About us

Brief history:

In 2009, the Intercivil Society, as an unincorporated entity, co-organized with the Intercultural Leadership School (ICLS) the EurObama Contest (officially named as ‘AtmosphEuropa’ contest) for Young Leadership Talent from Minorities of Any Kind, in the European Parliament (EP), under the patronage of EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering, and with support from EP Secretary General, Klaus Welle (see videos on the Intercivil channel of YouTube). IC also co-organized with ICLS a Side Event at COP15, the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the European Environment Agency headquarters, launching the ‘Call for Partnership for a Good Climate in Society and Nature’. The next day, on 11 December, Geza Tessenyi participated in another side event at COP15, launching the ‘International Campaign on Climate Refugees Rights’ as it was called that time (see: https://aepf.info/single-post/2009/12/11/International-Campaign-on-Climate-Refugees-Rights-ICCR-launched-at-Copenhagen).

In 2010, the IC, still unincorporated, co-organized with ICLS the ‘Micro Cosmos Intercultural’ youth leadership seminar in London (see home page group photo), co-financed by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the European Commission, and co-organized with ICLS the ‘Public Opinion Party on Climate Change’ within a diversity festival in London.

In 2011-12, The Intercivil Society Ltd was registered as a private limited company in London. It carried out a number of intercultural training activities for schoolchildren and professional groups in the United Kingdom, under the leadership of CEO Mansoor Abbasi.

Mansoor and a group of schoolkids during one of the seminars

In 2013-15, as a response to the financial crisis, the massive youth unemployment in southern Europe and Europe’s aging societies, IC initiated the Youth Returns program (a.k.a. ProWork). The program was launched in 2014 in Thessaloniki, under the patronage of, and with a keynote speech by, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz. The impact of the Brexit decision in 2016 brought the program to a temporary halt. In light of the 2020-21 pandemic, a redesigned Youth Returns program with enhanced health security features is foreseen at a later stage.

From 2015, Géza Tessényi, with support from Gudmundur Alfredsson and Enka Blanchard, designed the Public Opinion Platform (POP), an institutional innovation for improving citizens’ participation in political decision making in indirect democracies. POP was introduced at international forums such as the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy (2016) and the World Forum for Democracy (2017), and at political and academic conferences throughout Europe. The Special Exploratory Committee of POP had five members. In 2021, four from the POP team joined the IC team as re-founding members of the InterCivil Advisory Council (see below). Key ideas of POP, among others the concepts of age-pyramid leadership and real-time leadership, have been built into the new projects of InterCivil.

From 2016 on, IC has been founding member and participating in the work of the Advisory Committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), in Geneva. The PDD is working on solutions for ‘persons displaced by disasters’ or, in popular language, ‘climate refugees’. In the PDD Advisory Committee, IC has been consistently advocating refugees’ participation in decisions concerning their own conditions.

In 2020, IC initiated collaborative partnerships with members of the Greta Thunberg-inspired Fridays for Future, a student climate movement, and became member of its international Action Network.

In 2021, an outline of the Planetary Intelligence Project (the π Project) has been developed. Planetary intelligence is the collective capacity to build and sustain an evolutionary partnership between living humans and nature.The π project builds capacity for real-time leadership and self-governance of diverse population groups, on local, regional and planetary levels. It draws on the equal value and collective wisdom of people from all generations, gender and geography. The π project is now integrated into later stages of the FrontLead initiative that features on the Works page of this site.

Current members of the InterCivil Advisory Council are:

Gudmundur Alfredsson is Professor at China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, Editor-in-Chief of the Yearbook of Polar Law and of the International Journal of Group and Minority Rights. Formerly, he was Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund University and Legal Officer at the UN Secretariat in New York and Geneva. Founding member of the POP team.

Enka Blanchard is a post-doctoral researcher working on the Digitrust project at the University of Lorraine. With a background in mathematics and informatics, they currently work on several different transdisciplinary issues such as usability of security, institution design, and the interactions between crip theory and queer theory. Founding member of the POP team.

Filipa Freire is Communications and Operations Director and Co-founder at Navia Digital and Management Director in BD Real Estate Investments, in Tavira, Algarve, Portugal. Formerly, she contributed to the Intercivil Society’s ProWork / Youth Returns program as local coordinator.

Michael Ipgrave is currently Church of England Bishop of Lichfield. Earlier, he was Archdeacon of Southwark and Inter Faith Relations Advisor to the Archbishops’ Council. In 2011, he was awarded an OBE for services to inter faith relations. Founding member of the Society.

Bruno Kaufman is the global democracy correspondent at the Swiss Broadcasting Company based in Arboga, Sweden. As a political scientist he has published widely on active citizenship and participatory democracy. He co-chairs the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy and is Director of International Cooperation at the European Democracy Foundation. Founding member of the POP team.

Yasunobu Sato is Professor of Law at the University of Tokyo (Graduate Program on Human Security) and Director of the Center for Sustainable Peace of the UoT. With a PhD in Law (London) and LLM (Harvard), he practiced law in Japan, the United States and Europe and worked for UNHCR. He has a strong interest in refugee law and conflict resolution, especially in the Middle East context. Founding member of the Society.

Géza Tessényi is founding President of the Society. Earlier, he was Secretary of the inter-governmental refugee law committee of the Council of Europe, and founding President of the Intercultural Leadership School. He worked in partnership with UNAOC, UNHCR, the European Commission and EEA. His projects received political support from three Presidents of the European Parliament. Founding member and designer of POP.

Other former members of IC and POP were (in alphabetical order): Mansoor Abbasi (founding Executive Director of IC), Emrys Schoemaker (founding member of IC), Aimé Syndayigaya (founding member of IC), Diana Wallis (founding member of the POP team, former Vice-President of the European Parliament) and Maja Warnstam Brogi (founding member of IC). InterCivil is grateful for their shared ideals, work, professional support and personal kindness.