Today July 8, 2010 is the second day of the annual conference of ISTR. This afternoon I presented “From Change Agents to Method Actors: The Effects of TNGO Leadership Style on Responsiveness to Constraints”, a leadership match theory and empirical research paper Peg Hermann and I have been working on (look for slides soon). Our data source: the TNGO interview project (see preceding post). A few researchers showed interest in the combination of computer aided qualitative analysis software--in our case Atlas.ti, with the content analysis of the natural language processing capability of Profiler Plus for leadership assessment. I’ll post my slides when I get back. But mostly questions gravitated about the gaps in leadership assessment and opportunity matching for leaders in transition (from CFO, VP International Programs, COO etc. to CEO, from smaller to larger NGO, from private sector to third sector, from domestic to international body). Joanne Baulderstone of Flinders University in Adelaide did a great job moderating the panel. Earlier in the day she gave a fascinating paper exploring a developing trend in rural Australia where non-profit organizations contract the state as a service provider: sounded to me like the “filling-up” of the state in opposition to its “hollowing-out” adding a “contracting-in” flavor to the continuously co-evolving relationships between civil society and governments.
Yesterday was a good day to network and see friends. I caught-up with Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy Research at the American University of Beirut (AUB), and Nabila Hamza, President of Foundation for the Future. Both are interested in comparative studies and field-based evidence research matched to public policy need in the broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) region. Foundation for the Future has been using the CIVICUS Civil Society Index as a means to help in their own mapping and funding decision-making in the BMENA region. Nabila was very keen to see that we are collaborating with Ingrid Srinath the secretary general of CIVICUS on future plans and assistance to civil society leaders in transition (this is in parallel with relations that Tosca Bruno-VanVijfeijken and Steve Lux @ Moynihan have initiated with that foundation). I also met up with Kareem Elbayar, Legal Advisor MENA region, at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law in Washington D.C., with Hoda Harb, Regional Outreach Officer for the International Development Research Centre of Canada in Cairo, and had the pleasure of spending some time with renowned Egyptian activist, Saad Eddin Ibrahim.
Met up with Ian Bruce, a professor at the Case Business School, City University London who is also founder and President for the Centre for Charity Effectiveness at that university. We talked a little about Charity Navigator in the US and the work of my colleagues, specifically about contributions by George Mitchell and Hans Peter Schmitz @ Moynihan to the debate on NGO effectiveness posted @ the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations blog for Humanitarian and Development NGOs domain).
Overall the number of parallel session seems notable to me as a first time attendee. International Third Sector research and practice is doing well and growing.