The impact of the Oslo Agreements on democracy, transparency and accountability within Palestinian NGOs

Balloons in the colours of the Palestinian flag against a blue sky.

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 12 April 2016


Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Izzat Abdulhadi


+61 (0)2 6125 3948

This seminar will now be held on 26 April 2016. All other details - time and place - remain the same. Visit the updated event listing here.

The commitment by Palestinian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to transparency, accountability and democratic governance following the signing of the Oslo Agreement on 13 September 1993 furthered the Palestinian national struggle for self-determination.

By committing to democratic governance, Palestinian NGOs re-interpreted and re-built their legitimacy within the new context and conditions of an emerging independent, democratic state. By adopting democratic governance, Palestinian NGOs were able to be effective developmental partners with the Palestinian National Authority, influencing political-economic governance through democratic organizational practices, policy development and implementation, equitable human development, democratic civil society, and respect for human rights.

Yet, this contribution is not examined and largely unrecognized. Existing academic literature interprets the adoption of democratic governance as a donor agenda which Palestinian NGOs submitted to, in order to obtain funding. Governance depoliticized the NGOs, separating them from their constituencies and ultimately, saw them abandon the national struggle.

This seminar will examine and evaluate the reasons why Palestinian NGOs adopted democratic governance, their role in the emerging state, and how democratic governance enabled Palestinian NGOs to contribute to the first Palestinian experience of self-determination and democratic statehood.

About the Speaker

Izzat Abdulhadi was the founding director of Bisan Center for Research and Development, a leading Palestinian NGO engaged in sustainable human development, strengthening Palestinian civil society, human rights promotion and policy research and advocacy.

Born in Nablus Palestine, Izzat was 10 years of age when the West Bank was occupied by Israel. As a teenager and adult, he was involved in voluntary committees and other community-based initiatives engaged in non-violent civil action against the occupation.

Following the Oslo Agreements in 1993, Izzat was a co-founder of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), was involved in the formation of the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), and held a range of positions on NGO boards in Palestine.

In 2006, Izzat was appointed the diplomatic representative of Palestine to Australia, holding the positions of Ambassador of the State of Palestine and Head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, NewZealand and the Pacific.

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