Facilitation case study: Clinical Leadership Evaluation and Development with Manchester Primary Care Trust

This ToP facilitation case study from the archive was first written for and published in 2008 by ICA:UK.

The ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods are the focus of my upcoming Group Facilitation Methods course in Brussels, May 20-21. The ToP Historical Scan (Wall of Wonder) method features in two of my current projects, Celebrating the development of facilitation – world-wide and history long and Our ETF, a Journey Together. The process design and questions used were structured on the basis of the ORID model of the ToP Focused Conversation method (my ‘universal principle of facilitation‘).


Context

nhs-manchesterEffective clinical leadership is seen as central to the cultural and organisational changes expected of organisations across the health service, in the context of national reforms aimed at creating a patient-led NHS.

When ICA:UK was approached in early 2006, investments had been made in recent years in strengthening clinical leadership within the then South Manchester Primary care Trust (PCT).  These included the introduction of cluster working, and three Cluster Directors, to support extended primary care teams in multi-disciplinary and multi-agency working; and the creation of an in-house Education, Learning and Workforce Development Team, with a Practice Nurse serving as Clinical Lead.  Considerable further change was required and underway, including Agenda for Change and the merger of the three Manchester PCTs (South, North & Central).

Aims

In this context, it was felt timely to involve key stakeholders in evaluating clinical leadership within the PCT, and identifying opportunities and making plans for its further development.  ICA:UK was therefore contracted to design and facilitate a process to meet the following aims:

  1. to begin to evaluate clinical leadership across the PCT in relation to its impact on the organisation and organisational change, including the effectiveness of recent investments in clinical leadership;
  2. to identify opportunities for further development of clinical leadership, and empowering of clinical leaders, toward a culture of leadership within the PCT;
  3. to engage with and involve people in an inclusive and transparent way, that fosters a sense of ownership over the process and its outcomes.

Process

A series of tailored workshops was designed and delivered to meet these aims.  The process drew heavily on ICA’s ToP (Technology of Participation) methodology, notably the ToP Focused Conversation, Consensus Workshop, Action Planning and Historical Scan (or Wall of Wonder) methods.

A series of consecutive half-day Consultation workshops each followed a broadly similar process, but were tailored to engage with and involve three distinct stakeholder groups separately.  This approach was used in order that each group felt able to contribute frankly and without affecting each others’ contributions, and to enable triangulation of the results.  The three stakeholder groups were:

  • the clinical leaders themselves – one workshop for all 15-20 from across the PCT
  • front line clinicians without leadership roles – two workshops for approximately 30, identified by the Education, Learning and Workforce Development Team to be broadly representative of the total of 200 or so within the PCT
  • other key stakeholders with organisational responsibility for leadership – approximately 10-12 including the Education, Learning and Workforce Development Team, the three Cluster Directors and the Executive Director

Consultation workshops outline:

Arrivals & coffee/lunch
Opening & introductions, overview, ‘prouds & sorries’ & expectations
“Wall of Wonder” to map together the development of clinical leadership in SMPCT visually; to share stories & begin to discern chapters, trends, impacts, learnings, implications
Tea/Coffee break
Analysis of factors affecting clinical leadership development – what’s worked and what’s not worked, what supports & what blocks; in small groups followed brief plenary reports
Brainstorming of actions for clinical leadership development – in small groups followed brief plenary reports and prioritising by “sticky dot voting”
Reflection & close

In the event it proved impossible to bring the senior stakeholders together in person for a workshop, and so they were consulted instead by means of an email questionnaire.  The questions were tailored to generate responses compatible with those of workshop participants:

  1. In your experience, what have been 4 or 5 key events or milestones in the development of clinical leadership in SMPCT in the last 3 years? Please include dates (as best as you can).
  2. What are you particularly proud of, and sorry about, in relation to the development of clinical leadership in SMPCT?  Please list a few positives and a few negatives.  Please use examples or anecdotes to illustrate your points if you wish.
  3. In your experience and understanding, what are 4 or 5 key factors affecting clinical leadership development in the PCT?  For example – what do you think supports, and what blocks, the development of clinical leadership? 
  4. What 4 or 5 actions or changes would you recommend to support the development of clinical leadership in the PCT in the future, and address any blocks?  Feel free to suggest simple, one-off tasks or more complex, long-term projects – but please be as specific as you can.

A final half-day Review & Planning workshop was held the following week, for a representative sample of the three groups (approximately 20-30).  This workshop was designed to enable the group to reflect together on the output of the first three workshops, and agree an outline action plan for clinical leadership development within the PCT.

Review & planning workshop outline:

Arrivals & coffee
Opening & introductions, overview & expectations
Review of workshops documentation, questions of clarity; reflection & interpretation in small groups followed by brief plenary reports; writing up key actions on half-sheets, drawing on those brainstormed by means of the three Consultation workshops and email questionnaire
Tea/Coffee break
Action planning – cluster key actions by task forces, self-select into task forces to clarify & schedule actions by quarter, brief plenary reports, leadership & co-ordination
Reflection & close

Outputs & outcomes

The process used was documented in a Process Outline (June 16th 2006), and its outputs were documented in two reports, of the Consultation process (July 6th 2006) and of the Review & Planning (July 26th 2006).

A key outcome of the process was the establishment of four task forces, each comprised of 3-4 members from across the three groups, and each with its remit defined and with a first-draft work plan including quarterly milestones for the coming year and beyond. The remit of the four task-forces were:

  • Growth, Development, Training Opportunities
  • Redefinition & Clarity of Role & Responsibility & Expectations
  • Supporting Systems and Processes
  • Transparency, Communication & Access to Support

According to participants’ end-of-workshop feedback, highlights of the process included:

  • “Liked interactive style – getting up & moving around”
  • “Group interaction helped people to understand other point of view”
  • “An opportunity to speak and hopefully implement change”
  • “Feel process was moved on to something constructive”
  • “Positive actions proposed at end of session to take proposals forwards”

Follow-up process

Seven months on from the workshops, in early 2007, it was clear that the four groups had all met at least once, that their plans had progressed at least to some extent, and that at least some others had become involved.

The context of the work had changed significantly, however, with the merger of the three Manchester PCTs into one from October 2006, and with expectations of increased multi-agency working with for example Childrens’ Services & Adults’ Services, and also privatised services.  A new Associate Director of Services & Development had been appointed, whose remit was to  include clinical leadership development across the new PCT.

ICA:UK was contracted again, in early 2007, to design and facilitate a follow-up process to meet the following key aims:

  1. to engage the four task forces in reporting, and learning from, their progress together;
  2. to document their learnings in a report, including quotes, by which they may be disseminated within the new Manchester PCT
  3. to celebrate the accomplishments of the task forces and bring closure to the project, while sustaining a sense of achievement and potential for applying their learnings – at least as individuals, if not also as Manchester PCT

These aims were met by way of two related pieces of work.  An initial email questionnaire was circulated in February, to all participants and invitees of the process to date, to discern their experiences of the process and their perspectives on progress made, barriers experienced, and learnings.  A follow-up workshop was then held in March, to bring together the four task-forces and any email contributions received with the new Associate Director – to report on and celebrate progress made, to learn from experience, and to consider implications for themselves as individuals & leaders, and for the new Manchester PCT.

The email questionnaire in February comprised the following questions:

  1. As far as you know, what have been 2 or 3 key events or accomplishments that have occurred as a result of last July’s consultation and planning process?
  2. As far as you know, what have been 2 or 3 barriers or blocks that have hindered implementation of the plans made last July?
  3. What have you as an individual learned as a result of your involvement in this clinical leadership development work since last July?  How has that affected you personally, or your work?
  4. What would you identify as the one or two key lessons for the new Manchester-wide PCT to learn from this experience, relative to clinical leadership and its development?

Follow-up workshop outline:

Arrivals & coffee
Opening & introductions, overview & expectations
Evaluating progress – events & accomplishments, barriers & blocks, lessons learned; drawing both on email responses and on insight of those present
Lunch
Key learning messages for the new Manchester PCT – Consensus Workshop to weave together everyone’s insights into a single clear and concise statement
Reflection & Close

The process used was documented in a Process Outline (February 22nd 2007), and its outputs were documented in a report (April 2nd 2007).

The key output of this follow-up workshop was the output of the Consensus Workshop, a clear statement from participants of the 7-month process articulating their “key learning messages” for the new, merged Manchester PCT, from their experience of clinical leadership development:

We recommend that Manchester PCT should…

  • engage at all levels to ensure that structures, systems and behaviours are conducive to demonstrating effective leadership;
  • engage everyone in developing and communicating a shared model of effective leadership;
  • invest in the development of leadership at all levels;
  • support people in taking calculated risks within an accountability framework;
  • support clinicians to identify client needs when developing services;
  • analyse what we have, clarify what we want … and get on with it.

Impact & feedback

Gabrielle Wilson, Public Health Consultant Nurse and the client for the process, wrote:

“The participative methods adopted throughout this work encouraged clinicians, managers and senior stakeholders to engage with the process. Evaluation and feedback indicated that this inclusive and transparent approach was valued by participants, and that clinicians welcomed the opportunity to systematically identify learning messages for the new organisation.”

Christine Pearson, new Associate Director of Services & Development, wrote:

“Although not in post to be part of the initial work, I attended the follow up workshop in March. The style of engagement adopted ensured a participative approach and effective, valuable feedback that will inform future leadership development within the organisation.”

A further indication of the impact of the process may be an increased appetite within the PCT for applying the ToP approach to participation and partnership working.

A further series of Consultation workshops and a Review & Planning workshop were delivered later in 2007, on Management and Leadership Development.  This adapted the format and process developed for Clinical Leadership Evaluation and Development in South Manchester to engage with a cross-section of staff of the new Manchester PCT – to begin to develop a consensus on “a Manchester way of managing”, a core set of leadership and management competencies to deliver this style, and a few priority actions for “quick wins” over the following months.

Since then the approach has also been applied to review and planning “away days” with individual staff teams including the Joint Occupational Therapist Unit of Manchester Equipment and Adaptations Partnership (a joint service of Manchester PCT and Manchester City Council) and the Manchester PCT Interpretation Service.

EU-funded places available on ToP facilitation training next week!

Facilitative Leadership and Group Facilitation Methods for Social Cohesion and Gender Equality

Two places have become available at short notice on an EU-funded facilitation training to be held next week, December 9-14, in English & Spanish in Madrid, Spain.

The course is titled “Facilitative Leadership & Group Facilitation Methods for Social Inclusion and Gender Equality“, and is organised and delivered by ICA Spain with ICA:UK.

For full details, please download the course information and practicalities (pdf), and for enquiries and bookings please email catalina@iac-es.org or info@iac-es.org.

The course starts Monday 9th at 17.00 and finishes Saturday 14th, at 13.30. ICA Spain will be glad to cover the 750 Euros course fee. Participants are asked to cover their own accommodation, meals and travel (round trip). If interested they could discuss these expenses.

The course is designed for people responsible for facilitating multicultural and interdisciplinary groups more effectively within educational, social, political, cultural sectors; for team leaders and managers dealing with social inclusion and gender equality policy making; and for youth and community workers and social development agents responsible for implementing social cohesion and gender equality policies.

Comments from the evaluations of last year’s course include:

…. a solid and intelligent combination of professional competence and personal drive and engagement. Great attention to detail was evident from the logistical organization to the high quality of delivery.” (Participant from Switzerland).

Excellent course, excellent facilitation, truly an opportunity to learn valuable skills. Highly recommend it.” (Participant from Spain).

It was an excellent course both on providing knowledge and skills on the topic.” (Participant from Greece).

What stood out especially was the trainers’ attention to each particpants’ professional development and the strong participatory elements.” (Participant from Germany).

The approach was very successful because we had moments of theory, demonstration and practice of the new methodologies. We had the opportunity to participate in some cultural and study visits which make us connect with the contents of the course and know more about the host country.” (Participant from Portugal).

My first 416 days as a freelance facilitator

National Freelancers DayToday is National Freelancers Day here in the UK, and so a good day I think to reflect on my own first year and a bit as a freelancer.  I did think that twice before, but on my anniversary on October 1st I was too busy with client work, and during International Facilitation Week (October 21-27) I was too busy with International Facilitation Week.  At 7am this morning I was working with Orla Cronin to facilitate an online workshop for worldwide contributors to a collaborative writing process taking place in South Africa this week, ‘Exploring the Real Work of Social Change‘, but apart from that I am happy to be having a relatively quiet week. So here goes. I have even updated my profile photo to mark the occasion – a new look for a new year.

London Mayor Boris Johnson is quoted as saying in support for National Freelancers Day that “taking the plunge as a freelancer is an immense decision that in many ways can appear daunting but it’s also a choice that’s brave, ambitious, fulfilling and rewarding“. My own decision initially was to work freelance to earn an income and keep my options open for a while, while deciding what to do next after stepping down as Chief Executive of ICA:UK after 16 years. I thought of it more as a sabbatical at first than as a new career, and after delivering facilitation, training and consulting services to ICA:UK clients all those years it did not seem particularly brave or ambitious. The immense part had been deciding to step down from my previous role. It was indeed rewarding and fulfilling, however, and soon enough I had decided that this was how I wanted to continue to work.

In that sense the process has been a little like the way my career as a whole began and then continued. I took a ‘year out’ after my undergraduate degree to volunteer with ICA in India in 1986, and 27 years later I am still with ICA and serving as volunteer President of ICA International. Working freelance is enabling me to do that now, and whatever other paid or unpaid work I want to take on, with maximum flexibility and minimum administration and overheads.  What’s not to like?

In my first year as a freelancer I have had the opportunity to deliver facilitation and facilitation training contracts in Dublin, Geneva, Moscow, Ramallah, Zurich and online, as well as around the UK and even within walking distance from my home base in London. The groups I have worked with have ranged from local community-based organisations to UN-mandated international agencies, and from global corporations to small consultancies and social enterprise start-ups (see also who I work with and how I work). This diversity is a major attraction for me – always stimulating, mostly challenging and never dull.

Having worked for years as well with public sector clients in the UK, these have been notable for me by their absence this past year. Notwithstanding David Cameron’s enthusiasm for freelancers (and entrepreneurs) ‘as the engine of our economy and economic revival’, it has certainly been a good year not to be reliant on UK clients, and especially not on UK public sector clients. Many years of international involvement and Board service with my professional association the International Association of Facilitators has been very helpful there, as well as long-standing relationships with ICA colleagues worldwide. I have Brussels, Geneva and New York to look forward to in December & January, and a number of mostly European prospects in the pipeline for after that, so I am happy to say an over-reliance on UK work does not seem to be a problem as yet. I would welcome more gigs that I can walk to as well though!

On deciding to establish myself in business as a freelancer I also joined PCG: the Freelancers Association (the people behind National Freelancers Day), and have found this invaluable.  I have experience of non-profit management and governance, including registering and preparing SORP-compliant accounts for a UK charitable company, but it has been a relief to be able to learn quickly and easily the particularities of company and tax law etc. as they apply to me now as a freelancer – and to discover just how less onerous it is to establish and run a private company with one shareholder, one Director and one employee.  For someone whose stock in trade is participatory decision making, it’s nothing short of revolutionary for me that I get to decide everything by myself, without consultation, and within much lesser constraints than I am used to.  I am proud to say that Martin Gilbraith Associates Ltd is now well and truly in business, and even has its new cloud-based Crunch accounting system up to date (quote ‘mg15641m’ if you join too, and we both get free vouchers).

Throughout this past year I have particularly enjoyed and appreciated the extra time I have been able to find for professional development, reflection, reading and writing.  I am pleased to have accumulated over 40 posts and 6,000 site views on this blog, and to have read many books (and many more than each of the previous years) and attended numerous events with IAF, at the RSA and elsewhere. I still aspire to make more connection between the professional development, reflection and reading and the writing, but happy for that to be a goal.

In the meantime, I enjoyed so much the opportunity to use my Arabic again on my recent trips to Palestine that I have joined an Arabic conversation meet-up group in London. That experience has also got me wondering more about the reality and prospects for participation and facilitative leadership in the Arab world generally, almost 20 years on from my own six years with ICA Egypt and my masters research on civil society and democtratisation, and with the revolutions of the so called ‘Arab Spring’ continuing to unfold.

Thank you for following, and please feel free to share your own reflections and comments as well.


See also about mehow I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies, and please contact me about how we might work together.

Register now on Eventbrite for my free facilitation webinars, and for my regularly scheduled ToP facilitation training courses in London and Brussels.

Civil society, the promise and peril of democratization and prospects for the Arab world

Welcome to the first of what may become an occasional series, of writing ‘from the archive’. This essay was first written in 1996 for my MA in Development Adminstration and Management at Manchester University. It was published in the magazine of the Ibn Khaldoun Centre in Cairo, Civil Society (October 1996), and in the journal Representation (Volume 34, Issue 3-4, 1997).  Almost 20 years on, with so much and yet so little having changed in the Arab world and worldwide, it is ever clearer that Ibrahim was right at least about the “painfully long journey”…

Civil Society (October 1996)Introduction

“The end of 1995 and the beginning of 1996 are witnessing the promise and the peril of democratization in the Arab world.  …the Arab world is joining, albeit reluctantly, what Samuel Huntingdon calls the third wave of democracy.” (Ibrahim 1996, 4)

Although he cites important elections in Algeria, Egypt and Palestine to support his view, Ibrahim accepts that these represent only “a few steps taken on the road of a painfully long journey” (Ibrahim 1995, 4) and that the path of Arab democratization will likely be neither smooth nor fast.  This paper will argue that the prospect of  joining the third wave of democracy may in fact be considered one of the perils of the road ahead, and that realizing the full promise of democratization for the people of the region will depend crucially on the extent to which Arab civil society is able to broaden the agenda for change to embrace a more substantive conception of democracy.  With particular reference to the central role of civil society, this paper will seek to assess the prospects for substantive democratic transformation in the Arab world.

The concept of civil society will be introduced and defined in terms of its essential characteristics and an analytical framework presented by which to interpret a process of democratization in terms of the extent to which it conforms to the prevalent ‘transitional’ model of the third wave scholars, or to a broader ‘transformative’ model.  Inherent perils of the transitional model will be discussed, and the central role of civil society identified as a distinguishing feature of the transformative model.  Accounts of civil society in the Arab world will then be related to its defining characteristics and central role in transformative democratization to assess the prospects of the Arab world for realizing the full promise of its emerging democratization.

Civil society

The idea of civil society has its roots in the writings of philosophers of the eighteenth century ‘Scottish Enlightenment’, but the concept has re-entered contemporary debates with the spectacular popular uprisings against totalitarianism in Central and Eastern Europe (Walzer 1995), and to capture “the emergence of an unprecedented worldwide phenomenon – men and women, groups and individuals, getting together to do things by themselves in order to change the societies they live in” (de Oliveira & Tandon 1995, 1).

Although a variety of definitions of civil society have appeared in recent literature, encompassing some differences as to what the concept may include and exclude, there is broad consensus over its essential characteristics.  Diamond has defined it as “the realm of organized social life that is voluntary, self-generating, (largely) self-supporting, autonomous from the state, and bound by a legal order or set of shared rules” (Diamond 1994, 5).  These ‘shared rules’ he regards as the “irreducible condition” of the dimension of civility, even in the absence of an effective legal order (ibid.), a view characteristic of the broad consensus that may be termed the “modern, liberal conception of civil society” (Schwedler 1995, 6).  Going to the roots of those shared rules, Hyden’s interpretation emphasizes the place of ‘social capital’, the “normative values and beliefs that citizens share in their everyday dealings”, upon which basis acceptance of the legal order rests (Hyden forthcoming, 1).  He views civil society as “the forum in which [these values and beliefs] are nurtured and developed” (ibid.).  This paper will adopt Bratton’s concise but comprehensive definition, drawing on a range of contemporary theory:

“Civil society is defined… as a sphere of social interaction between the household and the state which is manifest in norms of community co-operation, structures of voluntary association, and networks of public communication”  (Bratton 1994, 2).

It is pertinent to ask whether it is even appropriate to apply such a historically specific and essentially Western concept outside its cultural context?  Wickham has argued that “efforts to locate civil society… reveal more about the preoccupations of  Western scholars than they do about new social configurations in the Middle East today” (Wickham 1994, 509).  Nevertheless, as Norton writes, “a categorical rejection of the idea of civil society in the Middle East is unwarranted, not least because the idea of civil society is fast becoming part of the indigenous intellectual and policy dialogues” (Norton 1993, 213).  The extent to which the idea has gained currency  in the region is described by Bellin:

“State officials in the Middle East use the term ‘civil society’ to promote their projects of mobilization and ‘modernization’; Islamists use it to angle for a greater legal share of public space; and independent activists and intellectuals use it to expand the boundaries of individual liberty” (Bellin 1994, 509).

This paper is based on the premise that, by focusing on its essential characteristics and role rather than its particular institutional manifestations, civil society remains a valid tool of analysis for the Arab world.

‘Transitional’ and ‘transformative’ models of democratization

The table below presents a framework by which to interpret a process of democratic change in terms of two theoretical poles designated here ‘transitional’ and ‘transformative’ models of democratization:

key features  ‘transitional’ democratization ‘transformative’ democratization
goal transition to, and eventual consolidation of, procedural democracy substantive democracy embracing sustainable and equitable development
arenas political multiple – political, social, economic
levels national multiple – local to global
key actors strategic elites citizens, organized in civil society
relation of civil society to state “watchful but respectful of state authority” – third sector demanding of state accountability: first sector
key challenge political institutionalization state & corporate accountability to civil society

The two models need not be considered to be in opposition to each other.  Transition may be a means to the end of transformation, and the prospect of transformation may serve as motivation for pursuing transition.  However, while a process of transformation is likely to give rise to some form of procedural democracy, a process of transition is unlikely in and of itself to result in a substantive democratic transformation.

The Promise and Peril of Democratization

According to Huntington, “the current era of democratic transitions constitutes the third wave of democratization in the history of the modern world” (Huntington 1991, 12).  Since 1972, the ‘third wave’ has seen democracies more than double in number from 44 to 107, representing more than half of all countries, and reaching every region of the world (Shin 1994, 136).  The notion of democracy has thus gained sufficient popularity among peoples and leaders worldwide to occasion triumphalist declarations in the West of the ‘end of history’, as the great competing ideologies are said to have been discredited, leaving democracy “the only model of government with any broad ideological legitimacy and appeal in the world today” (Diamond, Linz & Lipset 1989, x).

The body of literature that has emerged around this third wave may be distinguished from earlier scholarship by, inter alia, its optimism that democracy can be ‘manufactured’, and its often explicit aim to “provide advice for would-be democrats from an operational perspective” (Allison & Beschel, cited Shin 1994, 141).  Certainly, few today would reject outright the principles of democratic governance, but how and to what extent they could, or should, be operationalized generates increasing controversy.

In his review of recent theory and research on the third wave of democratization, Shin 1994, 141) reports that a ‘procedural’ or minimalist conception of democracy is generally favoured over a more ‘substantive’ or maximalist conception that stipulates socio-economic advances as defining criteria.  Diamond, Linz & Lipset further clarify that they consider democracy “a political system, separate and apart from the economic and social system to which it is joined” (Diamond, Linz & Lipset 1989, xvi).

Shin cites Karl’s explanation of this approach on the grounds that, were they not to adopt it, scholars would be “hard pressed to find ‘actual’ democratic regimes to study”, they would be unable to identify important, if incomplete, moves toward democracy in the political sphere, and they would also be unable to examine hypothesized links between different regime types and socioeconomic outcomes (Shin 1994, 141).  Methodological justifications notwithstanding, can the “social agents” seeking “theoretical tools for understanding and altering conditions of oppression” that the third wave scholars seek to advise (Shin 1994, 141) justify such a procedural focus?

White asserts that “democracy, even in a limited procedural form, is a valuable developmental end in itself, because of the rights and freedoms it attempts to guarantee [although] it is widely recognized that fledgling democracies face a number of basic constraints which limit their capacity to deal with the deep-rooted intractable developmental problems” (White 1995, 79).  Even if a procedural democracy could actually guarantee these rights, still there is a trade-off here that requires an ordering of priorities.  In fact White’s remarks reflect an all too common logical weakness and fail to address powerful arguments against universal applicability of  the procedural approach, such as those invoking cultural relativism (Blunt 1995) and ‘fundamental illiberalism’.

Those advocating a procedural democracy on explicitly instrumental grounds, however, face mounting evidence to contradict the implied causal relationships (as White has appreciated).  Shin notes that “many of the countries of the third wave of democratization are now engulfed in grave political crises because democracy is not delivering economic prosperity, honest and efficient government, protection for human rights, peace and security” (Shin 1994, 166).  Similarly, in the light of intractable social and economic problems, there is increasing public disillusionment with the democratic procedures of consolidated Western democracies.

Osaghae, in contrast, considers democracy to be “not simply about form or means; it is also about ends, which have to do with its inherent capacity to enhance development” (Osaghae 1995, 189).  Since “development is a total  and all-inclusive process whose political, economic and social aspects are concomitant and mutually reinforcing” he asks, “can any aspect of it be meaningfully studied in isolation?” (ibid., 185).  As states are ‘rolled back’ to transfer ever more decision-making power to markets, the value of a democracy defined in terms of political procedures becomes ever more ambiguous, and the need for democratic accountability to extend also to the economic sphere becomes ever clearer.

Similarly, processes of globalization bring into question the value of a democracy defined in terms of the nation state. Even in consolidated democracies, increasing regional and global connectedness of states and markets means that national governments no longer enjoy exclusive political and economic sovereignty in their own territory, and that their decisions and policies may affect the decision-making capacity of other states beyond their borders.  Moreover, democratic procedures at national level become increasingly meaningless in a context where transnational economic and political power grows ever stronger, free from democratic accountability.  As Held writes, “democracy at [regional and global] levels is an important condition for the development of democracy within national and local communities” (Held 1993, 14).

A product of the procedural approach is that democracy may be regarded as primarily a “product of strategic interactions and arrangements among political elites (Shin 1994, 139).  As Osaghae remarks, however, “by hinging the success of the entire transition process on the whims and caprices of the elite, [Diamond] unwittingly undermines the whole purpose of democratic transition” (Osaghae 1995, 191).  A democracy in which the citizens are not the key actors is surely not worthy of the name.

Conflicting interests are at stake in determining the key actors.  In the wake of the much heralded ‘triumph’ of western liberal (and capitalist) democracy over its competitors, wealthy industrialized nations and international financial institutions have felt justified to pursue a project of democratization abroad, by even coercive means ranging from aid and trade conditionality to military intervention.  Thus choices of political, economic and social organization, paths of democratization, are intimately linked to international as well as domestic power relations.  Those international and domestic elites that enjoy political and economic power tend to perceive their interests to be best served by pursuing a limited procedural and capitalist democracy.  Indeed, in the conventional economic wisdom of a zero-sum game in which actors aim to maximize a narrow conception of their individual utility, pursuing a more transformative democratization (or no democratization at all) may be irrational.  From the point of view of the politically and economically disempowered, however, and those who reject the conventional economic wisdom, such a procedural democracy may be seen to be at best irrelevant, if not actually against their interests.

With the developmental problems characterized by Korten (1990) as the three great crises of poverty, environment and social integration becoming ever more pressing, globally and in the Arab world, in spite of the rapid advances of democratic procedures worldwide, an exclusive operational focus on limited procedural democracy may be seen to be perilous indeed.

The role of civil society

Schwedler writes “Although the existence of civil society in the Middle East (or anywhere) does not mean that countries are on the verge of democratization, it does illustrate that citizens are both willing and able to play a role in shaping the state policies that govern their lives” (Schwedler 1995, 2).  As Diamond observes, however, “most transitions have been… negotiated (if not largely controlled from above by the existing authoritarians)” (Diamond 1994, 4).  Thus, civil society is regarded among third wave scholars as a facilitating, though not necessary, factor in transition to a procedural democracy.

The functions of civil society do not differ between the transitional and transformative models, but the extent to which civil society is able to effectively perform those functions will be critical in determining the path of democratization followed.  Diamond has identified ten unique democracy-building functions of civil society, and five features of the internal character and structure of civil society affecting its capacity to perform those functions (Diamond 1994, 7-11).  These functions and features may be as valid for either model of democratization, but it is among Diamond’s four caveats that his preference for the transitional may be distinguished.  He stresses that “societal autonomy can go too far…  the state itself must have sufficient autonomy, legitimacy, capacity and support” (ibid., 14); and that “civil society must be watchful but respectful of state authority” (ibid., 15).

These caveats must be understood in the context of a transitional process with the end goal of consolidated procedural democracy.  Thus, when the transition in the political arena is accomplished, the onus is on civil society to temper its claims and legitimate the new democratic regime.  In the context, however, of “the growing realization that neither the market nor the state alone can meet the challenges of equitable and sustainable development” (de Oliveira & Tandon 1995, 3), a strong and autonomous civil society must be a necessary and central condition for transformative democratization. Rather than the ‘third sector’, civil society is considered the only legitimate ‘first sector’ (Tandon 1992, 38), and  “the appropriate role of the state is to create enabling conditions for civil society to ‘manage’ the public affairs of the community” (ibid., 39).  To achieve a transformative democratization, therefore, civil society will need to make its legitimization conditional on full state and corporate accountability to civil society, and the extension of democratic transformation throughout economic and social as well as political spheres, and at all levels, local to global.  The strength and autonomy with which it performs its functions may therefore be considered primary indicators of the potential for such a democratic transformation.    

Civil Society and Democratization in the Arab world

Adopting Bratton’s definition, we may identify civil society by its essential characteristics of structures of voluntary association, networks of public communication and norms of community co-operation.

As Norton has observed, “the region is replete with voluntary organizations, trade unions, human rights groups, women’s associations, minority rights groups and various other social organizations” (cited Schwedler 1995, 10).  He notes in particular the women’s movements of Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Yemen and the Palestinians; the businessmen’s groups and professional associations of Jordan and Egypt; the diwanayat (meeting groups) of Kuwait; and the peace movement, labour unions and election-monitoring organizations of Lebanon (Norton 1993, 209).  Numbers of associations are increasing, for example Lone writes that Arab NGOs have increased from 20,000 in the 1960s to 70,000 in the 1980s (Lone 1995, 20).  According to Ibrahim, Egyptian civil society alone comprises over 22,000 organizations including 23 professional syndicates, 3,000 clubs, 4,000 co-operatives and 14,000 NGOs, having been invigorated by participation in successive international events, particularly Cairo’s 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (Ibrahim 1995, 5).

Networks of public communication within and across states are expanding in their reach and their capacity to elude state control, as new technologies such as fax, satellite television and the internet are rapidly gaining ground in the Arab world, as elsewhere.  Also, as Norton observes, “hundreds of thousands of labour migrants, moving back and forth across the region, carry powerful images of change and dissent” (Norton 1993, 206).  Although domestic radio, television and print media are still subject to extensive state interference and control, independent views are increasingly heard from growing ranks of autonomous research organizations and ‘think-tanks’.  Egypt’s Ibn Khaldoun Centre for Development Studies, for example, produces a monthly bilingual newsletter ‘Civil Society and Democratic Transformation in the Arab World’, and has been sponsoring a weekly prime time spot on national television (Khalifa 1995, 160).

Norms of community co-operation are more elusive in attempts to identify civil society in the Arab world, and raise considerable controversy over where to draw its boundary, in particular in relation to Islamist organizations.  While arguably “it is individual movements, and not Islam itself, that are the obstacles” to democracy (Schwedler 1995, 24), authors such as Ibrahim categorically exclude Islamist organizations from civil society, although they may often use its channels to pursue their goals (ibid., 12).  The question essentially is whether to include as legitimate actors within civil society all those organizations that adhere to the ‘rules of the game’, or whether to exclude those that seek to change the rules when they have gained sufficient power.  In terms of the functions of civil society, certainly Islamist organizations have been “among the most effective means of challenging government authority and responding to citizens’ needs and concerns” (Schwedler 1995, 14), as highlighted in Egypt by their uniquely swift and effective response to the 1992 earthquake.

Regardless of where the boundary of civil society is drawn, to what extent may religious or secular associations, and their relations between themselves and with the state, be considered to display the essential norms of civility?  Certainly the violence of some groups, notably in Algeria and to a much lesser extent Egypt, lies well beyond the bounds of civility.  Non-violent intolerance is also endemic, however, as illustrated in Egypt for example by the campaign against Nasr Hamed Abu-Zeid resulting in a 1995 court ruling to divorce him from his wife on the grounds of apostasy (CHRLA 1996, 19).  Even secular grassroots community development associations in Egypt have been accused of being based on “a strict hierarchy of intolerance and oppression”, reflecting a culture of deference in which it is improper (aib) to question or criticize (Rifaat 1993, 17).  As Norton observes, in the region “civil society is often undermined by a deficit in political toleration” (Norton 1995, 33).  Tolerance and civility are by no means absent, however, and if social capital can be nurtured and developed through participation in voluntary associations and networks of communication (Hyden forthcoming, 1), increasing participation in many parts of the region offers reason for optimism that such norms of community co-operation will become more the norm.

Although authoritarian Arab regimes are suffering deepening crises of legitimacy as citizen and international pressure for democratic accountability mounts, civil society remains severely constrained by the state across the Arab world..  In some cases civil society has effectively been totally repressed or co-opted, for example in Sudan (Lesch 1995, 71) and Ba’athist Iraq (Humadi 1995, 51).  Even in Egypt’s relatively free and vibrant civil society, most NGOs are subject to the stifling Law 32 of 1964 which requires them to refrain from ‘political’ activity, and empowers the Ministry of Social Affairs to replace their elected councils (Al-Sayyid 1993, 236).  Furthermore, the new Press Law 93 of 1995 represents “the most repressive in two centuries of Egyptian press history” (Ragab 1995, 593) and has been interpreted as a further manifestation of “the state’s tendency to reign in the democratic margin it grants and impose more restrictions on active civic institutions” (EOHR 1996, 16).  Civil society remains resistant and resourceful, however, as illustrated by the growing number of Egyptian NGOs now functioning with relative autonomy as non-profit limited liability firms under the Companies Law.  It is also becoming increasingly politicized, as illustrated in Egypt by the domination of elections of the medical, engineering and lawyers associations by the Muslim Brotherhood (Ibrahim 1993, 304).

In spite of the reluctance of the Arab regimes to grant greater individual and associational freedoms to their citizens the domestic and international forces for liberalization, in particular the economic imperatives (Richards 1995, 39), are showing no signs of abating.  Although time-honoured measures of repression are still routinely adopted against dissenters, “the scope of failure is so broad that few rulers today have pockets deep enough or jails large enough to cope with the problem in traditional ways (Norton 1993, 206).  Even in the desperate case of Iraq, the variety of independent associations that have sprung up in the imposed ‘safe haven’ in the north, and the growing Iraqi civil society of the diaspora, particularly in London, indicates that civil society will take every opportunity it can to assert itself.

Conclusion

In the context of ever mounting pressures worldwide for truly accountable democratic governance by which to address the major social, economic and environmental crises of the times, a transitional model of democratization based on a narrow procedural conception of democracy may be seen to be not only an inadequate response to the demands of the rising civil society, but a perilous distraction from the real democratic transformation that is required.

A democracy of  elites, restricted to the political sphere of the nation state, is not only a poor shadow of the democratic principles that have been fought and struggled for by citizens around the world, such a democracy that does not allow a central role to civil society is inherently unable to meet the needs of society.  US Senator Bill Bradley has, with regard to America, likened society to:

“a three legged stool that is fundamentally out of balance because two of the legs – the capitalist marketplace and the government – have dominated our public life at the expense of the third leg: civil society.  The cost of this neglect… has been the proliferation of social problems that neither government nor business is fully equipped to address” (Lampe 1995, 91)

His analysis is as valid for society globally, and for nations and local communities of the Arab world and elsewhere, as it is for the United States.

Certainly, in the Arab world we are witnessing just the first few steps on what is likely to be a long and hard road of democratization.  As a vital strategic region in the yet pre-democratic international arena, the role of civil society in the Arab world and globally will be especially important in holding state and market sectors, domestic and international, accountable to local citizenry.  Arab civil society, although still severely constrained by state regulation and sorely lacking in the key norms of tolerance and civility, is significantly expanding and strengthening in terms of its associational structures and its local, national and international networks of communication.

Only time will tell the path that the emerging Arab democratization will take and, perhaps more than that of any region, Arab civil society will rely on global forces of citizen solidarity to broaden the agenda for change to bring about a truly substantive democratic transformation.  It is thus incumbent on true democrats everywhere to play their essential role as fellow citizens in building a truly democratic system of global governance within which substantive local democracy may thrive in the Arab world, and worldwide.

References

Al-Sayyid, MK (1993) “A Civil Society in Egypt?” in Middle East Journal 47/2, 228-242

Bellin, E (1994) “Civil Society: Effective Tool of Analysis for Middle East Politics?” in PS September 1994, 509-10

Blunt, P (1995) “Cultural Relativism, ‘Good’ Governance and Sustainable Human Development” in Public Administration and Development 15, 1-9

Bratton, M (1994) “Civil Society and Political Transition in Africa” in IDR Reports 11/6 (Institute for Development Research, Boston MA)

British Council (1994) Development priorities: guidelines – Good government

Chomsky, N (1994) World Orders, Old and New, Pluto Press, London

CHRLA – Centre for Human Rights Legal Aid  (1996) “Hisba: Is Egypt a Civil or Religious State?” in Civil Society: Democratic Transformation in the Arab World March 1996, 18-21

Diamond, L (1994) “Rethinking Civil Society: Toward Democratic Consolidation” in Journal of Democracy 5 (July 1994),  4-17

Diamond, L, Linz, JJ & Lipset, SM (1989) “Preface” in Diamond, L, Linz, JJ & Lipset, SM  (Eds.) Democracy in Developing Countries, Adamantine Press, London

EOHR – Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (1996) “Acting to Defend Civil Society” in Civil Society: Democratic Transformation in the Arab World March 1996, 16-17

Held, D (1993) “Democracy: From City States to a Cosmopolitan Order?” in Held, D (Ed.) Prospects for Democracy: North, South, East, West, Polity Press, Cambridge

Humadi, Z (1995) “Civil Society under the Ba’th in Iraq” in Schwedler, J (Ed.) Toward Civil Society in the Middle East: A Primer, Lynne Rienner, London

Huntingdon, SP (1991) “Democracy’s Third Wave” in Journal of Democracy 2/2, 12-34

Hyden, G (forthcoming) “Building Civil Society at the Turn of the Millennium” in Burbidge, J Participating in the Rise of Civil Society

Ibrahim, SE (1996) “A Year of Wavering Democracy” in Civil Society: Democratic Transformation in the Arab World, January 1996, 4

Ibrahim, SE (1995) “Civil Society and Electoral Politics in Egypt” in Civil Society: Democratic Transformation in the Arab World, December 1995, 4-6

Ibrahim, SE (1993) “Crises, Elites and Democratization in the Arab World” in Middle East Journal 47/2, 292-305

Jacobs, M (1996) The Politics of the Real World, Earthscan, London

Khalifa, A (1995) “Reviving Civil Society in Egypt” in , Journal of Democracy 6/3, 155-163

Korten, D (1990) Getting to the 21st Century: Global Action and the Voluntary Agenda, Kumarian Press, Connecticut

Lampe, D (1995) “Introduction” in National Civic Review 84/2, 91-93

Lesch, AM (1995) “The Destruction of Civil Society in the Sudan” in Schwedler, J (Ed.) Toward Civil Society in the Middle East: A Primer, Lynne Rienner, London

Lone, S (1995) “Civil Society in the Middle East” in Civil Society: Democratic Transformation in the Arab World, June 1995, 18-21

Norton, AR (1993) “The Future of Civil Society in the Middle East” in Middle East Journal 47/2, 205-216;

Norton, AR (1995) “The Future of Civil Society in the Middle East” in Schwedler, J (Ed.) Toward Civil Society in the Middle East: A Primer, Lynne Rienner, London

de Oliveira, MD & Tandon, R (1995) “An Emerging Global Civil Society” in Oliveira, M D & Tandon, R, Citizens Strengthening Global Civil Society; CIVICUS

Osaghae, EE (1995) “The Study of Political Transitions in Africa” in Review of African Political Economy 64, 183-197

Ragab, H (1995) “Egypt’s New Draconian Press Law: A Tale of Two Sons” in Review of African Political Economy 66, 592-595

Richards, A (1995) “Economic Pressures for Accountable Governance in the Middle East and North Africa” in  Toward Civil Society in the Middle East: A Primer Lynne Rienner, London

Rifaat, N (1993) “Grassroots Development: Is it Working?” in Ru’ya/Vision (The Institute of Cultural Affairs, Cairo) Winter 1993, 16-17

Schwedler, J (1995) “Introduction” in Schwedler, J (Ed.) Toward Civil Society in the Middle East: A Primer Lynne Rienner, London

Shin, DC (1994) “On the Third Wave of Democratization” in World Politics  47/1, 135-170

Tandon, R (1992) “Civil Society is the First Sector” in Development 1992/3, 38-39

Walzer, M (1995) “Introduction” in Walzer, M (Ed.) Toward a Global Civil Society, Berghahn Books

White, G (1995) “Civil Society, Democratization and Development II: Two Country Cases” in Democratization 2/2, 56-84

Whitehead, L (1993) “Introduction: Some Insights from Western Social Theory” in World Development 21/8, 1245-1261

Wickham, CR (1994) “Beyond Democratization: Political Change in The Arab World” in PS September 1994, 507-509

Changing Lives Changing Societies

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Reflections on a term as IAF Chair

the International Association of FacilitatorsThis post was first published in the IAF newsletter the Global Flipchart, January 2013.

After a little over four years on the IAF Board and a two year term as Chair, my term is now over.  I have had a tremendous time – I have learned a lot, and I have very much enjoyed working closely with many talented and dedicated colleagues among our membership. I am delighted to have passed on the baton to our very capable new Chair Kimberly Bain, along with the symbol that was passed on to me by my predecessor Gary Rush two years ago – a beautiful glass globe engraved with the IAF logo.

I would like to share some of things I find myself proud of and sorry about, as I reflect on my term and on the accomplishments of the Board, and of IAF as a whole, relative to the Board’s strategic priorities for these last two years.  These were:

  1. Marketing & Communications ( branding, online and regional) to position IAF as ‘the International Association’ for professional facilitators and all those who have an interest in facilitation
  2. Increased member retention and membership growth, particularly through chapter development & support and transformation of affiliation to new partnership relationships
  3. Diversification of income sources for financial strength & sustainability
  4. Growth & diversification of certification programmes, to strengthen global pathways to CPF
  5. Good governance & management, including succession planning and role definition

I am proud that we have the new Board role of Marketing & Partnerships Director to bring a new emphasis to this priority area, and that the new Board is embarking on this New Year with that post filled and with marketing as a central and cross-cutting theme in its business planning.  I am sorry that the role remained vacant for most of last year, and that we have not been able to invest as much energy in repositioning IAF as we had planned.

I am proud of the much improved visitor experience of the new IAF website introduced two years ago.  I am sorry that the functionality of the membership database behind the new website has proven inadequate to our needs, and that this has been an obstacle to serving our members as well and as easily as we would like.

I am proud that total membership has increased slightly over the past two years, in spite of severe economic recession in parts of the world where many of our members are located – we have 1,269 members today as compared with 1,210 at the end of 2010.  I am sorry that we have yet to attract back or replace many former members – the total was 1,453 when I joined the Board in October 2008.

I am proud that IAF chapters have seen such growth these past two years, after development of the model had taken such great investment of Board time and attention the previous two.  Since the first IAF chapter was established in 2010 the Board has approved 18 new chapters around the world and many more are in development, and local activity and membership are growing in many places as a direct result.  I am sorry that we are still not yet as clear as we would like on the principles and the practicalities of how local chapters and regional teams should expect to relate with each other and with IAF at the global level.

I am proud that IAF’s financial strength and sustainability are much improved, to the point that the Board is increasingly concerned by how to spend money wisely rather than how to conserve it.  I am sorry that income sources are not yet significantly diversified (they are still mainly membership dues, certification fees and to some extent conference surpluses), and that membership dues remain the only significant source of finance for membership services.

I am proud of the fantastic learning communities that IAF conferences continue to provide, and of the many successful and increasingly innovative conferences that have been held the past few years – not least the two that I attended myself last year in Halifax and in Geneva.  I am sorry that I did not manage to attend any IAF conferences as Chair in regions other than Europe and North America.

I am proud that the Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) programme has grown to over 100 candidates assessed worldwide in 2012, as compared to 69 in 2009, and that the new recertification programme has now become well established these past two years.  I am proud that a model for accreditation of facilitation training programmes is now out for consultation among members and training providers.  I am sorry that certification is still available only in English and Dutch, and that the cost of such a rigorous assessment process continues to be an obstacle for many.

In terms of governance, I am proud that IAF has completed its third year of online Board elections and now its first online Annual General Meeting, accessible to all members.  I am proud that the Board has been ready invest in a substantial face-to-face Board planning meeting early each year, and of the impact I think that has had on the culture and performance of the Board.  I am sorry that participation in this year’s election was so much reduced compared to the last two years – most likely I think as a result of problems with our email blast not reaching some members.

Most of all I am proud of the extraordinary talent and energy that is volunteered by so many of our fellow members every year in so many ways, for the advancement of our global profession and its social impact worldwide as well as for the learning and growth of ourselves and each other.  I thank you all.

In some ways I am sorry that my time on the Board is at an end.  I am looking forward to remaining an active member in other ways, however, and I am enjoying a major fall in my daily email traffic since transferring the IAF Chair’s account to Kimberly!

Also I am already enjoying many opportunities to apply learnings from my time on the IAF Board in my new volunteer role as President of ICA International, and as a newly independent CPF Facilitator, Trainer and Consultant as well. You can now find me at www.martingilbraith.com, and I look forward to staying in touch with fellow members online and I hope occasionally face to face.

I would welcome any reflections from you on changes that you’ve noticed in IAF in recent years, for better or for worse – you can reach me now at martin@martingilbraith.com.  I expect Kimberly and the Board will also welcome input and suggestions for their 2013 business planning meeting, taking place the week of 21 January in Tokyo – you can now reach Kimberly at my old address chair@iaf-world.org.  I wish them all the very best, with my support and confidence.

Happy New Year from ICAI

This post was first published in ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz.

ICA International

Happy New Year to ICAI members and ICA colleagues worldwide. I am excited and honoured to begin my term as ICAI President on January 1, and wanted to start the year with a brief message to the ICA global network on behalf of the new ICAI Board.

First of all, sincere thanks to my predecessor Larry Philbrook of ICA Taiwan, and to Kevin Balm of ICA Australia, Sabah Khalifa of ICA MENA in Egypt and Dick Alton of ICA USA, as they complete their terms and stand down now from the ICAI Board. Under Larry’s energetic and inclusive leadership over the past two years, ICA International has been transformed in line with the new ‘peer to peer’ approach agreed by the 2010 General Assembly in India. Also, that meeting’s decision to close the Montreal-based Secretariat has been effectively and responsibly executed. This has been no small or easy task, and I am grateful also to all those members and colleagues who have played their part – not least our colleagues in Canada who continue to provide invaluable financial and administrative support to ICAI, our creditors who have generously agreed to write off the loans they had made to support the Montreal operation, ICA Nepal for delivering an outstanding 8th Global Conference on Human Development in Kathmandu, and the publications team and Sisters of Virtual Facilitation who have done so much to renew and revitalise our global relationships through innovative new online forms of meetings and communications. ICAI now enters the New Year not only with a new President and Board, but with a clean slate and in a very strong position to consolidate and build on these achievements – in order to better advance human development worldwide through the efforts and activities of our members and wider network.

At the online General Assembly in December we presented the roles of the new Board, and a strategic framework and outline budget that were approved by the Assembly to guide the work of ICAI and the Board over the next two years 2013-14.

Shankar Jadhav of ICA India, Isabel de la Maza of ICA Chile and Gerald Gomani of ICA Zimbabwe will continue on the Board and serve respectively as Treasurer, Vice-President for the Americas and Vice-President for Africa, MENA & Europe. Newly elected Board members Saci Kentish of ICA Canada, Seva Gandhi of ICA USA, Krishna Shretha of ICA Australia, and I will serve respectively as Secretary, Vice-President for Communications, Vice-President for Asia Pacific and President.

The strategic framework identifies eight key areas by which we shall structure our own work, and facilitate and communicate members’ contributions by means of ICAI’s decentralized “peer to peer” approach:

  1. Support & encourage existing & emerging ICAs to achieve & maintain statutory membership where possible, otherwise associate
  2. Develop, maintain & promote effective means for online networking & collaboration among members & colleagues, synchronous & asynchronous
  3. Facilitate peer to peer support & collaboration among members, including face-to-face networking, staff, programme & curriculum development, resource mobilization & institutional sustainability
  4. Oversee & support global initiatives of members, eg: global conferencing, ToP worldwide expansion, journal & policy advocacy
  5. Focus the messages & expand the reach of internal & external publications including website, Global Buzz and Winds & Waves
  6. Renew & maintain global relationships on behalf of members, eg: UNICEF, ECOSOC, CIVICUS
  7. Clarify and strengthen inclusive ICAI governance and operations – inclusive relative to geography, language, age, technology etc.
  8. Engage members & colleagues to develop longer-term vision & strategy for global ICA movement & ICAI.

The simple and prudent budget shows income from membership dues rising gradually to $15k in 2013 and $20k in 2014, and basic governance and administration expenses from $5.5k to $5.8k over the two years. Coupled with the small surplus accumulated through very prudent financial management of the past two years, this allows for $11k and $14.2k in 2013 & 2014 to support members’ peer-to-peer initiatives.

The Board is now developing a work plan to translate this strategic framework into priorities and objectives for each Board member’s area of responsibility, and we will share this with the network next month. We would very much welcome your feedback and input as we work on this, so please do get in touch with any of us to share how you would like to see the strategic priorities of ICAI and the Board. I think that ICA International is now again in a position to be bold in its ambition to the extent that our members are ready and able to be bold in their ambitions and contributions.

Finally, a little about me for those that don’t know me. I have been involved with ICA in a variety of roles for most of my career, since first training through the ICA:UK volunteer programme to work with ICA India in 1986-87. After a couple of years involved with ICA’s returned volunteer network in the UK I then spent six years with ICA in Egypt. Since 1997 I worked with colleagues in Britain to re-establish and grow ICA there, and after 16 years I have just stepped down as Chief Executive of ICA:UK in September. I am therefore delighted to have this opportunity to continue to serve ICA and our global mission now as ICAI President. I previously served on the ICAI Board from 1998-2006, including six years as Treasurer. I have since served for four years on the Board of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), and have just now completed a term as IAF Chair. I am now working on a freelance basis as a facilitator, trainer and consultant based in London, and would welcome opportunities to be of service to individual ICAs and to work with ICA colleagues in that capacity as well. To find out more about me, and to connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on twitter, please visit www.martingilbraith.com.