ICNL’s President and CEO, Doug Rutzen, participated in the closing plenary of InterAction’s Forum 2011. Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank founder and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, provided the keynote address with a discussion on NGOs in today’s world and the pressures on civil society. He then joined a panel of experts, including Mr. Rutzen; Ingrid Srinath, secretary general of CIVICUS; Ken Wollack, president of the National Democratic Institute; and Stacy Rhodes, chief of staff and chief of operations of the Peace Corps. Sam Worthington, InterAction’s president and CEO, moderated the panel, entitled “Shaping and Protecting the Environment to Do Our Work.”
During the discussion, Mr. Rutzen talked about three global trends affecting civil society: the increasing restrictions countries place on NGOs accepting foreign funding; the squeezing of the civic space around advocacy; and the threat to the existence of civil society in various countries around the world.