ICA International Board update, March 2015

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

ICA International Board update, November 2014

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

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


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

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

ICA International Board update, May 2014

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

At the ICAI Board’s April meeting the focus was on detailed planning and assignments for implementation of the 2014 Business Plan finalised in March and circulated then.  The Board offered it’s support to the regional Vice Presidents as they work to facilitate networking among members within their regions over the coming months.  Krishna is liaising with members in Asia Pacific to convene a regional working group to facilitate peer-to-peer support and collaboration in that region, Isabel is working with members in the Americas to organise online facilitation training in Spanish and Gerald is connecting with African ICAs by phone and skype. Martin is also working with ICA Spain to confirm the dates and location for this year’s face-to-face ICA European Interchange, to be held late October or early November in Andalucia.  We agreed that ICAI would make a token contribution toward the rent of the new ICA offices in Toronto, from where our Canadian colleages continue to maintain ICAI’s legal status and financial accounts, and we have renewed ICAI’s membership of the World Alliance for Citizen Participation CIVICUS.

Building on conversations with members at last year’s online regional gatherings, Martin has now drafted criteria for non-voting Associate membership of ICAI and for ICAI financial support of member’s peer-to-peer initiatives.  These will be reviewed by the Board in May before being circulated to the membership for further feedback and revisions, in order that they may be voted on at the online General Assembly in June.  Also building on last year’s regional gatherings in preparation for the June GA, Staci is drafting an online survey by which to consult members on possible approaches to convening a face-to-face ICAI global conference in 2016.  The annual accounts are ready for Board approval in May, and we continue to monitor progress on ICAI’s ‘Continuance’ as a non-profit in Canada and on release of the legacy that has been left to ICAI.  Invoices have been circulated and members are renewing their dues for 2014.

The ICAI working group on global ToP (Technology of Participation) policy has had several online meetings involving a dozen or more colleagues from many ICAs in all continents, and is considering what it may circulate more widely for consultation in advance of the global online gatherings and GA in June. The Winds and Waves team published another fantastic issue of ICAI’s flagship magazine, Networking, and are about to meet to make advance plans for the next issue.

ICAI online regional gatherings and General Assembly

Winds and Waves December 2013These three articles were first published in the ICA International magazine Winds and Waves, December 2013.

Welcome to another great issue of Winds & Waves, the online magazine of ICA International. The theme of this issue is Imaginal Education, a whole-person approach to life and learning that has been at the core of ICA’s work in human development and participatory social change since it began some 50 years ago.

The 2012 book Changing Lives Changing Societies, republished by ICA International this year, quotes Gail West of ICA Taiwan:

“Imaginal learning is what ICA has always been about. Enabling the shifting of one’s images or internal pictures of ‘what is’ is what directs my beliefs and behaviour. As a facilitator or trainer, or any person supporting another’s development, my understanding is that learning requires image shift. In order for that to happen, a person needs to change the messages that one pays attention to. No change in learning, no change in behaviour.”

This important link between self-image and personal behaviour remains core to ICA’s approach to ToP facilitation and human development worldwide, as illustrated by the many rich and varied stories from ICA colleagues included that book.  It has also been at the heart of the of global, online community of practice on Reshaping Education for the 21st Century that grew out of the 8th ICAI Global Conference  on Human Development hosted last year by ICA Nepal in Kathmandu.

This issue draws on the work of that community of practice and others to share something of what works, and some of the challenges and the rewards, of applying such an Imaginal Learning approach in the field of education and more broadly.  Marge Philbrook of ICA USA writes of the ICA Archives project in Chicago, and its efforts to make these and other ICA models and tools from the archive more available online to a generation. Svitlana Salamatova and her colleagues of ICA Ukraine, in a country and a city again currently in the midst of profound social change, write of their use of online communication tools for connecting, learning and empowering of communities. Nelson Stover and Shankar Jadhav share insights from ICAI India’s ‘Global classroom in a village school’, and Isabel de la Maza writes of changing self-images in Chile. Mane Arratia writes of ICA Spain’s facilitation role in the global conferences of Initiatives of Change in Caux, Switzerland, and Amani Jensen-Bentley of Australia writes on ‘a teen’s perspective on a rural Aussie initiative aimed at celebrating multiculturalism’.

As I write, ICA International has just completed its third series of online regional gatherings this year, to connect ICAs and ICA colleagues and facilitate peer-to-peer learning and collaboration worldwide, and we are poised for our online General Assembly in a couple of days’ time.  Nineteen ICAs participated and shared reports for the regional gatherings, and also in this issue you will find an overview of the gatherings and excerpts from some of those reports.

ICAs Name of OrganizationYou will also find a scattering of graphs, maps and word clouds, illustrating both the diversity and the commonalities of our global ICA community. These are drawn from the 37 responses to this year’s new ICAI global membership survey that we have received from ICA locations around the world. We are grateful to all those who took the time and effort to respond.

I hope you will agree that all this makes for a stimulating and inspiring read. Please let us know what you think, and connect and learn with each other online, by posting your thoughts on our facebook page.

ICA International online regional gatherings facilitate peer to peer support and collaboration

ICAs Values StatementThe Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) is a global community of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. The role of ICA International is to facilitate peer-to-peer interchange, learning and mutual support across the network. ICA International also maintains consultative status on behalf of the membership with UN ECOSOC, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO & FAO.

With member organisations and related organisations and groups in over 40 countries worldwide, online gatherings play a key role in facilitating peer to peer support and collaboration among ICAs and ICA colleagues, within and across regions.  ICAI currently convenes online regional gatherings three times per year, for three regional time zone groups – Asia/Pacific, the Americas, and Europe/MENA/Africa.

ICAs Mission StatementThese regional gatherings are open to all ICA members, staff and volunteers worldwide, and people are welcome to attend another region’s gathering if they cannot attend their own.  The third series of gatherings for 2013 were held December 9-11, and attracted 23 people from 19 countries.

The aims of the gatherings are to connect ICAs and ICA colleagues with each other, and help to build & strengthen relationships between them; to share information and facilitate peer-to-peer support and collaboration among ICAs and ICA colleagues; and to hold ICAI accountable to its members, and seek input & support to strengthen our global network and advance our global mission.

The agenda every time includes introductions and questions & discussion on reports shared by ICAs and ICAI. Agenda items particular to the December gatherings, in preparation for the following online General Assembly, included criteria for ICAI financial support to member initiatives, a proposed procedure for developing global policy for ICA, our pattern of face-to-face global conferences, and categories of ICAI membership. A full transcript of the gatherings has been circulated, including links to the meeting papers and online recordings of the three 90-minute meetings – please ask if you’d like a copy.

ICAs Current ProgrammesIf you have not been able to join the online gatherings this year, please do let me or another ICAI Board member know if there is anything that we can do to make these online regional gatherings more relevant and accessible to you next year.  Please also let us know what alternative approaches to remote networking might work better for you, whether synchronous (such as online meetings and twitter chats) or asynchronous (such as email, facebook and linkedin).

ICAI December 2013 General Assembly

The ICAI General Assembly meets normally once per year. Its aims are to take ICAI membership decisions, including approval of Associate & Statutory memberships; to take ICAI strategy & policy decisions, to direct the work of the Board and to guide & support the peer-to-peer collaboration among ICAs; and to elect the ICAI Board and hold it accountable to the membership, including by receipt of an annual audited finance report.

The 2013 GA was held online on December 16, using Adobe Connect. Nineteen people from 12 ICAs participated, including voting representatives from 10 of 19 voting statutory members. We were grateful for technical support for the meeting from ICA:UK Associate and virtual facilitator Orla Cronin.

ICAs Major funders and partnersSeven ICAs were accepted as new or renewed statutory members, bringing the total to 19. A further 11 ICAs were accepted subject to payment of dues and/or formal request. It was decided to change the term of membership from the January-December calendar year to the 12-month period following receipt of dues.  The GA received the audited financial statements for 2012, and Timothy Wright in Canada was re-appointed to audit ICAI’s Financial Statements again for 2014. The seven serving members of the ICAI Board were re-elected as Directors. A new procedure for development of global policy was approved, and a number of ICAs agreed to propose a working group to use the procedure to develop a new global policy for ToP facilitation and training.

In addition to this decision-making, feedback was invited on the Board’s plan to develop its work plan for 2014 on the basis of the 2013-14 strategy approved by the GA in 2013, and no objections were raised.  Further discussion was had on the question of whether to call a face-to-face General Assembly for 2014 and/or a Global Conference for 2016, although it was decided not to hold a vote due to insufficiently inclusive and in-depth discussion among members prior to the meeting. The meeting was notified of the new legal requirement to obtain a ‘continuance’ in order maintain ICAI’s registration as a non-profit in Canada. A special General Assembly will be called for February 2014 to amend the Bylaws for that purpose.

A full report is available on request, with a link to the full online recording of the 90 minute meeting. Feedback from those participating included: Efficient and effective”, “Very smooth and good timing”, “It was excellent. Thanks for all who made it possible”, “Awesome organization! Thank you for such professionalism!” and “Appreciate clarity, preparation from area meetings and moving well”. Isabel de la Maza of ICA Chile was unable to attend but watched the recording and wrote:: “It was a great meeting!!!!, Thanks for a very professional virtual facilitation job. Wow!!! It is incredible what technology is permitting in these days”.

ICAs collaborative projects, funding relationships, etcA brief online survey has been circulated by email to 99 representatives of 42 ICA locations worldwide to seek further feedback, particularly from those who did not participate, to help the Board make future online gatherings and GAs more inclusive and more effective.

ICA International Board update, December 2013

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

November has been a busy month for ICAI, and December will be busier.  We have been preparing for the three online regional gatherings and General Assembly scheduled for December – see below for further details, and please join us if you can!  Draft agendas were first circulated to members for consultation when the dates were announced in September, and revised drafts were circulated with further details this month.  Please ask for details if you are interested to join.

Also we have been busy following up the last few responses to the ICAI global membership survey that remain outstanding in advance of these meetings. We are grateful to the 34 ICA locations that have already responded, and are urging the last remaining locations to share their responses now.  Responses from the first 30 locations were circulated to members this month.  These suggest (among other things) that we have at least 152 full-time and 112 part-time employees worldwide, over 170 Board members and 251 ToP trainers; and that over 2,544 people were trained in 193 public ToP courses last year.  ToP training and group facilitation are the most common programme areas of ICAs (23 & 25 locations respectively) followed by education, leadership development and comunity development (20 locations each).

We have updated the global network email list according to the survey responses, and launched new ICAI groups on LinkedIn and Facebook as additional forums for discussion.  Working with the global communications team we have drafted a site map for a new, simpler & cleaner ICAI website to be developed next year.  Meanwhile the team has been working on the new December issue of ICAI’s Winds & Waves magazine.

The December regional gatherings & General Assembly are now only a couple of weeks away. Everyone with an involvement or interest in ICA worldwide is welcome and encouraged to attend and participate in the regional gatherings, so please join us if you can.  Voting at the GA will be restricted to one vote per statutory member ICA.  Please complete the doodle poll to see your own local times and to register for the meetings you plan to attend (scroll down for meeting aims):
·     Europe Africa – Mon 9 Dec 12 noon UK time
·     Americas – Tue 10 Dec 3pm UK time
·     Asia Pacific – Wed 11 Dec 10am UK time
·     General Assembly (GA) – Mon 16 Dec 12 noon UK time

Each meeting will last for up to 90 minutes, and each will be preceded by a pre-meeting 30 minutes in advance for orientation to the online meeting technology and for technical support.  The meetings will be held on Adbobe Connect, and log-in details will be circulated the week before.

Regional Gathering Aims
1. to connect ICAs and ICA colleagues with each other, and help to build & strengthen relationships between them
2. to share information and facilitate peer-to-peer support and collaboration among ICAs and ICA colleagues
3. to hold ICAI accountable to its members, and seek input & support to strengthen our global network and advance our global mission.

General Assembly Aims
1. to take ICAI membership decisions, including approval of Associate & Statutory memberships
2. to take ICAI strategy & policy decisions, to direct the work of the Board and to guide & support the peer-to-peer collaboration among ICAs
3. to hold the ICAI Board accountable to the membership, including by receipt of an annual audited finance report.

ICAI Winds and Waves – Edge thinking in human development

ICAI Winds and Waves, August 2103 - coverThis article was written for ICAI Winds and Waves, August 2013.

Welcome to the 6th issue of Winds and Waves, the online magazine of ICA International.

This issue on the theme of Edge Thinking in Human Development is packed with insightful and thought-provoking articles including stories of outrage and hope in the UK and the Arab world, of self-esteem and humility in Chile, of myth and metaphor in political science in Venezuela, of restorative practice in Australia, of Theatre of the Oppressed in Tajikistan and of higher education in public health online and worldwide – even of a comprehensive perspective from the international space station! Also included are news briefs from ICAs around the world, book reviews and much more. Woven through-out are the values of human development and the methods of facilitative leadership that are the hallmark of our global ICA network.

It is the role of ICA International to facilitate international peer-to-peer support and collaboration among ICAs and ICA colleagues, so I hope you will find something here to inspire or provoke you to reach out to colleagues you may or may not know, and to connect and perhaps to collaborate with them.

In our last issue in April we reported on the appointment of new ICAI Board members, and the development of a new 2013 business plan for ICAI. The ICAI Board took the opportunity of our July meeting, a little over half way through the year, to reflect on progress against that plan. I would like to share a little here on two key elements of our plan, as a couple of immediate opportunities for readers to get better connected and more involved in ICA globally.

The new network survey is intended primarily to enable ICAs and ICA colleagues around the world to know each other better, to facilitate peer to peer support and collaboration. It also includes questions designed to indicate how ICAs meet the ICAI membership criteria, to enable the ICAI Board and General Assembly to monitor that and take membership decisions, and questions on activity with UN agencies to enable ICAI to report on that to maintain ICAI’s consultative status with UN agencies.

We are grateful to the many ICA colleagues around the world that contributed to the survey design, and to the 19 ICA locations that have already completed and returned their responses – five from Africa, three from the Americas, seven from Asia and four from Europe. It is too early yet to draw any conclusions from the responses received to date, but we look forward to making all the data available to all members when all responses have been received. If your ICA hasn’t already responded, then please do so as soon as you can by completing the online questionnaire.

ICAI’s online regional gatherings are convened three times per year, for three regional time zone groups – Asia/Pacific, the Americas, and Europe/MENA/Africa. These gatherings are open to all ICA members, staff and volunteers worldwide, and people are welcome to attend another region’s gathering if they cannot attend their own.

The aims of the gatherings are to connect ICAs and ICA colleagues with each other, and help to build and strengthen relationships between them; to share information and facilitate peer-to-peer support and collaboration among ICAs and ICA colleagues; and to hold ICAI accountable to its members, and seek input and support to strengthen our global network and advance our global mission. The first gatherings of 2013 were held in March, and reported in the April issue. The recent August gatherings will be reported in the December issue of Winds and Waves. Everyone with an involvement or interest in ICA worldwide is welcome and encouraged to attend these on-line meetings.

Thank you again to the Winds and Waves global editorial team, and to all of our contributors, for so generously sharing their time, expertise, experience and ideas with us all in this issue!

ICA International Board update, June 2013

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

This past month the ICAI Board has mostly been busy with preparing to launch a major new survey of the ICA global network.  This is intended primarily to help ICAs and ICA people to know each other better, to facilitate peer to peer support and collaboration. It also includes questions to indicate how ICAs meet the ICAI membership criteria, to enable the ICAI Board and GA to monitor that and take membership decisions, and questions on UN activity to enable ICAI to report on that to maintain our UN status.  Thank you to the many people from around the world who provided rich feedback on the draft survey, we were delighted that we heard from so many of you.  We are now finalising and translating the revisions to the survey, in order to circulate the survey very soon to around 40 locations, in English, French and Spanish.

We have begun some initial conversations with ICAI’s volunteer communications team in order to look at developing and streamlining our website, publications and  communications more broadly.  We are now scheduling a larger online meeting to take this forward, so please get in touch if you have expertise in this area and might be willing to get involved.

We have approved a proof of the second edition of Changing Lives Changing Societies: ICA’s Experience in Nepal and the World, and we are expecting it to be available soon worldwide on a print-on-demand basis from Amazon and other retailers.

The ICAI 2012 audit report has been drafted and will be ready to circulate shortly – we are grateful to Bill Staples and ICA Canada for their support with this.

We are now scheduling the next online regional gatherings in late August.  These are an opportunity for all involved or interested in ICA globally to connect with each other and with ICAI, to facilitate peer-to-peer support and collaboration in our shared mission of advancing human development worldwide.  Please join us if you can! There will be three gatherings at different times of day to suit the three regions – the earlier time for Asia, the middle time for Europe/MENA/Africa and the later time for the Americas.  However you are welcome to attend whichever suits you best (or more than one), and the exact times can also be adjusted if needed. Please follow the link below to indicate which dates and times would suit you best, wherever you are – please respond to the poll by Monday 17 June at http://www.doodle.com/n9e96ncscy5v5854

The aims & agenda of the gatherings will be broadly as in March:

Meeting Aims
1.    to connect ICAs and ICA colleagues with each other, and help to build & strengthen relationships between them
2.    to share information and facilitate peer-to-peer support and collaboration among ICAs and ICA colleagues
3.    to hold ICAI accountable to its members, and seek input & support to strengthen our global network and advance our global mission

Meeting agenda
1.    opening, welcome & introductions
2.    review & agree agenda
3.    ICA reports – highlights, questions & reflection
4.    ICAI report – membership, activity & finance; questions, feedback & reflection
5.    Items particular to each meeting:
a.    Global network survey findings
b.    Global communications
6.    Reflection & close

We look forward to hearing from you!