City of Valenzuela
Global Future of ICMA
ICMA members and staff visiting City Hall in Valenzuela, Philippines.

The year 2024 marks 100 years since ICMA added the “I” to its name. Since then, ICMA members have been committed to making ICMA a more “international” organization. The milestones the association has achieved are numerous—from ICMA’s work advocating for the council-manager form of government throughout Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, to the more than 500 projects in 70 countries that ICMA has led since then as part of its grants and contracts work. The Envision Strategic Plan, created and ratified by the membership in 2017, identified globalization as a key driver for local governments and the board established the Global Vision and Collaboration Committee to begin developing a more comprehensive global strategy.  

In November 2019, ICMA produced a whitepaper on The Global Future of ICMA that outlines the opportunities, challenges, and key questions that staff believed should be explored as part of any transformation. This whitepaper served as the jumping off point for research, discussions, and decisions on how to transform ICMA into a truly global organization. 


With guidance from the ICMA Executive Board and the collective efforts of members, business partners, international affiliates, staff, and other stakeholders, the Global Engagement Strategy was developed. It was approved by the ICMA Executive Board in June 2022. The strategy includes four goals and 17 objectives that will guide our efforts to realize ICMA’s vision internationally.

Learn More About the Global Engagement Strategy

ICMA seeks to position itself as the home for local government practitioners worldwide–advancing professional local government globally.  The dynamic roadmap developed by staff to implement the strategy will enhance each and every ICMA member by providing new access to global networking, knowledge sharing, and professional development resources.  

ICMA International Affiliates Europe
ICMA members and affiliate organization representatives in Alba Lulia, Romania, during the International Regional Meeting of 2019.

Through these efforts, staff seeks to build a global mindset, strengthen existing relationships and build new ones, identify new areas for global programs, products, and services, and review ICMA’s governance structure. In doing this, we want to ensure financial stability and achieve operational excellence while continuing to provide the same quality programs and services that ICMA is known for.

Download the Global Engagement Strategy Flyer

For more information about this effort, contact  

ICMA’s Current Global Engagement Activities

International Affiliate Organizations are 30+ local government associations representing local governments and professionals in their respective countries. 

Tranter-Leong Fellowship supports international experiences for ICMA members using an endowed fund generously donated to ICMA. 

John Garvey Scholarship allows young professionals to have an international experience, including participating in exchange programs or international local government conferences. 

ICMA Europe is a nonprofit organization registered in the Slovak Republic affiliated with ICMA that was established in 2017 to connect associations of local governments and professionals throughout Europe, as well as North Africa and the Middle East to promote ICMA’s mission and foster information sharing and professional development.  

ICMA Mexico is an independent entity, locally registered in Mexico, that carries out the mission of ICMA in Mexico, developing and selling products and services to promote professional governance. 

ICMA’s International Committee is a member-led committee that has spent several decades helping ICMA by supporting its global activities. 

Student Chapters are being constituted around the world.  While most are in the United States, a growing number of chapters are being formed at universities in other parts of the world. 

Grant Funded Technical Assistance 

ICMA manages grant- and contract-funded technical assistance programs in partnership with organizations like the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. State Department in different countries around the world, including the United States.  Since 1989, ICMA has managed more than 500 programs in 70 countries.  Since 2010, ICMA has coordinated hundreds of fellowship exchanges in partnership with the U.S. Department of State.