Human Rights Conference 2015

Join the Conversation

Dates: March 20th - 22nd
Location: New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
333 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (map)

Conference registration is now available!

The 2015 Annual General Meeting will bring over a thousand human rights activists from around the world together to engage in networking opportunities, human rights actions, inspiring plenaries, outstanding key notes, and hands-on workshops. This year's conference is shaping up to be incredible, and through our conference, communities will be challenged to expand awareness, initiate change, and call the world to action.

Founded in 1961, Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 7 million supporters, members and activists who campaign for internationally recognized human rights to be respected and protected. In recognition of its contribution to "securing the ground for freedom, for justice, and thereby also for peace in the world," Amnesty International was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977.

Conference Agenda

This is a draft agenda and is subject to change. Please check back for more information.


Updated 2/10/15      Note: all times are Eastern


Friday, March 20
8.30am - 10.00am Member Leader Meetings
Experienced and new AIUSA member leaders come together to network and reflect on the accomplishments and challenges of 2014 while building a vision for 2015.
10.00am - 8.00pm Conference Registration
10.00am - 2.00pm Member Leader Skillshare
Hone your organizing skills with peers. Join member leaders as they share their strengths in interactive platforms. The skillshare is free with AGM registration and open to Student Activist Coordinators, Area Coordinators, Group Coordinators, Co-Group members, Legislative Coordinators, State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinators, and others interested in leadership roles.
2.00pm - 3.15pm Action
Be part of a rally on the streets of New York City to demand human rights for all.
3.30pm - 4.00pm Official Opening of the Annual General Meeting
AIUSA Board of Directors Chair, Ann Burroughs
4.00pm - 5.45pm Opening Plenary Session: From Moment to Movement
We believe every action taken to defend and advance human rights makes the global human rights movement stronger and ever more unstoppable. Gather with activists from protest movements in Ferguson, Missouri; Brazil; Mexico; Hong Kong; and New York City and let's elevate all the ways we sustain activism and drive impact while celebrating our collective power to create solutions that move us forward together.
6.00pm - 7.30pm New York Pizza and Resolution Working Parties
Grab a classic NY bite while we talk about how you can help shape the organization's policies through the AIUSA resolutions process.

Networking in Action Alley
Come together with other passionate activists to find points of collaboration as we build our vision of justice, freedom, truth, and dignity for all members of the global community.
7.45pm - 8.45pm AIUSA Board of Directors Town Hall Meeting
Who are the members of AIUSA's Board of Directors? Find out by joining this informal public meeting, open to all members. Come ready to ask questions, give feedback, and meet your 18 representatives.
9.00pm - 10.00pm Nomination Committee Discussion
How does someone become a member of the Board of Directors? Learn about the nominations and election process for the Amnesty International USA's Board of Directors.
Saturday, March 21
7.30am - 2.00pm Registration
8.00am - 9.15am Shaping the Global Movement: 2015 International Council Meeting
Every two years Amnesty delegates across the world set aside time to gather and discuss where the movement is currently at and where it needs to be. This is known as the International Council Meeting (ICM). The ICM is Amnesty's highest decision-making body and a significant element of its democracy in action. Come to this session to learned about and discuss the key issues that will be the focus of the 2015 ICM in August.
9.30am - 10.45am Saturday Welcoming Remarks
Keynote Plenary by AIUSA Executive Director, Steven Hawkins
11.00am - 12.30pm Program Session Block 1
Social Media as a Force for Social Justice
Your Activism Saved My Life: Former Prisoners of Conscience Share their Stories
Stop Torture: Ending Solitary Confinement in US Prisons and Society
Constructing Our Own Public Narrative: A Storytelling Strategy
Common Ground: The Police Reform Movement and Amnesty International USA
The Terror Industry: Profiting From Fear, Hate, and Insecurity
Writing For Your Life
Trans Rights Are Human Rights
Fundraising: Key Strategies to Fund Human Rights Work
(Note: timing and placement subject to change)
12.45pm - 2.00pm AIUSA Luncheon
Member Awards Ceremony: Celebrating Our Leaders
2.15pm - 3.45pm Program Session Block 2
Central African Republic, Nigeria, and Syria: Crisis Spotlight
Ferguson Human Rights Defenders: Moving Forward
Gender, Sex, and Human Rights
From Despair to Victory: Creating Effective Strategies on Human Rights Issues and Cases
Outside Your Comfort Zone: Intersecting Communities and Issues
How do I lobby? Learn About Putting the Pressure On
Human Rights Challenges for Women and Girls in South Asia
Putting an End to the Death Penalty: Where Are We?
Defending Human Rights in the Americas: Liberty At Risk
Digital Capture: Filming Protests
(Note: timing and placement subject to change)
4.00pm - 5.30pm Arts For Amnesty Plenary: Gatekeepers of Truth
Amnesty International has a long tradition of working with artists to amplify stories and voices of human rights defenders through film, music, art, and other media. Hear Harry Belafonte and other artists discuss how they leading the fight for human rights through music, culture, and arts.
5.45pm - 7.45pm Voting Plenary
Members vote on resolutions intended to shape Amnesty policy and practice. All are welcome, only members may vote.
8.00pm - 9.30pm Networking
Come together with other passionate activists to find points of collaboration as we build our vision of justice, freedom, truth, and dignity for all human beings.
Sunday, March 22
8.00am - 9.30am Caucuses
Join forces with others with similar interests to develop concrete strategies for tackling challenges you face as an activist.

AI's Strategic Goals Consultation
Own the development of Amnesty International's Strategic Goals for 2016-2019. Be part of creating goals for Amnesty's future work.
9.45am - 10.45am Board Candidates Forum
Have breakfast with the candidates who are running in this year's election. They are seeking the opportunity to represent you, so if you are an AIUSA member, make sure to vote; the election period ends May 31, 2015.
11.00am - 12.30pm Program Block 3
Engaging in Digital Human Rights Activism
Palestine Joins the International Criminal Court: Game Changer?
Artivism Competition
The State of the Global Movement Against Torture
Using Your Story to Disrupt Mainstream Myths
From the Ground Up: Organizing in Your Local Community
Youth at the Forefront of Change
Weapons and War Crimes: The Arms Trade Treaty
(Note: timing and placement subject to change)
12.45pm - 2.15pm Closing Plenary
2.15pm - 2.45pm Closing Remarks
AIUSA Board of Directors Chair, Ann Burroughs
Dramatic Reading of an Amnesty International USA Urgent Action
End of 2015 AGM

Join The Host Committee

On behalf of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) and the Program Committee, we would like to invite you to join us on our 2015 Annual General Meeting (AGM) Host Committee for our greatly anticipated national Human Rights Conference, being held in Brooklyn, at the New York Marriott Brooklyn Bridge from March 20-22, 2015.

The Host Committee is instrumental in supporting the success of the AGM. The Host Committee members ensure that there is robust attendance by inviting their colleagues, friends, and family to the upcoming conference.

Host Committee members commit to the following attendee goals:

  • Individuals on the committee will do their best to secure a minimum of six attendees
  • Local groups/organizations listed on the Host Committee will do their best to secure ten attendees

Amnesty provides the Host Committee members with the resources to meet their attendee goals. We will provide them with invitations, social media promotional language, and other materials they will need to drive attendance and participation with the AGM.

All Host Committee members that secure double their attendance goal will be entered to win (up to two winners) a $200 merchandise certificate, to be redeemed at the AGM. Drawing will be held on Thursday, March 13th. If a local group/organization wins the chair of the group wins a fun prize.

In return for signing up to the Host Committee, Amnesty will:

  • List their name on selected event materials.
  • Provide Host Committee members an opportunity to participate in our recruitment blitz a month prior to the AGM. The blitz is a week-long training with our field staff that includes community outreach and promotion of the AGM.
  • Be entered into a drawing for a door prize.

Since our founding, Amnesty International's greatest support comes from supporters like you. We hope that you will join us on the host committee for AGM 2015.

Please don't forget to purchase your tickets early to ensure your attendance!

Travel Information

We look forward to having you join us for Amnesty International USA's 2015 Human Rights Conference!

We are excited to be hosting the conference in the iconic city of Brooklyn, NY. The links below provide resources that can help in your planning, including information on lodging, traveling around New York City and Brooklyn. We encourage you to book your travel early, as rates will change and increase as the conference gets closer. If you have any questions, please email

Thank you, and see you in Brooklyn!

Hotel and Hostel Information

Many of the activists attending the 2015 Annual General Meeting will be staying at The New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge where the AGM is being hosted. To be eligible for the AIUSA group discount room rate of $209.00 per night, reservations must be made by Wednesday, March 4th. See below for more information on how to reserve your room at the Marriott for the Amnesty International USA Human Rights Conference.

We encourage all conference attendees to stay at the Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge for easy access to all AGM related meetings and sessions as well as to support our hosts; however, we have also included alternative options below.


New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
333 Adams St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
T: (718) 246-7000

The Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge is offering conference attendees a discounted room rate of $209.00 per night. In order to secure this discounted rate, all reservations must be made by Wednesday, March 4th. The hotel is also offering complimentary in-room internet and fitness center access to all AGM guests who book rooms prior to the March 4th deadline. Parking is available at a rate of $25 per day for overnight guests. To make reservations, call toll-free 1-800- 266-9432 and mention the discount code Amnesty International or book online without the use of a discount code.

Hotel Indigo: Brooklyn
229 Duffield St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
T: (718) 254-7800

Hotel Indigo: Brooklyn offers a variety of rooms with a per night rate of $215.00+. The hotel is a 10 minute walk or 1 subway stop away from the conference venue. Hotel Indigo: Brooklyn is also pet-friendly, non-smoking, and offers free wireless internet. To learn more about this hotel, check Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-877-846-3446.

NU Hotel
85 Smith St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
T: (718) 852-8585

NU Hotel offers standard double, queen, and king size rooms as well as several suites for a per night rate of $219.00+. NU Hotel is a short 10 minute walk from the conference venue and the offers all guests complimentary WiFi and a free breakfast. The hotel is also non-smoking and pet friendly. For more information and to make a reservation, visit

Hampton Inn: Brooklyn/Downtown
125 Flatbush Ave. Extension
Brooklyn, NY 11201
T: (718) 875-8800

The Hampton Inn in Downtown Brooklyn offers several non-smoking rooms for rates of $220.00+ per night. Only a 10 minute walk from the AGM venue, the hotel offers free in-room WiFi, a complimentary breakfast buffet, and a 24-hour fitness center. To learn more about Downtown Brooklyn Hampton Inn, visit

Hostels and Bed & Breakfasts:

3B: The Downtown Brooklyn Bed and Breakfast
136 Lawrence St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
T: (347) 762-2632

3B is a small boutique B&B "cooperatively owned and run by 7 young creators out of [their] home." A limited number of private rooms are available for per night rates of $84.00+. 3B has two shared bathrooms, offers free internet, and complimentary home-made breakfast every morning. Only a 5 minute walk from the conference venue, check for room availabilities.

American Dream Hostel
168 East 24th St.
New York, NY 10010

American Dream Hostel offers two-person and three-person shared rooms for $64.00+ per night, as well as a private single room for $110.00. For students between the ages of 18 and 30, the hostel also has four-person dorm style rooms available. The American Dream Hostel is a 30-minute subway ride away from the AGM venue. To reserve a room, visit

Getting to Brooklyn

Airport Information

Three major airports service the New York Metropolitan Area:

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
Jackson Heights,Queens | | 718-533-3400
LaGuardia is on the northern shore of Queens and is the closest airport to Midtown Manhattan at about 8 miles away. It handles domestic US flights and shuttles, and Canadian and Caribbean air traffic, with 338,500--‐plus flights and 26.7 million passengers annually. Its four passenger terminals serve more than 6,955 weekly arrivals/departures.
- 11 miles from the New York Marriott Brooklyn Bridge
- Drive Time: Approximately 25 minutes

Driving from LaGuardia Airport: (Approx. 25 min) Follow LaGuardia Rd. Take a slight right toward Grand Central Pkwy and travel 0.3 miles. Take a slight left to merge onto Grand Central Pkwy. Travel 0.9 miles and take the exit onto Brooklyn Queens Expy E. Travel 1.2 miles then merge onto I-278 W. Travel 6.8 miles and take exit 29 to merge onto Tillary St toward Manhattan Bridge/Bklyn Civic Center. Travel 0.6 miles and turn left onto Adams Adams St/Brooklyn Bridge Blvd. The hotel will be on the right.

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
Jamaica, Queens | | 718--‐244-4444
JFK is 15 Miles from Midtown Manhattan. It Handles the most international traffic of any airport in the United States—more Than 406,000 Flights and 50.4 million-plus passengers annually. About 7,600 Weekly domestic arrivals/departures connect to JFK, and 80 Airlines serve its six passenger terminals.
- 12 miles from the New York Marriott Brooklyn Bridge
- Drive Time: Approximately 35 minutes
- Public Transit: The JFK AirTrain connects to NY subway line "A" which stops near the conference venue. Approximate travel time is 50 minutes.

Driving from JFK Airport: (Approx. 35 min) Head northeast and take a slight right onto JFK Access Rd. Continue onto Van Wyck Expy. Travel 0.7 miles and continue onto I-678 N. Travel 7.4 miles and take exit 12B for I-495 W/L I Expy toward Midtown Tunnel. Travel 0.5 miles and merge onto I-495 W. Travel 3.4 miles and take exit 17W toward Brooklyn. Travel 1.4 miles and merge onto I-278 W. Travel 4.2 miles and take exit 29 to merge onto Tillary St toward Manhattan Bridge/Bklyn Civic Center. Travel 0.6 miles and turn left onto Adams St. Travel 0.2 miles and turn left on Adams St/Brooklyn Bridge Blvd. The hotel will be on the right.

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
Newark | | 888-EWR-INFO
Newark Liberty welcomes more than 414,700 Flights and almost 35 million passengers annually. There are more than 29 international and domestic carriers, with more than 7,700 weekly domestic arrivals/departures. The airport is across the Hudson River From New York City, 16 miles and 45-60 Minutes from Midtown Manhattan.
- 16 miles from the New York Marriott Brooklyn Bridge
- Drive Time: Approximately 45 minutes
- Public Transit: The Newark AirTrain connects to NJ railroad and Amtrak, both of which stop in Penn Station. Several subway lines that stop near the conference venue are then available from Penn Station. Approximate travel time is 1.5 hours.

Driving from Newark Airport: (Approx. 45 min) Follow signs for US-1 N/US-9 N/US-22/NJ-21 then for U.S. 1 Truck N/US-9 Truck N. Merge onto U.S. 9 N. Travel 3.3 miles and continue onto NJ-139 E. Travel 1.3 miles and merge onto I-78 E (Partial toll road). Travel 2.2 miles and continue onto Holland Tunnel (Toll road). Take the ramp to Varick St (Toll road). Follow the round about to the left then take exit 4 toward Downtown. Turn right onto Varick St. Travel 0.2 miles and turn left onto Worth St. Travel 0.3 miles and turn right at the 3rd cross street onto Federal Plaza/Lafayette St. Continue to follow Lafayette St then onto Centre St. Turn left to merge onto Brooklyn Bridge. Travel 1.5 miles and continue onto Adams St. Travel 0.2 miles and turn left onto Adams St/Brooklyn Bridge Blvd. The hotel will be on the right.

Train Stations

New York City has two main railroad stations: Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal.

Penn Station
- Amtrak, the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), New Jersey Transit, and the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) all stop directly inside Penn Station.
- Subway lines A, C, 2, and 3 can be taken directly from Penn Station to the conference venue.

Grand Central Terminal
- Metro-North Commuter Railroad services Grand Central Terminal.
- Subway lines 4 and 5 can be taken directly from Grand Central to the AGM hotel.

Bus Lines

New York City can be reached by multiple regional bus lines.
- Greyhound Lines ( - Services the entire U.S.
- BoltBus ( - Services NYC to Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston.
- Megabus ( - Services NYC to numerous cities in Canada and the U.S. (CT, DE, GA, IL, MA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT)
- Vamoose ( - Services NYC to Maryland and Virginia.

Rental Car

Multiple rental car companies are available at all three airports. Car rental reservations can be made via company websites or through the catch all


Parking at the New Marriott Brooklyn Bridge is $25.00 per day for guests.

Getting Around in New York City

The Amnesty International USA Annual General Meeting is being held at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, located at 333 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. The Marriott's phone number is (718) 246-7000.

Subways and Buses

Public transit in New York City is easy to use and access. The subway system and bus lines are operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and span the entirety of NYC.

The MTA operates 24/7 and can be utilized by purchasing a MetroCard (available at every subway stop). The base fare for both subway and local bus routes is $2.50. A complete subway map and trip planner is available on the MTA's website. Maps can also be obtained at most subway stations.

The New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge is conveniently located a short walk from subway lines 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, F, and R.

Car/Taxi Services

New York City is home to numerous car services. Here are a few reliable services:

  • Arecibo - Arecibo is a local car service based in Brooklyn. Reservations can be made on their website and by calling 1-855-428-0222 or 1-718-783-6465.
  • OZO - New York's first eco-friendly car service! OZO cars can be booked on their website or by calling 1-866-696-5966.
  • UBER - Cars and SUVs can be ordered by downloading Uber's phone app.
  • WiroLimo - Cars must be reserved ahead of time. Reservations can be made by visiting their website or calling 1-718-775-2611.
  • With over 13,600 taxicabs in New York City, it's always easy to hail a cab. Make sure to look for taxis that have the light on their roof turned on—this means they're available!

Conference Resources

Apply for a Subsidy

AIUSA is providing limited subsidies in the form of lodging for Friday and Saturday night (March 20-21) of the 2015 Annual General Meeting in Brooklyn, NY. The subsidies are intended for active AI members and activists or those hoping to become active who otherwise would be unable to attend the conference due to financial constraints.

Click here for more information about requirements and eligibility, to review Frequently Asked Questions, and to submit an application. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 5:00pm EST.

Action Alley "Ideas Fair"

The Action Alley, formerly known as the Ideas Fair, is an interactive space for participants to engage in creative and inspirational actions. This year, it will also feature a "Wall of Awareness" that will serve as a mural display of flyers, posters, and other works of art from AIUSA activists from across the country, and a "Skill Share" corner where activists will be asked provocative questions about their ideas and creative ways to build community, engage people in action, fundraise, and recruit and retain members.

Click here to submit a proposal for the Action Alley. Space is limited. The deadline to submit a proposal is Friday, February 20, 2015. If you have any questions, contact Cynthia Gabriel at

Submit posters, flyers, and photos to display on the "Wall of Awareness" by emailing William Butkus at or ask for mailing instructions.

Community Suites

Amnesty International USA is very excited to feature "Community Rooms" at this year's 50th Annual General Meeting. These spaces are the culmination of years of feedback on having safe physical spaces for affected communities to find solace during the conference.

The Community Rooms are a space where people can relax and be able to fully express their identities without fear. These are safe spaces where you can share with others who identify with your biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, religious affiliation, age, or physical or mental ability. Each Community Room reflects an identity or community that has voiced a need for the space and we respectfully ask that you only participate in a Community Room with which you self-identify.

The only exception will be the Healing Justice Room; this space is open to everyone. However, please keep in mind that space is limited, and we would like to make sure that we acknowledge those who may have a greater need for this space than others, and give them the courtesy of having priority, if space becomes an issue.

  • Disability Hospitality Suite
  • Healing Justice Hospitality Suite
  • Interfaith Hospitality Suite
  • LGBT Hospitality Suite
  • Racial Diversity Hospitality Suite

Gender Neutral Restrooms

One way of acknowledging transgender people's needs is to designate gender neutral restrooms, which we have done at this year's AGM. Regardless of what bathroom you are in, please respect everyone's privacy.

Childcare Room

AIUSA wants to ensure all our members can participate in the AGM. For this reason, we have created a space for the youngest members of our #FAmnesty. Our childcare providers are licensed, bonded and on-site so that members with little ones can enjoy all that the AGM has to offer. Childcare services will be offered at the following times:

  • Friday - 9:00 AM - 6:30 PM
  • Saturday - 9:00 AM - 7:30 PM
  • Sunday - 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM

Additional Resources

Check out our 2015 social media toolkit here

More information will be available soon.

Volunteer Opportunities

Take your experience at the 50th Annual General Meeting to the next level. Volunteer with other activists from around the nation in Brooklyn. Help us celebrate 50 years of gathering human rights activists from around the country who come together to engage in networking opportunities, actions, inspiring plenaries, outstanding key notes, and hands-on workshops as well as to shape the policies of the organization.

Get involved. Check out the open positions below. Sign up here.

Those who volunteer for a 3-hour shift will be awarded a day pass, free of charge, once their shift is complete. Please note that you will only receive a day pass for the day you volunteer, not for the entire conference.

If you have any further questions please reach out to Savannah Fox, Amnesty International Field Organizer at

Three hour time slots for the following positions are available:

Registration: The registration team will be in charge of aiding with the registration process. The registration team will check attendees into the conference. The welcome team will help direct the attendees to where they need to be for check in. Volunteers should be energetic and outgoing.

Event Set Up: Support the set up of the ballroom, programmatic rooms, and action alley.

Event Break-down: Support the break out and clean up of the ballroom, programmatic rooms, and action alley.

Ballroom Ambassador: Ballroom Ambassadors will direct attendees when they enter the ballroom and make sure everyone is on time for the program. They will also ensure that everything runs smoothly and timely within the room, including supporting speakers and guests.

National Resolution Shadows: Support our National Resolutions Committee with governance pieces of the national conference including staffing the resolution session.

Attendee Ambassador: This volunteer team will help attendees get to where they need to be and secure that everyone is on time. They will also ensure that the hallways and rooms are tidy before and after programs and trainings.

Guest Services: The Guest Services will need volunteers during the registration process to sit at a table to New York as well as the conference in general. These volunteers will have extensive knowledge of the AGM and Amnesty International.

Know which volunteer position you want to take on? Sign up here.