people’s rights, women’s rights and disability rights. Diane enjoys engaging in public life and was honoured for this work by the Queen in 2010 with an Order of the British Empire (OBE).
Diane has a first class BA (Hons.) in Women’s Studies and an MSc in Science and Technology Policy. She has published her own research and has been guest lecturer at two London universities on international development and disability.
From 1999, Diane coordinated a research programme on civil society and governance across 22 countries at the Institute of Development Studies for 3 years. Previously, Diane lived in Indonesia for 5 years, where she worked as a Country Director for VSO and a freelance consultant, and returned to the UK after becoming an amputee in a road traffic accident.
Please see Diane’s Wikipedia biography.
Read Diane’s guest blog: Human Rights & Persons with Disabilities: Implementing the SDGs
Katell Le Goulven is the lead and founder of UNICEF’s Policy Planning unit which analyses global trends and emerging issues to inform UNICEF’s strategic positioning to best service children in a rapidly changing word. Previously, she led UNICEF’s engagement with International Financial Institutions. She has held senior positions with high-level commissions that defined the policy implications of the data revolution, climate change, and global public goods for the development agenda. She has over 18 years of professional experience at the interface between research and decision-making designing policies and strategies, and advising senior executives. She holds a PhD in agricultural economics.
Rebecca Masisak joined TechSoup in 2001 to launch and chart the growth of its technology product donation program and social enterprise.
After she successfully established the program in North America, she developed an international expansion model and partner network. Today, it serves an international NGO audience in more than 236 countries and territories. Under her leadership, TechSoup has distributed 15.9 million software and hardware product donations, and enabled recipients to save more than US$5.2 billion for direct services.
She led TechSoup’s successful bid to be selected by a consortium that was guided by the Council on Foundations as the host organization to create NGOsource. NGOsource is an equivalency determination service that helps U.S. grantmakers streamline their international grantmaking process. NGOsource has rapidly expanded its reach and is currently active in 68 countries.
As CEO, Rebecca has built TechSoup’s capacity and reach to support the entire portfolio of TechSoup’s programs. These programs bring products, information, human capacity, and resources to the communities who need them most. She speaks about social enterprise, global networks, and data as a resource for civil society and was awarded the Full Circle Fund’s prestigious Full Impact Award in Technology. She’s a board member of the Telecentre.org Foundation and volunteers with SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship). She obtained her MBA from the Columbia University Business School.
Marc oversees Keystone’s transition form a pure consultancy to a data company with an online user experience. He was first a Chemist, then a PhD neuroscientist, and later a “disruptive innovation consultant” for seven years with GlobalGiving. He has field experience in Africa with Peace Corps, The Gambia, 1999 to 2001. He did a Fulbright research project around the impact of computers and the Internet on rural education in West Africa from 2003 to 2004. He created and managed GlobalGiving’s storytelling project from 2009 to 2015 and built the analysis tools at storylearning.org. He loves to teach, and has taught graduate-level Neuroscience at Kenyatta University in Kenya and Python to middle school students in London, UK. He blogs at chewychunks.wordpress.com and is the author of several books, including Ebola: Local voices, hard facts (2014)
Joanna Maycock has been Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) since May 2014. Founded in 1990, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is the largest alliance of women’s non-governmental associations in the European Union, with members throughout the EU who come together around our common vision of a Feminist Europe.
Since joining the EWL in 2014, Joanna has been leading work with the membership to define a dynamic new strategic vision for the women’s movement in Europe, to strengthen its joint vision and work towards a feminist Europe.
A lifelong feminist, Joanna has 20 years’ professional experience in senior leadership and governance positions in European and International Civil Society. She led ActionAid International’s work in Europe, and was President of CONCORD, the European Confederation of Development NGOs.
She has also been involved in strengthening organisational development and civil society governance. She is particularly interested in the concept and practice of feminist leadership, and has established a network of women CSO leaders in Brussels.
Follow Joanna on Twitter: @JoannaMaycock
Read her guest blog: Disrupting the status quo: women transforming leadership in civil society
George McLaughlin is Deputy Head of DFID’s Inclusive Societies Department. He has overall responsibility for DFID’s civil society policy and central DFID Civil Society programme portfolio. Currently George is leading the DFID Civil Society Partnership review.
Read his guest blog: Reshaping our Work with CSOs
Cynthia McCaffrey was appointed Director of the Office of Global Innovation in April 2016.
Prior to her appointment she served as Director, Office of the Executive Director, and Chief of Staff from October 2011.
Her ties with UNICEF date back to 2001. She has served the UNICEF family in a number of positions; as a Senior Programme Advisor, leading the relationship between the children’s agency and the governments of the United States, Canada, and Ireland; and as a Senior Vice President at the US Fund for UNICEF.
Ms. McCaffrey began her career in international development with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in New York. She has travelled and worked overseas extensively, including extended posts in Latin America and Africa.
Before joining UNICEF in March 2001, Ms. McCaffrey was with the office of the U.S. Executive Director at the World Bank where she coordinated issues regarding Africa, debt relief, health, education and post-conflict.
In 1995, Ms. McCaffrey was selected to be a White House Fellow, and served at USAID.
Ms. McCaffrey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American Studies from Vanderbilt University and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Texas.
Ms. McCaffrey spends her free time with her family at softball and soccer games and comedy shows featuring her brother.
Daniel Mittler is the Political Director of Greenpeace International. Based in Berlin, he leads a global team of specialists advising Greenpeace on political and corporate strategies. He has been an active advocate at the global climate negotiations for fifteen years and has led Greenpeace delegations to many global forums—from the World Trade Organization to Rio+20.
Daniel writes mainly on NGO strategy, climate politics, and corporate accountability. His writings can be found at www.greendaniel.blogspot.com. Read his guest blog: COP 21: Governments send signal to end fossil fuels – civil society must hold them to it
Jed Miller is a veteran digital strategist who guides mission-driven organizations to stronger alignment between vision, tools and communities. He currently consults on open data and social justice programs to the World Bank, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and the Natural Resource Governance Institute, among others. He previously served as internet director for the Revenue Watch Institute and, before that, as digital director at the American Civil Liberties Union. Jed has taught communications at Columbia’s School for International Public Affairs (SIPA) and has written for the Guardian, Open Society Foundations and the Kettering Foundation. He can be found on Twitter at @jedmiller.
Read Jed’s guest blog: We Need to “Rotate” the Top-Down Model of CSO Campaigning.
Veronika Móra has been working with Ökotárs Alapítvány/Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation (HEPF) since 1997, and has held the position of Director since 2007.
Previously, she was the national consultant for the Dutch Foundation Milieukontakt Oosteuropa, and also worked for the eco-counselling office of Ecoservice Foundation. With HEPF and previus roles, Veronika’s been working on a variety of issues related to ecological consumption, gene technologies, and public participation. Since 2003 she’s been leading HEPF’s Civil Partner program aiming to improve the legal-fiscal environment of civil society, and also gained experience in managing and overseeing grant programs of various sizes, not least the Hungarian NGO Fund under the EEA/Norwegian Financial Mechanism.
Besides her full time occupation, she also has voluntary positions in a number of CSOs, among them the chairpersonship of the Hungarian Donors Forum, which works on developing the (corporate) philanthropic culture in the country.
She is a biologist (MSc) by education, and also holds an MA in organisational psychology, and most recently gained a diploma in environmental law.
Born in South Africa, Kumi Naidoo became involved in the country’s liberation struggle at the
age of 15. In 1986 he was charged with violating the emergency regulations and was forced
underground for almost a year before fleeing to exile. During this time he was a Rhodes Scholar and later earned a doctorate in political sociology. After Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990, Naidoo returned to South Africa to work on the legalization of the African National Congress. During the democratic elections in 1994 he directed the training of all electoral staff in the country and was one of the official spokespersons of the Independent Electoral Commission.
Kumi Naidoo has served as Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen
Participation, was the founding executive director of the South African National NGO Coalition
(SANGOCO) and also the founding Chair of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP),
where he remains global ambassador. He previously served as a board member of Global
Reporting Initiative (2006-2011) and Earth Rights International (2008-2011), while he presently sits on the board of Food and Trees for Africa and is a member of 350.org’s international advisory board. Naidoo has also served as a board member of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and in 2003 was appointed by the former Secretary General of the United Nations to the Eminent Persons Panel on UN Civil Society Relations. In 2012 he was appointed to the UN Women’s Global Civil Society Advisory Group.
Kumi Naidoo is currently Executive Director of Greenpeace International.
Jeremy Osborn is the Operations Director of 350.org, an international organisation that builds and supports the global movement to solve the climate crisis. 350.org works with people around the world, using online tools to facilitate strategic campaigns, organising, and public engagement actions to communicate both the realities of science and principles of justice in addressing climate change. Previously, Jeremy helped lead the Step It Up campaign in the US before cofounding 350.org.
Follow him on Twitter: @
Read Jeremy’s guest blog: Movement Beyond Membership.
James Powell is UNICEF’s global lead for U-Report; an open source system that allows young people to report on development issues in their community and receive life saving information via SMS, Facebook Messenger and other digital channels.
James has pioneered the scale up and application of U-Report, works with the private sector to forge new partnerships, guides Innovation Leads across UNICEF country offices and collaborates with international NGOs to support the scale up of innovation projects in new and existing countries throughout the entire project life cycle.
Prior to this James led the original U-Report project in Uganda where the system was used to involve Ugandan youth in Rio+20, support citizen voices in the Post-2015 agenda, as well as fight Ebola and Cholera outbreaks. Aside from working at UNICEF James has over 15 years experience working in digital media and communications planning, advising private ad tech companies on business strategy and product development.
James has previously run a technology import business to support NGOs in East Africa and has taught English in the Ugandan Primary Education system. He has a Masters in Environment & Development from Kings College London and lives and works in Bangkok.
Charlotte Petri Gornitzka took up her position as Director-General of Sida in February 2011, working on behalf of the Swedish Government to contribute to enabling poor people to improve their living conditions. Since then, important steps have been taken to focus the agency’s mission and overall aid portfolio in order to increase the impact of Swedish development cooperation.
Ms Petri Gornitzka is currently a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Sustainable Development as well as member of the high-level project steering group on Resigning Financial Development (OECD/DAC & World Economic Forum). Ms Petri Gornitzka is a board member of the Swedish Research Council. She has won several awards: Influencer of the Year by Management Events, NGO Leader of the Year Award by the Swedish Business Weekly as well as the H.M. of Sweden the King’s Medal for Special Merit promoting children’s rights.
Prior to joining Sida, Ms Petri Gornitzka was Secretary General of the International Save the Children Alliance, and before that Secretary General of Save the Children Sweden. Ms Petri Gornitzka has also had a successful career as Under-Secretary General and Director of Communication at the Swedish Red Cross.
Ms Petri Gornitzka has studied Business and Marketing at the IHM Business School in Stockholm and holds a degree from the Stockholm University College of Music Education and the School of Drama in Stockholm.
Read her guest blog: Strengthening Civil Society Support: The New Inclusive Model
Uygar is a civil society and environmental activist, and social entrepreneur. He is the founder and instigator of Good4Trust.org, an online system for creating a prosumer economy for ecological and social sustainability. He is the board chair of the Prosumer Economy Association.
After graduating from Middle East Technical University, he got a masters in Environmental Science at Ohio State University as a Fulbright Scholar, a PhD as a MacArthur Scholar in Conservation Biology, as well as in Development and Social Change at the University of Minnesota, then went back to Turkey and founded the Environmental Engineering Department at Erciyes University, where he was Asst. Professor and Chair of Environmental Science (2000-2004). He then joined the United Nations Development Program in New York as Environmental Specialist (2004-2006). He served as the Executive Director of TEMA Foundation (2006-2008) and of Greenpeace Mediterranean (2008-2012). He founded Change.org in Turkey and was the Eastern Europe and West Asia Director (2012-2017).
Uygar was also founding chairman of Doğa Derneği (BirdLife Partner) in 2002, founding member of the Civil Society Development Center (STGM) and served for two terms on the Board of CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation. He also currently serves as the Vice-Chair of ENIVA Foundation. He founded the first crowd-sourcing site in Turkey called KusBank.org in 2001. He is Adjunct Asst. Professor at Kadir Has University, Energy and Sustainable Development Program, with more than 100 scientific publications, countless popular articles, a book and has a daily radio program at Açık Radio.
Ben Phillips, currently based in Nairobi, is co-founder of the #FightInequality alliance, and Campaigns and Policy Director at ActionAid International. He has lived and worked in four continents and a dozen cities, and led programmes and campaigns teams in Oxfam, Save the Children, the Children’s Society, the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and the Global Campaign for Education. He began his development work at the grassroots, as a teacher and ANC activist living in Mamelodi township, South Africa, in 1994, just after the end of apartheid. All his posts are personal reflections. He tweets at @benphillips76
An Austrian, Richard Pichler graduated from the University of Vienna in 1988 with a degree in Business Administration. He joined SOS Children’s Villages in the same year to start his career in Asia
His first assignment took him to South Korea, and shortly afterwards he moved on to Manila as National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Philippines. In 1992, Richard became Regional Director of South East Asia.
In 1995, Richard was appointed Secretary-General (re-defined to CEO in 2013) of SOS Children’s Villages International. Driving the organisation’s strategy, Richard led the process of developing SOS Children’s Villages across three key areas:
He led several strategy and restructuring processes in the federation of over 130 member associations to strengthen its impact for most vulnerable children around the globe.
Together with his peers he engaged strongly in influencing the SDG agenda. After 20 years as Secretary Generals/CEO he stepped aside at the end of 2015 from this role and took up the responsibility as Special Representative on External Affairs and Resources in May 2016.
Read Richard’s guest blog: Courage to cooperate – to leave no one behind
I really enjoy working with colleagues around the world on issues that make a real difference to the fight against poverty and injustice.
When I’m not working you’ll find me training for a half marathon or playing music with my band.
Toby Porter became Chief Executive of HelpAge International in October 2013. HelpAge International is the secretariat to a global network of organisations working to help older women and men claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty.
Toby has dedicated his career to humanitarian and development assistance. He is a Board Member of MANGO, Age International and the International Civil Society Centre. He attends the Davos Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum as a Civil Society Representative, and is part of their Global Agenda Council on Ageing.
Read Toby’s guest blog: Closing the Gap & Transforming the Sector
Giulio was a Senior Programme Manager in the Innovation Skills team, responsible for advising international development and public sector organisations on the implementation of their innovation strategies. He is currently based in Dubai, working with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation.
Prior to joining Nesta, Giulio managed the Jakarta Lab of the UN Global Pulse, a flagship innovation initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General on big data for public policy. He also set up UNDP’s first innovation practice with a focus on Eurasia.
Giulio’s development experience also includes stints at WWF, UN University and the World Bank. His interests include user driven innovation and the social side of data innovation. Giulio is a regular speaker at international conferences on the intersection of social innovation, technology and international development.
He tweets from @gquaggiotto
Read Giulio’s guest blog: Building elevators for development mutants
Sarah Miller Ralston is an international development expert with more than 10 years experience with global and local development issues, with a focus on catalysing culture change, experimentation and learning. She is currently the Head of Organisational Development & Accountability for the CARE International Secretariat, responsible for convening, guiding and making accountable CARE’s future focused development for 2020 and beyond, including its governance, network leadership, membership and global presence. Prior to working with the Secretariat, she served as the head of programming for CARE occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), where she was responsible for developing a new strategy and overseeing program quality, fundraising and strategic partnership development; as the acting head of programming for the Middle East and North Africa region, based in CARE’s regional office in Cairo; and as a global advisor for organizational strategy, performance and accountability working with more than 15 countries and regions. She also serves as a global facilitator for learning events, skill shares, trainings and workshops with staff, peer organizations, partners and universities, and facilitates collaboration between international CSOs on organisational development in light of the changing role of aid. In both her career and personal engagement with community activism, Sarah focuses on sparking positive change within individuals, organizations and social networks.
Gautam lead’ Oxfam’s digital worldwide influencing strategy – an ambitious agenda to building the digital campaigning capacity of Oxfam and partners. They have taken on campaigns from the Middle East, Latin America, Africa to Asia, working with our country teams, partners and coalitions to mobilise around issues on land, climate change, inequality and humanitarian crises.
Before joining Oxfam, Gautam co-founded OurSay.org – an independent organisation started by a team of young people passionate about harnessing the power of social media to revitalise critical participation in democracy.
Read Gautam’s blog: Mobilising the World: A Call to Collaborative Digital Action.
Alex Roberts is an innovation specialist with the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) team at the OECD. Alex’s current work focuses on looking at the innovation lifecycle and how and when different methods are of use, and under what conditions. Prior to the OECD, Alex worked in the Australian Public Service on public sector innovation, and participated in the Australasian Joint Agencies Scanning Network.
Karenina is the Executive Officer of the INGO Accountability Charter. The Charter provides the only global, fully comprehensive and cross-sectoral accountability framework for NGOs driven by NGOs. Prior to this role, Karenina served on the Board of Transparency International Germany (TI G) for six years, where she was responsible for the strategic organisational development at TI G and was the coordinator of the Advisory Council. She also founded and managed the working group “Transparency in the Non-Profit Sector” and the “Academic Working Group of TI G”. Karenina studied art history, philosophy and history and worked for 10 years in various positions in the art sector, before completing her Master of Business Administration in 2002.
Read her guest blog: Digital Accountability
Salil Shetty joined Amnesty International as the organisation’s eighth Secretary General in July 2010.
A long-term activist on poverty and justice, Salil Shetty leads the movement’s worldwide work to end human rights violations. Prior to joining Amnesty International, Salil Shetty was Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign from 2003 to 2010. He played a pivotal role in building the global advocacy campaign for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
From 1998 to 2003, he was chief executive of ActionAid, and is credited with transforming the organisation into one of the world’s foremost international development NGOs.
Salil Shetty studied at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad and at the London School of Economics.
Read his guest blog: Globalising Amnesty International
I was born and raised in Istanbul. I have been studying sociology and history and I recently finished my master’s thesis on representation of disability and gender in Turkish melodrama films, and the construction of norm through these representations. I believe knowledge belongs to us all and therefore I seek to put theory into practice. Aside from my academic studies, I am currently working in a CSO for freedom of expression and volunteering for LGBTI News Turkey.
Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) is a Staff Attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & AIDS Project. Chase’s work includes impact litigation, as well as legislative and administrative advocacy, on behalf of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV across the United States. Chase has particular expertise on the treatment of transgender and gender non-conforming people in police custody, jails, prisons and other forms of detention.
Prior to joining the ACLU, Chase was an Equal Justice Works fellow and the Director of Prisoner Justice Initiatives at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, where he represented transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in confinement settings. In 2012, Chase founded the Lorena Borjas Community Fund, an organisation that provides direct bail/bond assistance to LGBTQ immigrants in criminal and immigration cases. Chase is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and Grinnell College.
Originally from Rome, Italy, Melissa has extensive experience in managing EU projects. Since its inception in 2011 she has managed and enhanced the European project Facing Facts! – make hate crime visible. Her passion for identity issues, inclusion, and communities’ development found a natural fit in the work of CEJI where she also develops and delivers training programmes on issues related to antidiscrimination and hate crime monitoring. She has strengthened the Jewish outreach of the organisation with local Jewish communities and institutions across Europe. With a Master degree in International Relations, before joining CEJI, she coordinated two research projects on Jewish identity in Italy.
Cobus joined Transparency International in 2004 and was appointed Managing Director in 2007. His experience spans the fields of globalisation, development policy, international relations and business management. Cobus has taught and worked at universities, multinational corporations, trade unions and research institutes in managerial and research related roles around the world. During the 1980s and early 1990s, he was active in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa including as Chair of the African National Congress in Cape Town.
He is Chair of the International Civil Society Centre, member of the Board of the UN Global Compact and member of the International Integrated Reporting Council. Cobus is also a member and former chair of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Agenda Council on Transparency & Anti-Corruption. In addition he serves on the Board of the WEF Partnering against Corruption Initiative (PACI). He was identified as one of the 500 most powerful individuals by the Foreign Policy Power Map in 2013 and named as one of the most influential people in security in 2014 by the Security magazine.
Cobus holds a PhD in Sociology from La Trobe University, Melbourne, and an MPhil in Political and African Studies from the University of Cape Town.
Read his guest blog: Corruption in Civil Society Organisations
Dr Dhananjayan (Danny) Sriskandarajah has been Secretary General and CEO of CIVICUS since January 2013. Headquartered in Johannesburg, CIVICUS is the global civil society alliance with members in more than 160 countries. Prior to moving to South Africa, Danny was based in the UK for 15 years, where his roles included Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Interim Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, and Deputy Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research. He holds a degree from the University of Sydney, and an MPhil and DPhil from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. In 2012, he was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Born in Sri Lanka and a national of Australia, Dr Sriskandarajah has lived and worked in five continents, and been invited to speak at events in over 50 countries. He can be found @civicussg on Twitter and Facebook.
Read his guest blog: Two Observations about Civic Space
Mandeep specialises in legislation affecting the core civil society freedoms of expression, association and assembly. On joining CIVICUS in May 2008, he was engaged in advocacy to protect and expand civil society space globally, including through the completion of a comprehensive compendium of legal instruments and other intergovernmental commitments concerning core civil society rights. Previously, Mandeep advised the New Delhi Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross on due process guarantees for persons detained in Jammu and Kashmir.
Mandeep has a keen interest in human rights and comparative law and has also worked with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an international NGO based in New Delhi, on campaigns related to criminal justice sector reform.
He has published a compilation of landmark Indian Supreme Court decisions and National Human Rights Commission guidelines on human rights and policing and has co-authored modules on human rights for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and a citizen’s handbook explaining the mandate and practical functioning of human rights commissions in India.
Mandeep has also drafted two annual reports for the Punjab State Human Rights Commission and has worked on projects related to good governance and women’s empowerment in India. He holds an LL.M in Law in Development from Warwick University, U.K. and completed his LL.B and B.A degrees at Panjab University, India.
Read Mandeep’s guest blog: Winning hearts and minds and other campaign strategies.
Prior to becoming Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign, Mitchell held the position of Senior Adviser of the Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity Group in UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy. He has led groundbreaking work using digital media and technology to engage the public and civil society organisations around the world in collaborative crowdsourcing of development solutions focused on bringing vital services to the poorest and most vulnerable populations. Mitchell also helped design and launch UNDP’s Global Innovation Facility.
No stranger to MY World and the World We Want 2015 initiatives, Mitchell led the technical design and implementation phases of these platforms and other e-consultations to strategically engage millions of people around the world to participate in the post-2015 development framework. These initiatives and consultations, with the support from partners around the world, offer tremendous insight on priorities for the next generations of global anti-poverty goals.
Before joining UNDP, Mitchell launched two start-ups, served as Executive Producer for an interactive marketing agency, and worked as a management consultant helping traditional firms leverage digital markets and business models. He is an American national and holds a Masters of Business Administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a BA in Philosophy.
Follow Mitchell on Twitter: @mtoomeyUN
Barbara Unmüßig was born in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, in 1956. She studied political science at Freie Universität Berlin.
Barbara Unmüßig’s professional commitment for international justice and global environmental and climate protection began in 1983 as an editor of “Blätter des iz3w”, a periodical devoted to North-South policy. Further she worked as a research assistant for the NGO “Aktion Dritte Welt” (Information Centre Third World) in Freiburg.
From 1985 onwards Barbara Unmüßig extended her network and international knowledge by working as a research assistant for the Members of Parliament Uschi Eid (1985 to 1987) and Ludger Volmer (1987 to 1990) of the Green Party in the German Bundestag. During that time, she focused primarily on the international debt crisis, on World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies and on global environmental issues.
In the nineties, Barbara Unmüßig worked exclusively for and with national and international non-governmental organizations. During the year 1992, when the UN conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) was held in Rio de Janeiro, she was the project director of the German environmental and development organizations. In 1992, Barbara Unmüßig was a founding member – and until 2002 spokesperson – of the Forum on Environment and Development, a German NGO. During this period she initiated numerous international networks and participated in many global forums and conferences (UNCED, World Trade Organisation (WTO), IMF and World Bank). Barbara Unmüßig cofounded the World Economy, Ecology, & Development (WEED) organization in 1992 and worked until 2002 as executive chairperson. Until today she is co-editor of its newsletter World Economy & Development.
In 2000, Barbara Unmüßig co-founded the German Institute for Human Rights (Deutsches Institut für Menschenrechte, DIMR), a human rights organization, and has been on its Board of Trustees since 2001. In 2009 she became deputy chairperson of the Board of Trustees.
From early on, Barbara Unmüßig has been involved in establishing the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung. From 1996 to 2001, she chaired its Supervisory Board. In May 2002, Barbara Unmüßig was elected president and since then she manages the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung jointly with Ralf Fücks. Here, Barbara is responsible for its international work in Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and for North Africa. The emphases of the foundation, e.g. globalization, human and women’s rights, international climate resource and agrarian policy and democracy support are at the core of her work and engagement.
Barbara is within the board lead for the common task of gender democracy and for the Gunda Werner Institute for Feminism and Gender Democracy.
Since 2009, she has been a juror for the Helene-Weber-Preis, an award for young female municipal politicians initiated by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.
She is the jury chairman of the Anne-Klein-Frauenpreis, which the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung awards annually since 2012. With this women’s prize the-Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung supports women that are characterized by outstanding commitment, courage and moral courage for the achievement of gender democracy, rights and self-determination of lesbian, gay, trans and intersex people.
Since 2013 Barbara Unmüßig is member of the Board of Trustees of Forum for Sustainable Development, a magazine that is committed to shaping a sustainable future.
Barbara Unmüßig actively and regularly contributes to the debate concerning strategy and program of the German Green party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in fields such as for example on issues of global justice, environmental and climate policy, gender policy and development policy.
Barbara has published numerous contributions to periodicals and books.
Photo copyright: Bettina Keller
Halina Ward is an independent analyst and facilitator working on issues of civil society development and strategy and sustainable development. She’s worked recently with Bond, Future Cities Catapult and the Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development, and has also been a Programme Director with the International Institute for Environment and Development, a Senior Fellow with Chatham House, and a solicitor. Halina serves as a Project Complaint Mechanism Expert under the EBRD’s Project Complaint Mechanism.
Read Halina’s guest blog: Getting good at disruption: learning from Southern CSO leaders.
Patrick Watt is Save the Children International’s Global Campaign, Advocacy and Communications Director. He leads the organisation’s global campaign, Every Last Child, which aims to tackle the barriers that stop millions of children from surviving and learning. He is responsible for Save the Children’s advocacy offices in New York, Geneva, Brussels and Addis Ababa that engage the UN, European Union and African Union on child rights issues, and for Save the Children’s influencing work across our country offices.
Patrick has extensive experience leading campaigns that drive change for children globally. Previously, he led Save the Children’s EVERY ONE campaign, which focused on maternal, newborn and child health. He has led campaigns in previous positions on aid, education and child health, contributing to changes including a shift of UK policy on aid conditionality and the establishment of the Global Partnership for Education.
Patrick has written and spoken widely on international development issues including education, health, aid, debt and trade, and has widespread experience of engaging international institutions. Before working with Save the Children, Patrick worked for World Vision, ActionAid, the World Bank and Oxfam. He has degrees from the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics. He lives in Oxford with his wife and three daughters.
Read Patrick’s guest blog: Progress for Children Isn’t Possible Without Progress for Girls
Dennis Whittle is co-founder and director of Feedback Labs. He was also co-founder of GlobalGiving, the first global crowdfunding + crowdsourcing website, where he was CEO from 2000-2010. From 1986 to 2000, he was an economist at the World Bank, where his team created the Innovation and Development Marketplaces. He has also served as Executive Chairman of Ashoka Changemakers, Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development, Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University, Professor of the Practice and Entrepreneur in Residence at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Board director of Internews.
Renee Ho (co-author of the guest blog) is Insight Curator at Feedback Labs. She has worked at the World Bank, ideas42, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Read their guest blog: The New World Order – Smart Democracy in the Age of Multi-Level Governance
Lauren Woodman is the Chief Executive Officer of NetHope, where she drives the organisation’s aggressive movement to put advanced connective technologies in the hands of nonprofits whose work can be magnified by its power. It is her primary goal to spark the tech world’s interest in the NGO community and the developing world, all in the name of harnessing technology to advance humanitarian work worldwide.
Lauren’s entire career has been defined by the intersection of tech, development and policy, driven by a passion to use technology to solve difficult international problems. With a graduate degree in foreign policy from John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Lauren has worked in a variety of high-level positions: in policy at the United Nations, as an executive at the Software and Information Industry Association, and, for more than a decade, running Microsoft Corporation’s global education and government programs, all leading her to her leadership role at NetHope in 2014.
María is AIDA’s senior attorney for the Human Rights and Environment Program, working out of Lima, Peru. She is a Peruvian lawyer with degrees from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia and the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. She has a diploma in Women and Human Rights: Theory and Practice from the Universidad de Chile and an LLM (Master of Laws) in International Legal Studies with a specialization in human rights from the American University Washington College of Law.
Previously, she was a researcher in the Human Rights Program at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, and worked as a human rights lawyer for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and as a lawyer at the Legal Defense Institute in Peru. She has worked as a teacher and lecturer of various courses and seminars, and has been published in an array of publications on the subject.
Brooke Yamakoshi is a WASH Specialist at UNICEF in New York, working on global sanitation and menstrual hygiene. Before moving to UNICEF Headquarters, Brooke helped to manage UNICEF’s sub-regional WASH support to 14 Pacific island countries. Prior to joining UNICEF, Brooke worked in transboundary water resources management and development in the nine riparian countries of the Nile Basin, and carried out community-level WASH research in West Africa. Brooke holds an MSc in Systems Engineering and a BSc in Civil & Environmental Engineering.
Craig is the Founder and CEO of PCDNetwork, the go-to hub for global social change. From 2005 to 2016 he served as professor the Conflict Resolution program at Georgetown University before stepping down in June 2016 to work on PCDNetwork full time. Craig has dedicated his life to being an entrepreneur and to creating a more peaceful world. Before creating PCDNetwork, Craig also helped to found two NGOs – the Alliance for Conflict Transformation and the TEAM foundation in Hungary. Craig serves on a number of boards and advisory boards including the Alliance for Peacebuilding, the Inzone Project, Tech Change, Move this World, Amani Institute, and several others. He spent two years in Hungary as Fulbright Scholar and was a Boren Fellow in Bosnia.
He has led trainings, workshops and consultancies in over 20 countries, with organisations including USIP, USAID, CRS, Rotary International and others. Craig is a recognised leader in the social sector field. He has received several awards including George Mason’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution’s alumni of the year award and an alumni career achievement award from Central European University. He has published widely on peacebuilding, entrepreneurship, and innovation in higher education. His most recent edited book is Integrated Peacebuilding (2013, Westview Press) and most recent article is Zelizer, C. . (2015.) The Role of Conflict Resolution Graduate Education in Training the Next Generation of Practitioners and Scholars. Peace and Conflict. Journal of Peace Psychology. vol 25, 4, 589-603
Follow Craig on twitter: @CraigZelizer
Read Craig’s guest blog: We cannot charity our way to meeting the SDGs: business for good.