To celebrate South Africa’s 20th anniversary of freedom and democracy, CIVICUS and its partners gathered change makers from around the world at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg for International Civil Society Week from 19-25 November 2014. The International Civil Society Week 2014 had over 500 civil society leaders and activists from more than 100 countries, tackling the world’s most pressing challenges. Under the banner of Citizen Action, People Power, the weeklong series of events was the premier global gathering of inspired thinkers, innovation leaders and influential organisations. Ilina Nesik, BCSDN programme manager represented BCSDN at the ICSW. MCIC, Macedonia and TUSEV, Turkey had also their representatives in Johannesbourg.
Has organised civil society, bound up in internal bureaucracy and in slow, tired processes and donor accountability, become simply another layer of a global system that perpetuates injustice and inequality? How can CSOs build a broad movement that draws in, represents and mobilises the citizens, and how can they effect fundamental, systemic transformation, rather than trading in incremental change? This kind of introspective reflection was at the heart of a process of engagement among CSOs from around the world for the ICSW.
The flagship event for the week is the CIVICUS World Assembly culminated in the Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Awards ceremony. Participants during this week had the opportunity to follow different workshops and they were addressed by prominent people incl. Graça Machel, Maina Kiai, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Navanethem “Navi” Pillay, Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-2014) etc.
CIVICUS also used the opportunity to present the newly developed tools that they will introduce to further follow civil society development in the world: Civic Pulse and Datashift. For more information, photos and videos of the event, please click here.