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The International Journal
of Not-for-Profit Law

Volume 3, Issue 2, December 2000

A publication of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law

Table of Contents

Letter from the Editor

Articles

Church and State Relationships in German "Public Benefit" Law
By Dr. Christine R. Barker

Evaluating Tax Incentives for Donations to Public Benefit Organizations
By Paul Bater

Freedom of Association: Recent Developments Regarding the "Neglected Right"
By Leon E. Irish and Karla Simon

The Government of Israel's Control of NGOs: Legal Dilemmas and Structural Constraints
By Nitza Nachmias and Amiram Bogot

Reviews

Introduction to the Non-Profit Sector in the Balkans
By Jenny Hyatt
Reviewed by Douglas Rutzen

The Third Force
By Ann M. Florini
Reviewed by Karla Simon

Weak Democracy and Civil Society
By Imco Brouwer
Reviewed by Sam Charron

Case Notes

Central and Eastern Europe:
Poland

Latin America and the Caribbean:
Venezuela

Middle East and North Africa:
Egypt | Tunisia

North America:
the United States

Newly Independent States:
Moldova
| Russia

Country Reports

Asia Pacific:
Regional
| Australia | the Philippines

Central and Eastern Europe:
Hungary

Latin America and the Caribbean:
Regional | Dominican Republic | Guatemala | Peru

Middle East and North Africa:
Bahrain | Israel | Palestine | Yemen

Newly Independent States:
Kazakhstan | Ukraine

North America:
the United States

South Asia:
India | Pakistan

Sub-Saharan Africa:
Ghana | South Africa

Western Europe:
Belgium | France | Germany | Ireland

International Grantmaking

Conducting Overseas Site Visits
By Victoria B. Bjorklund and Jennifer I. Goldberg  

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Editorial Board

Introduction to the Non-Profit Sector in the Balkans

By Jenny Hyatt
Reviewed by Douglas Rutzen

Jenny Hyatt, who has worked for years on social development and NGO capacity building in Central and Eastern Europe, has written a seminal overview of the nonprofit sector in the Balkans. Her book is much more than a report simply providing facts and figures about NGOs in the region. It introduces the social, political, economic, and historical context for civil society development – information which is essential for the successful implementation of civil society projects. Ms. Hyatt should be commended for this book, which will serve as an important resource for civic activists, lawyers, funders, and others interested in the nonprofit sector in the Balkans.

This book fills an important information void. As Pavol Demes, an internationally recognized civic activist, writes in the Foreward:  

[I]t is a curious fact that very little is known about the non-profit sector in the Balkans – a region that is under constant media scrutiny. One reason is that media attention is focused mostly on conflicts and political players. A second reason may be that people in the democratic world tend to believe that the Balkans, and Serbia in particular, must be some sort of civic desert….

Through the use of regional contributors and others, Ms. Hyatt has produced a book that concisely and significantly advances the knowledge base about the nonprofit sector in the Balkans.

After presenting introductory materials, the book provides a general overview of the region. This section covers of host of issues, including country populations, age and gender profiles, ethnic groups, languages, religions, educational issues, urbanization, and social issues. This overview also contains useful charts presenting information about the political and economic situation in each country.

In the course of identifying critical issues related to the political situation in the region, the author takes aim at the international community, stating, “In many ways, the West has replicated Soviet politics by creating dependency on a wholesale package that is Western philosophy and practice.” While some might take issue with this characterization, the author’s fundamental point – that the Balkans must be given opportunities to find their own solutions – is important and often overlooked by donors and their implementing partners.

The focal point of the book is its country reports, which contain a treasure trove of useful information. Topics include: a brief history, dimensions and characteristics of the sector, funding and financial sustainability, the legal and fiscal framework, relationships between the nonprofit sector and other sectors, and future needs and issues. The author has punctuated the text with profiles of local NGOs working on particular topics discussed in the text. In addition, information about “useful contacts” is provided at the end of each chapter. This should prove particularly useful to individuals and organizations about to set out on civil society activities in the region.

Several themes emerge from the book:

It is remarkable that Ms. Hyatt produced this book in three months, which is an exceptional accomplishment considering the enormity of the task. She notes that the publisher has agreed to produce a revised version within a year, and she warmly welcomes readers to provide comments and suggestions. While there are already developments to report and observations to amend, the book in its current form certainly lives up to its title, admirably introducing the nonprofit sector in the Balkans.

 

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ISSN: 1556-5157