International Civil Society Week 2020/21

A global, year-long conversation about people power - join us!

International Civil Society Week (ICSW) 2020-21 will promote a global, year-long conversation about people power – the collective power of people acting together to drive social and political change. A retrospective look at 2019 shows a remarkable surge in people power in the form of social movements and protests tackling the key challenges of our time. But people's power is also facing unprecedented attack. At CIVICUS, we believe that this is the right time for civil society activists, organisations and social movements to engage in a collective process alongside donors, friends and supporters to learn together ways to sustain and support people power at a time when it is most needed. Join us on this ICSW 2020-21 journey!


A global conversation about people power!

At CIVICUS, we believe that this is the right time for civil society activists, organisations and social movements to engage in a collective process alongside donors, friends and supporters, to learn, unlearn and relearn ways to sustain and support people power for the long haul.

We invite you to engage in a year-long discussion, experimentation and learning process that will cover the following topics:

  • Exploring the new sources and forces of people power
  • Putting people at the centre of social change
  • Growing and sustaining people’s movements to drive fundamental change
  • Connecting the local to the global to enhance people’s strength and solidarity
  • Understanding, learning and unlearning how to support people power

People Power Under Attack

A report based on data from the CIVICUS Monitor


ICSW & Covid-19: Your health and safety matter most!

In light of the current global outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease, CIVICUS revised the programme for ICSW 2020-2021, postponing the beginning of physical events until September 2020 and organising a series of virtual meetings to kick off the ICSW journey in April 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation in the following weeks and update our event plans as needed.



Virtual events between April and December 2020.
Catch up on the discussions here.


Physical events will be held at the local and regional levels between October and December 2020.

Sign-up here to the ICSW/newsletter to find out more about events in your area.


A one-week gathering that will bring together participants from more than 100 countries will take place in Asia.



The ICSW journey will continue for 30 days after the global event. A social media campaign will encourage participants to act in solidarity with people in their local communities and around the world.

Throughout the year, every activity will focus on including and amplifying civil society voices, knowledge, leadership and visions, especially from grassroots activists and organisations from the global south. The strong and diverse CIVICUS membership will be the heart and soul of this journey. CIVICUS members will be the co-creators, drivers and conveners of the virtual, local, regional, and global activities. We invite you to join our extended ICSW! Let’s build global solidarity and people power from below and beyond borders, working across issues and geographies with civil society from all over the world.

Global Host


CIVICUS has hosted regular global gatherings of the alliance and its allies since 1995.  The next ICSW/global event will take place in Asia in 2021. Based on a set of initial criteria relating to civic space, income levels, safety and operational factors, the following countries were selected as potential hosts: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand. We are now looking for an outstanding local partner to join us in hosting ICSW/global (April 2021).

About ICSW

International Civil Society Week (ICSW) is a global gathering for civil society to connect, debate and create shared solutions. Through a ‘partnered’ approach, organisations pool their resources to convene a diverse international group of civil society leaders to share ideas, catalyse positive social change, exchange tools that enhance citizen action, and celebrate people power. Each ICSW explores a specific theme in-depth. To learn more about  the previous edition of ICSW, check out ICSW 2019

Event History

Since 1995, CIVICUS has convened people and organisations from disparate sectors, themes, regions and backgrounds to work together to find solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

In 2014, International Civil Society Week was launched in Johannesburg, South Africa as a co-owned and co-created space for the CIVICUS alliance to bring together its collective knowledge, skills, expertise, influence and power. 

The overall goal is to strengthen civil society and citizen action to build a more just, inclusive and sustainable world.

Event Principles

  1. Inclusion: making sure that people affected by our work are represented in our events
  2. Equality: reflecting gender equality and non-discrimination in our panels
  3. Sustainability: being environmentally conscious and minimising harm to the planet
  4. Transparency: sharing our successes and failures so that we contribute to a learning environment
  5. Diversity: bringing together diverse stakeholders to discuss complex problems
  6. Participation: providing space for event attendees to engage in meaningful dialogue

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