09 may 2019

Irish NGOs gather at a conference in Dublin today, 2 May, to hear from global civil society activists about the challenges to international cooperation.

The Dóchas Conference – Finding Our Voice: How Civil Society is Countering Uncertainty – is the annual gathering of the Irish development sector.

The conference brings together over 250 leaders and innovators from across Irish civil society, government, academia and the private sector. Speakers include Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International, Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO, Plan International, and John Concannon, Director, Global Ireland 

Delegates will explore the key challenges facing international cooperation between now and 2030 and ask how we can shape the Irish response to these challenges. They will consider how people working in the areas of development, human rights, climate change and humanitarian action can develop a stronger collective narrative to inspire the Irish public and build support.

Suzanne Keatinge, CEO, Dóchas, said: “In 2019, the challenges facing international cooperation are great, from nationalist populism and climate change to shrinking civil society space. With this growing political, economic and ecological uncertainty, international cooperation is falling further down the global agenda. Faced with these obstacles, it is easy to feel defeated and powerless.

“But, civil society is connecting, energised and seeking new answers. We know we need to find new ways to work together to build a movement of global solidarity that listens to, and meets the needs of, those being left behind. Tackling the greatest threats to international cooperation will demand strong leadership, a collective vision and fresh thinking, and that is what today is about, and where we – Irish civil society and our supporters – come in.”

Keatinge emphasised the importance of Ireland’s new international development policy ‘A Better World’ and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as key frameworks to help civil society organisations achieve these goals.


For further information or to organise an interview, please contact

Speakers will be available for interview.

Photographs will be issued to the press by Barry Cronin Photographer.

Notes for the editor:

  • Dóchas is the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations. It provides a forum for consultation and cooperation between its 59 members, and a platform for them to speak with a single voice on development issues. For more information, visit:

  • ‘Finding Our Voice’ is the Dóchas Annual Conference 2019. 250 delegates from across the Irish international development and wider non-profit sector will attend. It is taking place in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin. For more information, visit:

  • Dóchas Conference 2019 Partners include Mason Hayes & Curran, O’Kennedy Consulting and Charity Careers Ireland.

Running order:

1.30pm – 2pm: Registration

2pm – 3.30pm: Opening Panel – ‘How should civil society counter growing uncertainty to bring about social change? Challenges & opportunities for international NGOs’

  • Justin Kilcullen, Executive and Business Coach, and former Executive Director, Trócaire

  • Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO, Plan International

  • Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International

3.30pm – 4pm: Break

4pm – 5.15pm: Closing Panel – ‘Finding our voice: How can we bring the Irish public with us in this time of uncertainty?’

  • Grace Milton, Associate Director, Public Affairs Strategy Division, Edelman

  • Kate Norgrove, Senior Director, Purpose

  • John Concannon, Director General, Global Ireland

  • Ciarán ÓGaora, Communications Strategist and Designer and Founder, Zero-G

5.15pm – 5.30pm: Conference Closes