Social Good Six Interview 55- Burkhard Gnärig

Social Good Six Interview 55- Burkhard Gnärig


Burkhard is co-founder and Executive Director of the International Civil Society Centre. The Centre helps the world’s leading Civil Society Organisations, such as Amnesty International, Oxfam and WWF maximise their impact for a sustainable and more equitable world.
Before this, Burkhard was the CEO of the International Save the Children Alliance, based in London, Greenpeace Germany and terre des hommes Germany. As a field director in Papua New Guinea, he represented the German Development Service.
Burkhard has been Board Chair and Board Member of various Civil Society Organisations in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, India, Korea and Japan. He is the author of the book “The Hedgehog and the Beetle – Disruption and Innovation in the Civil Society Sector”.


  1. In no more than three sentences, please explain what you do 

I co-founded the International Civil Society Centre to support the world’s largest and most prestigious civil society organisations (CSOs) – the likes of Amnesty, Oxfam and WWF – with increasing the relevance and impact of their work. The Centre runs programmes on disruption and innovation in the civil society sector. We support CSOs in: scanning the horizon for disruptive developments; addressing the shrinking space for people’s participation; devising a Global Standard for CSO Accountability; and in many other areas.



  1. Who inspires you? 

Poor, exploited, and marginalised people around the world, who have the optimism and energy to challenge us to give up our undeserved privileges and get out of their way, thus allowing them to empower themselves.



  1. What is the biggest change you want to see in the world? 

Now that it is clear we are able to eradicate humanity and most other species on earth, we must urgently grow up, and accept that this planet is our responsibility.



  1. What would you like to be remembered for? 

I am suspicious of people who put their energy into leaving a legacy; usually these people are hindering progress, rather than promoting it. I am perfectly happy with being forgotten just like all but a hand full of people before me.



  1. What is the most interesting new idea you’ve come across in the past year? 

A project that will empower people to hold those who are supposed to deliver services to them – the state, business, as well as CSOs – accountable. Together with some friends, I hope to make this project a reality.



  1. Finally, how can people engage with your work if they’d like to learn more/help?

You can join the debate on our Disrupt&Innovate website. You can get together and disrupt oppression, exploitation, and violence and fight for a peaceful, just, and egalitarian world.


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