Posts with the tag
“Global Perspectives”

Global Perspectives 2023 – Moments of Truth 

22nd November 2023 by Miriam Niehaus

Prolonged humanitarian crises, the rise of generative artificial intelligence, the use of disinformation to polarise societies and manipulate elections, the suppression of civil society from state and non-state actors and decreasing funding… are just a few of the ever-growing challenges that social justice, humanitarian, and development organisations must contend with. As progressive and rights-based civil society organisations – from local to international level – are grappling with these crises of the past few years, the International Civil Society Centre once again had the honour of curating our yearly conference, Global Perspectives on these topics. “Global Perspectives – Moments of Truth” happened on 9 November and brought together hundreds of online participants across five different sessions to not just ponder these challenges but provide concrete examples and explore ideas on how we can collaboratively tackle them.  

Though each session was independently curated, three overarching themes emerged. 

The Future of Civic Space is Now
Anticipating the factors that will constrict our civic space a decade from now demands our attention today. Civic Space has been in decline and is likely to continue on this trajectory. Are we adequately addressing the issues that will likely shape our societies in the next decade, impacting our civic engagement? In the session titled “Learn From and Engage on Futures Scenarios for Civic Space” participants learned about the outcomes of the Centre’s “A History of Civic Space 2024-2034”, exercise, where representatives from 15 civil society organisations collaborated to develop possible future scenarios for civic space. Session participants engaged in the scenarios and identified actionable steps to either advance or prevent undesirable outcomes. For example, a likely scenario of artificial intelligence (AI) first enabling a lot of good work at scale and then backfiring on civil society as “obstacles to progress”, highlighted the urgency to get into the AI game now. Later in the day at the “Digital Dialogue – AI: Solution or Threat to Mis-/Disinformation?” drove the point home: two scholars Liz Orembo from Research ICT Africa and Admire Mare from the University of Johannesburg, called on civil society organisations to address AI now, as governance advocates, watchdogs, as well as helping to increase media literacy. This is especially needed as there are a number of key elections coming up next year where we will likely see sophisticated disinformation campaigns. Henry Parker from Logically, informed us that there is a lot of potential to use AI to identify disinformation campaigns and reprimand the actors responsible. During “A Sector Conversation”, Stéphane Duguin from CyberPeace Institute warned us that we need to create a comparable countermodel if we wish to increase our capacity to oppose disinformation campaigns. Read their approach to responsible use of artificial intelligence here and watch this space as we are launching our Sector Guidance on Mis-, Dis-, and Mal-information: Insights and Foresights in early 2024.    

Representation Matters
Two sessions, “The Truth is in the Telling” and “Exploring Personal Realities (of Marginalisation)”, delved into the importance of representation. Insights from individuals working with and identifying as members of marginalised communities underscored the need for more direct dialogue with those in power. Nana Afadzinu from WACSI emphasised in “A Sector Conversation” the need for introspection and acknowledgement of systemic inequity. Festus Odingo from the SDG Kenya Forum emphasised the significance of partnerships as a key force for change, emphasising how they may broaden the scope and effect of community-based initiatives. Representation of course also happens through communication pieces – donor reports, flyers, fundraising advertisements and much more. Undeniably, communication about Global North-financed Global South projects has been a big part of manifesting white saviourism and entrenching power imbalances. By now, several organisations have begun to examine this reality and make changes. The Ethical Story Telling Guideline, a toolkit that PATH and Metro Group DRC contributed to, was presented by the speakers. It can assist companies in determining how to, for instance, become more ethical by making concrete adjustments to the planning process. Communication audits, such as the ones conducted every two years by CARE International, can be useful in holding teams accountable and providing incentives for improvement. As part of its bottom-up strategy to alter various communication channels, CARE has made significant efforts to maximise informed consent and minimise unconscious bias. Yet, there are still incredibly difficult dilemmas when organisations must weigh communication subjects’ agency against their safety, for example when portraying female CSO workers in Afghanistan. The emphasis is on respect. A key takeaway from our sessions is to aim to do no harm but failing forward is inevitable as we push one another to improve and recognise ethical storytelling as a fundamental  component of power shifts within the industry. 

Weathering a Perfect Storm
Our speakers highlighted this year a shrinking civic space, humanitarian crises piling up and worsening, colonial structures still fostering inequity, and growing cybercrime and disinformation adding to the complexity. All of this is happening in the face of a challenging global economy with a sharp decline for our causes. Are we experiencing a perfect storm? Yet, for most in the sector, there is a firm resolve to plough on despite difficult circumstances. There is no alternative. It has been inspiring to see among others, leaders from ICVA, CIVICUS, WACSI and the CyberPeace Institute sharing resources, knowledge and honest invitations to collaborate more, helping each other to overcome our deficiencies and capitalise on our respective expertise and strengths.  

To continue surviving the storm, the International Civil Society Centre will keep bringing attention to the incredible innovations that are being developed in the field. As Mirela Shuteriqi from ICVA said in her closing statement, we must also transform ourselves. We must encourage a culture and bring about changes at the UN level, using this as a chance to collaborate and tackle social justice issues. We remain dedicated to facilitating dialogue, sharing innovations, and fostering collaboration within the sector. It is through collective determination, thoughtful introspection, and ethical storytelling that we can face the challenges that lay ahead, transform ourselves, and forge a path towards a more just and equitable future. The journey is ongoing, but together, as a united force, we embark on it with unwavering resolve. 


Special thanks to all our speakers – Jennifer Abomnger, Nana Afadzinu, Stéphane Duguin, Patrick Gathara, Arnold Gekonge, Eva Gondor, Heather Hutchings, Wolfgang Jamann, Lysa John, Hussam Joudah, Admire Mare, Shalini Moodley, Patricia Mugenzi, Levis Nderitu, Nana Nwachukwu, Festus Odingo, Elizabeth Orembo, Henry Parker, Neha Rayamajhi, Mirela Shuteriqi, Clare Spurrell, David Verga, and Rachel Wilkinson.



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Miriam Niehaus

Head of Programmes

International Civil Society Centre

Miriam leads the Centre’s programmes. She started at the Centre as Executive Assistant in 2014 and then, as Project Manager, developed and implemented the Centre’s projects on civic space between 2016 and 2019. Prior to joining the Centre Miriam worked for VSO International and GIZ in the Palestinian Territories. She holds a BA in Islamic Studies and Social Anthropology from the University of Freiburg and an MA in Near and Middle Eastern Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Call for Global Perspectives Speakers and Workshop Hosts

29th July 2020 by Thomas Howie

We are looking for inspiring people to contribute to Global Perspectives 2020 – A Passion for Inclusion. Global Perspectives is an annual conference bringing together leaders of civil society organisations (CSOs) with high-level representatives from governmental, inter-governmental, corporate, philanthropic and academic sectors. Every year around 150 participants engage in interactive formats, discussions and co-creation sessions to analyse the world’s most pressing challenges and devise strategies to bring civil society forward in pursuit of solutions.

Who are we looking for?

Anyone with a Passion for Inclusion and an inspiring idea or piece of work from one of the sectors mentioned above, namely: civil society, governmental, inter-governmental, corporate, philanthropic and academic.

How can you contribute?

We are looking for anyone happy to host a workshop or panel or be part of a panel. Workshops and panels last between 1 and 1.5 hours. There are three pillars to our conference on which you can focus your contribution: Including CSOs in political processes, inclusive programmes and CSOs as diverse and inclusive organisations. There are also three cross-cutting dimensions: Digitalisation, diversity and futures. To find out more detail, please read the flyer.

How can express an interest?

Fill out the form below!

Where is it and what do I have to pay?

This year’s event is fully virtual, so there are no travel costs or hotel to pay. We do have a limited number of funded participation spots open, you can find the application form and the regualr participation fees, on the registration page. This event is almost solely funded by participation fees and relies on the generosity of people to share there time and expertise, at the same time as getting access to the most interesting people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Got a question?

Email the Global Perspectives Event Manager, Nihal Helmy

Name of the organisation, network, foundation...etc that the speaker is affiliated with

Communications Manager

International Civil Society Centre

Global Perspectives 2020 and Delegate Connect

7th July 2020 by Thomas Howie

We are excited to announce a new partnership between the International Civil Society Centre and Delegate Connect to deliver Global Perspectives 2020 virtually in November.

We chose Delegate Connect for its exciting and user friendly platform which provides a space for participants to network, operate on a low bandwidth making it accessible around the world, and for their excellent customer support. Delegate Connect also understands that this event will generate social good and is the flagship event for civil society. As such they are supporting us to put on the best Global Perspectives ever.

Communications Manager

International Civil Society Centre

Global Perspectives 2020: Nurturing inclusive communities

25th June 2020 by Anna Simitchieva

This year´s development definitely caught us all by surprise. The reality of Coronavirus translated into very real restrictions on our freedom to move around, meet-up or simply to sit at the office together. This woke up many of us and made even more obvious the path that is no longer a choice, but a necessity: to act together in building inclusive communities for us all. In this article, we invite you on a journey towards inclusion, which is the topic and the long-term goal of the virtual conference Global Perspectives 2020.

Inclusion has many layers and aspects, relating to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status and many more. We can argue about the success of our communities towards it, but many marginalised groups not only in the developing world, but also in cosmopolitan cities, such as Berlin, remain neglected. We still have a lot to do, especially if we truly hope to achieve at least some of the ambitious 17 SDGs[1] during the last decade for their implementation.

The urgency and the importance of the topic put it on top of the International Civil Society Centre´s agenda. We decided to offer safe space for interaction and exchange on inclusion within the community we host. At our biggest platform for exchange, Global Perspectives, participants from around the world will explore new ideas and strategies together on how to make inclusion a fundamental part of our work towards achieving the goals, outlined in the Agenda 2030.

Our aim is to open discussions on:

  • Including civil society in political processes;
  • Empowering inclusion in CSO programmes;
  • Creating and maintaining CSOs as diverse and inclusive organisations.

Global Perspectives is a dynamic place to be, with a diverse group of participants – civil society leaders, academics, social entrepreneurs, journalists and many more. The common theme between them all is their passion to co-create, connect and collaborate to tackle the world’s most pressing problems.

Furthermore, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Global Perspectives will be entirely a virtual experience. We will provide both the award-winning conference mobile application Whova and an interactive software to open up the possibility to dive deep into the virtual networking. With shorter sessions scheduled to accommodate different time zones, we will enable high-levels of creativity, proactive engagement and fully inclusive discussions with participants from all over the globe.

This experience sounds exciting? It truly is, and we want to invite you to be part of it! There are many possibilities for collaboration, sponsorship and tailored support. Don’t hesitate to and discover the most suitable one.

We welcome you to support our effort for sustainable inclusion now!


Anna Simitchieva

Fundraising Officer

International Civil Society Centre

Anna joined the Centre as Fundraising Officer in November 2019. From Bulgaria, Anna has studied and worked in Germany, Spain, Colombia and Armenia. She gained previous fundraising experience at SODI e.V. in Berlin and in the Caucasus, when she was sent to Armenia by Bread for the World to support Women for Development as Communication for Development and Fundraising Officer for two years. Before entering the nonprofit sector, Anna worked for different (inter-)national TV stations for live news productions in Berlin for more than 5 years, among them RBB and Deutsche Welle. Anna holds a MA in Intercultural Communication Studies from the European University Viadrina in Frankurt Oder and a BA in Journalism and Communication Studies and Spanish from the Free University Berlin.

Six quick takeaways from Global Perspectives 2019 – Legitimacy and Impact in Times of Scrutiny

4th November 2019 by Åsa Månsson and Thomas Howie

Find out more about Global Perspectives

Global Perspectives 2019 in Addis Ababa was as action-packed as you’d expect. With more than 100 participants from around the globe representing a range of international civil society organisations, community-level bodies, innovators, academics and activists, it was a place of inspiration, exchange and learning.

The theme of this year’s Global Perspectives was “Let’s make lemonade”, based on the saying if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Consequently, the underlying spirit and challenge of the conference was how do we turn our lemons – problems and challenges – into lemonade – opportunities for impact and legitimacy?


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As we are still digesting everything that we heard throughout an intense week, here are some first takeaways:

1. We can make lemonade!

In the Centre’s first ever Innovation Report, launched and presented at Global Perspectives, we have collected a number of inspiring, innovative and courageous case studies. These are all examples of civil society organisations – of different size, in different contexts and with different tools – changing the way they have worked in order to change the world. These organisations show that it is possible to reinvent yourself if the context requires – and they can serve as a great inspiration for all of us!

2. Connecting to our values and to people is a key ingredient for lemonade

We saw it in the case studies from the Innovation Report but we also heard it over and over again last week: As civil society organisations, we need to make sure we connect to our organisational values, as well as to the people we represent or who we advocate for. This is key for our legitimacy, our integrity as well as for our impact – and should be at the centre of any organisation’s approach to accountability.  

3. Ethiopia lemons and lemonade for civil society

We heard it loud and clear from several Ethiopians: This event would not have been possible just 18 months ago. The reforms that Prime Minister Mr. Abiy Ahmed and the new government have implemented have fundamentally changed the working conditions for civil society organisations. Participants noted, however, that Ethiopian organisations are now faced with the immense challenge of learning how to act and be impactful in this new context.

4. Hope can win, but only if we let it

A reoccurring theme of Global Perspectives was “hope”. Hope is an organisations best friend when it comes to communicating the world we want to see. Expressing what we want to see, rather than what we don’t, can be an infectious way of building support and affecting change. When participants unpacked this topic we saw real depth and complexity to the meaning of hope. This shows the potential challenges and opportunities of hope-based communications.

5. The value of making new connections

I’ve met people here at #GlobalPerspectives2019 who can help us get justice for our tea garden community back in West Bengal.” The words of Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Harihar. On Harihar’s first time out of India, he reported on Global Perspectives by making a short 3-minute video reportage. The report explains that he met people who want to help his community get justice. Other connections were between innovator Jane Muigai and representatives from Plan International discussing how to jointly scale education of youth in Kenya. For us, this is exactly what Global Perspectives is all about – making connections and support people to change their world for the better.

6. Next steps: Let’s keep making lemonade

Our workshops focused on how civil society organisations can increase impact and legitimacy. At the end of the conference, we heard four ‘pitches’ of collaborative projects that aim to do just that. We encourage you to check them out, even if you didn’t attend:

a) Islamic Declaration for Gender Justice

Through a collaboration with Islamic Relief Worldwide, Global Perspectives participants were all part of the preview of the first ever Islamic Gender Justice Declaration, representing a call for action to end gender injustice. For more information, please contact Shahin Ashraf at Islamic Relief Worldwide (  

b) Reimagining the INGO

To explore how INGOs can meet the needs of the 21st century, including environmental, social and economic needs, in the face of recent failings and critiques of INGOs, a group is coming together to help us re-imagine INGOs and explore what needs to change. For more information, please contact Charles Van Dyck at WACSI (

c) Solidarity Playbook

There is the need to build mechanisms to support each other in solidarity when a civil society organisation is under undue pressure from governments or others. The Centre will facilitate the shared learning between ICSOs’ response strategies and developing mechanisms to act in solidarity in critical instances. For more information, please contact Miriam Niehaus at International Civil Society Centre (

d) Ethiopian CSO Accountability Framework

In order to strengthen the legitimacy and accountability of Ethiopian civil society organization, a group has started working on establishing a national accountability framework. For more information, please contact Bilen Asrat at Ethiopian Civil Society Organisations Forum (

More formal follow up to come!

We hope everyone enjoyed Global Perspectives 2019. We will be sharing a more formal follow-up in the following weeks. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Åsa Månsson

Special Projects

Wikimedia Foundation

In May 2020 Åsa left the Centre and joined Wikimedia Germany in a role working on organisational development’. Between 2010 and 2013, Åsa acted as manager of the INGO Accountability Charter (Accountable Now). In September 2013, Åsa took up the role as Director of Development, innovating the Centre’s fundraising and communication efforts. Since October 2016, Åsa has been Director of the Global Standard and has additionally taken on the role as the Centre’s Programme Director in mid-2017. Originally from Sweden, Åsa earlier worked for a consultancy, evaluating social projects within the public and civil society sector. Åsa studied European Studies and Sociology at universities in Gothenburg and Berlin. She completed her education with a Master’s thesis on the role of civil society in European governance.

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 – why we need to say “Yes!” more often

4th December 2018 by Thomas Howie
10th Global Perspective Conference on November 1st 2018 at Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin. (c) Agata Skowronek

“I think my last word will be, ‘Yes!’ We need to stop saying ‘no’, we need to be positive and change the narrative. So we need to say ‘yes’ to changing things.” The words of Fouzy Mathy, a young woman from SOS Children’s Villages International at Global Perspective 2018.

Fouzy and Divine

Fouzy, and her ally Divine Usabase also from SOS, unexpectedly took to the stage in the final session when they swapped places with Jennifer Morgan, the Greenpeace International Executive Director, who was on the panel titled “What to do next, with who and how?”. The pair had an answer; we need to unite and make our voices and actions count. Fouzy illustrated what happens when we fail to do so.

She shared the story of a young person who took their own life because they did not feel supported. The young person in question had fled their home country due to conflict and famine caused by climate change. However, after arriving in Europe – somewhere they thought would be safe and supportive – that young person felt so abandoned and insecure that they took their own life.

Divine takes the floor

Fouzy told this story as a clarion call of why we need to act together to show compassion and humanity in our work and lives. Their concrete proposal was to create a project called “Yes4Humanity”. The project will engage a wide range of people with causes important to them, sharing personal, powerful, positive stories. There would be one small difference they wouldn’t be the #NewGeneration but a global #NOWGeneration.

Fouzy and Divine’s intervention in the conference was timely. It symbolised the hand over from old to the now generation, in keeping with the spirit and purpose of the event. After all, this kind of changing of the guard was discussed extensively at the event.

Let’s rewind then to the beginning of the event to understand how we ended up here…

Opening: Open the door to young people 

The conference opened with Paula Peters explaining how and why it is important to open the door to young people. She challenged everyone to rethink how we should let young people engage us, rather than how international civil society organisations can engage them. This was a call for a fundamental shift in power and control over resources, campaigns and messages and bureaucratic accountability.  This will help those young people who already do amazing work.

For example, Anshul Tewari founded Youth Ki Awaaz, India’s largest social justice media platform. It’s the place for young people to make a change in their societies. Additionally, Maha Babeker, a women’s rights activist in Sudan, shed light on how Sudanese young people are speaking out against Gender-Based Violence. These were just two examples of some of the amazing work done by young people.

Maha Babeker

What we wanted participants to get out of the conference

We had a variety of awesome speakers and insightful workshops. When we set out to put this conference together we sat down and thought about what we wanted people to get out of it.

We decided that at Global Perspectives 2018 we wanted to:

  • Provide an understanding of how the new generation.
  • Showcase innovative initiatives by and for young organisations as well as established CSOs.
  • Offer cross-sector networking by bringing together civil society leaders with other stakeholders.
  • Explore concrete steps so CSOs can adapt their organisations to better fit the new generation.

Themes: …

To do this we aimed to inspire and showcase cross-cutting content. We chose organisations with three themes in mind:

  • Communities: The people we work for and with.
  • Supporters: The people who support us, financially or with their time.
  • Talent: The people who work in our organisations.

Organisations: …

We wanted you to hear from as many people who represent each theme. We held a mixture of objective focused workshops and open-ended discussions called campfire sessions from the following organisations:

·        Amani Institute ·        Talents4Good
·        Amnesty International ·        Telecommunications Software & Systems Group
·        NetHope ·        The Open University
·        OECD ·        The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy
·        OXFAM ·        Toladata
·        Plan International ·        Viva con Agua
·        Restless Development ·        WEF
·        Save the Children ·        Youth to End Sexual Violence
·        SDI Net

Future Scenario

As if this was not enough, we hosted a Future Scenario track. In these sessions, the participants attempted to identify the characteristics of a CSO 12 years from now that is successful in engaging youth.

Future Scenario

The group predicted a very different global environment of megatrends with great impact and influence on young people. Although only 12 years’ away, there was systemic and rapid change in social and political organisation, technology and data-driven inequality, precarious work/economic situations, and intense climate change, antibiotic resistance and genetically modified food systems.In this context, the successful CSO of 2030 would have characteristics fundamentally different from the mindsets, skills, structures and ways of working today.

Radical and cause-driven, it would be focused on campaigns, advocacy/policy and amplifying what others are doing, with devolved peer-to-peer accountability and consensus decision-making communities both internally and with supporters.

What next for “Yes4Humanity”?

There are several ICSOs keen to take part there will be a kick off meeting next month which the International Civil Society Centre is part of. You can read more about their plan here.


There were many excellent ideas at Global Perspectives, we’ve tried to capture them all in our Outcome document. You can find them under recommendations. You’ll see we have ideas on peer-to-peer learning, developing a youth strategy, including young people’s voices more, be accountable to young people and committing to work together without ‘egos or logos’.

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.

OECD at Global Perspectives 2018

20th November 2018 by Chiara Di Stefano and France Charlet

Today, young people are digital nativesused to high-speed, instantaneous interactions on social media and other online platforms. Many established organisations  like the OECD  face a challenge: to be more agile in listening to young people so their vision and their needs are reflected in our work.  

The OECD goes to Global Perspectives every year to  hear from civil society organisations active across the globe and understand the main concerns of the people they aim to serve. It’s a space where we can speak face-to-face with people, gather insights from current civil society engaging with young people and think about ways to do better in our own organisation.  

This year, Global Perspectives was also an ideal setting for tackling a subject at the core of the OECD’s current agendathe future of work and skills. This conversation has many stakeholders, but it’s particularly important to grasp the next generation’s needs and concerns so our policy recommendations are fit-for-purpose. 

In a workshop, OECD and Global Perspectives participants discussed what it takes to deliver an inclusive world of work – and the implications for civil society.  Civil society organisations care a lot about their role as employers, youth mobilisers and policy shapers. In addition to helping amplify the voices of workers and future workers, part of the discussion focussed on how CSOs need to cultivate the right skills and the culture in their own organisations. 

Thanks to the International Civil Society Centre, we also heard from young people in other workshops. What we heard encouraged us to move beyond the question of “how the OECD engages young people to “how young people can engage and activate the OECD.  Youth is not a group “to reach”. They are essential partners for anyone – including organisations – who want to change the world. The OECD is serious about  delivering “better policies for better lives”, and we are excited to learn from and partner with civil society organisations for greater and more positive impact on the world we share. 






Chiara Di Stefano

Public Affairs Manager at OECD


Chiara Di Stefano, public affairs manager leading relationships with civil society organizations. Previously worked in Brussels both in the private sector and European Commission. Studied in the UK, France and Italy.

France Charlet

Campaigns manager at the OECD


Campaigns manager at the OECD. France previously led international advocacy campaigns for Save the Children, World Vision and other international and national NGOs. She worked in London, Bangkok and Brazzaville and specialised in building institutional capacity for campaigning through fundraising, training and strategy development.

Thanks to all who participated at Global Perspectives 2018! – Videos and Photos

6th November 2018 by Thomas Howie

This year’s Global Perspectives was a dynamic and lively event about “Engaging a #NewGeneration”. While we mull over what this year’s event means, you can check out our photos and videos by clicking on the links below. We’ll be back next week with more detailed reflections.

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.

Jessy James LaFleur – The Point of No Return, slam poem for Global Perspectives 2018

1st November 2018 by Thomas Howie

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Ladies, Gentlemen!
Welcome to the point of no return!
Can you hear the sirens off in the distance?”
Hoping they don’t come your way”
While you’re tryna maintain, keep up resistance”
I can see you hiding off in the shadows of the masses”
I can hear them whispering your name
How they order you to ignore this storm upon us
Always tryna push you towards fortune and fame
We’re all same, while being different,
but never different enough, that’s why we keep striving for perfection!
We’ve been forming the wrong habits, throwing caution to the wind,
recklessly acting like invincible heroes, while destroying our entire being.
And the struggle is real!
We’re even struggling to feel real emotions, struggling to co-exist
The frown on my face has gotten larger, while my smile has nearly disappeared. ”
Here we are, at the point of no return!
The dead end, a blind alley.
Blinded by the shiny billboards and wrong promises
I wish I could scream at your ignorance:”
God Damn’it! Look at me when I talk to you!
If you can’t look at me, how could you look at yourself!
When eyes are closed, we can’t see the chaos floating around us
When eyes are closed, we can still pretend that all this is not real!
How convenient, that there’s a digital universe we can travel to,
when reality gets too hard to accept
where we can hide away in a virtual, glittery-unicorn-world instead!”
Where you scroll, scroll, scroll, until you can’t scroll no more”
And you drown, drown, drown in an ocean of metaphors
You drown in solutions, that won’t solve any problems
You’re swallowed by the products that you’re consuming
It has never been you, it has always been them!
Our heads feel strangled by a million impressions
We’re tired of not being able to make a change
We’re lost in this huge sea of information” ”
Ladies and Gentlemen:
An entire generation suffering from desperation! ”
Airplanes, chemtrails, clickbait, hashtags ”
inhale, exhale, yoga mats
Black lives matter, metoo-movements,
Gender, LGBTQ
Plastic bottles, plastic body, micro plastic, plastic lobby
Sobbing children, desperate mothers
wars, weapons, little brothers
Army, killing, refugees, sea watch, watching, what I see
Lampedusa, middle sea, tons of loses, middle east.
Islam, Koran, God or Allah
Amen, Om, Shalom, Inshallah
Pretzels, Pork or Chicken Korma
Karma, Trump, Barack Obama.
We can do it, no we can’t
parents, progress, loans and grants
broken hopes and promises, bank accounts and insurance
credits, studies, student fees
Work or university
Heal the world, destroy the system
feminism, demonstration, ”
right wing, left wing, extremism
many questions, answers missing.
Guessing, knowing, building, growing
slow food, smoothies, kind of boring.
Nature, vegan industry, palm oil, poison, eating meat
Global warming, too much heat, immigration, time to leave.
Holding on or letting go, fighting, burn-out, alcohol.
Drugs and party, work and travel, buying houses, moving, settle
Tinder, Love, monogamy, relationships are not for me.
Sleepless nights, depressing mornings
Netflix, youtube, beauty goals,
Insta, Facebook,
never sober, pull the trigger, shoot,
Game over!”
I’m losing my sanity in all this chaos
My brain is fucked, my head explodes
Here we are, at the point of no return
Heaven is a ghost town and this world is gonna burn.
We’ve been up so high and now we are free falling”
We were dancing on the rooftops thinking we’d be kings and queens by morning
Balancing between white privilege and black discrimination
Challenged by this game of chess looking for future strategies”
I guess we didn’t hear that warning”
We were so sure that we’d be kings and queens by morning
But we’re not, we’ll be a lost generation if we don’t raise our voices
Stop tweeting little birdie bird, you gotta start roaring.
Lost in this fog of exploitation
Exploring the world, exploring different nations
Welcome to the new age,
it’s a revolution I suppose
We might be facing challenges,
the biggest is to mobilise our youth
They are are covered in the mess that politics have made
We are still choking on the lies that we’ve been told
This world traffics in the blackest of markets”
Trading misery like diamonds and gold
Cold-hearted propaganda, not a hijab leads to suicide attacks
All the fears and all the hate that we exchange”
For applause and voided praise
are turning this age into a nightmare from hell.
What will be left of us, when we have only our souls left to sell.
This generation is underrated, underestimated,
Too many doubts, too many choices
but you haven’t failed
We could only ever fail ourselves
So let’s reclaim our voices,
and build a peaceful army lined up like books on a shelf, filled with knowledge
Looking for dialogues in 6500 various languages,
Whoever is trying to silence you is always fearing your existence
I want to believe in a collaborative society
I want to believe in opportunities and positive diversity
No one should be ever penalised for their ethnicity
The only thing that should be separated by colour is my god-damn smelly laundry
Here we are, at the point of no return
And while my washing machine is turning in circles
just like the world keeps spinning out of control
I want you to know that we’ve got this, Darling – we’ve got this.
So raise your fist and make a peace sign with it
Because the battle we lead, has never been a war
Trust the sound of this generation,
we’re all fighting for the same goals
Hitting the same notes, singing the same chorus
Singing the same melody of unity and freedom ”
I know that you’re feeling overwhelmed and tired
But when there’s nothing left to burn,
you gotta set yourself on fire and empower the great minds around you
that cease to exist.
Hope is like fire and you can warm countless hearts on it.
Here we are, at the point of no return
Still hoping that we’d be kings and queens by morning
But can you hear the sirens off in the distance?
They’re steadily approaching!
Running away was easy, but ignorance won’t save us now
We have to build resistance against a mighty system
That wants us to hide in the shadows of the masses”
I can hear them whispering our names, but we’re stronger
and we won’t ignore this storm any longer.
Open your eyes!
and finally understand that you have a voice ”
and that voice is more powerful than anything else in this world
Open your eyes and see that you’re not alone!
Open your eyes and start to believe in the unknown!
Believe in a change that is currently happening
Look at the streets filled with people, this is everything but not a blind alley!”
My heart is dancing with grace,”
when I see your incredible courage
when I see your fight for a better future
when I see how much you’re trying to move forward
I guess we’re still at that point of no return
and looking at the present makes the future appear so goddamn hard
…but you know what my dear?
Pssst! Let me tell you something:
The finish line is a wonderful place where we could start.” ”

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.

Reclaiming our Voices

23rd October 2018 by Maha Babeker

Every year, millions of women and girls worldwide suffer from violence; whether it is domestic violence, rape, dowry-related killing, trafficking, sexual violence, or other forms of abuse. Violence against women is a gross violation of human rights, and a threat to global peace, security, and development. In Sudan, high levels of poverty and rampant gender-based discrimination have resulted in the systematic violation of women’s rights.

The most vulnerable people in our society are we—the women. We are repeatedly oppressed by a State that refuses to advance legislation that protects our rights, and criminalizes acts done against us, such as FGM. The laws of Sudan are designed to oppress women, deprive us of our own free will, and punish us. For example, the Criminal Law of 1991 makes legal the punishment of women for adultery, improper dress code, abortion, changing religion, and gathering with an unrelated male companion. These are only examples of written laws—there are many more unwritten practices that strongly violate and abuse women’s rights. Having said that, Young women in Sudan are continuously threatened for choosing to speak out in favour of their most basic human rights, and for acting in support of the elimination of sexual violence.

One thing I have learnt from being a ‘Women Human Rights Defender’ is that the entire world, all countries, are connected as a Global Village. All of the challenges we face are shared, and this offers us a very unique opportunity for advocacy. And for that, young women and men need to understand the importance of working in international advocacy to realize that the world is a small place, and human rights are important no matter how big or small. The violations against human rights and women’s rights that we are combatting in Sudan is not only a Sudanese issue, but an international concern. We are not alone in our campaign to combat these violations—we are supported internationally in our struggle for justice and equality.  We are standing shoulder to shoulder with supporters from around the world.

Moreover, Youth groups need to put pressure on Sudan to respect women and girls rights. Pressure can be in the form of campaigns, or it can come from governments, or the international community. People from all over the world need to come together to push for change and reformation of all laws in Sudan that violate human rights, and women’s rights. I also believe that, CSOs need to mainly focus on mobilizing and empowering women and young women’s groups in particular in order to influence policy and overcome structural, political and legal obstacles to the advancement of their rights.

I urge Young Sudanese women and men to continue to advocate for reform to rape laws, and to Sudan’s Revised Penal Code, which is being used as the basis to justify the sentencing of women to cruel forms of punishments such as stoning. They also need to continue to advocate for campaigns to stop the practice of child marriage, and the reform of Sudan’s restrictive dress code laws, which force women and girls to live in fear of being arrested for what they wear. However, progress to the advancement of women’s rights continues to be challenged.

Young women and men have to stand for themselves, and all youth of Sudan, to end injustice and inequality. We must urge for all members of civil society to be able to practice their activism without hindrance or harassment by our government. We must make sure all donors and non-governmental organizations do not fund any government run programs in Sudan without first seeing an improvement in policies related to human rights, women’s rights, and gender equality. With pressure, the government regime will back down from its continuing abuse of citizens, especially women and young girls.

The common narrative of violence and intimidation against Sudanese women and girls must end. Now more than ever, Sudan needs youth leadership and participation to end Gender Based Violence. As Youth Ambassador for Sudan on Sexual Violence in Conflict, I will continue to advocate for women’s rights, and engage young men and women in the battle to end sexual violence, giving youth the tools necessary to speak up and speak out against this scourge. Through non-violent activism, young people in Sudan can challenge the perpetration of human rights abuses, and sow the seeds for sustainable peace. My hope is not only for CSOs that has been shut down by the government like Salmmah Women’s Resource Center to re-open, but for a radical change and transformation of laws in Sudan to advance women’s rights, and an abuse-free society.

I pray that young men and women, in Sudan and around the world, will stand in solidarity with one another as we demand justice and fight for the equality of all citizens.

Maha Babeker

UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Office

Youth to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

Maha is an activist working to promote women’s rights in Sudan. Her skills vary from creating artwork to support campaigns for women's rights in Sudan to more recently participating in critically acclaimed plays ‘Seven’ in Ottawa to inspire and empower women. Currently, Maha coordinates the Youth Program at the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic. Maha began her career in 2010 at the Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre, which is one of the oldest women’s rights organizations in Sudan. In December 2014 Maha was appointed the Youth Ambassador for Sudan on Sexual Violence in Conflict. In 2015 She co-hosted a weekly talk show that focused on women’s voices, opinions and experiences. In March 2016, she was one of the speakers at the World Muse Conference in the US to inspire women to create positive social change.