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Annual Report 2014

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Highlights ISTR 2014

Eleventh International Conference

The Eleventh International ISTR Conference was hosted by the University of Muenster in Muenster, Germany, July 22-25, 2014.  The charming University city and its walking promenade and Schloss Castle provided a wonderful atmosphere for open exchange and dialogue among the 665 delegates from 66 countries. 

Highlights of the conference included keynote speaker, Claus Offe, Professor of Political Science at the Hertie Schoool of Governance, who discussed, “State Capacity and Civil Society: Reflections on their Mutual Indispensability,” and Theo Sowa, CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund, who addressed Myths of Philanthropy in Africa that we should explore or explode! 

Eight Special Sessions were integrated into the program and contributed to the Society’s mission to focus on thematic areas that have traditionally been under researched and offer new ideas and thinking to support members’ efforts to build infrastructure and processes for third sector research.  These sessions included, Community Foundations; The Role of Philanthropy in Civil Society Under Siege: Historical Perspectives for Contemporary Practice; Global Data on Philanthropy—What Researchers Need to Know; The State of Research into Chinese Civil Society; Foundations as Part of European Civil Society: Role and Developments; Historical Perspectives for Contemporary Practice; Getting  Published; Modernizing Democracy:  Associations and Associating in the 21st Century; and The Impact of Volunteerism on Governance: Shaping the Post-2015 Development Framework.

The program included 150 paper and panel sessions and 19 posters.  This strong academic program was made possible by the scholarly contributions of many reviewers and the Academic Conference Committee.

A mobile app was introduced for the first time to provide easy access to the program, info about the city of Muenster, restaurants, as well as contacts for participants.


PhD Seminar

The seminar was established as part of the Society’s mission to build the field of third sector research and identify it as a legitimate field of study.   The seminar brought together 46 students from 22 countries with the opportunity to receive extensive intellectual and methodological advice on their doctoral research, to introduce them to main theories and developments in the field, to reflect upon publication and career strategies, and to provide a unique opportunity to work with junior and senior scholars within the international ISTR research community. 

A team of twelve experience researchers from different disciplines (from Argentina, Australia, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Poland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, and the USA), were critical to providing guidance and focus for the discussions.  Professor Annette Zimmer, gave the keynote address on the topic, “Money Makes the World go Round!  Economization and its Impact on NPOs.”  Three semi-plenary sessions followed: Bernard Enjolras, editor-in-chief of Voluntas, gave tips and tricks on how to publish in peer reviewed journals; Ruth Philips and Gabriel Berger discussed the tension between fundamental and applied research; and Anna Domaradzka and Johan Hvenmark discussed the challenge of combining a scientific career and family. 

The 2016 PhD Seminar is already in the planning stages for June 2016 in Stockholm and will be chaired by Johan Hvenmark of Ersta Skondal University College.  The seminar is open to all doctoral students in the field of third sector and civil society research, across the different regional of the world at all stages of their doctoral research.



The ISTR Emerging Scholar Dissertation Award is presented biannually for an outstanding dissertation that contributes to the field of comparative study of civil society organizations, nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, voluntarism and related issues.  In 2014, the selection committee received 23 submissions from 11 countries, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States.  The award was given to Anael Labigne, Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies for his study, “An Attitudinal Dimension of Civility.”

The committee also presented two awards of merit to Laura J. Heideman (USA: “Making Society ‘Civil’: Donors, NGOs, and Peacebuilding in Postwar Croatia”) and to Jochen Kleres (Germany: “AIDS Organizations as Civil Society Actors”)

The Best Article in Voluntas Award is presented biennially for the Best Article in the journal during the previous two year period.  The committee which read the articles for 2012 and 2013 was comprised of Kari Steen-Johnsen, Norway (chair); Taco Brandsen, Netherlands; Itay Greenspan, Israel; Julie Fisher Melton, USA; Mario Roitter, Argentina; Ali Simsek, Turkey; and Naoto Yamauchi, Japan.  The committee’s rationale and citation of the two prize winning articles are presented in Voluntas 25, Number 6.  They noted, “Based on our assessment of the 102 articles in Voluntas in the past two years, the committee would like to emphasize the richness and variety of the studies published.  The two awarded articles for 2012 and 2013 demonstrate in an excellent manner how strong research can be made into engaging texts, that have an impact, both in terms of new concepts and new empirical insight.”

The Best Paper for 2012: “Non-Govermental and Not-for-Profit Organizational Effectiveness:  A Modern Synthesis,” by Jesse D. Lecy, Hans Peter Schmitz, and Haley Swedlund.

The Best Paper for 2013: “Shining Light on Charities or Looking in the Wrong Place?  Regulation-by-Transparency in Canada.” By Susan D. Phillips.

The Best Poster Award was presented to Iwanig Le Valillant of the Universite de Nantes, France for “Territorial Analysis of Associative Dynamics—Preliminary Thoughts.”

Each of these awards have a rigorous selection process by a team of international scholars, and not only are they an honor to win, but will contribute to the reputation and career progression of the scholars who receive them.


Board of Directors

The board of directors for 2015 -2016 was elected.

Annette Zimmer, President
Institute for Political Science, Münster University, GERMANY

Steven Rathgeb Smith, President Elect
American Political Science Association, USA

Gabriel Berger
Universidad de San Andrés, ARGENTINA

Oonagh Breen
UCD Sutherland School of Law, IRELAND

Lesley Hustinx
Centre for Social Theory, Department of Sociology, Ghent University, BELGIUM

Hagai Katz, Treasurer
Guilford Glazer School of Business and Management,
Ben Gurion University of the Negev, ISRAEL

Bhekinkosi Moyo, Secretary
Southern Africa Trust, SOUTH AFRICA

Ruth Phillips
University of Sydney, AUSTRALIA

Maria R. Nindita Radyati
Center for Entrepreneurship, Change and Third Sector (CECT), Trisakti University, INDONESIA 

Paula Chies Schommer
Santa Catarina State University, Department of Public Administration, BRAZIL

Ola Segnestam Larsson
Ersta Sköndal University College, Sweden

Karl Henrik Sivesind
Institute for Social Research, Oslo, NORWAY 

Stefan Toepler
George Mason University, USA

Naoto Yamauchi
Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University, JAPAN

Jiangang Zhu
School of Chinese Philanthropic Studies, Sun Yat-sen University-Guangzhou, CHINA


Regional Networks

The regional networks met during the International Conference in Muenster, Germany and are planning their 2015 regional meetings in San Juan and Ponce, Puerto Rico; Tokyo, Japan; and Accra, Ghana.  In late 2014, the Calls for Papers were announced.

The 10th Latin America and the Caribbean Research Network meeting will be held in San Juan and Ponce, Puerto Rico from August 5-7 and will be hosted by three Universities – Catholic University of Puerto Rico (PUCPR); University of Puerto Rico (UPR); and Sacred Heart University (USC), Puerto Rico.  The theme is “Inequality, Inclusion and Social Innovation.” 

The 9th Asia and Pacific Regional Conference will be held in Tokyo, Japan from August 28-29 at the College of Law at Nihon University.  The theme is “Exploring Frontiers of Civil Society, Social Capital and Social Enterprises.”

The ISTR Africa Network Conference will be held at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana from September 16-18.  The theme is “Civil Society and a Renascent Africa:  A Stock Taking.”

A European Regional Network Meeting met during the conference and discussed issues relating to European research projects and education programs related to civil society and the third sector.


Voluntas, International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations expanded to six issues
per year and is now ranked as number 20 of 39 social issues journals.  Volume 25 included one
Special issue on Variations of Nonprofit Scholarship.

Conference Working Paper Series, Volume IX - These are working papers from the conference in Muenster.  There are currently 35 papers from authors from 19 countries including Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, and USA.

Inside ISTR was published quarterly on-line.

LAC bulletin published no. 76 July and No. 77 in November.

Africa newsletter, June 2014, Volume 9.

2016 International Conference

The 12th International Conference will be held at Ersta Skondal University College, 28 June to 1 July 2016.



The 2014 membership concluded with 600 members from 75 countries.


2014 Financial

Our 2014 reporting on revenue and expenses are displayed in the charts below. 


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