International Civil Society Centre presents new Executive Director

14th November 2017 by Thomas Howie

The International Civil Society Centre announced today that Dr. Wolfgang Jamann has been appointed as its next Executive Director, effective 19 March 2018. Kevin Jenkins, Chair of the Board, expressed his satisfaction that one of the leading personalities of international civil society will take over the leadership of the Centre. Jenkins said: “With his extensive leadership experience in the sector, Wolfgang is perfectly equipped to guide the Centre’s work. We are very much looking forward to working together with Wolfgang for the benefit of civil society world-wide.”

Wolfgang Jamann has more than 20 years of experience in development assistance and humanitarian response, most recently as Secretary General and CEO of CARE International. He has lived and worked in Africa and Southeast Asia. Prior to his current role at CARE, Wolfgang was CEO and Chair of Welthungerhilfe, a leading humanitarian and development CSO in Germany. Earlier in his career, he worked in different roles and countries for Care, World Vision, the United Nations Development Programme, and the German Foundation for International Development.

Jamann stated: “People in many countries are facing poverty and hunger, oppression and exclusion, and citizens’ rights are increasingly violated. At the same time, digital communication, new forms of activism and a new generation of global citizens present unique opportunities to secure better lives for all people on our planet. I am very grateful for the opportunity to lead the Centre into its next decade, and excited about the space for collaboration and learning that the Centre brings to the sector to address these challenges together.”

The Centre’s co-founder and first Executive Director, Dr. Burkhard Gnärig shared his excitement about the appointment: “I couldn’t have wished for a more experienced and better equipped successor”.

The International Civil Society Centre helps the world’s leading international civil society organisations maximise their impact for a sustainable and more equitable world. The Centre develops strategies for navigating change, scans the horizon for exciting opportunities, enables learning and cooperation among civil society organisations, supports them with developing effective leadership and promotes robust accountability. Based in Berlin, Germany, the Centre is a not-for-profit organisation owned by 15 of the world’s leading international civil society organisations.

For enquiries or further information, please contact Helene Wolf, Deputy Executive Director at or +49 30 20 62 46 97 – 16

Thomas Howie

Communications Manager

International Civil Society Centre

Thomas joined the Centre in June 2017 as the Communications Coordinator. He is responsible for developing and implementing the Centre’s global communication strategy, as well as the Disrupt & Innovate platform – a place for civil society professionals and activists to discuss current innovations and future trends in the civil society sector. Prior to the Centre, Thomas worked for 5 years in the European Parliament firstly as the Digital and Social Media Coordinator for the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, and then, after the 2014 European elections, for Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen as Head of Communications, where he worked on issues such as the EU-US trade deal, issues around Brexit and as a specialist on the Petitions Committee. Thomas graduated from Bristol University with BSci in Geographical Sciences and holds an MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, where he completed research into the role of civil society in the post war peace settlement in northern Uganda.

Global Perspectives 2017

7th November 2017 by Thomas Howie

New Resources for New Programmes


The ninth Global Perspectives conference took place on 1-3 November 2017 in Mexico City and brought together an international audience of about 80 participants from national and international civil society organisations (CSOs), governments and business. The conference offered a platform for exploring new approaches to conducting and funding civil society activities. Presentations, panel discussions, work sessions and peer-to-peer exchange offered an effective platform for open exchange, high-quality conversations and intense networking.

The conference quickly reached consensus that only transformational change will enable civil society to address the significant challenges that lie ahead. Key aspects of the required transformation are:

  • Development and service delivery programmes need to be shaped and owned by the people who are supposed to benefit. This means that a significant power shift is required away from CSOs and their donors towards the people and communities in the Global South.
  • Digitisation allows supporters to transfer their donation directly to the organisation they want to support. Thus the intermediary role of many CSOs is being disrupted. In order to remain relevant CSOs have to present a much wider and deeper range of activities to their supporters.
  • Campaigning organisations need to shift their focus away from individual actors (campaigners in rubber dinghies) towards the citizens and communities that support their mission.
  • Today’s activists find each other and organise their activities on open platforms and no longer in closed organisations. CSOs need to turn themselves into platforms, accepting a loss of control and decision making power.
  • New forms of volunteerism and digital activism are emerging. They are the basis on which CSOs have to engage with the next generation of supporters.
  • Today’s social entrepreneurs base their activities on concrete and measurable demand rather than assumed needs. Many consider grants as a paternalistic means of support. CSOs need to learn from them how to explore what the people they want to support really need.
  • New technologies and approaches such as Blockchain and big data will reshape the civil society sector. CSOs should embrace and explore new technologies and optimally position themselves for their use to advance their mission.

Participants predominantly rated the conference as “very good”. They especially enjoyed the networking, the workshop sessions and the facilitation. They further recommended to include a more diverse group of participants and to have a session taking place outside the conference venue.

The next Global Perspectives conference will take place in Berlin, Germany on 31 October – 2 November. Please save the date – we look forward to hosting you there!

Communications Manager

International Civil Society Centre