Kumi Naidoo

Secretary General,
CIVICUS: The World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Kumi Naidoo is the Secretary-General of CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation. Prior to this position, he served in several leadership positions in the Adult Education Sector in South Africa. He has also worked as a researcher, journalist, university lecturer and youth counselor, and was also a member of the Commonwealth Foundation NGO Advisory Committee. Dr. Naidoo was born in South Africa, but escaped in his twenties, returning after the fall of apartheid to head the South African Non-Government Organization Coalition (SANGOCO). He played a key role in South Africa’s transition to democracy through his involvement in the Independent Electoral Commission in 1994. As head of CIVICUS, a global network of civil society organizations, with more than 1,000 members in 110 countries, Dr. Naidoo implemented various programs committed to promoting civic existence, civic engagement and civic expression around the world. One of these programs is the Civil Society Watch, which champions the right of civic association and citizen action by mobilizing timely, principled and helpful responses to events or action that threaten these basic rights. Other CIVICUS programs aim at promoting an enabling environment for civil society and democratizing global governance. Dr. Naidoo is a member of the Friends of the Chair, a group of representatives from civil society invited by South African President Thabo Mbeki to participate in a dialogue on the role of civil society in the Johannesburg Summit. During that meeting, Dr. Naidoo stressed the need for civil society and governments to work together to reform the UN so that future global policymaking initiatives become more democratic. Dr. Naidoo is a Rhodes Scholar with a DPhil in Politics from Magdalen College, Oxford.