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Attending ISTR 15th International Conference 2022

Rashed Al Jayousi

I have recently participated in the 15th International Conference of the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR), held both in-person and virtually from July 12 to 15, 2022. My presentation, titled “Palestinian Civil Society: The Dynamics of Palestinian CSOs in a Conflict Setting,” was part of the “Management and Governance of Third Sector Organizations” theme and the session “Non-Profit Governance for Marginalized Populations”.


I have virtually attended the ISTR conference, and I was impressed by the diversity of research topics related to third sector organizations. I was particularly intrigued by the innovative use of technology, such as AI and blockchain technology, to address challenges in the third sector. With over 300 attendees, both remote and in-person, the conference provided ample opportunities for networking and exchanging ideas.


For my presentation, I had the opportunity to share my research on “Palestinian Civil Society: The Dynamics of Palestinian CSOs in a Conflict Setting”. I had only 15 minutes to present my findings, and I was pleased to receive positive feedback from the audience. One suggestion was to consider the differences between NGOs in urban and rural areas, and another was to include the strengths of Palestinian civil society organizations in my analysis. These comments helped me reflect on my work and view it from a different perspective. Overall, the conference was a valuable experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to participate.

Here is the abstract of my research study. The study examines the interplay of dynamics within Palestinian civil society organizations (PCSOs) operating in a conflict-ridden environment. The researchers employed a mixed-methods approach, including documentary analysis, semi-structured interviews, and structured questionnaires, to gain insight from PCSOs’ top management. The findings present a framework showcasing the mutual influence of six dynamics, highlighting the “governance trap cycle,” “effectiveness trap,” and “institutional trap” as barriers. The study identified eight mechanisms between dynamics and barriers and highlights the threat of shrinking space and lack of knowledge transfer between adults and youth as current challenges facing PCSOs. The study offers two implications for research, practice, and policymaking in the field of civil society organizations in extreme settings.

Attending the ISTR conference was a rewarding experience. This conference provided a platform for researchers, practitioners, and scholars to present their work, share ideas, and network with others in the field. I attended a variety of presentations, discussions, and workshops on topics related to my theme, such as the management and governance of non-profit organizations. Participants can also engage in informal conversations with other attendees, make connections that can be valuable in their future work. Additionally, the ISTR conference offers a valuable opportunity for participants to collaborate, re-evaluate their papers, and even generate new ideas for future projects. As a young researcher in the third sector, I firmly believe that attending such events is crucial not only for receiving feedback but also for networking, learning about the latest research trends and methods, and socializing with peers. Overall, attending an ISTR conference can be an enriching and empowering experience for those interested in being at the forefront of third-sector research.