Some reflections on my four years as ICAI President

strategic directions

Happy New Year! It is 4 years since my first New Year’s message as ICAI President in the Global Buzz and my term is now complete and I have handed over to my very capable successor Lisseth Lorenzo. I am looking forward to continuing my involvement with ICAI this year as webmaster, looking after the ICAI website and social media. In the meantime, further to my final column in the November issue of Winds & Waves magazine Looking Back & Forward, I would like to share a few reflections on my term as President – some of our achievements that I am proud of, and some of my own hopes for ICAI’s future.

Most of all I am proud that we have succeeded, I think, in raising our ambition as a Board and as a global community, and I hope that that will continue.  That was my aim in convening a face-to-face meeting of our virtual Board in May 2015, at which we articulated the three Strategic Directions by which I have structured my reflections.

ICAI Board 2015 in Tanzania1. Fostering global connections and & collaboration to support ICAs to thrive

I am proud that our global network has experienced a resurgence in numbers, with now 24 current statutory members and no less than 9 new Associate members welcomed by the General Assembly since 2012. I hope that ICAI will continue to attract increasing involvement and commitment of all ICAs, partners and others that share our mission and values.

I am proud that all five of our regions worldwide have now established a pattern of meeting annually face-to-face, and some regularly online as well, and that these regional gatherings are increasingly including more ICAs and ICA colleagues and supporting greater connectedness and collaboration.  I hope that this will continue, and that it will extend to enable also face-to-face capacity building between regions and by means of a new ICAI Global Conference on Human Development.

I am proud that members have connected and collaborated substantially by means of several new ICAI global working groups since 2012, in addition to the pre-existing global Publications team and the global Board nominations committee. New groups have worked on global policy for ICA’s Technology of Participation facilitation methodology, on options for the next ICAI Global Conference and on collaboration with the International Association of Facilitators, and in participating in UN processes by means of ICAI’s UN consultative status. I hope that these and other global working groups will continue to encourage and support such ‘peer-to-peer’ support and collaboration among ICAs and between ICAs and new global partners.

I am proud that the new ICAI website launched in 2015 provides a versatile and engaging platform for member ICAs and ICA colleagues to communicate with each other and with the wider world.  I hope that more and more ICAs and ICA colleagues will find it worth their while to make use of it and its integrated social media, and that I will have more time as webmaster than I did as President to support them to do so – and to further develop it to better meet their needs. I hope that better integrating Winds & Waves magazine and our monthly bulletin the Global Buzz with our website and social media will enable and encourage more contributions and more readers, and greater connectedness and collaboration as a result, and that I will be able to support that as webmaster.

2. Boosting ICAI resilience and safeguarding the integrity of our global community

I am proud that we have clarified and refined criteria and procedures for ICAI membership since 2012, for both statutory and associate membership, and established a global membership survey by which members may hold themselves accountable to each other against those criteria.  I hope that that survey may be repeated annually by means of the online forms integrated with the new website, and that roles and curriculum or other materials will also be developed by which ICAs may better support each other and new members in meeting the criteria and demonstrating to each other that they do so.

I am proud that our global Board has developed effective teamwork and governance practices, notwithstanding the challenges of working as a diverse virtual team on a minimal budget. These include renewed Bylaws, monthly online Board meetings & bi-annual online General Assemblies, and responsible financial management including financial support for member initiatives.  I hope that the new Board will meet face-to-face early in 2017 to re-establish itself as a new team, and to develop a new strategy and business plan by which we all might continue to raise our ambitions further.  I hope that members will approve and contribute generously to a new ICAI budget that allows for that meeting, and for additional financial support for member initiatives including face-to-face capacity building and global strategy development.

3. Recognising & leveraging ICA wisdom and nurturing new leadership

I am proud that ICAI has been able to use its communication channels to share and amplify members’ approaches, achievements & learnings, and that these plus our global working groups, online and regional gatherings are indeed helping to nurture our collective global wisdom and new leadership.  I hope that members will collaborate globally to develop and apply a new global curriculum and materials by which to better share and leverage both historic and new ICA wisdom & leadership globally.

I am proud to have served as President these past four years, and to be able to leave such a strong and capable Board with strong and capable new leadership.  I am grateful to all my colleagues on the Board and in our wider membership, for all their support and participation in our collective efforts to ‘advance human development worldwide’.

I can be contacted now at webmaster@ica-international.org and via www.martingilbraith.com. Emails addressed to president@ica-international.org are now received by Lisseth.


This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, January 2017.

ICAI General Assembly welcomes new Associate member in India

HCDI CFCDP
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, July 2016.

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.


Twenty-two representatives of 14 member ICAs of our global network participated in two online General Assembly meetings on June 23, and 17 of 22 current statutory member ICAs voted in the online GA poll over the following 10 days to 3 July.  Thank you to all who participated!

As a result of the GA, we are pleased to welcome another new Associate member to ICAI, nominated by ICA Japan with the support of ICA IndiaICA Bangladesh and the Asia Pacific region and approved unanimously by the GA – Holistic Child Development India (HCDI) is a long-term partner of ICA Japan in Bihar.

During the GA meetings we heard updates from ICAI and from the regions, and from those members present. We deliberated on recommendations of the ICAI Global ToP (Technology of Participation) policy working group – to establish internationally recognized ToP trainer competencies and criteria, to build ToP trainer training capacity globally, to develop global ToP resource repositories and to set up a global ToP co-ordination structure. We also deliberated on options for a next ICAI Global Conference, and we heard of strengthening relations between ICA and Initiatives of Change as a potential conference partner, particularly in Asia and in Europe.

The Board consulted with members on options for the 2017  ICAI budget, and on plans for ICAI Board elections at the next GA in October. Nominations to join the Board elections & nominations committee are now invited from members.

Happy New Year from the ICAI Board

Global-Buzz-banner-1000x667-641x427Happy New Year from the ICAI Board to all ICAI members, and to all ICA friends and colleagues worldwide.  We are grateful for all your support for ICA’s global mission of advancing human development in 2015, and wish you the best for all of your activities in 2016.

Fourteen representatives of 10 member ICAs participated in two online ICAI General Assembly (GA) meetings on December 10, and seven of 10 current statutory member ICAs voted in the online GA poll over the following 10 days to December 20.  Thank you to all who participated.

As a result of the GA we are pleased to welcome two new Associate members to ICAI, both nominated by ICA Kenya with the support of ICA Tanzania and ICA Uganda, and both approved unanimously by the GA – NCOC Kenya (Nairobi Community Organisation Consultants) and SCR Kenya (Support for Community Response) are both led by long-time colleagues of ICA in Kenya.

During the GA meetings we heard updates from the ICAI Global ToP (Technology of Participation) policy working group and the ICAI Global Conference working group, and also discussed global communications and peer-to-peer support for new members of ICAI.

We are grateful to the 28 ICAs who have already responded to our recent global survey on members’ usage of, capacity for and aspirations for ToP facilitation methods, and to the Global ToP working group that is now analysing the responses in order to make recommendations for peer-to-peer support and collaboration among ICAs in implementing our new global ToP policy.  We urge members that have not yet responded to continue to do so – please contact us to ask for a link to the online survey form.

We are also grateful to the ICAI Global Conference working group for its work with Initiatives of Change (IofC) exploring possibilities for a joint conference in Human Development at IofC Caux in Switzerland or elsewhere, now perhaps in 2017 or 2018.

The December issue of ICAI’s Winds & Waves magazine ‘Climate Change‘ was published on the 25th, as a Christmas gift!  We are grateful as ever to the tireless editorial team, who work so hard to enable us to share stories and insights on human development  in this magazine three times each year.

I echo the appeal of Peter Ellins in this latest issue –please do contribute to the magazine in 2016, and please contact us if you may be interested in joining the team to support with commissioning, reporting, editing, layout and design, social media, or in any other way.


This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, January 2016

 

 

Climate Change

This article was written for ICAI Winds and Waves, December 2015 issue.W&W 1215-cover 1000x667Welcome to this December 2015 issue of Winds & Waves, the online magazine of ICA International, entitled “Climate Change”.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) was so named, when first separately incorporated in 1973, to reflect its social mission of ‘human development’. This was to restore balance to the social process by strengthening the weak cultural (meaning-giving) dynamic in society, relative to the dominant economic and allied political dynamics that provide sustenance and order.

The wider context for the social process, now as then, is the natural environment of our planet. As the environmental impacts of our still-unbalanced social process have escalated, and become more clearly understood, so ICAs have increasingly sought to broaden their global perspective to include the environmental as well as the social and the spirit dimensions of human development.  Reflecting this trend, former CEO of ICA USA Terry Bergdall describes ICA’s mission in his 2015 ICA Handbook as ‘to build a just and equitable society in harmony with Planet Earth’.

COP21: Thousands join London climate change march, November 29

This issue is published in the month that 196 parties to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference have negotiated a global agreement on the reduction of climate change at ‘COP21’ in Paris – an extraordinary achievement, and the result of an extra-ordinary process. The conference was preceded on 28-29 November by worldwide civil society actions, intended to ‘send a message to world leaders in Paris’, involving over 785,000 people and 2,300 events in over 175 countries according to 350.org.

Many have remarked on the radical transformation of our global economy, and therefore also of our politics and culture, that will be required for us to achieve even the goal of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (°C) compared to pre-industrial levels, let alone the more ambitious target of 1.5 degrees that was also agreed in Paris. This certainly represents a daunting challenge. Like every crisis, however, climate change represents an opportunity as well. To paraphrase Naomi Klein in ‘This Changes Everything’, referenced here by Richard & Maria Maguire in Australia, climate change presents the clearest and most compelling case we could wish for that such a transformation of the social process is indeed required, and in the interests of all of us, urgently. With the Paris agreement of the world’s governments now in place, both the challenge and the opportunity for civil society is clear. As our own ICA mantra has it, “These are the times” and “We are the people”.

In this issue you will find stories of how ICAs and ICA colleagues participated in those climate actions in November, and how they are responding to climate change in their work more broadly, in Australia and the USA, and in Canada, DRC & Peru. You will also find stories of how the social process has unfolded over 40 years in communities that hosted some of ICA’s original Human Development Projects of the 1970s in Chile, Guatemala, and Indonesia & Malaysia.

As usual, this issue includes stories of a variety of methods and approaches to human development around the world.  These include facilitating conciliation in Ukraine, transformational action planning in Taiwan and facilitation learning labs in Hong Kong; story telling and oral history in the USA and the Torres Strait Islands of Australia; philanthropy in India and micro-enterprise in Chile; medical support in DRC and impact assessment in Kenya; Montessori pre-school education in Sri Lanka and youth volunteering in Tajikistan; and dialogues, book studies and reflective blogging online.

You will also find book reviews on personal transformation and sexuality in India, on social transformation and gender in Nepal and on dynamic ageing in the USA; plus reflections from Venezuela on ‘swimming with the current’ and social chaos, from Japan on the evolution of leadership styles and from Ukraine on culture and organisation development.

ICA International has been delighted to be able to support a upsurge of face-to-face regional gatherings of ICAs this year, first of East & Southern Africa in Tanzania May and then (reported in this issue) of West Africa in Cote D’Ivoire in September, Europe MENA  in the Netherlands in November and Asia Pacific in India in December. We are looking forward to a regional gathering of the Americas in Peru in April, and keen to support all the regions to expand and deepen their regional and inter-regional interchange next year.

We are delighted to welcome two new Associate members to ICA International, both approved unanimously by our online General Assembly this month.  SCR Kenya and NCOC Kenya were both nominated by ICA Kenya with the support of ICA Uganda and ICA Tanzania, and both are led by long-time colleagues of ICA in Kenya.

We are grateful to the 28 ICAs who have responded recently to our global survey on members’ usage of, capacity for and aspirations for ToP (Technology of Participation) facilitation methods, and to the ICAI Global ToP working group that is analysing the responses in order to make recommendations for peer-to-peer support and collaboration among ICAs in implementing our new global ToP policy.  We urge members that have not yet responded to continue to do so – please contact us to ask for a link to the online survey form.

We are also grateful to the ICAI Global Conference working group for its work with Initiatives of Change (IofC) exploring possibilities for a joint conference in Human Development at IofC Caux in Switzerland or elsewhere, now perhaps in 2017 or 2018.

We are grateful as ever to the tireless editorial team of Winds & Waves itself, who work so hard to enable us to share these stories and insights on human development  in this magazine three times each year.  I echo the appeal of Peter Ellins in this issue – please do contribute to the magazine next year, and please contact us if you may be interested in joining the team to support with commissioning, reporting, editing, layout and design, social media, or in any other way.

Thank you finally to our contributors and our readers, and to all our members, partners and colleagues ‘advancing human development worldwide’.  I wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all who are celebrating them.

Enjoy this issue, and please share it and encourage others to do so!

ICA International Board update, October 2015

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


home page thumbnailWe are excited to have launched the new ICAI website in September. 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!

In the launch post on the website itself  you can read an overview of some of what you can already find on the site, some of what is coming and some of what will be possible for the future.  Member ICAs have been invited to complete and update their ICA Worldwide profiles by completing a simple online form, and we encourage them to do so right away and let us know of any support that they might need.

Following decisions of the General Assembly in July, nominations have been received for member representatives to serve on the new 2016 Global Conference working group and the new Global ToP policy working group. The two new global working groups are now beginning their work.

The Board were pleased that ICAI was able to provide some small financial support for the West & Central Africa regional gathering hosted by ICA Cote D’Ivoire in September.  We hope to be able to support upcoming regional gatherings of the Asia Pacific region in India and the Europe MENA region in the Netherlands in November as well.

Many member ICAs’ annual dues become payable at this time of year, and we are grateful to all those who are responding promtply to the dues reminders that ICAI Treasurer Seva Gandhi has been circulating.

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