Partners for Democratic Change International AISBL was incorporated as international non-profit, non-governmental association in 2006 in Belgium. The network secretariat of the PDCI members in Brussels maintains coordinating functions in addition to development of its own programmatic capacity which focus on training, research and different global and regional initiatives.
Members of the association are 20 independent NGOs from 20 countries committed to advance democratic institutions, civil society, and a culture of change and conflict management worldwide. PDCI members share common core competencies, enabling them to train citizens, government officials, non-government activists, and business leaders through in-country and regional training initiatives, and to apply their mediating and collaborative expertise and methodologies to public disputes and issues.
Back in history the organisation started with establishment of Partners for Democratic Change (PDC) in 1989 in the United States as an international, non-governmental organization. Responding initially to the monumental changes in Central and Eastern Europe, PDC facilitated establishment of local NGOs across Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East. PDC work involved generating and supporting sustainable capacity and local competencies to address governmental, business, and civil society disputes, conflicts, and change issues through mediating processes and programs.
Appreciating that democratic change and civil society building required new skills and methods, from 1991 to 1994 PDC worked with six national NGOs led by trained local professionals. Initially, these NGOs were established with their conflict management curricula, training programs and projects with in major local universities in Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia (Centers in Bratislava and Prague before the separation), and Bulgaria. The university venue proved a fertile ground for introducing new ideas to emerging democracies and enabled PDC to reach a generation of future leaders from a variety of fields, many of whom became prominent members of civil society and government.
During the years all local NGOs became national centers of change and conflict management and developed as independent, in-country, civil society organizations located in: Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Colombia, Georgia, Hungary, Jordan, Kosovo, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, and Yemen. These organisations are managed by their in-country boards of directors and staff and work with a mandate to build a professional cadre of mediators, negotiators, multi-stakeholder facilitators, and trainers in the government, civil society, and private sectors.
PDCI members provide a broad range of diverse programs in the government, civil society, academic and market sectors, and highly sought interactive training, applied mediation and facilitation, and consultation services that assist thousands of CSOs, local and central governments, and business leaders. Often the first organization of its kind in a country, the PDCI members have modeled innovative methodologies and professional performance, as well as pioneered specialized fields, including ethnic and minority conciliation commissions, labor, environmental, and family mediation, anti-corruption and accountable governance initiatives, and a broad range of participatory cross-sector processes.
What began as an experiment within academic institutions is now an expanding, innovative, international organization with 19 national Centers in Europe, Americas, the Middle East and Africa, a hub in Brussels and one in Washington, DC, as well as implementation of programs in many other countries.