From the President

Welcome to the April 2016 issue of Winds & Waves, the online magazine of ICA International, on the theme, “Excellence in Facilitation”.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) has for decades employed facilitation as a core strategy in its  mission of “advancing human development worldwide”. When I first trained with the ICA in the UK, I was sent as an international volunteer to one of ICA’s human development projects in India in 1986. A core element of that training was in “ICA methods” – what is now known worldwide as ICA’s “Technology of Participation” (ToP) facilitation methodology. Facilitation remains central to our approach to doing human development and to being a part of the ICA.

This facilitative approach is more critical than ever today in enabling the human family to address the great challenges and opportunities facing us and our planet. We argue, in an ICAI statement submitted this month to the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA), that facilitation has a key role to play in moving from commitments to results, transforming public institutions and leadership for the implementation and monitoring of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

In this issue, you will find a diverse collection of stories illustrating how ICAs and colleagues of our global network are applying such a facilitative approach in a variety of settings, from local to global, often in peer-to-peer collaboration with each other.

A rehabilitation project of ICA Nepal brings hope to those affected by that country’s earthquake, supported by ICA Australia. ICA Taiwan builds a learning community through “Truth About Life” dialogues. ICA Chile partners with the Ministry of Social development and with Global Facilitators Serving Communities in leadership development work with disabled people.  ICA Peru supports comprehensive community development programmes in high altitude mountain communities affected by climate change. Emerging Ecology USA and ICA India develop a capacity building curriculum, building on ICA’s original Human Development Training Institutes of the 1970s.

Ann Epps of LENS International Malaysia reflects on the Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) programme of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), founded in 1994 by 70 ICA ToP facilitators including Ann herself. Winds & Waves editor Rosemary Cairns reflects on the role played by facilitation in turning volunteers into a social movement through a Community Revitalization through Democratic Action programme in Serbia following the NATO bombing of 1990.  I share a reflection on how facilitation, and ICA’s ToP Participatory Strategic Planning process in particular, helped Oxfam in Lebanon last year embark on a complex and challenging change process in the midst of a complex and challenging response to the unfolding Syria crisis.

Meanwhile, ICAI members continue to step up their peer-to-peer support and collaboration through online and regional ICA gatherings, and ICAI global working groups as well.  ICAs in East & Southern Africa met in Zimbabwe in March, ICAs of the Americas are now preparing to meet in Peru in May and ICAs of West Africa, Europe MENA and Asia Pacific are making plans for their own regional gatherings later in the year.

To enhance the reach and impact of our ToP facilitation approach worldwide, the ICAI global ToP working group is busy developing proposals to support implementation of the global ToP policy agreed last year, drawing on insights gleaned from responses to a recent global ToP survey. The ICAI Board is pleased to have agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding with IAF to promote and support greater collaboration between our two organizations, our respective members and our local groups around the world.

Thank you to all who contributed to this latest issue of Winds & Waves.  Enjoy it, and please share it and encourage others to do so.

Martin Gilbraith (, a certified professional facilitator, is president of the Institute of Cultural Affairs International

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