Be more radical in seeking change, says outgoing ActionAid director

Laura Sullivan (right), former regional director for Europe and the Americas at ActionAid, on stage at the European Development Days conference in Brussels, June 2017. Photo by: ActionAid

BRUSSELS — Are NGOs in Brussels radical enough? Not just in their attempts to alter legislation as it winds through the European Union’s lawmaking process, but in seeking systemic change?

“Not enough by half,” according to NGO leader Laura Sullivan.

A few days after stepping down as regional director for Europe and the Americas at ActionAid — a charity she has worked with for a decade — the 38-year-old Irish native met with Devex to distill how she thinks civil society groups can maximize their impact in the EU.

“We focus so much on the [policy and lawmaking] institutions, without thinking about what Greenpeace calls ‘mind bombing’: changing the received understanding of how things are and chipping away at those narratives.”

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About the author

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    Vince Chadwick

    Vince Chadwick is the Brussels Correspondent for Devex. He covers the EU institutions, member states, and European civil society. A law graduate from Melbourne, Australia, he was social affairs reporter for The Age newspaper, before moving to Europe in 2013. He covered breaking news, the arts and public policy across the continent, including as a reporter and editor at POLITICO Europe.