Regional Neighbours Conference a Great Success – Report on the ISTR Asia Pacific Conference

Report on the ISTR Asia Pacific Conference: “Global Challenges and Sustainability
in the Asia Pacific: The Role of the Third Sector” Hosted by CECT Universitas Trisakti Pullman Hotel, Central Park – Jakarta

By Ruth Phillips

Every second year ANZTSR’s International counterpart, ISTR (International Society for Third Sector Research) holds small regional conferences all over the world. I have been fortunate enough to attend two of these conferences this year, 2017, the first was in Accra, Ghana, the Africa Region Conference where the ISTR Board also met and the second was very recently (December 4&5, 2017) in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The ISTR Asia Pacific Conferences are always well attended with this year’s conference having 106 people from 16 countries and with 95 papers presented. The Australian third sector researchers and I have been privileged to attend the last 7 in various wonderful locations throughout East and South-East Asia. I see these conferences as not only a wonderful opportunity to network with fellow researchers in the region but also to attend a conference that is not dominated by global North ideas, theories or scholars. The diversity of perspectives and insights is both illuminating and inspiring and the Jakarta conference was one of the best that I have attended (and partially organised!) as a wide range of global South perspectives were presented through an excellent program of papers. The tone for this exciting conference was beautifully set by the keynote address from Professor Akihiro Ogawa, Professor of Japanese Studies at the Asia Institute, the University of Melbourne. Professor Ogawa recently edited the Routledge Handbook of Civil Society in Asia (2017) and gave an excellent overview about the current state of civil society in Asia, exploring its future and raising was he saw as key challenges ahead and new research directions for the third sector.  Attendees were also enriched by presentations and panels by impressive local entrepreneurs and corporate sector representatives who presented on innovations in CSR and social enterprise, providing great insight into the Indonesian context for the third sector.

For the first time the ISTR Asia Pacific Conference held a two-day PhD seminar, hosted by four faculty members, and attended by a group of 13 PhD students from Japan, India, China, UK, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Australia and the Philippines. The PhD seminar included workshops presentations from other academics and provided an opportunity for students to engage, learn and network with each other and expert researcher/academics from a diverse range of countries. As one of the workshop presenters I was pleased to see how connected the students had become through the workshop and how all of them were full of praise and gratitude for the opportunity and the experience. The PhD seminar has been part of the larger International ISTR conferences for many years and it is an excellent way of supporting emerging researchers in the field of third sector research.

A heart felt congratulations must go to Dr Maria R. Nindita Radyati who offered to and expertly led and hosted the conference and her wonderful team of people who work at the CECT (the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Change and the Third Sector). They were fabulous hosts and the entire conference was very well organised, buoyed of course by a great location that provided great food and well-known Indonesian hospitality. Dr Radyati also secured a high level of support from the corporate community in Indonesia that was also greatly appreciated.

Ruth Phillips


Tenth Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the (ISTR)

Tenth Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR)

December 4-5, 2017 | Jakarta, Indonesia
Hosted by Trisaki University


Akihiro Ogawa, Professor of Japanese Studies, Asia Institute, University of Melbourne, Australia, is an internationally active scholar working on Civil Society in Asia.

“Global Challenges and Sustainability in the Asia Pacific: The Role of the Third Sector”
Jakarta, 4-5 December 2017
Pullman Hotel Central Park, Hosted by CECT Trisakti University
PhD Seminar (2-3 December 2017)
Continuing a tradition now well established for the ISTR International Conferences, we are, for the first time, going to hold a PhD seminar for research students from the Asia Pacific Region. This is an excellent opportunity for research students to gain advice and broaden their research horizons with experienced academics from a diverse range of countries in the region and to build important networks with fellow research students. The PhD Seminar will be held in Jakarta on 2-3 December 2017, at MM-CSR Trisakti University Campus, hosted by CECT Trisakti University.

13th International Conference Amsterdam, The Netherlands 10-13 JULY 2018

Democracy and Legitimacy: The Role of the Third Sector in a Globalizing World
The focus of the 2018 conference

Conference organizers are keenly interested in a wide range of submissions, especially on topics related to democracy and legitimacy. In addition, ISTR is also interested in research which advances our understanding of theory, policy, and practice of third sector organizations. Overall, the 2018 Amsterdam conference offers a unique, and particularly valuable, venue for engaging with its very diverse membership of scholars to deepen our knowledge of these important issues:

  • Democracy and Civil Society Organizations
  • Challenges and Opportunities of Advocacy by NGOs and Nonprofits
  • Governance, Management, Adaptation and Sustainability of Third Sector
  • Organizations
  • Hybridity, Legitimacy and the Third Sector
  • New Models of Philanthropy and Voluntarism
  • Active Citizenship and Activism
  • The Third Sector and Development
  • Social Innovation and the Third Sector
  • Research on Teaching Third Sector Studies
  • Emerging Areas of Theory and Practice

To read the full call, please click Hosted by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Philanthropic Studies Department, in cooperation with Erasmus Centre for Strategic Philanthropy.