Åsa Månsson

7 November, 2017

My five main take-aways from #GlobalPerspectives17

The ninth Global Perspectives conference took place on 1-3 November 2017 in Mexico City and brought together around 80 participants from all over the world, representing ICSOs as well as CSOs, government and business. Under the topic “New Resources for New Programmes”, the conference offered a platform for exploring new approaches to both programmes and resources. With a combination of presentations, panel discussions, and interactive peer-to-peer exchange, Global Perspectives was an extremely dynamic event with open exchanges, high-quality conversations and intense networking. On D&I, we will publish some impressions from this year’s conference participants.

Having attended several Global Perspective conferences, the following five things were what stood out to me the most this year – in a very positive way:

  • Transformation is what is needed: Within the first few hours of the conference, the group had already reached a consensus that transformational change is needed for civil society to be able to deal with the huge challenges that are in front of us. From that point forward, the discussion was about how and when and who. Let’s figure it out!
  • Examples of innovation: Jan Oldfield from Greenpeace International described the inspiring changes her organisation is currently going through, where the organisation is now looking at individual supporters as their key change agents. From the Latin American region, Techo showed us that it is possible to mobilise volunteers on a large-scale in Mexico to build houses for people living in informal housing and to achieve real societal change. Full-blown implementation and scale might still be needed, but the first steps have been taken, at least by some. Let’s learn from these!
  • The individual is the future: In line with the aforementioned examples from Greenpeace and Techo and under the motto “Grants are for losers!”, we witnessed a great discussion about how to better work together with volunteers and supporters to strengthen our organisations. The middle-class is growing globally, and millennials don’t want to just donate money, they also want to contribute and co-shape the systems. There is great potential to be maximized in this new paradigm. I agree – let’s get it done!
  • Let go of control: To choose influence over control is something that Burkhard Gnärig wrote about in his book The Hedgehog and the Beetle and it was encouraging to see the same discussion reach Global Perspectives this year. In order to be successful we have to allow others to be part of decision-making, both internally with our colleagues and externally with supporters, even if this means we lose control. Again – let’s go for it!
  • Female leadership: Not only were approximately half of the conference participants women, there was clearly a huge increase top female leadership among the organisations attending. It is extremely inspiring to see the many intelligent, experienced, and knowledgeable female colleagues shaping the future of these organisations. Let’s come together and support each other!

The conference was a great success and it was a fantastic privilege to be there to listen to, and to talk to so many committed people from all over the world. So much is going on in our sector – let’s work hard to make sure we are fast enough to transform our organisations into what they need to become. The Centre offers various workshops and events to support this development, please get in touch to learn more.

Next year, Global Perspectives will take place in Berlin, Germany on 31 October – 2 November. Please save the date – we are already looking forward to hosting you again!


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