ICAI General Assembly facilitates global connectedness and collaboration

This article was written for ICAI Winds and Waves, August 2014 issue.

ICAI global networkThe ICAI General Assembly is the governing body of ICA International, a global network of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide.  It comprises representatives of ICA locations in over 40 countries, including at present 22 voting (statutory) member organisations – see our global network (above).  Recently the General Assembly has met online once a year, most recently in December 2013 (see ICAI online regional gatherings and General Assembly), and previously face-to-face every other year. This year we have begun to meet more often, to reflect a growing appetite and a growing technical capacity for online connectedness and collaboration among ICAs globally. We have also introduced some new innovations in how we meet, in order to be more inclusive of our entire network.

Twelve ICAs were represented by 22 participants in the latest 26 June online General Assembly meeting, and 18 of the 22 statutory ICAs participated in the online voting on the three resolutions. The three resolutions were all approved without opposition.

The first resolution was to approve criteria to direct the ICAI Board in disbursing funds drawn from members’ dues to provide financial support for regional meetings and other member initiatives for peer-to-peer support and collaboration among the global network. Already the Board has approved support for Spanish language training in online ToP facilitation for 20 staff and volunteers of several Latin American ICAs and ICA Spain. The Board is now inviting member ICAs to submit brief proposals for support for other new initiatives.

The second resolution was to clarify criteria for non-voting (associate) membership of ICAI. This is to enable and encourage organisations and groups who share ICA’s mission and values to formally join the ICAI global community, and so to join existing members in peer-to-peer support and collaboration at the global level. Associate members must be a registered organisation in their country or a constituted group with at least five members, and they must operate out of values in alignment with ICA’s and participate in peer-to-peer support and collaboration for the international work of ICA. The Board is now inviting new nominations for associate membership, from existing members or from prospective new associate members themselves.

The third resolution was for the Board to appoint an ICAI working group on global conferences. The last (8th) quadrennial ICAI Global Conference on Human Development was held in Nepal in 2012 – see ICAI Revisited and ‘Growing a New Sense of Leadership’ in Nepal. The new working group is to support, receive and review proposals from ICAs to host an ICAI Global Conference or conferences in 2016, and to consult with the global network in order to submit a 2016 Global Conference proposal for approval at the December 2014 General Assembly. The group is to comprise around 6-9 people representing all continents, diverse in terms of language, age and gender, and with considerable first-hand experience of managing previous ICAI Global Conferences and other similar events.  The Board is now inviting nominations for individuals to join the group and begin its work.

Two additional items were included for discussion in the agenda of the General Assembly meeting. The ICAI working group on global ToP facilitation (Technology of Participation) policy, convened following a decision of the General Assembly last December, presented its working draft for feedback and invited suggestions for wider consultation to further build global consensus during coming months.  Members of the ICA USA Living Archives team presented plans for an online Global Research Assembly in September, and invited feedback to help to ensure that the Assembly and the online collections that are in development will be as relevant and accessible as possible to ICAs worldwide.

The General Assembly meeting was held twice, at 10am & 5pm UK time for different time zones, and global times were announced using www.timeanddate.com. The meetings were held using the ToP Adobe Connect platform, a powerful tool with which ICAI members are increasingly familiar and adept. This allowed multiples layouts for sharing of video and various documents, with participation by voice, text chat and polling. A poll within the meeting was used to prioritise agenda items for discussion time.

Voting was conducted this time by asynchronous online poll on surveymonkey over 10 days following the meeting, in order to maximise the participation of all voting members. Surveymonkey was also used in advance of the meeting, in addition to email, to consult and build consensus among those who might not be able to participate otherwise.  In a survey on global conferencing in advance of the meeting, 44 responses were received from 31 ICA locations worldwide.

For further details of the ICAI General Assembly and any of the issues addressed, please contact me or another ICAI Board member.

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