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Annual Report 2012

Highlights ISTR 2012

Tenth International Conference

The Tenth International Conference was held in Siena, Italy, July 10-13, 2012, with 665 delegates from 66 countries around the globe.  ForTeS, Fondazione Scuola de alta Formazione per il Terzo Settore, (Training School for the Third Sector Foundation) and Universitá Degli Studi di Siena served as our local hosts.   ISTR celebrated its 20th Anniversary and highlights included the keynote speakers, John Keane, Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszenrum Berlin(WZB) and a longstanding author about civil society, and Rami Kouri, Director of the Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, as well as editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper. 

Workshops were held the first day and included Civil Society at the Crossroads?  Building Links with Emerging Citizen Initiatives, that presented cases of civil society at the crossroads in Chile, India, South Africa and the United Kingdom.  A second workshop, Strategic Philanthropy: Learning by Giving, focused on inspiring and preparing instructors to teach an experiential undergraduate class in strategic philanthropy, and to provide resources and a professional network to support their course development. A third workshop, organized by the Affinity Group on Gender, presented a workshop focused on women as leaders in Australia, Sweden and Uruguray.

Special invited sessions were continued due to their success at the last international conference.  These special sessions included:  Changing Ideas and Debate on Civil Society and the Third Sector over Twenty Years of ISTR:  A Forum of ISTR Scholars over Two Decades; American Foundations in Europe:  Archival Insights; The Role of Foundations in the Field of Philanthropy Studies and Research; Civil Society at the Crossroads:  Citizen Energy and Social Change; Getting Published and Peer Reviewing.  These last two sessions focused on the professional aspects of research:  journal publishing, book publishing and the craft of reviewing.  The sessions were designed to build skills by allowing you to ask questions of experienced editors and authors. 

The program included 172 paper and panel sessions and 13 posters.   This strong academic program was made possible by the scholarly contributions of many, many reviewers and the Academic Conference Committee. 

Also introduced in 2012 was a conference blog and twitter.  A large screen was set up at the registration area to show the tweets "on screen” in real time. 

The conference also included a multitude of networking opportunities including authors of recently published books signing their books, new Society members meeting the board of ISTR and an ISTR Center Directors meeting for 34 directors of academic centers to share and network with their colleagues.

The 11th International Conference will be held July 22-25, 2014 in Muenster, Germany, at the University of Muenster.  Alberto Hernandez (Mexico) and Rupert Strachwitz (Germany) will serve as the Conference Co-Chairs.  

Inaugural 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 focused on providing extensive intellectual and methodological advice on the participant’s doctoral research, introducing students to the main theories and recent developments in the field, guiding reflection upon publication and career strategies, and providing a unique opportunity to network with junior and senior scholars within the international research community.

The Inaugural PhD Seminar attracted 81 applications from 29 countries.  Based on a double peer review process, 50 applicants were invited to the Seminar.  The final group included 45 students from 21 countries. 

The seminar consisted of both plenary and parallel group sessions in which the participants had the opportunity to present and discuss their doctoral research with peers, junior and senior faculty.  Participants were grouped thematically, but the groups’ composition was heterogeneous in terms of concrete research topics, disciplinary background, research stage, method and regional affiliation.  Eleven faculty (from Australia, Belgium, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Sweden, and the USA) were critical to providing guidance and focus for the discussions.  Professor Steven Rathgeb Smith enhanced the program with his keynote address, Government, Markets and the Third Sector.  More practical workshops focused on publishing and writing, career strategies and the tension between fundamental and applied research.

The 2014 PhD Seminar is currently being planned and will be a recurring event that will take place biennially in conjunction with the international conference.  It is open to all doctoral students in the field of third sector and civil society research, across the different regionals in the world and at all stages of their doctoral research.  Matthias Freise, an ISTR member and academic officer at the Department of Political Science at Muenster University, has agreed to chair the Seminar.  Matthias was an active member of the European PhD network and brings a great deal of experience to the task.


The ISTR Emerging Scholar Dissertation Award presented biennially for an outstanding dissertation that contributes to the field of comparative study of civil society organizations, nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, voluntarism and related issues.  In 2012, the selection committee received 18 submissions from 11 countries, Australia (3), Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Portugal, Spain (2), Turkey, United Kingdom (2) and the USA (4).  The award was given to Marie Peterson (Denmark) for her study, "For Humanity or for the Umma?  Ideologies of Aid in Four Transnational Muslim NGO’s.” 

The committee also presented two awards of merit to Benjamin Huybrechts (Belgium:  "Explaining Organizational Diversity in Fair Trade Social Enterprises”) and to Jennifer Brass (USA: "Surogates for Government?  NGOs and the State in Kenya”).

Two new awards were established and funded by Springer, the publisher of our journal, Voluntas.  The awards are for the best article in Voluntas and for the best poster presentation at the conference.   

The Best Article in Voluntas award is to be given biennially for the Best Article in Voluntas during the previous two year period.  A committee was established to read the journal articles for 2010 and 2011 and select the best article.  The committee included: Adalbert Evers (Germany) chair; Eliza Lee, (Hong Hong); Kari Steen-Johnsen, (Norway); and Ebenezer Obadare, (USA). 

The article that was the unanimous choice of the committee was The Challenge of Activist Coalition Governance.  Accommodating Diversity of Create Institutions – An Approach via the Inter-relationship Between Action, Project and Instrument, by Carine Chemin and Corinne Vercher (Voluntas 22/4 published in December 2011).   

The committee provided a review of their paper and concluded with the following: "They focus on the ability of Third Sector Organization led networks to contribute to a more civil society. And that is, we think, an orientation that holds ISTR researchers together beyond all the diversity of topic and methods we are busy with.  It is after all this by which contributions like the one of Chemin and Vercher make a difference.”

The award for Best Poster was given to Rahel Mwitula Williams (USA).  The poster was titled, "Grassroots Initiatives Women Social Entrepreneurs for Poverty Alleviation.” 

All three 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

A Nominating Committee was appointed to select nominees for the board of directors and elections were held.  The election was conducted online and the board of directors for 2013-2014 is as follows:

Wendy Earles, President (Australia)

Annette Zimmer, President Elect (Germany)

Gabriel Berger (Argentina)

Paul Dekker (Netherlands)

Nabila Hamza (Jordan)

Samiul Hasan (United Arab Emirates)

Alberto Hernandez (Mexico)

Lesley Hustinx (Belgium)

Hagai Katz (Israel)

Qiushi Liu (China)

Jacob Mati (South Africa)

Maria Nindita Radyati (Indonesia)

Karl Henrick Sivesind (Norway)

Steven Rathgeb Smith (USA)

Naoto Yamauchi (Japan)



The 2012/2013 membership cycle began in January and had 675 members from 85 countries at year’s end. 

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Voluntas, International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations received its first impact factor  as well as acceptance into the ISI/Social Citation Index.   The 2 year impact factor is 0.560 which places Voluntas 23/37 on the Social Issues List.    The impact factor is a ranking given to a journal by Thomson-Reuters/ISTR Journal Citation Report and is determined by the number of citations to the articles published in a two year period.  We anticipate that this number will increase now that the journal is in the Index.

During 2012, there were two special issues of the journal, one on Civil Society in Africa and one on Fundraising Regulation. The Africa issue was most significant as it was tied very closely to our efforts to engage with ISTR members working in Africa.



The ISTR website which was launched in 2011 (hosted by continues to expand with news, calls for papers, job opportunities and links to social media, primarily, Facebook and twitter postings.  Within the website groups have been established to provide the ability for a subset of individuals to interact.  For example, the group messages were instrumental in organizing   the PhD seminar and the participants were able to post their material for the group to view prior to the seminar.  We continue to encourage members to upload their profile details and network within the site.


Regional Networks

The regional networks met during the International Conference in Siena and are planning for their 2013 regional meetings in Nairobi, Kenya; Santiago, Chile; and Seoul, Korea.  In late 2012, the Calls for Papers for the regional meetings were made available.

The Africa Regional Meeting will be held in Nairobi, Kenya in July 2013, and hosted by Institute for Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Nairobi and ACORD, Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development. The theme is "Faith, Civil Society and Development in Africa.”

The 9th Latin America and the Caribbean Research Network meeting will be held in Santiago, Chile and will be hosted by three Chilean Universities—Universidad de Los Lagos, the Universidad Alberto Hurtado and the Universidad Diego Portales. The theme is "Participation and Representation:  New Paradigms for Civil Society in Latin America.”

The Asia Pacific Regional Meeting will be held in October 2013, in Seoul and hosted by Yonsei University’s NPO Research Center, Soonchunhyang University, and KANPOR, Korean Association for Nonprofit Organization Research.  The theme is "Nonprofit Law, Policy and Practice:  Evolution and Evaluation.”

Call for Proposals to Host Future International Conferences

A Call for Proposals to host future International Conferences beginning in 2016 was distributed in September 2012.  This call is an effort to reach out to possible host institutions and/or individuals that can mobilize widespread support from academic, civil society and other institutions, access financial support from local private and public funders to generate funds needed to host the conference, and be able to provide logistical support for the society and related activities.

2012 Financial

Our 2012 reporting on revenue and expenses are displayed in the charts below.  

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