ABCD Institute > Institute Faculty > Terry Bergdall

Terry Bergdall

Terry Bergdall is a professional facilitator with extensive international experience in community development, organizational change, project design, monitoring and evaluation. He lives in Chicago and is the former chief executive officer of the Institute of Cultural Affairs in the United States. See

From 1970 to 1984, Terry worked for a faith-based organization, the Ecumenical Institute of Chicago (EI). Staff members of EI composed an experimental community concerned with creating practical ways that the church might become more theologically articulate and socially responsible within a secular context. During Terry’s long tenure with EI, he was involved in pioneering work with residents of distressed communities (e.g. East Garfield Park, Chicago) to foster social and economic development. He also worked with the non-religious sister organization of EI, the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) at its inception. Building upon participatory planning methodologies that arose from community organizing, Terry facilitated strategic planning processes with 28 municipalities and public agencies in the northwest suburbs of Chicago during the early 1980s.

Terry served as ICA’s national director in Kenya from 1984-1989 where he was responsible for a large staff implementing a national program of self-reliant bottom-up village development. While in Nairobi, he initiated and guided a delicate process of ICA restructuring and "indigenization" by creating a long-term strategic plan, intensifying staff development, revamping internal operations, and facilitating the transition of expatriate responsibilities to Kenyan nationals. In 1989, Terry joined the Swedish Cooperative Centre and became the project coordinator for the "Methods for Active Participation Research & Development Project" (MAP) in Zambia, Kenya, and Tanzania. The MAP project worked with hundreds of villages to enhance asset-based development within rural cooperatives.

Between 1992 and June 2009 Terry worked as a consultant both internationally and in the United States. From 1993 to 1996, he served as team leader in Ethiopia for the Community Empowerment Program funded by the Swedish government’s authority for international assistance. He has worked with a large number of humanitarian organizations, like CARE and Habitat for Humanity, in numerous countries up and down the east African coast. Consultancy work on civil society has taken him to the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. He facilitated a large strategic planning process for the Institute of Social Policy in Kosovo shortly after the NATO intervention. Funded by the World Bank and the US Agency for International Development, he facilitated strategic planning processes for five large municipal governments in Swaziland and Zambia. Monitoring and evaluation assignments have taken him to the Republic of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and the Philippines. In the United States, he is a part of the Leadership Practice, a partnership between the ABCD Institute and Public Allies, and has conducted educational programs with AmeriCorps host organizations in several states.

Terry earned his PhD at the University of Wales with research on participatory evaluation. He is a founding member of the International Association of Facilitators, Read Terry’s paper “Reflections on the Catalytic Role of An Outsider in ABCD​​”.

For several years Terry worked to incorporate an ABCD approach in international development programs in the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Republic of Georgia. A key aspect of this was internal monitoring and evaluation activities that placed its emphasis on learning within communities. Read about Terry's work in Ovsište, Serbia. ​