About Us

Our Story

Founded in 2007, by Peter Eigen and Burkhard Gnärig, the International Civil Society Centre was set up to support international civil society organisations maximise their impact for a sustainable and more equitable world.

Today, the Centre is owned by 14 of the largest international civil society organisations (ICSOs), who work across environmental, human rights, social justice and humanitarian issues.

What is our Vision and Mission?

Our Vision and guiding star is the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals with the ambition to end all forms of poverty, achieve social justice and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

Our Mission is to strengthen the impact and resilience of international civil society organisations and to support people to change their world for the better.

Who do we work with?

Our core clientele spans the largest and most influential ICSOs. We also forge partnerships with other organisations and platforms from civil society as well as academia, media and social business innovating for positive change.

How do we work?

Global & impactful: For more than a decade, the Centre has brought together the leadership of the 30 most influential ICSOs. They engage in the Centre’s events, board and leadership meetings and co-shape projects in steering committees. No other organisation is as well positioned to know the hearts and minds of the sector’s leadership. Based on this trust and commitment, the Centre develops successful programmes to achieve a joint vision which will create the greatest impact.

Collaborative & inclusive: The Centre’s programmes and activities bring together ICSOs with leaders from think tanks, media, business, politics and other CSOs. This intermediary environment allows to leave logos and egos outside and foster effective knowledge and capacity pooling. At the same time, voices from communities and local CSOs are an integral part to the Centre’s work and thus assure truly participatory and self-reflective partnerships.

Thought-provoking & innovative: The Centre offers a trend scanning capacity by bringing together civil society as well as private and public sector strategist on the Scanning the Horizon platform. Inspired by cross-sector learning and best practice exchange, the Centre aims to challenge traditional business models and operations in international civil society organisations. Achieving our joint vision is only possible by preparing for the future.

Agile & responsive: The Centre has a comparatively small ownership model and operates on frequent and swift liaisons between Centre and ICSO staff. The Centre implemented a dynamic strategic direction that allows for rapid programme responses such as ad hoc convening’s to find joint solutions to unprecedented challenges in the sector.

Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

At the International Civil Society Centre, we are devoted to fostering an inclusive environment within our organisation and throughout our work, championing diversity, equity, and the elimination of discrimination. We uphold the universal principles of human rights by appreciating the contributions of every team member and ensuring equal opportunity for all. Our commitments encompass creating a respectful and harassment-free space, providing training and development opportunities, promoting leadership that values people, and actively amplifying diverse voices while enhancing accessibility. We actively work to represent diverse voices in our initiatives and acknowledge the intersectionality of multiple discriminations. Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy is communicated comprehensively to all stakeholders, with our senior management fully committed to its implementation, monitoring, and refinement, reinforcing our steadfast dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-discrimination. Join us on this mission for a more inclusive future.

What have we achieved?

How can we have an even bigger impact together?

We believe in collaboration and growth. Cherishing these values throughout the partnerships we build, we invite you to join us. Let us together enable better and more impactful civil society organisations worldwide 

Our owners already provide significant resources to secure and develop the Centre’s capacity. Yet, a lot of organisational challenges, such as keeping highly professional staff and staying resilient in the face of constantly changing, shrinking civil society environment demand further resources: The Centre invites foundations, development agencies, responsible corporates and interested private persons to come on board. Become one of our supporters and let us together solve the global challenges that no single organisation can and should solve alone. 

As a comparatively small organisation with a huge global lever, every contribution will directly translate into an enhanced sector efficiency and impact. For us, it is not about getting bigger but about getting better at what the sector is already good at.