Non-Governmental Organisations in CEE

The working group focuses on the third sector, including civil society organisations, from now on referred to as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and their participation in governance in Central-Eastern Europe (CEE) states and regions. Our broad objective is to create a forum for the intellectual and practical exploration of NGOs' role – independently and in collaboration with government institutions and private firms – in defining, shaping and achieving the public good. We define NGOs broadly, and we are especially interested in those whose mission is strongly related to the public interest and who work in areas such as governance, social and health services, education, public policy, citizen participation, human rights, environmental protection, watchdog activities and/or humanitarian aid, and who come from all sides of the political and social spectrum.


Non-Governmental Organisations in Central and Eastern Europe held two sessions at the 2024 Tbilisi conference of NISPAcee, hearing seven papers presented by seven authors. All papers contributed to the understanding of the role and performance of NGOs in the region, in regards to their support services during the refugee crises and the relationship with the public authorities, fundraising practices, media presence, leadership challenges and gender equality, INGOs and their influence over the local NGOs, and the use of AI in the current work of the organisations.

In total, 13 papers were submitted, 12 of which were accepted to be presented at the conference in our working group. Seven papers were registered for the conference, and all were presented.

This year, the work in our group included primarily country-case papers, with papers focused on diverse NGO challenges in Hungary, Romania (three papers), Moldova, Georgia, Belarus and Slovenia. This year, we also had a presentation of a research study developed by a practitioner for an NGO in Romania, a study dedicated to serving hundreds of NGOs in their fundraising practices. Thematically, we discussed:

  • Romanian NGOs' relationships with the government in aiding migrants from Ukraine and the resilience of civil organisations in Hungary in refugee affairs;
  • Women Leadership in the Non-Governmental Sector in Romania and Moldova;
  • Fundraising practices of CSOs in Romania;
  • AI use of CSOs in Slovenia;
  • The potential misinterpretation, falsification, or exploitation of data from international NGOs' indices by hybrid regimes and their consequences on the local NGOs' activities for democratisation in Georgia;
  • Perception of Belarusian CSOs working in Georgia by the Georgian media.
The methodological approaches varied between papers. In other words, some of them used very sound methodology, while in others, there was some room for improvement. All authors have put a lot of effort and energy into their work.


Paula-Mariana Beudean

Public Administration and Management Department, ”Babe?-Bolyai” University, Romania


Paula Beudean has been working with the Department of Public Administration & Management, "Babe?-Bolay” University, as an NGO practitioner, delivering courses, at the graduate and undergraduate levels, on NGO Management, Fundraising in NGOs, Volunteering Marketing, Advocacy and Lobby for NGOs since 2008. Her research focuses on NGO Leadership, NGOs’ readiness for innovation and digital transformation, NGOs and business cooperation, NGOs and their involvement in education services, etc. 

Paula has 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector, working in Romania and abroad. Currently, she works with an NGO in Romania and another one in Norway, as a project manager, grant manager and facilitator/trainer. Her NGO expertise is in fundraising, CSR, PR, design thinking, storytelling, media literacy, entrepreneurship, financial education, community development, and child protection.

Mária Murray Svidroňová

Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia.


Mária Murray Svidroňová is an Associate Professor of Public Economy and Services at the Faculty of Economics, Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia. Her pedagogical and research activities are focused on the economics and management of the third sector, public and private nonprofit organizations, civil society and CSOs. She is particularly interested in social innovation issues in the area of public service provision, e.g. through co-creation, community building, and civic activism. 

She is active in several international studies and research projects dealing with public service innovation and civic engagement. In cooperation with the Office of the Plenipotentiary of the Government for the Development of Civil Society, she participated in the preparation of legislative changes in the field of financing NGOs. She runs her own civic association. She was the chairperson of the Mayor's Council of Banská Bystrica for non-governmental organizations (2015 – 2019). She is a member of the Accreditation Commission of the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic for Specialized Activities in the field of youth work.

Iga Jeziorska

Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

Iga Jeziorska is a PhD student in the Doctoral School of Political Science at Corvinus University of Budapest. Her main research areas include non-governmental organisations and their involvement in policy-making and public service delivery, especially in the area of drug policy. She has been actively involved in the third sector since 2011. 

She is a member of the Board of Advisors and a coordinator of the international network Youth Organisations for Drug Action. Since July 2018 she has been serving as a Chair of the Working Group on EU Drug Strategy and Action Plan in the Civil Society Forum on Drugs - an advisory body to the European Commission.

    Invitation to the 33rd NISPAcee Annual Conference 2025