top of page

The 11th Annual Latin America and Caribbean Regional Conference of the International Society for Thi

[Democracy and Civil Society in Latin America and the Caribbean in a Time of Change]

The 11th Annual Latin America and Caribbean Regional Conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) Quito, Ecuador, 18 - 20 October 2017

Founded in 1992, the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) is an association of researchers and academic centers with associates located throughout the world. Internationally, ISTR ( promotes research and education on civil society and the non-profit sector.

The Latin America and the Caribbean Network of ISTR ( was established in 1996 with the support of the F. K. Kellogg Foundation in the context of the 2nd Annual ISTR Conference held in Mexico. Since 1998, regional conferences have been held in Rio de Janeiro; Salvador, Brazil; San Jose, Costa Rica; Lima; Mexico City; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Ponce, Puerto Rico; Santiago, Chile; and Buenos Aires (the latter two cities on two occasions).

The 11th Annual ISTR Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean will be held in Quito, Ecuador from 18 to 20 October 2017 with the theme: “Democracy and civil society in Latin America and the Caribbean in a time of change.” Los Hemisferios University and Simón Bolívar Andean University will host the event.


Deadline: 15 May 2017

Goals of the 11th Annual ISTR Regional Conference

  1. Bring together a diverse, pluralistic and international group of researchers who are focused on Latin America and the Caribbean and who are developing knowledge on regional civil society and the non-profit/third sector.

  2. Disseminate research advances on various aspects of civil society in the region with an emphasis on specific thematic areas.

  3. Foster a fruitful dialogue on advances in research and the social, political, economic and cultural processes in the region, with a special emphasis on actions and linkages among civil society sectors in different countries.

  4. Strengthen community and academic ties between researchers and institutions that study civil society and foster exchanges and cooperation with action-oriented organizations.

  5. Get more researchers of the region interested and involved in issues related to civil society while promoting linkages.

  6. Promote the dissemination of research results in an effort to foster actions by various civil society organizations and practitioners.

  7. Bolster participation and analysis of civil society in Ecuador in the context of an election year there in light of the possible institutional and political changes that could affect civil society’s efforts in the country.

Latin America and the Caribbean in a time of change

The preceding 10 ISTR Regional Conferences addressed issues including: participation and representation; growth and consolidation of civil society; sector cooperation; and civil society self-identity and its responsibility with regard to the development process. In 2017 with the 11th edition of this regional conference, the Latin America and the Caribbean region is undergoing substantial changes.

Historically, countries in this region have been noted for political and economic instability, a great capacity for social innovation and varying forms of solidarity that exist along with numerous expressions of violence and inequality, natural resources and cultural diversity. However, in the region today and in the world in general, we are witnessing a change in models and paradigms that are undoubtedly influencing the actions of civil society, at a time when various forms of civil society (CSOs, NGOs, labor unions and social movements, among others) actively participate in response to emerging challenges.

Over the last few decades, advances have been made in the region in terms of rights, access to public services and decentralization of state power, with varying levels of intensity across countries. Nevertheless, overall political and economic power continues to be concentrated among just a few groups. The relationship between citizens and state bureaucracies still display technocratic, elitist and autocratic characteristics. Growth in urban areas aggravates problems such as violence, inadequate infrastructure, environmental degradation and declining service quality. Internationally linked crime and corruption are increasing in complexity, thus requiring more sophisticated mechanisms of prevention, investigation and sanctioning.

Meanwhile, innovations in democracy by citizens have set new standards of expectations in terms of justice, service quality, sustainability, economic development, democratization of decision-making, project continuity, transparency, accountability and open governance. Civil society is mobilized and connected through new and diverse forms with private sector groups, the media, political parties, government entities, and local, national and international networks. In this context, civil society has had victories in the realm of democratic governance.

Meanwhile, in line with world trends, polarizing political and ideological debates are evermore present. There is a crisis of legitimacy in terms of traditional politics and more distrust is felt, leading to suspicion among individuals and towards institutions. Walls of discrimination are being built and existing bridges destroyed, giving way to sectarianism and authoritarian ideas and promoting violence in speech and action, while democratic advances are threatened.

We are truly in a time of change and uncertainty, which could mean opportunities for innovation, although the direction and meaning is unclear. Where are there advances and where do we see setbacks? What are the forms of coordination or confrontation among governments, civil society and the private sector? What can we learn from each other with the knowledge gained over time and what we are experiencing currently in each country? These questions are being raised by civil society and third sector researchers and activists through dialogue and research that go beyond disciplinary, institutional national and ideological barriers. For these reasons we are meeting in Quito.

Thematic áreas

When submitting proposals, conference participants are asked to follow one of the thematic areas listed below. Traditionally, these areas are the main themes for debate. Nevertheless, the Academic Committee may organize the presentation of works in light of the selection process.

Without detriment to possible future changes, papers, panel discussions and conferences will be organized into the following four thematic areas:

1. Democracy, institutions and society in Latin America and the Caribbean

The consolidation of democracy in Latin American and Caribbean is an issue that is under construction and being debated in all countries. Over the last few years, institutional changes have been made with effects on democratic systems and society as a whole. The objective of this thematic area is to discuss the state of progress in research in this field with a special focus on government type, democratic crises and the role of institutions and society in this context. Theoretical and empirical research papers are sought that shed light on a new democratic reality in the region that will effect institutions and society

2. A new panorama for state, civil society and private sector linkages.

Latin America finds itself in a time of institutional change that is influencing relations among the state, civil society and the private sector. This thematic area seeks to explain the role of civil society and the third sector in the context of these changes and their active or passive roles, the priorities of collective agendas and how they will be linked in networks, forums and other coordination strategies. The debate on institutional and legal frameworks; linkages at the local, national, regional and international levels; and alternative avenues for civil society are issues inherent to this new panorama, as is the reflection on these new forms of social mobilization and citizen action and how they mix with other more traditional forms of civil society organization. This area enables the analysis of new civil society linkage strategies (e.g., confrontation, collaboration, participation, etc.) with the state, companies and in various forms of governance. Examples of forms that may be included are: inter-sector alliances, social undertakings, social and solidarity economy, cooperatives, coproduction of public goods and services, social monitoring and auditing and open government.

3. Sustainability of civil society organizations

Sustainability is a critical issue for civil society organizations, not only in financial aspects but also with regard to the effectiveness of their intervention models. Declining investment and a refocusing of geographic and thematic priorities by international cooperation, as well as the change in dynamics between civil society, the state and the market, are forcing institutions to rethink their organizational models. Work related to management models, governance, intervention, social companies, regulatory frameworks, financing, legitimacy, transparency, accountability, impact measurement and social responsibility may be addressed in this area of the conference.

4. Emerging research – action issues in Latin America and the Caribbean

Projects in other areas not explicitly mentioned above may be included, but the content must be relevant and current for civil society in the region in general and in Ecuador in particular. Work will be considered that addresses issues such as participation, representation, accountability and civic space strengthening and that are of importance for the study and action of civil society organizations and movements during this time of change in the region. The conference’s Academic Committee will decide on their inclusion into the program.

Conference organization and work methodology

The following activities are planned for the conference:

  1. Panel sessions, made up of up to four presentations each, assigned by the academic committee with regard to thematic area. Pre-existing panel discussions may also be proposed and these shall also undergo the review process. Papers are extensive presentations that are presented orally by their authors.

  2. Posters, which are graphical presentations on display for the duration of the conference. Posters will have a special designated time and place within the program.

  3. Keynote conferences on thematic areas.

  4. Complementary activities, including public forums, book exhibits, film and documentary exhibits, photograph exhibits, etc., must be proposed to the organizing committee.

  5. Training workshops will be given on issues and methodologies that are useful for researchers, for example how to write articles for publication in international academic magazines and a workshop for doctorate students and doctoral thesis advice.

Proposal presentation

1. All researchers interested in the Latin American and Caribbean region and civil society and the non-profit sector are invited to present work proposals in the following three formats:

  • Papers (by individual or multiple authors to be presented in conference sessions)

  • Panel discussions (on issues related to the conference’s central themes) can include up to four papers. The proposal must be presented by the person who will serve as panel moderator or coordinator and summaries of the panel and each paper must be included.

  • Posters (to be exhibited during the entire conference)

2. Proposals must be made in Spanish, Portuguese or English and must be in the same language in which the oral presentation will be given (if applicable). The deadline for proposal presentation is 15 May 2017.

3. The proposal must include: title of the work, applicable thematic area and format (paper, panel or poster). Do not include the name(s) of the author(s). For complete panels, the titles of all papers that comprise it must be included (maximum of four) with their corresponding abstracts.

4. The structure of the abstract must include:

a. Work objectives

b. Hypothesis or research question, according to the case

c. Methodology employed

d. Principal results or contribution

e. References (background, bibliography, etc.)

f. Maximum abstract length is 800 words.

5. A separate file shall include the title of the abstract and full name and contact information of the author(s) (name, institution, address, telephone and e-mail). Proposals including the two attached files must be sent by e-mail to: Receipt of the proposal will be immediately confirmed (if not, please contact us).

6. All proposals that meet the basic requirements outlined here will undergo a blind review by independent reviewers of various nationalities. Only selected proposals shall be presented at the conference.

7. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be communicated no later than 15 July 2017.

8. Final versions of accepted work must be sent to the conference organizers for inclusion on the web for participant access. Papers shall have a maximum length of 8,000 words. Documents must include the title of the work, the full name(s) of the author(s) and abstracts in Spanish and English. The text must be presented in Times New Roman font size 12 with a line spacing of 1.5.

Application for a limited number of partial scholarships (for travel or lodging) will be available at times to be confirmed. The completed work must be presented and a form must be completed (to be made available in a timely manner).

Note: Gobernar: The Journal of Latin American Public Policy and Governance, an open access and peer-reviewed biannual journal, is interested in publishing a special edition in Spanish with selected essays of works presented at the ISTR Regional Conference (guest editors: Daniel Barragán, Anabel Cruz and Susan Appe).


10 March 2017

Announcement publication for the 11th Annual ISTR Regional Conference

15 May 2017

Deadline to receive abstracts

15 July 2017

Notification of acceptance of works

15 August 2017

Application for partial grants with delivery of completed work (depending on resource availability)

1 September 2017

Notification of acceptance of requests for partial grants

20 September 2017

Deadline to receive completed papers for inclusion on the official conference website

18 - 20 October 2017

11th Annual ISTR Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean

International Academic Committee

Argentina: Gabriel Berger, University of San Andrés (UDESA)

Brazil: Paula Chies Schommer, Santa Catarina State University (UDESC)

Costa Rica: Urs Jager, INCAE Business School

Colombia: Natalia Franco, Los Andes University

Ecuador: Daniel Barragán, Los Hemisferios University

Wilson Araque, Simón Bolívar Andean University

United States: Susan Appe, Binghamton University

Mexico: Jacqueline Butcher, CIESC – Monterrey Institute of Technology

Puerto Rico: José I. Vega, University of Puerto Rico (UPR)

Uruguay: Analía Bettoni, Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo (Institute for Communication and Development - ICD)

Anabel Cruz, Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo (Institute for Communication and Development - ICD)

Venezuela: Vanessa Cartaya, Red Sinergia (Synergy Network)

Organizing Committee

Daniel Barragán, Los Hemisferios University, Ecuador

Jairo Rivera, Simón Bolívar Andean University, Ecuador

Paula Chies Schommer, Santa Catarina State University (UDESC), Brazil

Analía Bettoni, ICD, Uruguay

Anabel Cruz, ICD, Uruguay

Questions and comments may be directed to

ISTR Latin America and the Caribbean:

Regístrate para

recibir nuestras



¡Tu registro ha sido exitoso!


  • Facebook Long Shadow
  • YouTube Long Shadow
  • Google+ Social Icon
  • Twitter Long Shadow
bottom of page