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Annual Report 2016
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Annual Report 2016 International Conference in Stockholm

The Twelfth International Conference was held at Ersta Skondal University College with 785 delegates from 62 countries. The theme, The Third Sector in Transition: Accountability, Transparency, and Social Innovation, led to the program of 126 paper sessions, 48 panels, 21 roundtables and 20 posters.  Many papers presented can be found in the Volume X Conference Working Papers Series.  ( 

The conference highlights included keynote speaker, Theda Skocpol, who addressed “Changes in American Civil Society and the Rise of Political Extremism.”  She noted the trend that America is growing rightward tilted with partisan and ideological polarization and racial and ethnic tensions on the rise.  A second plenary was a panel, Nordic Civil Societies:  Mutations and Continuity, which provided a series of insightful reflections in response to the question of Nordic exceptionalism. 

A number of conference innovations were introduced, such as “roundtables” that allowed scholars and practitioners to discuss a “hot topic” without presenting elaborated papers.  This resulted in 21 roundtables as well as a new teaching theme. These sessions brought rich and vibrant added content to the program and worked well as new additions. A conference blog was introduced and proved to be an excellent source of information about Stockholm as well as provided background on sessions.  (

At the conclusion of the conference, it was announced that the 13th International Conference will be hosted by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, July 10-13, 2018, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


PhD Seminar 

The third ISTR PhD Seminar was held in Stockholm with 51 students from 26 countries and a faculty team of twelve as a continuing effort to support the field of third sector research.  The group  of faculty was diverse in both disciplines and geography. They created sets of two faculty members with groups of students to allow for individual presentations on his or her PhD project and discuss key questions and theoretical and methodological issues on a peer basis.  Three semi-plenary sessions included, “Getting Published,” “How to Plan a Post-Doc Career Abroad,” and “Scientific Career and Family.”  Prof. Peter Frumkin provided a keynote with advice based on his own pitfalls and successes to these aspiring scholars in the field of third sector and civil society research.  

A PhD Seminar Alumni Network was established for those who have participated in the seminars.  The goal is to provide a forum for open dialogue and opportunities for collaboration and networking for the Alumni members.  A small working group is taking the lead. 


Africa Regional Network Conference

Africa Regional Network Conference was held April 19-20, 2016, in Accra, Ghana on the theme, Civil Society and Renascent Africa: A Stocktaking.  It was organized in collaboration with the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) and the Institute of African Studies (IAS) of the University of Ghana.  The meeting attracted 56 participants including practitioners, academics and scholars.  Seven academic papers were presented in three sessions—Civil Society and Development in Africa, Modelling the Influential Impact of CSOs in Africa, and Sustaining Civil Society in Africa.  Sessions also included a panel on “The Significance of the Women’s Movement in Africa:  Successes and Challenges,” as well as a keynote by Ms. Theo Sowa, CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF).  Bhekinkosi Moyo, Executive Director of the Southern Africa Trust and Secretary of the Board of ISTR, presented “Civil Society and Philanthropy in Africa.” A publishing workshop was also presented giving insight into academic journals and how to get published.  


Mentoring Pilot Program

The Mentoring Program was established for a one-year pilot beginning in Stockholm with 59 pairs of mentees and mentors matched.  The program began in June 2016 with the Stockholm conference and will continue until June 2017. The objective is to assist students with professional development and engagement.  Mentors are mid-career or senior scholars, as well as professionals from outside the academy. Mentees are graduate students at any stage of their careers or post-graduates and junior faculty within five years of receipt of their terminal degree (including PhD, MA and JD). Participants were encouraged to meet in person at the conference and then communicate either electronically or in-person for a minimum of 3-4 conversations over the course of the year. It is our hope  that these mentoring conversations will focus on career advice, professional advancement and facilitating contacts.



The ISTR Emerging Scholar Dissertation Award was presented to Allison Youatt Schnable (PhD Princeton University, Sociology, 2015) for her dissertation, Do-It-Yourself Aid:  The Emergence of American Grassroots Development Organizations.

The Best Article in Voluntas Award for 2015 was the article, Surreptitious Symbiosis: Engagement Between Activists and NGOs, by Marlies Glasius and Armine Ishkanian. The article was given open access for two months following the conference. 

The Best Poster Award was presented to Cath Anne Hill (Lancaster University, UK) for the poster, Whose Value?  Exploring Social Value and Impact Through the Voice of Charity Users and Employees.


An Inaugural ISTR Lecture Award was launched to serve as an honorary award and acknowledgement for scholars who as members and friends of ISTR have significantly contributed to the growth and scientific development of our multi-disciplinary field of research.  The first  ISTR lecturer, Stanley N. Katz, from Princeton University, a long-time member and supporter of ISTR, addressed Can We Save the World Through Generosity?  Philanthropy in the Age of the Megafoundation.


Board of Directors

The board of directors met in Stockholm and was hosted by the Swedish Red Cross. The board meeting addressed issues of strategic planning, governance and growth.  Key items were agreement to establish a Taskforce to review the Bylaws, establish regional advisory boards to develop proposals for expanding regional hubs and create a Strategic Committee. A pilot was agreed upon for the Africa Region with a commitment to partner with West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) for a two-year period and hire a part time staff person to mobilize the network (outreach and fundraising).  Bheki Moyo agreed to chair the Africa Regional Advisory Committee.

Many thanks to those board members whose terms ended in 2016 - Gabriel Berger (Argentina), Karl Henrik Sivesind (Norway), and Naoto Yamauchi. Annette Zimmer completed her term as President and will continue as an Ex-Officio board member. 


Election of the Board 2017 – Effective January 1, 2017

The election results include Steven Rathgeb Smith, President (USA); Ruth Phillips, President Elect (Australia); Kin-man Chan, Secretary (Hong Kong), Paula Chies Schommer, Treasurer (Brazil), Nana Asantewa Afadzinu (Ghana); Anna Domaradzka (Poland); Maria Nindita Radyati (Indonesia); Theo Schuyt (The Netherlands).  Board members continuing their terms are Oonagh Breen (Ireland); Lesley Hustinx (Belgium); Hagai Katz (Israel); Bhekinkosi Moyo (South Africa); Ola Segnestam Larsson (Sweden); Stefan Toepler (USA); and Jiangang Zhu (China). 



The 2016/2017 membership cycle ended the first year with 875 members from 74 countries.  Our membership trajectory continues to move upward.  The geographic spread continues to come primarily from Europe (47%); North America (21%); and Asia Pacific (16%), followed by Latin America (7%); Middle East (6%); and Africa (3%).  






As a membership association, the main sources of revenue are from membership dues, publication royalties, grants and conference registrations. In addition, the Society receives contributions from our partners as well as from conference advertisers, and donations.

The Society’s expenses include conferences, conference registration subsidies, regional networks, membership support, editorial support, publications, and personnel and secretariat support. 

Contributions by our members and partners are not measured in financial terms, but are critical to the work of the Society. The work of the association is not possible without our committed members, volunteers and partners.





Voluntas continued its growth with 6 volumes and two special issues on Latin America and one on Citizenship in China which also included articles on the Chinese nonprofit and voluntary sector. The newly appointed editors, Ruth Simsa and Taco Brandsen, wrote in their Editor’s notes (Voluntas (2016) 27: 1021-1022), about the growth of the journal with around 300 submissions per year whereas six years ago there would have been less than a hundred. They note, “The following aspects are important to increase Voluntas contribution: maintaining the journal’s status as a home for different disciplines and fields; strengthening the international orientation; encouraging collaborative research; being as close at current developments as possible; and encouraging open access publications.”

Marc Jegers (Free University Brussels, VUB) was appointed book editor in January 2016.  


New Regional Network

A new regional network on Central and Eastern Europe & the Post-Soviet space was established as -- Post Soviet Regional Network. ISTR members conducting research on any aspect of civil society development, NGO and third sector policy and management in the region are invited to join the network.  Gulnara Minnigaleeva (HSE Moscow), Hector Pagan (University of Tartu), and Daiga Kamerade (University of Birmingham) will serve as the founding organizing committee and Stefan Toepler (George Mason University/HSE) will serve as the ISTR board liaison. 



Margery Berg Daniels Executive Director


Robin Wehrlin

Program Coordinator

Megan Haddock

Program Coordinator


Committee and Volunteers

ISTR thanks its many members who have served on the various committees (listed below) and those who served as abstract reviewers. The Stockholm conference had 112 reviewers. This service and volunteer spirit is so important to the work of the Society.


Conference Academic Committee 2016


Rupert Strachwitz, Co-Chair

Maecenata Institute, Germany


Ruth Phillips, Co-Chair

University of Sydney, Australia


Pelle Åberg

Ersta Sköndal University College, Sweden


Carolyn Cordery

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand


Anna Domaradzka

University of Warsaw, Poland


Tania Haddad

American University of Beirut, Lebanon


Catherine Herrold

Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, USA  


Lucy Jordan

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Elisa Larroude

Fundação Getulio Vargas - Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo, Brazil


Jacob Mati

University of the South Pacific, Fiji


John Mohan

University of Birmingham, UK


Raffaella Rametta

Universitas Mercatorum, Italy


Theo Schuyt

Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands


Jiangang Zhu

Sun Yat-sen University, China




Stockholm Local Host Committee

Ersta Sköndal University College, Sweden


Lars Svedberg

Ola Segnestam Larsson

Jenny Risfelt

Johan von Essen

Lena Blomquist

Johan Hvenmark Pelle Aberg

Marie Nordfeldt

Anders Kassman


Nominating Committee 2016

Anabel Cruz, Chairperson (Uruguay)
Oonagh Breen (Ireland)
Dwight Burlingame (USA)
Ronelle Burger (South Africa)
Alfredo Carrasquillo (Puerto Rico)
Paul Dekker (The Netherlands)
Lesley Hustinx (Belgium)
Rita Mano (Israel)
Stefan Toepler
Jiangang Zhu (China)


Emerging Scholar Dissertation Committee

Hillel Schmid, Chair (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
Marc Jegers (Vrije University Brussels, Belgium)
Ola Segnestam Larsson (Ersta Skondal University College, Sweden)
Paula Chies Schommer (Santa Catarina State University, Brazil)
LI Yang (Beijing Normal University, China)


VOLUNTAS Best Paper Committee

Julie Fisher Melton, USA (Chair) 

Katalin Dobrai, Hungary

Armindo Teodosio, Brazil

Jenny Harrow, UK

Jiri Navratil, Czech Republic

Ali Simset, Turkey

Aya Okada, Japan 

Peter Weber, USA

Gonzalo de la Gaza, Chile



Best Poster Award Committee

Jacqueline Butcher, Mexico
Paul Dekker, The Netherlands
Stefan Toepler, USA


PhD Seminar (Faculty)

Pelle Aberg, Sweden
Oonagh Breen, Ireland
Kinman Chan, Hong Kong
Carolyn Cordery, New Zealand
Anna Domaradzka, Poland
Angela Eikenberry, USA
Adalbert Evers, Germany
Lewis Faulk, USA
Matthias Freise, Germany
Johan Hvenmark, Sweden
Maria Radyati, Indonesia
Paula Schommer, Brazil


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