In October 2018, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a workshop of the Civic Research Network in London, United Kingdom. The workshop convened network members from Brazil, Egypt, Georgia, India, Poland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe together with representatives from governments, private foundations, political parties, civil society, and international organizations for a full-day discussion on conservative civil society in developing and transitional countries, based on findings of the Network’s latest report on The Mobilization of Conservative Civil Society.
Workshop participants examined drivers of the apparent rise in conservative civil society around the world today, considering underlying causes and motivations of different forms of actors and movements on the rise. The discussion paid close attention to tactics used and the extremity of those tactics, and sought to distinguish which conservative actors represent a threat to democracy and which can rightly claim to enhance the health of democratic debate. The workshop concluded with a debate about how civil society funders respond to these trends, exploring ways in which donors should be engaging with the conservative civil society.