Welcome to the new ICAI new website, launched today!

Welcome to the new ICAI website, launched today!  This new site is designed to provide an engaging platform for member ICAs and ICA colleagues to communicate with each other and with the wider world. We hope that you will like it, and and that you will use it and share it!

Everything that you used to find on the ICAI site is still available somewhere, including online archives of our Winds & Waves magazine and monthly news bulletin the Global Buzz.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, feel free to contact us to ask. Read on for an overview of some of what you can already find here, some of what is coming and some of what will be possible for the future.

On the Home page you will find the latest tweets and news updatates from ICAI and our members around the world, plus featured news posts and publications, and menus and a search function to help you to navigate the site.  You can also opt to have Google auto-translate the entire site into another language of your choice.  We may want to add a calendar here, for ICAI and members to publicise their events.

The news posts you will find already here are mostly drawn from recent issues of our current monthly bulletin the Global Buzz.  The new site will enable member ICAs to log in and post their news updates and photos directly, whenever they have news to share, and a monthly digest will then be emailed to Global Buzz subscribers.  There will be a role to play for volunteer editors to support members to do this, at least at first, and to monitor members’ own websites and social media posts for news and stories to re-publish here – so if you might be interested in such a role, please contact us.

About us is substantially updated to reflect how ICAI now operates since we introduced our present peer to peer approach in 2010.  Still to come soon are individual profiles for each Board member to complete and maintain, that will be linked to Our global Board and to Contact us.  I hope we will also add a members’ section here, to share internal ICA policy, governance and other documents with members only.

ICA Worldwide provides a platform for member ICAs to share and update their profiles, to connect with each other and enable others to connect with them.  At present it includes just a very limited profile of each member, drawn from their response to ICAI’s recent global membership survey (and in some cases from their own websites), and email contacts only for their ICAI representatives on our global email list. Over the coming weeks and months, ICAI Board members will be supporting members to log in to complete and update their profiles themselves by completing a simple form.  In future, members will be asked to update their profile at least annually, as they complete and update the annual membership survey in the same way.  Members will also be able to create additional pages and sub-pages (in whatever language they choose), in order to use their profile as a mini website of their own if they wish. I hope that we will be arrange also for members’ own news updates to appear on their own profile pages.

Conferences at present includes just a brief overview of the quadrennial Global Conference on Human Development that has ICAI has convened since 1984, and of the most recent hosted by ICA Nepal in 2012.  Our new 2016 Global Conference committee will be able to create and maintain additional pages here for our next conference.

Publications includes links to our archives of Winds & Waves magazine, the Global Buzz, and our pre-2010 newsletter Network Exchange, plus the 2012 book of ICA Nepal Changing Lives Changing Societies and the new 2015 ICA Handbook of Terry Bergdall od ICA USA.  Future issues of Winds & Waves magazine and other ICAI publications will be posted here, and ICAs will be encouraged and supported to post their own publications here as well.

ToP Facilitation includes an overview of ICA’s Technology of Participation facilitation methods, training and CTF certification, copied over from the ToP pages of the previous site, and links to ICA ToP training providers around the world.  Our new Global ToP Policy Working Group will be able to use these pages, and new pages here as needed, to communicate the new ICA global ToP policy that was adopted by GA in July and to support its implementation by members.  I hope we will also be able to add a twitter feed from @ToPfacilitation to this section, as we have from @ICAI on the Home page.

We are grateful to Robert Liverpool for sharing his WordPress skills and considerable volunteer time to build this site for us.  Now it is up to us to use it, make it our own and make it work for us!

We welcome your feedback or suggestions for the website, and any other queries. Most of all, we will welcome your commitment to co-create the site with us by entering and updating your own profiles, news posts and publications, and by reading, sharing and engaging with what you find here.  Please do share comments on the site, or contact us directly.

ICA International Board update, August 2015

ICAI Global Buzz, June 2015
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, August 2015.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs is a global community of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. The ICAI network comprises member organisations and related groups in over 40 countries.  The role of ICA International is to facilitate peer-to-peer interchange, learning and mutual support across the network, for greater and deeper impact. ICA International maintains consultative status with UN ECOSOC, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO & FAO.


The main event for the ICAI Board last month was the July General Assembly. Final preparations were concluded at the online Board meeting of July 8. An online GA meeting in Adobe Connect was repeated twice for two time zones on July 21, and attended by 20 representatives of 13 member ICAs. Finally, an asynchronous online poll was held by surveymonkey over 10 days to July 31, to confirm and symbolise the consensus of the General Assembly.  Nineteen representatives of 25 statutory members cast their ICAs’ votes in the poll.

GA screenshotFour resolutions were passed by the General Assembly:

  • the 2015-16 ICAI Strategic Directions developed by the May Board meeting in Tanzania were approved
  • three new nominations for non-voting Associate membership were approved – welcome to ICAI to ORP of Korea, EPDI of Nigeria and SNCF of Uganda!
  • a recommendation of the ICAI Global Conference working group was accepted, to seek to work in partnership with Initiaitives of Change to convene a global conference next year at IofC’s centre at Caux, Switzerland
  • a new global policy on ICA’s Technology of Participation was adopted, following 18 months of collaborative development and consultation among ICAs worldwide, led by the global ToP policy working group.

The online meetings provided a final opportunity to discuss these resolutions before the online poll. They also provided an opportunity for the Board and our volunteer web developer Robert Liverpool to share the new draft ICAI website that is under development in WordPress.  We are now testing and populating the website with content with a view to launching it publicly later in the year.

wordpress screenshot

ICA International Board update, June 2015

ICAI Global Buzz, June 2015
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, June 2015. This month’s issue includes updates from ICAs in Cote D’Ivoire, India, Japan, Nepal, Spain, Taiwan & USA.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs is a global community of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. The ICAI network comprises member organisations and related groups in over 40 countries.  The role of ICA International is to facilitate peer-to-peer interchange, learning and mutual support across the network, for greater and deeper impact. ICA International maintains consultative status with UN ECOSOC, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO & FAO.


Raising our ambition – a face-to-face meeting of the virtual ICAI BoardLast month provided a rare and invaluable opportunity for the largely virtual Board of ICA International to meet face-to-face, in conjunction with the East & Southern Africa ICA regional gathering held near Arusha in Tanzania – see my review of the Board meeting Raising our ambition – a face-to-face meeting of the virtual ICAI Board, and please SAVE THE DATE for the 21 July ICAI General Assembly (online sessions 10am & 2pm London time).

Four Board members stayed on for the regional gathering, which will be reported separately.  A WhatsApp group has since been established for the region, to enable participants and others to share reflections and photos and to stay in touch and to facilitate peer-to-peer support and collaboration.

The following week I travelled to Moscow to deliver ToP Group Facilitation Methods and Action Planning training with Victoria & Segey Bekhtereva of Rules Play, who are working to promote ToP facilitation and ICA in Russia.  I was pleased to be able to meet also one evening with them and another 8 or so Russian ToP facilitators, to hear more of their interests and aspirations for ToP and ICA in Russia, including making ToP training and Certified ToP Facilitator certification available in Russia.  We also spoke of how they might make best advantage of Bill Staples’ planned trip to Moscow from Canada in October.

While in Moscow I spoke with Sabah Khalifa of ICA MENA in Egypt, and confirmed plans to visit them from June 13-17, after my next client trip to Beirut.  ICA MENA is now delivering a programme of community and youth development in four governorates of Upper Egypt, in partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs, and curently has around a dozen staff plus volunteers in offices in Bayad El Arab (Beni Suef), Fayoum and Cairo – many of whom were already on the staff when I myself worked with ICA MENA from 1989-95.  So I am looking forward to revisiting Bayad and Beni Suef and meeting old friends and colleagues, as well as catching up with recent developments – I last visited over 10 years ago. I am also looking forward to supporting ICA MENA however I can in its current 5-year strategic planning, and in taking advantage of possibilities for peer-to-peer collaboration and support with other ICAs.

Raising our ambition – a face-to-face meeting of the virtual ICAI Board

#ICAIBoard, May 2015 on Storify

Last week provided a rare and invaluable opportunity for the largely virtual Board of ICA International to meet face-to-face, in conjunction with the East & Southern Africa ICA regional gathering held near Arusha in Tanzania.  Click on the image above for the story of our meeting on Storify, featuring the real-time updates, photos and tweets that we shared during the week.

We travelled for up to 39 hours to be hosted in Tanzania, from Tokyo, Guatemala, Toronto, Chicago, London, Kiev and Lome. I am grateful to Charles Luoga of ICA Tanzania for hosting us and to Seva Gandhi of ICA USA for her logistical support, and to all involved for giving so generously of their time and energy, in spite of the long journeys.

We had last met face-to-face as a Board when three of us were about to begin our terms, in conjunction with the 8th ICAI Global Conference on Human Development in Kathmandu in late 2012. With the other five having just joined the Board from this year, and with some of us having never yet met each other in person, we felt it essential to make the effort to meet – notwithstanding the significant cost of time and money that would be required for what is a largely volunteer-driven network. I think that that investment will prove to be richly rewarded, and I hope our members will agree – I trust that they will be delighted that the meeting kept well within our tight budget as well!

Manyara National Park, TanzaniaWe met for four days, at a safari lodge near the Manyara National Park. On the fifth day we visited the park, and on the sixth we joined the first day of the regional gathering. That gathering continues to the end of this week, with four of us still present there.  We also were able to see something of the town of Mto Wa Mbu, and the nearby children’s home initiated and supported by ICA Tanzania.

Our aims for the meeting were to get to know each other, and to build team spirit and commitment; to broaden and deepen our shared understanding of ICA and ICAI; to agree strategy and plans for how we will work together as the ICAI Board for 2015-16; and to meet and learn about ICA Tanzania and the ICAs of the region. We also aimed to engage with the global ICA network remotely as we worked during the week, including by meeting virtually with our global communications teams and volunteer web developer to plan for implementation of the new ICAI website that we are developing.

Lisseth Lorenzo of ICA Guatemala in ContradictionsWe applied ICA’s ToP Participatory Strategic Planning process and the four levels of ORID to structure the week, and we shared the facilitation of the sessions. Day 1 was all about sharing Objective level data. We used the Historical Scan method to plot a shared history of ICA and ICAI, and then we reviewed the ‘State of the World’ of our membership by continent, our global governance and finances, and then the global ICA mission & values and the ICAI vision and ‘peer-to-peer’ approach articulated by the ICAI General Assembly in 2010.

Seva Gandhi of ICA USA leads Strategic DirectionsThe following three days were focused on articulating the Contradictions to that Vision (Reflective level) and developing Strategic Directions (Interpretive level) and Implementation plans (Decisional level) by which to address them. We confirmed our Board roles and reviewed our Board role descriptions as a prelude to implementation planning.

A highlight for me was the storytelling icebreaker that we invented at the start of the meeting, and returned to again and again – one of us would pose any question about ourselves or our involvement with ICA, and we would each answer it in turn. That turned out to be a simple but rich and insightful way to get to know each other.

It helped our process enormously that we used our own ICA methods, with which we were all quite familiar. Notwithstanding all that we found that we have in common, I was struck again and again by how differently we all think – that ‘human factor’ of culture at play!  That brought home to me just how valuable is face-to-face time together, especially for a largely virtual team.  I find it hard to imagine that we might otherwise ever have understood each other sufficiently to become effective as a Board or as a team in our 2 years together, let alone to raise our ambition for our service to the membership as we did.

ICAI global communications virtual meetingAs a largely virtual Board, and the leadership of a largely virtual global community, it was instructive also for us to experience the frustrations of slow internet access with which our African colleages have to contend so often when they join us in an online meeting.  We did eventually manage to connect virtually with our web developer and global communications team, and were very excited to see our draft new website taking form. We also managed to share some social media updates with the wider network during the week – but we quickly learned that if we all went online at once, when we returned to within wifi range at mealtimes, then we would all end up frustrated.

We were grateful for the virtual support and encouragement that we recieved from remote friends and colleagues, and appreciated every ‘like’ and comment.  I also enjoyed connecting on twitter with colleagues meeting at the same time at the IAF North America 2015 conference in Canada, sponsored by ICA USA, the ToP Network and ICA Asssociates. (I like to think that our photos of elephants and giraffes trumped theirs of elk and grizzly bears)

The subsequent regional gathering was attended by 17 Directors and staff of ICAs and partner organisations from across the region.  It began with a World Cafe conversation to get to know each other and our interests and asprations for the gathering, and then brief presentations from each of the organisations represented. The rest of the week was to be largely Open Space, ‘Sharing Approaches that Work’, followed by one day of strategic planning for the region.  I very much appreciated the opportunity to get to know some that I did not and to renew my acquaintance with others.  It seemed to me that the interchange within the region, and between it and the other regions represented by ICAI Board members, was very valuable.

ICA IAF collaboration with John CornwellI was also delighted that IAF Africa Director John Cornwell (also an ICA:UK Associate and for many years an ICA colleague in Africa) was there to lead a conversation on the potential for greater collaboration between IAF and ICA, at the local and the global levels, and to learn that the IAF Board is very supportive of that as I am myself.

I returned home energised and enthused myself, and excited by the prospects of a newly energised and enthused ICAI Board. Since January the Board is also enlarged from 7 to 8 members, with the very large Europe & Africa region now reallocated among three Vice Presidents (Europe MENA, East & Southern Africa and West & Central Africa respectively), and I think that too will be enormously helpful. I am encouraged by the increasing numbers of ICA partners and related organisations expressing an interest in joining ICAI as Associate members – including last week in East Africa, and also in Russia where I will be delivering ToP facilitation training next week.  I am looking forward to a growing and  strengthening global network, sharing ICA’s values, and supporting each other through peer-to-peer collaboration in our shared mission of ‘advancing human development worldwide’.

Full documentation of the meeting will be included in a new business plan to be finalised at our online Board meeting June, for approval at our online General Assembly on July 21.  In the meantime, join me in celebrating our new Strategic Directions!  In 2015-16 we will be…

ICAI Board 2015-16 strategic directions

To connect and to get involved, please like ICAI on facebook or follow ICAI on twitter!

ICA International Board update, March 2015

ICAI Global Buzz, Sseptember 2014
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, March 2015.This month’s issue includes updates from ICAs in Australia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Germany, UK & USA.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs is a global community of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. The ICAI network comprises member organisations and related groups in over 40 countries.  The role of ICA International is to facilitate peer-to-peer interchange, learning and mutual support across the network, for greater and deeper impact. ICA International maintains consultative status with UN ECOSOC, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO & FAO.


At the February meeting of the ICAI Board, with all members in attendance, we agreed updates to the ICAI business planning framework for 2015-16 and a process for us to plan our work together in more detail.  We also discussed options for a face-to-face Board meeting for in-depth induction and planning for the new Board, having had five new members join three continuing members since January, and we agreed interim Board roles (subject to confirmation and elaboration when we meet face to face).

We agreed dates in May to reserve for a face-to-face meeting, and we agreed to research the relative costs and explore the potential benefits of meeting in Chicago, Kiev or Tanzania.  These were the three locations identified as most likely to offer the best value for money, as a result of flight routes and costs and opportunities for meeting and learning with member ICAs in those locations.  A regional meeting of East African ICAs is planned for May in Tanzania.

We have since begun drafting our own individual workplans for discussion at our March meeting, on the basis of the roles agreed as follows:

  • President – Martin Gilbraith, ICA:UK
  • Secretary – Staci Kentish, ICA Canada
  • Treasurer – Seva Gandhi, ICA USA
  • Vice-President (Americas) – Lisseth Lorenzo, ICA Guatemala
  • Vice-President (Europe & MENA) – Svitlana Salamatova, ICA Ukraine
  • Vice-President (West & Central Africa) – Yawo Gator Adufu,ICA Togo
  • Vice-President (East & Southern Africa) – Charles Luoga, ICA Tanzania
  • Vice-President (Asia Pacific) – Shizuyo Sato, ICA Japan
  • Vice-President (Communications) -– Seva Gandhi, ICA USA & Svitlana Salamatova, ICA Ukraine

The ICAI Global ToP policy working group met again in February to consider how to prepare for a General Assembly vote on the topic in 2015, and the ICAI Global Conferencing working group is due to reconvene shortly in March to continue its work toward preapring a programme and budget for global conferencing in 2016 for GA approval.  The Asia region continued its monthly meetings by google hangout, and decided to convene a face-to-face regional meeting in India in December.  Associate membership applications are underway and/or expected from ICA partner organisations in Nigeria, Russia, Korea and the Philippines.

Plans developed last year to rebuild and redesign the ICAI website in WordPress, for easy updating and posting by multiple users, are being revisited after a suitable volunteer has evenually come forward as a result of a vacancy posted on a recruitment site last year.  We are now in discussion with the UK-based developer and looking forward to working with him and our global communications team to develop the new site in such a way as to best support their work and the needs and aspirations of members.

ICA International Board update, January 2015

ICAI Global Buzz, Sseptember 2014
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, January 2015.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs is a global community of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. The ICAI network comprises member organisations and related groups in over 40 countries.  The role of ICA International is to facilitate peer-to-peer interchange, learning and mutual support across the network, for greater and deeper impact. ICA International maintains consultative status with UN ECOSOC, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO & FAO.


In December we held two online General Assembly (GA) meetings in Adobe Connect on December 12 (early & late for different time zones), and we conducted asynchronous voting on GA resolutions by Surveymonkey poll between December 12-22.  Full reports were circulated to members before Christmas.

The aims of the ICAI General Assembly, currently held twice per year in June & December, are:

  • to take ICAI membership decisions, including approval of Associate & Statutory memberships
  • to take ICAI strategy & policy decisions, to direct the work of the Board and to guide & support the peer-to-peer collaboration among ICAs
  • to elect the ICAI Board and hold it accountable to the membership, including by receipt of an annual finance report.

A total of sixteen member ICAs were represented by 24 participants at the two online meetings, and 23 of 24 statutory member ICAs participated in the asynchoronous voting.  We are grateful to all who participated.

A full 2013 Financial Statement was presented to the membership, along with summary financial report and Board report for 2014, and a budget for 2015-16 was approved. Two new Associate members were approved for membership, and five new Board members were elected, succeeding four retiring members and bringing the total to eight. The ICAI working group on global conference was extended to work with six potential hosts to recommend a programme and budget for ICAI global conferencing to the GA in June 2015. A revised draft global ToP (Technology of Participation) policy, incorporating feedback from global consultation, was presented by the ICAI global ToP working group for discussion with a view to bringing the policy to a GA vote in the new year.

I take this opportunity now to congratulate, thank and welcome our five new members joining the Board from 1 January – Shizuyo Sato of ICA Japan (a former Board member and President of ICAI), Svetlana Salamatova of ICA Ukraine, Lisseth Lorenzo of ICA Guatmala, Adufu Yawo Gator of ICA Togo and Charles Luoga of ICA Tanzania.  Also I offer warmest thanks on behalf of all the Board and members for the service of our outgoing Board members – Isabel De La Maza of ICA Chile, Shankar Jadhav of ICA India, Gerald Gomani of ICA Zimbabwe and Krishna Shrestha of ICA Australia.  And of course many thanks to my two fellow continuing Board members, Seva Gandhi of ICA USA and Staci Kentish of ICA Canada. At our January meeting this week, the new Board will be joined by outgoing Board members to reflect and learn from the experience of 2013-14 as a prelude to induction, teambuilding and planning for 2015-16.

I am also delighted to welcome now our two new Associate members the Development Institute of Ghana (nominated by ICA Ghana, ICA Zimbabwe & ICA:UK) and Emerging Ecology of USA (nominated by ICA USA, ICA India, ICA Nepal).  Find them now, and all of our worldwide community, on our online Global Network map.

ICA International Board update, November 2014

ICAI Global Buzz, Sseptember 2014
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, November 2014.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs is a global community of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. The ICAI network comprises member organisations and related groups in over 40 countries.  The role of ICA International is to facilitate peer-to-peer interchange, learning and mutual support across the network, for greater and deeper impact. ICA International maintains consultative status with UN ECOSOC, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO & FAO.


In October the Board has been beginning to prepare for the upcoming General Assembly (GA) on December 12.  We have been supporting the ICAI working group on Global Conferencing to solicit and review expressions of interest from ICAs to host an ICAI global conference in 2016, for discussion and vote at the GA.  We have been supporting the ICAI working group on global Technology of Participation (ToP) policy to continue to consult with members and others to produce a final draft policy for discussion and vote at the GA.  We have been supporting the Board nominations & elections committee to receive nominations and speak with candidates in order to finalise a slate for GA election to four Board positions becoming vacant from January.  We have received a complete set of nomination papers for a prospective new Associate member in Ghana, and have been liaising with other prospective candidates for Associate membership from the USA, Korea and the Philippines.

Also the Board in October awarded small sums of financial support to ICAI members ICA Ukraine and to Bospo for their delegates to attend the ICA European interchange to be hosted by ICA Spain in November, and for members of the ICAI Winds & Waves team, the ICA Asia Pacific region and others to be trained in virtual facilitation using Adobe Connect in order to support peer-to-peer communication and collaboration among ICAs.  We supported the Asia Pacific region in an online meeting on the topic of community development. The Winds & Waves team has been receiving contributions and preparing for its next issue of the magazine.