CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

CIVICUS, Global Education Magazine


Organisational History

The fundamental building block for CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation was the 1991 decision of a group of civil society leaders from across the world to reinforce and support the virtual expansion of citizen participation in every region of the globe. This 20-member group, serving as a steering committee for translating this idea into organisational reality, included Miguel Darcy of Brazil, Horst Niemeyer of Germany, Eddah Wacheke Gachukia of Kenya, Tadashi Yamamoto of Japan, Farida Allaghi of Saudi Arabia and Brian O’Connell of the United States. They agreed to test the potential for a global alliance of individuals and organisations which might strengthen civil society institutions, advocate for the cause of civil society among the world’s decision-makers and stimulate dialogue among civil society organisations and across the nonprofit, business and public sectors.

By mid-1993, the formative work was completed at Barcelona, marked by the first meeting of the founding Board of Directors of CIVICUS, which was composed of distinguished figures in civil society drawn from 18 countries on six continents.

Since 1993, CIVICUS has built successively on important achievements. These include the preparation of regional reports on the status of civil society (1994); publication and global distribution of Citizens -Strengthening Global Civil Society (1995), the organisation’s first world report on the state of civil society; regional consultations of members; two World Assemblies (Mexico City in 1995 and Budapest in 1997) of members and allies; an expanding membership (400 by end of 1997) of organisations and individuals across the world; a growing publications record and groundbreaking work by three special Task Forces in 1996 and 1997 on increasing the understanding and visibility of the sector, the legal principles necessary for the sector’s empowerment and enhancing the sector’s resource base.

CIVICUS has worked ever since to strengthen citizen action and civil society throughout the world, especially in areas where participatory democracy and citizens’ freedom of association are threatened. CIVICUS has a vision of a global community of active, engaged citizens committed to the creation of a more just and equitable world. This is premised on the belief that the health of societies exists in direct proportion to the degree of balance between the state, the private sector and civil society.

Originally based in Washington, DC, USA, CIVICUS established its global headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002.


24 Gwigwi Mrwebi Street
Newtown 2001
Johannesburg, South Africa.

P.O.Box 933,
Southdale 2135
Johannesburg, South Africa.

Tel: +27 (0) 11 833 5959

Fax: +27 (0) 11 833 7997

Email: [email protected]


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