PEXforum 2022: Driving (eco)systems change

Alliance magazine

PEXforum is the Europe-wide event which brings together a community that represents over 70+ regional, national, European and global philanthropy networks to collectively identify challenges and opportunities for the sector, share best practices, insights and projects, and spur collaboration in the field.

This year PEXforum took place 24-26 August in Istanbul, Turkey, co-hosted by Philea & TÜSEV and facilitated by SenseTribe. The theme of the event was ‘Driving (eco)systems change: Exploring the transformative power of collaboration in philanthropy’.

Alliance magazine is proud to have been a media partner at this year’s PEXforum in Istanbul, Turkey. We’d like to thank the following contributors:

Josiane Smith Social Innovation Exchange, Kurt Peleman Synergos, Chandrika Sahai Philanthropy for Social justice and Peace, Elika Roohi Alliance magazine, Joris Leverink ROAR Magazine and Guerrilla Foundation, Zibran Choudhury Alliance magazine, and Stefan Cibian, Ph.D Făgăraș Research Institute and The Association for the Practice of Transformation, Derya Tombuloğlu Heart Mind Design, Karin Haselböck Ashoka Europe, Filiz Bikmen Esas Sosyal, Darius Polok iac Berlin.

Read their blogs here…

Let’s dive deep

We are both fascinated and excited by collaborations because they force you to extend yourself intellectually and relationally. They may be frustrating and difficult to get right, but collaboration is where growth is. Exchange based on mutual value and reciprocity is the missing link in tackling the world’s problems.

Kurt Peleman and Josiane Smith report here…

A call to solidarity

The most striking moments of the recently concluded PEXforum in Istanbul were the voices and stories of Turkish civil society.

Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world. The 1.5 million Syrian children in Turkey currently face a precarious future – one of the reasons being unequal access to learning opportunities. Fifty thousand Syrian children do not go to school while the rest do not understand the lessons delivered in a foreign language. With this, the future of all these children is at stake and their capacity to imagine a future and hope denied. Yuva, a national NGO shared the story at the forum about their efforts to build this hope and provide equal opportunities in education to Syrian refugee children. The story focused on one child among 1.5 million conveying a deep sensitivity to the suffering in the life of each child, the call to our collective humanity and the overwhelming awareness of the sheer scale of the tragedy that might unfold if enough is not done soon.

Chandrika Sahai reports here…

At PEXforum 2022, democracy is on the agenda

Democracy funding is a tiny fraction of philanthropic giving – how can the sector use what resources are allocated in the most efficient way? A small group discussion at PEXforum 2022 dives into this question. In the midst of the crises of recent years, our social architecture has proven to be extremely vulnerable – and PEXforum 2022 was an open venue for attendees to share their personal and professional experiences how.

Elika Roohi reports here…

Why philanthropy should fund social movements

There is no blueprint for systems change. Social change is a messy, unpredictable and chaotic process that is often surprising and sometimes uncomfortable. Civil society organisations and NGOs play an important role in cultivating a healthy and diverse oppositional ecology. But by their very nature, they are forced to ‘play by the rules’ navigating their way through the institutional landscape dominated by states, corporations, supranational bodies and other powerful players.

Joris Levernik reports here…

Scale of transition demands need to reimagine, reconstruct and revolutionise

Last week, Philea hosted PEXforum 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey, and Alliance asked its readers what session they would like to hear about most in a poll. The winner was Indy Johar’s keynote on ‘Funding public ‘Good’ in complexity’ – take a look at our conference report below.

Zibran Choudhury reports here…

Foundations and civil society: Time to assert yourself

PEXforum 2022 took place in Istanbul between August 24-26, 2022. The Forum brought together a good mix of philanthropy professionals from the field, offering the occasion to reconnect after two online editions. A much-needed experience, which enabled multiple discussions and exchanges. For me, the highlight of the Forum has been a collective realisation that more needs to be done by the field to address current and emerging global challenges, including the war in Ukraine. What is left for the next edition which is going to take place in Rome in 2024 is a stronger focus on more concrete collaborative initiatives.

Stefan Cibian reports here…

Disrupting ourselves to disrupt the system

PEXforum22 was all about building bridges and fostering collaboration, and Istanbul served the event’s spirit in many ways. As Rana Kotan, the general secretary of TÜSEV, beautifully put in her welcoming remarks, the city mimics the times we live in; intriguing with its potential and energy, while intimidating with its uncertainty and instability. Born and raised in Istanbul, I can confidently tell that the city invites you to navigate chaos on a daily basis. You learn to embrace uncertainty and take a different road opening up to new possibilities. There’s order in this chaos, and it helps you develop a skill to disrupt yourself at a very young age.

Derya Tombuloğlu reports here…



of sheer wonder at the beauty of Istanbul by night, standing on the terrasse of a magnificent Museum owned by one foundation and watching the glittering lights reflected in the Bosporus.

Karin Haselböck reflects here…

Hope and philanthropy

This is one of the most personal posts I’ve ever written. Based on one of the most personal stories I’ve ever shared – and I have PEXforum Istanbul to thank for both opportunities.

Filiz Bikmen reports here…

Philanthropy shifting towards collective approaches

The field of philanthropy has often been criticised for being slow, inflexible, and lagging behind contemporary developments. While true to a certain degree, the field has recently proved that it can also work quickly, flexibly, and based on trust. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, foundations adapted their rules for giving, supported novel forms of collaboration across sectors, and invested in promising though uncertain outcomes. In doing so, they were able to pursue their strategic missions while laying the groundwork for their organisations to be more open to collaborative approaches.

Darius Polok reports here…

Further reading…

Coming soon!

A full interview with Indy Johar. At Dark Matter Labs, Indy and the team are working to create institutions, instruments and infrastructures for a more equitable, caring and sustainable future.

Hosting a conference? Alliance magazine is one of the leading magazines for global philanthropy, and we can provide in-person or remote coverage for your event to over 28,000 readers worldwide. If you would like to explore ways in which Alliance can provide dedicated coverage, please email Amy McGoldrick at

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