Maxwell School

TNGO Updates

Recent happenings from the TNGO Initiative

Dutch court, spurred by citizens, requires government to cut emissions.

 Permanent link

The Guardian reported that 866 Dutch plaintiffs have successfully sued their government to change their stance on climate change. Other national courts may follow suite. 

Consider this before posting your resume.

 Permanent link

3 things to consider when posting your resume online include: 1. Know whether the site has a privacy policy. 2. Find out who is behind the site. 3. Do not share any sensitive information that an identity thief could utilize.

Volunteering still an important path to dream job

 Permanent link

"The Guardian’s piece on how to start your career in the nonprofit or charity sector is refreshingly clear."    -Nonprofit Quarterly

New Listserv Aims to Connect Environmental Scholars

 Permanent link

The 2015 Wesley Conference on Environmental Politics and Government took place on Bainbridge Island outside of Seattle, WA. The participants expressed a strong desire for a platform to foster excellence (theoretical and empirical rigor) in social science research on environmental issues. This platform welcomes scholars located in any discipline, working at any level of aggregation (village, city, province, country, regional, or global) and studying any sort of actor (individuals, communities, governments, firms, international organizations, etc.).

To join the listserv follow this link: EnvironmentalGovernance

Nonprofit fundraisers forgetting about Gen-X donors?

 Permanent link

While fundraisers are honing in on the digital preferences of Millenials, members of Gen-X are approaching their peak income earning and donating years. 

10 reasons why Gen-Xers are still important


 Permanent link

The Hedgehog and the Beetle – Disruption and Innovation in the Civil Society Sector. -By Burkhard Gärig, Executive Director of The International Civil Society Center, a sister organization of the TNGO. Comment on the book here!

New Crowdsourcing Platform Launched for Human Rights,,

 Permanent link, launched by Advancing Human Rights. Check out the interview with their ED, David Keyes here. Digitally enabling innovation in the realm of civil society, such as this application for human rights, is an important research interest for the TNGO Initiative.

Check out our new youtube videos!

 Permanent link

TNGO has been busy this semester with two visiting fellows as well as guest lecturers and out Digital event in DC.

Catch up with some of our videos on the Maxwell School Youtube channel.

Career Interviews: Richard Marshall, Josephine Oguta

Practitioner Interviews: Sophie Delaunay, Richard Marshall, Josephine Oguta

Guest Lectures: Sophie Delaunay, Richard Marshall, Josephine Oguta 

'Breaking Digital' Debate Video Recording Now Available

 Permanent link

Special thanks to all those speakers and organizers that made this event possible! Check out the full video here.

Disrupt&Innovate website launched by International Civil Society Center

 Permanent link

This new site maintained by International Civil Society Center seeks to extend the discussion about the future of the sector beyond the realm of their usual audience of leaders and experts. New blog posts will become live discussion sites every Tuesday, and Dr. Burkhard Gnarig (Executive Director of ICSC) will publish his new book, The Hedgehog and the Beetle on the site on April 21. Anyone will be able to comment on specific parts of the book. Find the site here: Disrupt&Innovate and follow ICSC on Twitter and LinkedIn.

TNGO Initiative and Moynihan Institute present NGO debate in Washington DC!

 Permanent link

DIGITAL AND 'BRICK AND MORTAR' NGOS DEBATE. April 2nd, 1:30-5:00 pm and CSIS in Washington DC and the Global Collaboratory at the Maxwell School.

NGOs Debate! for more information.

The Innovator’s New Crystal Ball: Crowdfunding

 Permanent link

The TNGO Initiative is researching the potential as well as limitations of digitally enabled civil society platforms and organizations as compared to those of traditional, ‘brick and mortar’ NGOs. This article is an example of how digitally enabled crowdfunding is able to produce tangible social goods and enables customer and citizen involvement at the same time:  Crowdfunding

Falk College Research Brown Bag Forum with International HIV/AIDS and TB Institute

 Permanent link

Falk College presents: "How Ukrainian Social and Public Health Interventions are Adapting to War-related Environment: Challenges and Opportunities" given by SU alumni Yuliya Chorna and Iuliia Pylypas of the International HIV/AIDS and TB Institute. The talk is from 12:30-2:00 Tuesday March 31st in 101 White Hall. Lunch is provided so it is necessary to RSVP to


TNGO Initiative Presents: Sophie Delaunay

 Permanent link

Sophie Delaunay is the Executive Director of MSF USA, also known as Doctors without Borders, and will deliver a talk titled 'Keeping Core Values, Adapting to New Realities: The Case of Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors without Borders.' this Thursday, March 26th, at 12:30pm in Eggers 341. MSF is one of the largest actors in humanitarian relief operations. Delaunay's talk will speak to the organization's core identity and goals and how it strives to maintain a field driven mantra while adapting to the professionalization and internationalization of MSF. She will also deliver a career talk at 2:30pm in Eggers 209.

Thought Piece produced by TNGO Fellow Richard Marshall

 Permanent link

Richard Marshall, Senior Director of People and Culture at World Vision International, spent two weeks with us at the TNGO Initiative back in February to try and ask the question: What are the most important characteristics for the CEO of the future? Now that he has returned to his post here are the 5 Characteristics that he thinks a good CEO cannot be without. 

Grant-Maker Pay Outpaces Inflation for first time since Recession.

 Permanent link

Salaries for CEOs and program officers of grant making foundations have grown in the last year and turnover has decreased, according to the Council on Foundations. This high rate of retention may be coming to an end however. The report found that 40% of foundation employees are over 50, and 7% are already over the retirement age.

For more information on demographic salary differences and specific pay ranges read the article on The Chronicle of Philanthropy

New Corporate-NGO Partnership Allows Individuals to Direct Charitable Giving

 Permanent link

Viewers to Volunteers, by Ecomedia, allows individuals to direct how corporations contribute to NGOs by viewing sponsored media highlighting a cause or organization, amassing points and then spending them on their favorites.

"What we want to do is open up giving to virtually everyone, because brands are underwriting the giving opportunity," -Paul Polizzotto, President of EcoMedia. 


Continued relevancy of UK NGOs; a practitioner panel weighs in.

 Permanent link

The next ten years will present new challenges for NGOs based in the global North, whose relevancy is already being challenged by some civil society actors. This article from the Guardian takes a look at what current practitioners think will allow their organizations to evolve with these changes.

14 Changes

What would persuade the aid business to ‘think and work politically’?

 Permanent link

Form Oxfam's 'Poverty to Power' blog, this post looks specifically at the the goals of TWP (thinking and working politically) while asking poignant questions like "how do strategies along this line of thinking define political?" Are they advocating for political analysis in determining the delivery of aid, or are they talking about empowerment and transformation? Check out the full post here


Young Professional's Summit to be held at InterAction Forum 2015

 Permanent link

The Forum 2015 will feature a special opportunity for young professionals and students interested in working with NGOs to network with leaders from some of the largest organizations in the field. The forum runs from June 22-24 2015 with the summit on June 23. The Summit includes a networking lunch, workshop sessions and a ticket to the Forum's Gala event. This is a great opportunity to network with senior level members as well as other young professionals working in NGOs.

To register online or find out more: InterAction Young Professionals Summit

Organizing Through Social Media: Mobilizing, Slacktivizing, or Fetishizing?

 Permanent link

Social media has received attention for its role mobilizing movements in recent events such as the killing of Michael Brown and civil unrest in Egypt. Some traditional activists think that this form of "hastag activism" is simply a low risk way of expressing complaints against a system that doesn't care. The tension presented in this article from Non-profit Quarterly relates specifically to the TNGO Initiative's ongoing research on digital NGOs. 

'Partnering with big business: 4 key lessons'

 Permanent link

Oxfam and Unilever started Project Sunrise in 2010 to assess how effective corporate-NGO partnerships have been in improving livelihoods. A blog summary of 4 specific lessons gleaned from the support so far is available here:


New 4-Week Citizen Engagement Course to be Offered Online

 Permanent link

The World Bank Group, the London School of Economics, the Overseas Development Institute and Participedia have come together to offer a four week online course. The course begins by synthesizing the theories and concepts that underlie citizen engagement, and goes on to explore how citizens can engage in both policymaking and public service delivery. Finally, it investigates how recent innovations are shaking up the field, through detailing both successes and failures of these new approaches. The course begins March 15th but registration is already open.

For more information on the syllabus and instructors: Citizen Engagement

Powerpoint presentation from Josephine Oguta's talk on the role of board governance.

 Permanent link

If you missed our talk from visiting TNGO Fellow Josephine Oguta (of World Vision International) last week, or simply want to view her presentation, the Powerpoint presentation can be found below:

Oguta Presentation

Powerpoint Slides from Richard Marshall's talk on CEO derailment and psychology

 Permanent link

In case you missed our visiting fellow from World Vision International give his talk last week his presentation can be accessed below

Marshall presentation

Act fast for early, discounted registration for InterAction's Forum 2015 taking place this June.

 Permanent link

Early registration ends this February 13th! This is a great networking and learning opportunity for those interested in not-for-profits, philanthropy and civil society collaboration.

Register and learn more here.

Billions Go To Victims Of Disaster And Disease. Does It Really Help?

 Permanent link

NPR 'follows the money' to see if recipients of humanitarian aid really benefit  from programs or are essentially utilized for marketing purposes.

Read here: Does it Really Help?  

Short Term Consultancy Opportunity with FHI.

 Permanent link

This paid short term consultancy opportunity runs through March 31st (deadline to apply is February 6th) and consists of conducting institutional interviews by phone.

Please inquire directly with FHI if interested.

Position Information

Organization website 

'52 reasons not to date an aid worker'

 Permanent link

Humorous compilation published by the Guardian looking at some of the odd habits and outlooks of aid workers.

52 reasons not to date an aid worker

Why CEOs of NGOs fail when their ‘dark side’ gets in the way

 Permanent link

Richard Marshall, visiting TNGO Fellow, will draw on his career at World Vision International as Senior Director for People and Culture to reflect on how leadership traits change under increased strain. Marshall, a trained occupational psychologist as well, will also draw on the applied research of Dolitch and Cairo to discuss some of the examples of failures in transnational NGO leadership. Lunch will be provided.

Date: Thursday, February 5th

Time: 12:30-2:00pm

Location: Eggers Hall 341

Coming Together or Falling Apart? Trends to Internationalize Northern NGOs May Come with Trade-Offs.

 Permanent link

Sarah Stroup, professor of political science at Middlebury College, outlines some of the challenges that arise with the new trend to internationalize and decentralize NGOs away from donor base countries to those which have larger target group populations. Access to funding, of course, is the most blatant, and Stroup discusses others in the article below and her book Borders Among Activists.

Maxwell Faculty work with Amnesty International to review the NGO's shift in organizational structure.

 Permanent link

Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken, Director of the TNGO Initiative and Steve Lux, Head of the Executive Education Program at Maxwell are working on an external review of Amnesty International's  organizational reconfiguration attempt "Moving Closer to the Ground."

The following article outlines the need for the organizational shift and challenges that the initiative faces. 

The Chronicle of Philanthropy Outlines: '6 Trends to Watch in 2015'

 Permanent link

More eye-popping gifts like Gerald Chan's $350-million donation to Harvard, a chance for Generation Xers to shine as leaders, a focus on nonprofit privacy issues, and more are in store this year. The Chronicle of Philanthropy 

What social-sector leaders need to succeed.

 Permanent link

Chronic under-investment is placing increasing demands on social-sector leaders. New research suggests ways they can meet the leadership challenge.

A look by McKinsey&Company

Launch Dates Announced for .ngo and .ong Domain Names.

 Permanent link

Sunrise and limited registration for domain names ending with .ngo and .ong (the Spanish language equivalent) will start March 17th of this year. General registration begins May 6th 2015. These designations will serve to develop better communication channels between NGOs, donors and businesses to ultimately improve local communities and help appease social issues. Follow this link for more information.

TNGO Initiative Co-Director Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken will speak on 'Organizational Change in Transnational NGOs: Collaboration, Conflict and Unpleasant Conundrums'

 Permanent link

This talk is part of the Program for Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration's (PARCC) Conversations in Conflict Studies Series. NGOs are forced to initiate organizational change to counter threats to their future relevance, credibility and effectiveness. Tosca will share her reflections on how this has led to both collaboration and conflict in her experiences working with and leading diverse NGOs. The talk will take place Wednesday, January 14th from 12:30-1:30pm in the PARCC conference room Eggers Hall 400. Pizza will be served and attendee participation and discussion is encouraged.   Announcement here: PARCC Conversations

Billionaire Silicon Valley couple pioneers new approach to philanthropy through how they give and how they decide who to give to.

 Permanent link

Dustin Moskovitz (Facebook co-founder, 30 years old) and Cari Tuna ( age 29) are giving away their fortune with the intention of redistributing their wealth during their lifetimes. This has led them to found their own foundation, Good Ventures. They have also taken a systematic and analytic approach to best determine where their money can have the largest impact on humanity through partnering with GiveWell.

Follow the Washington Post article for more details on how they are evaluating causes and grant petitions. 

Would you like to know how many people around the world helped a stranger in 2014? Or how many people donated money or volunteered time? What are the top giving countries around the world?

 Permanent link

Check out Charities Aid Foundation's (CAF) World Giving Index full report here or view the summary.

Why the 'conventional wisdom' is wrong and development NGOs are too quick to scale up projects.

 Permanent link

Stop Trying to Save the World: Big ideas are destroying international development.  Michael Hobbes takes a detailed and supported look at why national governments and development NGOs are too quick to scale up programs while shunning continual program evaluation measures. Out of this Hobbes also looks at why minimal overhead spending shouldn't be the primary criteria for donors.   

Funny look at some of the common social situations NGO practitioners find themselves in.

 Permanent link

25 Situations Only Nonprofit People Can Understand: You’re dedicated, filled with optimism, and you want to make the world a better place. So you get a job at a nonprofit, where your talents will be appreciated and you’ll be paid handsomely to improve our world, right? Here are 25 reasons working at a nonprofit is a little different.

The UN launches its biggest ever humanitarian appeal; 5 factors tell us why

 Permanent link

This month, the United Nations launched its humanitarian appeal for 2015, just like it always does around this time of the year. Except this time, it is the biggest appeal in the history of the organisation, calling for $16.4 billion to assist 57.5 million people in 22 countries over the coming 12 months. Humanitarian appeals increase annually, click here for observation into why and what this means for future development efforts.


How “vanguard” countries might lead an unexpected transformation in setting Sustainable Development Goals next year.

 Permanent link

"Who might change the rules of global development?" Oxfam America speculates about the changing role of vanguard countries in setting long term Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the shifting nature of which countries can be considered potential vanguards. 

Red Cross uses misleading overhead ratios in reports

 Permanent link

Scholars at the Transnational NGO Initiative have been among the many voices that have called in the last 5-10 years for ‘busting the overhead myth’ that claims that nonprofits should primarily be assessed on what their program-overhead cost ratios are. Overhead ratios tell us nothing about the effectiveness of the nonprofit or about the cost effectiveness of outcomes it produces. However, transparency about the true overhead costs of a nonprofit continues to be important of course and this articles showcases how the American Red Cross recently has received critical media coverage about its apparent attempt to significantly understate its true overhead ratios.

Read the article here

Activists are divided by aim and by geography, with goals of justice for Michael Brown or an end to lethal police force against minorities.

 Permanent link

This New York Times article illustrates the difficulties in civic mobilization, including how to unite around common 'asks' and mobilization methods while preserving internal diversity of views and strengths.

Protesters United Against Ferguson Decision, but Challenged in Unity

'The United Nations needs a shorter, stronger game plan for humanity.' -The Washington Post

 Permanent link

The UN gears up to debate the global priorities that will be focused on for the next 15 years. Click the link to read why its better to limit this number of priorities.

'The Ice-Bucket Racket'

 Permanent link

This NY times article explores the peculiarities of successful fund raising trends such as the ALS Ice Bucket challenge and why other similar imitations have not produced the same results.

The Ice Bucket Racket

The 2015 TNGO Fellows are set to come Feb 1st-13th with the opportunity for student collaboration.

 Permanent link
Josephine Oguta and Richard Marshall, both of World Vision International will tackle the question "What does the CEO of the future look like." Student input is needed and there are opportunities to help with research. See the full announcement for details or contact Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken or Carlo Abuyuan for more information.

Interested in how NGOs affect accountability and human rights standard setting? Check out Janet Lord's attached paper.

 Permanent link

Lord's paper below explains the 'boomerang scrutiny' that NGOs face and explains how this is actually a measure of the success of NGOs is affecting decision making processes.

 Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Voice Accountability and NGOs in Human Rights Standard Setting

Powerpoint presentation for Janet Lord's talk on Human Rights Law and the drafting of the CRPD

 Permanent link
Find Janet Lord's Presentation here.

Video Available for Dave Karpf's Analytic Activism talk

 Permanent link

For those of you that missed or enjoyed Dave Karpf's talk on Analytic Activism this past October 23rd, please find the link to both the formal talk and interview below.

Analytic Activism

Interview with Dave Karpf

'Is the Mexican Summer rooted in the Spring Protests?' Protesters demanding explanation for abducted missing students in Mexico organize through social media

 Permanent link

“Twitter was our velocity, Facebook our formal organization and YouTube our ideological reinforcement."

Student activists and Mexican civil society lobby the federal government for information and action surrounding the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, in the the state of Guerrero. The #yosoy132 slogan has been conceived as a denunciation of the current lack of government responsiveness. The TNGO Initiative is currently researching similar virtual social movements and digital NGO platforms.  Click here for full article by Rafael Fernandez de Castro

Powerpoint presentation from Dave Karpf's talk on social petition through online campaigns

 Permanent link
The presentation attached below is from George Washington University's Dave Karpf from a recent talk at Syracuse University hosted by the TNGO Initiative on October 23rd. Dave Karpf is an Assistant Professor at the School of Media and Public Affairs at GW University and has written one book, The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy, and is working on another book about analytics and activism. (Karpfpresentation)

Saturday Night Live parodies non-profit donation commercials

 Permanent link
Saturday Night Live clip titled '39' cents pokes fun at the methods used by non-profits to fund-raise money.  Click on the link to watch the video!

'Doctors without Borders changed the way we heal the world' -NPR Morning Edition Oct 9th

 Permanent link

As a result of the Ebola epidemic and the scramble to respond Doctors without Borders (MSF) has received increased exposure for their work in East Africa as well as throughout their 40-year history.

Link to NPR's Morning Edition Oct 9th segment:


Developing Stories, Developing Countries: Documentary Short Film and Discussion with Jake Herrle EIR

 Permanent link

Executive Education's Peer to Peer event with Jake Herrle explores the post-conflict life of a Ugandan women that was kidnapped by the LRA and forced to be a child soldier before escaping. The 11 minute film will be followed by discussion. Thursday, Oct 9th 12:30-1:30 204 Maxwell Hall. 

Jake Herrle

Oxfam blogpost on Australian government's climate change strategy

 Permanent link

Reveal a Corruption Story together with and Transparency International

 Permanent link

Come participate in Maxwell alum Vivek Srinivasan's talk titled Combating Corruption with Mobil Phones

(Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link
Viveck Srinivasan talks on how to combat corruption in India with mobile devices

New York Times: Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks

(Research) Permanent link

‘Beyond our two minutes’: which international bodies are good or bad at consulting civil society organizations?

(Research, Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link

An Open Letter to our Fellow Activists Around the Globe

(Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link

Shifting sands: the changing landscape for international NGOs

(Practitioner Engagement) Permanent link
New Link

TNGO Initiative: 2013-14 report of activities available

 Permanent link
A summary of activities of the TNGO Initiative for 2013-14 is now available for download on the main page.

'Corporations and NGOs' is a top-cited article

 Permanent link
The 2012 article 'Corporations and NGOs: When Accountability Leads to Co-optation,' co-authored by Dorothea Baur and Hans Peter Schmitz, is in the top five of most cited publications at the Journal of Business Ethics.

Article: ''Canada Revenue Agency says ‘preventing poverty’ not allowed as goal for charity''

 Permanent link

The Canada Revenue Agency has told a well-known charity that it can no longer try to prevent poverty around the world, it can only alleviate poverty — because preventing poverty might benefit people who are not already poor.

The bizarre bureaucratic brawl over a mission statement is yet more evidence of deteriorating relations between the Harper government and some parts of Canada’s charitable sector.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Article: ''How can politics change to serve future generations (on climate change, but lots of other stuff too)?'

 Permanent link
From Poverty to Power has posted a new item, 'How can politics change to serve future generations (on climate change, but lots of other stuff too)?'

No-one objected to yesterday’s rehash of a recent BS (blue sky, OK?) session, so here’s another. An hour in a cool café in Brixton market with Kiwi academic Jonathan Boston, wrestling with the really big question on climate change and the survival of our species: how could political institutions emerge that govern for future generations?

Jonathan, [...] 

Click here to read the full post.

Michael Edwards, well known author of the book 'Civil Society', summarizes his latest edition in 1000 words

 Permanent link

Title: When is civil society a force for social transformation?

Tagline: There are more civil society organizations in the world today than at any other time in history, so why isn't their impact growing? 

When you look at the numbers, the growth of civil society has been remarkable: 3.3 million charities in India and 1.5 million across the United States; NGOs like the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee that work with hundreds of millions of people; 81,000 international NGOs and networks, 90 per cent of them launched since 1975. That’s not counting all the street protests, social movements and informal community groups that are often omitted from the data. In the UK, for example, these latter outnumber registered charities by more than four to one.

Click here to read more.

Sterling, Toby - Greenpeace Loses $5.2M on Rogue Employee Trading

 Permanent link

Greenpeace has suffered a 3.8 million-euro ($5.2 million) loss on an ill-timed bet in the currency market by a well-intentioned — if reckless — employee in its finance department.

The environmental group, which is based in Amsterdam, said Monday the employee — who had bet the euro would not strengthen against other currencies in 2013, when it did — had acted beyond the limits of his authority.

Greenpeace International fired the employee, whom it did not identify, but said there was no evidence of fraud.

"Every indication is, this was done with the best of intentions but not the best of judgment," said spokesman Mike Townsley in a telephone interview from Mexico....

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Stephen Kinzer, ''Are human rights activists today’s warmongers?''

 Permanent link

ALMOST EVERYONE likes the idea of human rights. The phrase itself is freighted with goodness. Supporting human rights is like supporting world peace.

The modern human rights movement began as a band of outsiders, fighting governments on behalf of the faceless and voiceless. President Jimmy Carter brought it into the American foreign policy establishment by naming an outspoken assistant secretary of state for human rights. This meant that concern for the poor, the brutalized, and the imprisoned would be heard in the highest councils of government.

To read the rest of this article, please click here.

Fascinating visualization of long term changes in global poverty

 Permanent link

This set of data visualizations represents in a very accessible way how much global poverty has changed in the past couple of decades. How have TNGOs contributed to these changes?

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University is looking for a hero

 Permanent link

At a gala dinner on November 20, 2014, special guest Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, will present the Maxwell Spirit of Public Service Award to an individual or organization whose contributions to the public good epitomize the highest ideals of the School.

We are currently seeking nominations for this prestigious award.  Nominees may be drawn from the Maxwell community or from the world at large.

Do you know someone who fits the bill?  Or can you pass this along to friends and colleagues who might have ideas?   For the full criteria or to nominate someone, please go to   The deadline for submissions is June 6, 2014.

Rafia Zakaria, ''The White Tourist's Burden''

 Permanent link

"Growing Western demand for altruistic vacations is feeding the white-savior industrial complex..."

Click here to read the rest of the article.

The Rise of NGOs in China

 Permanent link

This week’s issue of The Economist has two interesting articles on the rise of NGOs in China. These articles provide a helpful background on the differing political contexts and how they affect the development of the nonprofit sector.

"Enter the Chinese NGO

"Beneath the Glacier"

Duncan Green: 'Understanding the nature of power: the force field that shapes development'

 Permanent link
Duncan Green wrote this post for ODI's Development Progress blog. It went up last week, closing a series of posts on the theme of Political Voice.

Women’s empowerment is one of the greatest areas of progress in the last century, so what better theme for a post on ‘voice’ than gender rights?

Globally, the gradual empowerment of women [...]

Read the full post by clicking here.

Peter Bell: Global Activist Battled Policies That Disenfranchised the Powerless

 Permanent link

Peter Bell, former President of CARE USA, visited the Transnational NGO Initiative in 2008.  He was a well known civil society leader.

"When Peter Bell died of cancer at age 73 this month, the nonprofit world lost one of its most passionate, visionary and humble leaders. Peter was uniquely both a statesman and an activist. He devoted his life to reducing poverty, defending human rights, and advancing political freedom in jobs that included heading the nonprofit aid group CARE......"  Please click here to read the rest of the article.

Podcast Interviews: Owen Barden of the Center for Global Development (CGD)

 Permanent link
Students focused on International Development may find subscribing to this series of podcast interviews between Owen Barden of the Center for Global Development (CGD) and a diverse range of development thinkers useful:

New publication: Addressing non-communicable diseases

 Permanent link
Hans Peter Schmitz contributed to the latest issue of Dialogue (King's College London) the article: Addressing non-communicable diseases: the role of the United States government, philanthropies, and civil society.

INTRAC, ''Calling our bluff on capacity building''

 Permanent link

''International NGOs are under threat.  Between 2009 and 2011, the proportion of funding through Northern NGOs as compared with direct funding to Southern civil society fell by 60 per cent.  Across Europe, government donors are questioning the added value of international NGOs (INGOs). They are no longer satisfied with glib INGO responses about ‘we build local capacity.’  They want to see evidence.  They are calling our bluff.....''

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Interviews: James Crowley, Associate, Accenture Development Partnerships

 Permanent link

The interview is at

Career interview is at

About James Crowley:

James is a business advisor with more than 25 years’ experience with a variety of large private-sector companies and, more recently, with a range of agencies in the international development sector.   James joined Accenture’s strategic consulting practice in 1989, became a partner in 1997 and worked across a range of strategy and organisation change issues for energy, consumer products, high tech and public sector companies, including major international clients such as SmithKline Beecham, Hewlett Packard, Shell and British Gas, as well as a range of energy companies. Up to 2005, James led Accenture’s strategy practice in the United Kingdom and Ireland and was the practice lead for the European Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances practice for many years.   He formally left Accenture’s commercial consulting practice in 2005 to focus on strategic and organisational performance issues in the international development sector. However, he has continued to work extensively with Accenture’s not–for-profit practice; Accenture Development Partnerships. Over that time, he has led a range of assignments on international strategic issues for clients such as Plan International, African Medical Research and Education Foundation (AMREF), World Vision, Amnesty International, Catholic Relief Services and Voluntary Service Overseas.     In parallel with his ongoing advisory work, James invests a portion of his time on new independent research pieces which aim to stimulate new management ideas around the effectiveness of large international NGOs, as well as new collaborative approaches between development and private sector organisations. The first of these was released in 2009 in collaboration with World Vision and Accenture Development Partnerships, “The Rubik’s cube of cross-sector collaboration” [].  In 2013, James published a series of new research papers in a book titled “Building a Better International NGO - Greater than the Sum of the parts?”, which has been widely reviewed and appreciated by leaders in the sector across the world, and is now available on Amazon.com James holds a first-class honours degree in Engineering from University College Cork, a Master’s degree in offshore engineering from University College London and a Master of Business Administration from London Business School. 

From Poverty to Power, ''The Civil Society Flashpoint: Why the global crackdown? What can be done about it?''

 Permanent link
This guest post comes from Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, drawing from their new report, Closing Space: Democracy and Human Rights Support Under Fire.

When the concept of civil society took the international aid community by storm in the 1990s, many aid providers reveled in the alluring idea of [...]

Read the full post here.

Public Interest Registry is preparing a new domain for NGOs: .ngo

 Permanent link

Public Interest Registry, a US based NGO that is the top level domain provider for all organizations on the web with an .org domain name, is preparing a new domain for NGOs: .ngo. Please see the information here.

Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken of the TNGO Initiative recently held an interesting discussion with PIR’s top leaders about how to make sure this new global directory function associated with .ngo would be open primarily to “genuine”  NGOs – a complex undertaking.

Presentation: James Crowley, ''Building a Better NGO''

 Permanent link

Here you can find the presentation from James Crowley's public talk entitled, "Building a Better NGO: Contributing to Breakthroughs in the Fight against Poverty and Injustice." 

James Crowley, Presentation

Information about Talk:

James will summarize what international NGOs need to do to be able to assist in the delivery of breakthroughs in the fight against poverty and injustice. He will touch on questions covered in his recent book, such as: what do international NGOs need to do to get in better shape; what are and should be the core competencies of international NGOs; what about their structure; what about ICT for development; how to craft strategy; and what does accountability really mean.

About James Crowley:

James is a business advisor with more than 25 years’ experience with a variety of large private-sector companies and, more recently, with a range of agencies in the international development sector.   James joined Accenture’s strategic consulting practice in 1989, became a partner in 1997 and worked across a range of strategy and organisation change issues for energy, consumer products, high tech and public sector companies, including major international clients such as SmithKline Beecham, Hewlett Packard, Shell and British Gas, as well as a range of energy companies. Up to 2005, James led Accenture’s strategy practice in the United Kingdom and Ireland and was the practice lead for the European Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances practice for many years.   He formally left Accenture’s commercial consulting practice in 2005 to focus on strategic and organisational performance issues in the international development sector. However, he has continued to work extensively with Accenture’s not–for-profit practice; Accenture Development Partnerships. Over that time, he has led a range of assignments on international strategic issues for clients such as Plan International, African Medical Research and Education Foundation (AMREF), World Vision, Amnesty International, Catholic Relief Services and Voluntary Service Overseas.     In parallel with his ongoing advisory work, James invests a portion of his time on new independent research pieces which aim to stimulate new management ideas around the effectiveness of large international NGOs, as well as new collaborative approaches between development and private sector organisations. The first of these was released in 2009 in collaboration with World Vision and Accenture Development Partnerships, “The Rubik’s cube of cross-sector collaboration” [].  In 2013, James published a series of new research papers in a book titled “Building a Better International NGO - Greater than the Sum of the parts?”, which has been widely reviewed and appreciated by leaders in the sector across the world, and is now available on Amazon.com James holds a first-class honours degree in Engineering from University College Cork, a Master’s degree in offshore engineering from University College London and a Master of Business Administration from London Business School.

Article: Srdja Popvoic, Executive Director of CANVAS, ''The Secret of Political Jiu-Jitsu''

 Permanent link

Srdja Popvoic, the Executive Director of The Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), recently published an article in Foreign Policy Magazine entitled, "The Secret of Political Jiu-Jitsu: How to 'make oppression backfire' by peacefully leveraging the brutality of the oppressors."  The article can be found here:  


CANVAS was a TNGO hosted visitor in 2012, and the Maxwell Public Administration students did a capstone project with them.  


About the article:


CANVAS has traced and documented how grassroots activists from Ukraine, Venezuela, Egypt and many other countries have dealt with oppression in the course of their human rights struggles.  Whether it is police brutality, illegal detentions or even the open fire on brave civilians, oppression can take many forms. But there are ways to deal with it accordingly - but that comes only with proper strategy and knowledge of tactics. 


Please Spread and Share:


CANVAS has created a three-fold strategy about how to deal with oppression, which is discussed in depth in the article.  With proper planning is it possible for nonviolent movements to not only deal with oppression, it but make it work in their favor. They have a booklet that is not available for here:  CANVAS would appreciate you sharing this with your network so that as many activists as possible may learn how to make oppression backfire in their own struggles.


TNGO Initiative wins Moynihan Faculty Challenge research grant to research digital civil society networks

 Permanent link
The TNGO Initiative has been awarded one of five small research grants as part of the Moynihan Challenge competition. The small, exploratory study ‘Digitally Enabled Civil Society Organizing: What are the Challenges and Opportunities for Traditional NGOs?” will compare and contrast  the organizational as well as leadership attributes of digital networks as compared to traditional ‘brick and mortar’ NGOs. It hopes to examine organizations like, Avaaz, ONE, Ushahidi and others which have emerged as important civil society players in the last five years or so.
The study will result in publications as well as in a ‘debate style’ panel at the planned Moynihan Symposium (Feb. 2015) between leaders of NGOs as well as digital networks, and academics.

Caitlin L Chandler, ''Kenya’s first mockumentary takes on the NGO world''

 Permanent link

Finally, a new TV show exists to highlight some of the absurdities of the international aid sector. The slyly named The Samaritans is a comedy about the perils – and pleasures – of the “NGO world”. Created by a Kenya-based production company, it chronicles the work of Aid for Aid – an NGO that, in the words of its creator, “does nothing." ..... 

The following is a link to the rest of the article: 

Alina Tugend, Crowdfunding’s Effect on Venerable Nonprofits Raises Concern

 Permanent link

The ads ran for years. The global charity Save the Children asked for a monthly donation, and in return, a few times a year the donors received a photo and handwritten note or drawing from children in impoverished places like Haiti.

The idea, of course, was that donors would have some sort of connection to the contribution. Most people knew that, in reality, the few dollars were not given directly to those children but to projects that would supposedly benefit them. .......

Read the whole article here:

Matthew Sherrington, The Changing Big Wide World for NGOs

 Permanent link

Matthew Sherrington reflects on how changes in the development sector are shifting thinking about funding and communications.

What international development looks like has changed. The old ‘north/south’ paradigm no longer fits. NGOs and the private sector now compete to deliver contracted services. Mobile technology is one of the biggest catalysts for change today. It’s as important to change the system that drives poverty, as the circumstances of people who experience it. Does this change how we should engage the public? ...........

Read the full article here:

The Bridgespan Group, ''Making Measurement Work in Large, Complex Organizations''

 Permanent link

It's one thing for large social-sector organizations to embrace the idea of measurement as a way to enhance program impact. It’s entirely another for them to figure out how to design and implement measurement systems for multisite, multiservice, and even global organizations. One NGO leader we spoke with described the experience as "wading through the measurement mess."

While there's no easy fix for this "measurement mess," multiservice global NGOs we've studied and advised have forged ways to cut through the complexity—here's how:

Click on the link below the read the rest of the article:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, ''Mountain Few''

 Permanent link

Click here to view a clip entitled, "Mountain Few - The Money Oscars at Davos," from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  It draws on an Oxfam report about inequality.  More specifically, it references a recently published statistic that 85 of the richest people have as much combined wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people.

Enrique Mendizabal, ''What is the point of the development sector?: Unmediated support is the future''

 Permanent link

Access the whole article here:

I gave a speech at the ACFID Universities Network’s conference in Sydney in late November that challenge the need for an Aid, or Development, Sector.

This is not a word for word account of that speech but rather an edited version of it, written afterwards, and with the support of very useful comments provided by some of the participants.

There was also a pre-confernce heated debate with some ACFID staff members at the famous BBQ King over delicious crispy duck. So I thank them for that.

The point of my speech, an idea that is still ‘work in progress’, was to argue that the development sector, the aid industry, has developed into such a separate sector, sometimes claiming to be a profession and a discipline, that now bears little resemblance with other sectors and professions from where it should (or at least did) draw its legitimacy. As a consequence, international development policies are not designed and implemented by, say, education, public health or energy experts, as would be expected in developed and developing countries alike, but by a motley crew of individuals who have little more than the study and knowledge of ‘the aid industry’ to claim as their expertise.

I say this knowing that it is a bit of a generalisation but I still feel that many of the most prolific ‘development experts’ would not be trusted with policy in their own countries but are still free to logframethe lives of millions around the world.

Poverty to Power, ''Working for the Few''

 Permanent link
Poverty to Power, ''Working for the Few: Top new report on the links between politics and inequality"

As the world’s self-appointed steering committee gathers in Davos, 2014 is already shaping up as a big year for inequality. The World Economic Forum’s ‘Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014’ ranks widening income disparities as the second greatest worldwide risk in the coming 12 to 18 months (Middle East and North Africa came top, since [...]

Read the full post at:

Best regards,
Duncan Green

The problem with public policy schools, op-ed by James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley

 Permanent link
This fall, Georgetown University announced the creation of a new school of public policy, thanks to a gift of $100 million from an alumnus. And in October, the University of New Hampshire announced that it would use a $20 million gift to launch a public policy school of its own.

It is easy to understand the impulse behind such actions. “It’s an awfully frustrating time in the world,” David Ellwood, dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, told us. “There are large and challenging problems, including climate change, demography, budget problems, terrorism, extremism and partisanship.” At public policy schools, he explains, “we think it’s our job to fix these things.” The faculty and students, Ellwood says, “are united by the principle of making the world a better place.”..........................MORE.

Rights-based approach to development: a response to J. Brian Atwood

 Permanent link
Hans Peter Schmitz responds on openDemocracy to J. Brian Atwood's assessment of the rights-based approach (RBA) and its potential to align development policies across disparate actors. Schmitz agrees that RBA holds much promise, but argues that international NGOs need to show more evidence regarding their own effectiveness (1), address problems of donor dependency (2), and expand their collaborative efforts in support of grassroots rights mobilization (3).

Event 11/20/13: Gabor Rona, Legal Director at Human Rights First

 Permanent link

Gabor Rona, Legal Director at Human Rights First, will be joining the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) for an informal jobs/networking discussion session for students interested in working in international human rights & humanitarian law/NGOs and other areas of international affairs, law, policy, and security.


They will be meeting at 4pm in Eggers 100A (the conference room inside the Department of Political Science) over appetizers. Please feel free to ask Mr. Rona any questions that pertain to his job, opportunities and networks in these fields, and other relevant items.

Event Today: Sunita Viswanath, Co-Founder and board member for Women for Afghan Women

 Permanent link

There will be an event today (November 19th) at 2:00PM in Eggers 341 entitled "Women for Afghan Women:Transforming Community from Within Community."  Sunita Viswanath for more information.


(Event, Nov. 20): Kateryna Pishchikova, Cornell Institute for European Studies

 Permanent link

Please note that the following event is not being organized by the Transnational NGO Initiative nor is it about TNGO related issues.  However, the speaker is an authority on women’s NGOs in Central Asia and Eastern Europe and we are announcing this event on behalf of the Moynihan European Research Centers (MERC). The TNGO Initiative will have an informal meeting with Kateryna at 2:30pm on November 20th in Eggers 341 to discuss her knowledge about women’s NGO issues in that region. Any interested students are welcome to attend.

Event Time and Location:

November 20, 2013 12:30 PM
341 Eggers Hall

Information about the talk:

"Ukraine Between East and West: The EU, Russia, and Ukraine’s Strategic Choice"

The European Union (EU) policy toward Eurasia is at a watershed moment. On November 28-29, leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine will meet in Vilnius, Lithuania, for a summit that is due to include the signing of a number of crucial new agreements. Yet, the success of the summit is far from assured. Russia has threatened trade sanctions, energy supply interruptions, and security reprisals against states choosing to sign new agreements with the EU. Ukraine is largely seen as a key country in this geostrategic game. The talk will address the issues at stake for Ukraine in its rapprochement with the EU and relations with Russia.

Information about the speaker:

Dr. Kateryna Pishchikova is a visiting scholar at the Cornell Institute for European Studies. She is the author of Promoting Democracy in Postcommunist Ukraine: The Contradictory Outcomes of US Aid to Women's NGOs (Lynne Rienner, 2011).

Please click here in order to access the event's poster.

Slideshow Presentation: Kris Torgeson's Opinions Without Borders: Reforming the Governance Structure of a Large International NGO

 Permanent link

Please click here to access the slideshow presentation from Kris Torgeson's October 22nd talk entitled "Opinions Without Borders."  

Information about the talk:


Nearing its 40th anniversary in 2011, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) found itself both proud of its achievements and growth as well as confronted by internal and external challenges that its governance structure could no longer adequately address. How does a large international non-profit confront such challenges and come to the consensus needed to reform itself? What are the steps taken, the risks faced, the choices made, and the lessons learned?

Kris Torgeson's Bio:

Kris Torgeson served as the Secretary General of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) from October 2008 to September 2012. MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, is one of the world’s most renowned humanitarian relief NGOs. MSF typically perform their role in emergency relief immediately following disasters and other forms of crises. Kris started working for MSF in 1998 and was Director of Communications for MSF USA before joining MSF International. She holds a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies from Wesleyan University and a master's degree in Chinese from Columbia University. Kris is currently working as a non-profit management consultant based in New York. 

Event (Nov. 7): Collaboration and Management: Expatriates and Host Country Nationals in Transnational NGOs

 Permanent link

On Thursday, November 7th at 12:30 PM, there will be a panel discussion entitled, "Collaboration and Management: Expatriates and Host Country Nationals in Transnational NGOs."

Location: 341 Eggers Hall. Lunch will be provided. Please click here in order to access the event's poster.

Information about the panel:


So you’ve landed your dream job at an international non-profit: How do you work most productively with your colleagues? Ensuring a healthy work environment amongst work colleagues is important in development programs. However, often power dynamics and lack of cultural understanding may prevent constructive collaboration between national and expatriate staff.

The panel of NGO practitioners (who may also happen to be your classmates!) will address practitioner experience in maneuvering within the power structures of transnational NGOs and will give sound advice in resolving recurrent issues within management of transnational NGOs.


Annie Sheria Msosais is a Fulbright scholar. She has over 12 years professional experience in the field of humanitarian development with GOAL, Plan International, Habitat for Humanity International, and Action Aid International.

Idris Jonmamadovis is a Fulbright scholar from Tajikistan. Prior to Maxwell School, he worked mainly in the development sector in his home country. Idrisworked in the microfinance sector, a USAID funded educational project, InternewsNetwork and the World Bank in Tajikistan.

Sadie Conrad has 4 years of experience working abroad.While servingas a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana from 2009-2011, shemanagedclinicalHIV/AIDS programs and also worked with a localnon-profit women’s shelter.

Carlo Abuyuana is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, and has six years of experience working with non-profits. Most recently, he worked for two years at a microenterprise and health prevention non-profit in Kenya.

Event (Nov. 6): Shayna Plaut, What is Human Rights Journalism?

 Permanent link
On Wednesday, November 6, from 12:45-2:00pm, Shayna Plaut will give a talk entitled "What is the relationship between human rights and journalism?"

Location: 341 Eggers Hall. Lunch will be provided.  Please click here to see the revised poster for Shayna Plaut's talk.
Information about the talk: 
Pulling from examples as an educator, activist and scholar, Shayna Plaut will walk through the process of how advocates and journalists frame domestic and international issues, including homelessness, police brutality, and access to education, as human rights issues. Troubling the simple notion of understanding journalism and objectivity, Shayna brings forth other ways of approaching journalism and journalism education -- from Indigenous journalism, Romani journalism and philanthro-journalism and asks what can be learned as we struggle to develop the emerging field of human rights journalism. In addition Shayna (along with three research assistants) are available to discuss an ongoing research project attempting to start to map the current state of human rights education within journalism education. 
Shayna Plaut's Bio: 
Shayna Plaut is a doctoral candidate at the University of British Columbia; her area of focus is on the intersections of journalism, human rights and social change with people who identify with being transnational. Shayna has lived and worked extensively in the Balkans as well as Sapmi (the traditional lands of the Saami people). After serving as the former Human Rights Education Coordinator for Amnesty International USA, since 2004, Shayna has designed and taught courses on human rights and human rights reporting to journalists and future producers of culture in Chicago and, upon moving to Vancouver, designed the first Human Rights Reporting class offered at the graduate level in Canada. Shayna is currently a visiting scholar with the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) at Columbia University and works closely with the International Media and Communications specialization. Shayna Plaut has two cats and refuses to color inside the lines. 



twitter facebook youtube linkedin blog rss
Syracuse University Give Now

Transnational NGO Initiative | Maxwell School | Syracuse University | 346 Eggers Hall | Syracuse, NY 13244-1090