International Evaluation Academy (IEA) Week: Introducing the International Evaluation Academy by Zenda Ofir and Scott Chaplowe

Zenda Ofir
Scott Chaplowe

Greetings, AEA members! We are Zenda Ofir and Scott Chaplowe, two independent evaluators and respectively the Council Chairperson and the Coordinator of the Transformational Evaluation Working Group of the International Evaluation Academy (IEAc). It is a privilege to introduce this themed week featuring blog posts as a way to introduce the Academy to the AEA365 readers.

The global evaluation community – those of us who associate with systematic evaluation practice in some or other form – has a great asset in the global evaluation architecture that connects us all through EvalPartners, IOCE and the many different regional, national and even sub-national evaluation associations to which we belong. Other organisations with a more specific charge or focus, such as IDEAS, UNEG and the GEI, are also components of this rich evaluation architecture.

The latest addition is the International Evaluation Academy (IEAc). It is unique in two respects: 1) It was conceived in the spirit of science academies (also engineering, arts and social science academies), but with a global focus and non-elitist approach. 2) It has transformation as its clarion call – explicitly taking on the challenge to spur transformation in and through evaluative practice in areas where it now matters most. It already has a Council of 50 prominent members from all parts of the world, and an impressive 16-member Board of Trustees. Fellows from around the world will soon be invited join as the heart of the Academy.

IEA’s call to transformation compels evaluation to respond to the challenges posed by the Anthropocene, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, unbridled capitalism, massive inequalities, increasing poverty after the pandemic, destruction of natural ecosystems, plastics pollution, and growing geopolitical tensions as power and resources shift. Significant changes are needed to support sustainable, equitable development that focuses on harmony across societies, and with nature.

Against this background, IEAc seeks to propel evaluation with partners in and beyond the evaluation community. The challenges ahead are significant, but so are the extraordinary opportunities to reshape and transform evaluation to meet the challenges of our time. We recognize this is a shared journey, and celebrate the strides already made by many. Yet much can still be done to break out of convention and comfort.

Photo by Miriam Fischer from Pexels

The timeliness of the Academy was validated in a survey and consultations with evaluators around the world. The Prague Declaration on Evaluation for Transformational Change adopted at the 2019 IDEAS Global Assembly and Third International Conference on Evaluating Environment and Development states, among others: “We commit to evaluations that help us learn, understand and support the transformational and systemic changes needed in our countries and the world, as agreed upon in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The Academy will seek to tackle important issues that others who practice, fund or commission evaluations cannot or will not tackle. It will find leverage points that can spur large systems change, working with diverse sectors and fields also beyond evaluation, and stressing an inclusive and transdisciplinary ethic. It holds subsidiarity as a central principle and will work in a complementary manner, avoiding duplication and competition.

The IEAc is young. We acknowledge that transformation is an unfolding, open-ended process, and that we will learn and adapt on the way. Over the past months, eight Council working groups have identified 22 potential initiatives, and task forces are working to steer the initiative at this nascent stage.

We look forward to you joining us on this transformational journey.

Rad Resources

To learn more, check out the IEA website, this recent AJE article on “Transforming Evaluation for Times of Global Transformation,” and the resource website, Evaluation for Transformation.

The American Evaluation Association is hosting International Evaluation Academy (IEA) Week. The contributions to AEA365 this week are all related to this theme. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this AEA365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the AEA365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an AEA365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to AEA365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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