Amnesty International USA is excited to be hosting the 2021 Virtual Annual General Meeting. The theme is Together for Our Future – 60 years of uniting action-takers and change-makers.

In 2021, Amnesty International is celebrating its 60th Anniversary. For 60 years we have been uniting action-takers and change-makers from the world over. Together we will continue our fight for human rights! AGM 2021 is virtual but it will bring to you the same energy that we have brought to you for the last 60 years. The 2021 Virtual AGM will provide a space for members/activists to connect with one another and to get tools/trainings that will help them engage in human rights work.

2021 Virtual Annual General Meeting
Dates: March 12th – 14th

Registration has now closed.

Shop our limited edition AGM 60 Years Collection

AGENDA

Our agenda includes inspirational plenaries, educational human rights workshops, and opportunities for members to influence the governance policies of AIUSA. Our full agenda inclusive of session descriptions and speaker bios can be found on our event platform Whova. Please see the event platform tab for more details.

We’ve also included PDF versions of the Agenda in EST, CST and PST.

Agenda

EST – AGENDA

cst – agenda

pst – agenda

Program Committee

The Annual General Meeting Program Committee (AGM PC) is a group of AIUSA member leaders whose primary role is to help plan, in accordance with Shared Leadership Guidelines, the agenda of the AGM, inclusive of speakers, training workshops, and other programs, consistent with the objectives of the event. It is the role of the Program Committee to ensure that the agenda is balanced, incorporating a diverse array of member-led workshops and panels. Below are the bios for this year’s AGM PC members.

  • Alejandro Del Pino (he/him) is a second-year member of the National Youth Collective, a leadership body for engaging young people in all aspects of Amnesty. He recently graduated from Florida State University where he was a member of the AIUSA student chapter. Alejandro is a lover of the environment and an extremely passionate and outspoken individual when it comes to minorities and their rights.
  • Ciara Bennese is a refugee resettlement professional based in Washington, DC. Currently, she serves as the AIUSA Legislative Coordinator for Washington, DC and previously served as the Legislative Coordinator for Florida and North Carolina, as well as the Director of the student group at Florida State University. Ciara specializes in advocacy on refugees, migration, and gun violence and has lobbied Members of Congress for over 6 years.
  • Jim McDonald is the AIUSA Sri Lanka Country Specialist and a member of Group 113 (Chicago). He has testified before Congress for AIUSA. He organized numerous screenings of the documentary “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields.” Jim has led workshops on Sri Lanka at many AIUSA conferences.
  • Laura Nuechterlein has been a member of AIUSA since the early 1990s, with stints in groups at Indiana University and in Chicago. She now resides in Seattle, where she is a member of Local Group 4. Laura currently serves as AIUSA Washington State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator.
  • Nissa Khan (she/her/hers) is a first year area coordinator. Nissa has been an SAC for two years before becoming an area coordinator while also being the President of her Amnesty chapter at Midwestern State University. Currently she is working on her masters in industrial/organizational psychology from Purdue University. Nissa is passionate about refugee rights and has organized and been a part events that support this campaign.

AGM activist AWards ceremony

During our AIUSA Annual General Meeting, we celebrated 60 years of human rights advocacy by honoring some of our very own AIUSA activists!

Our first ever asylum casework award was presented to Country Specialist Joyceen Boyle.  AIUSA’s Country & Thematic Specialists have a meaningful impact on people’s lives by writing letters of support and providing expert testimony for asylum cases, where the individuals are at risk of human rights abuses. Joyceen joined the Central America Cogroup in 1983, which is when she wrote her first letter of support for a young Salvadoran asylum seeker, who had fled with his family to the U.S. Joyceen still hears from him at Christmas time. ​Joyceen began keeping records of her asylum letters in 2016 and over the past 5 years, she has written 64 letters of support for asylum seekers from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. ​

For the annual Individuals at Risk Hero Awards, we recognize activists for their outstanding casework, as well as exemplary members of the Urgent Action Network (UAN). The UAN General Awardee was Andrew “Andy” Lifson and the UAN School Edition Award was presented to Richard “Rich” J. Beebe.

The Case Commitment Initiative Award went to the activists working on the Mid-Atlantic Special Focus Case.

The Leading Change! AIUSA Student Group of the Year award is given to highlight and recognize the work of AIUSA student and youth groups who carry out exceptional work and demonstrate steadfast dedication towards human rights. This year’s award was presented to the Lexington High School chapter in South Carolina. Throughout the school year, they collected 372 letters for Write For Rights, conducted an extensive campaign to educate their school and garner support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they won AIUSA’s Activism X competition by promoting the #FreetheFamilies campaign, and even utilized TikTok to raise awareness about human rights abuses and promote action for their amelioration, garnering thousands of views and likes. But something that makes the work of this group particularly impressive is their resilience and ability to adapt to a generally unfriendly organizing environment for human rights and social justice advocates.

During the ceremony, we recognized and highlighted the innovation, creativity, impact, meaningful connections, advocacy, domestic and international human rights work of AIUSA’s local groups. The local groups have adapted during these challenging times and inspired others to join the human rights movement. Local group 1017 Bay Area- Houston from Texas was recognized for their achievements as a new group.  In the challenging year that was 2020, the Bay Area group held monthly meetings, participated in Write For Rights, and led an impressive number of campaigns and diverse actions.  This included Op-Eds, fundraisers, and weekly humanitarian aid visits to the border.

Are you inspired by the human rights activism of our awardees? Here are ways that you can join them in taking action:

event platform

We are excited to be hosting the Virtual AGM on Whova!

Whova is available on BOTH a desktop and smartphone device.

Once you register, you will receive an email with details on how to access the event page on Whova. Whova will host all aspects of the conference including pre-recorded content, live sessions, discussion rooms, scheduling capabilities, and other opportunities for networking.

For more information on Whova, please click the Attendee Guide below.

Attendee Guide

Please note, all registered attendees will receive a Welcome Packet which contains detailed instructions on accessing Whova and navigating the platform.

accessing sessions

During the conference, zoom links for all sessions will be found in Whova in the descriptions for sessions. These links will be populated the Friday morning of the conference. In order to join the zoom link, you will go to agenda, look for the session you wish to join, click “view session” in Whova and then click the zoom link.

For some helpful tech tips on zoom, please click the box below. 

zoom 101

GOVERNANCE

AIUSA will be holding working parties and the AGM voting plenary virtually using the ClearPicture platform, as held at the Activism Conference in Fall 2020. More details to come but if you have any questions or comments, please contact [email protected] and [email protected]

Please Note: Thursday, January 21st at 11:59pm PST is the record date deadline for participation in governance sessions.  Please note, in order to be a voting member for all AGM governance sessions, you must have paid membership dues between March 12th, 2020 and January 21st, 2021 or acquired a dues waiver by December 23rd, 2020. AIUSA bylaws require that participants be registered members 50 days prior to the AGM in order to be able to vote.

  • Working Party I: March 10th at 8:30pm – 10pm EST
  • Working Party II: March 11th at 8pm – 9:30pm EST
  • Voting Plenary: March 14th at 2pm – 4pm EST

group voting authorization form

Deadline: March 1st at 5pm EST

At the AIUSA Annual General Meeting, resolutions may be voted on by Individual Voting Members and by one designated delegate from each registered AIUSA Student or Local Group. Group voting cards are available to AIUSA chartered groups that have renewed their status with the organization, by completing the annual Local Group Census. To obtain a Group Voting Card, the Group Coordinator/Chair must submit a completed copy of this authorization. The deadline is Monday, March 1st at 5pm EST. The purpose of this form is to indicate who the authorized Group delegate will be at the Virtual AGM. You will be asked to also indicate 2 back-up delegates in the event that the Group delegate is unable to be present. The Group delegate will receive additional information via email. Please discuss the resolutions with your group before the conference. The Resolutions to be considered will be found on the Member Center prior to the conferences. To submit your Group Authorization Form, please click the box below.

GROUP AUTHORIZATION FORM

ground rules

Ground Rules

IDEA at Amnesty

Amnesty International is committed to the principles of IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility) because we all belong in the movement for human rights. As we host our conference virtually, we are still implementing IDEA practices and measures in order to create an inclusive space for everyone. Please review our Code of Conduct.

Code of Conduct

We are continuously working towards our conferences being IDEA centered events and are committed to our growth in this area. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on the topic of IDEA at the V-AGM, we can be reached at [email protected].

For more information about IDEA at Amnesty International, please click the box below.

Idea Info

Accessibility

All sessions will utilize a closed captioning feature.

All registered attendees will receive a Welcome Packet which contains detailed instructions on accessing Whova and navigating the platform.

For some helpful Zoom tips, please click the box below.

Zoom 101

Self Care

We know zoom and general tech fatigue is real. Check out our tips below on how to take care of yourself and stay energized throughout our conference weekend.

  • Find your comfort and embrace it.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Take deep breaths and stretch when possible.
  • 20/20 Rule: Take a 20-second break from looking at a screen every 20 minutes, then focus on an object 20 feet away.
  • Be kind to your eyes. Review your display settings, consider changing the color and brightness. Rest your eyes.
  • Keep some snacks by your work station so you don’t go too long without eating. Sweet, salty, protein.
  • Catch some sun and fresh air.

Virtual Community Agreements

At AIUSA, we are dedicated to fostering a virtual community that is open to learning and incorporating IDEA values into our work spaces. Members of our virtual community agree to incorporate these principles into each of our interactions.

General
  • Observe the 6 C’s of Inclusive Behavior , including:
    • Manage your biases and behaviors
    • Manage speaking time and make space for different voices
    • Respecting and learning from different perspectives
    • Understanding the difference between intent and impact (assume good intent and take
      responsibility for your impact)
    • Listen to understand, rather than to just respond
  • Be as present as possible and manage distractions as best you can
  • Be open to giving and receiving feedback about the effectiveness of virtual meetings
  • No exclusionary or harassing speech is allowed. This includes “calling-out” in a way that puts
    someone on the spot or shames
Large-Group Video Calls
  • When possible, join calls by video and stay on mute when not speaking. Recognize and respect that others may have limitations regarding the use of video
  • Use the reaction features on the platform to share your reactions
  • Follow the host’s directions about how to use the chat function (general comments and reactions, questions, etc.)
  • Use the same guidelines for the chat feature as you would for email as they are both forms of public written communication
  • Some questions, comments or feedback may be better shared offline or in a 1:1 conversation rather than on the call; determine the best course of action accordingly
  • Recognize that there are different comfort levels and technological circumstances with virtual participation, so have patience and flexibility
Pandemic-Related
  • Be mindful that talking about COVID-19 may be a trigger for some; refrain from asking others if they have the virus or if loved ones were affected by the virus. If doing ice-breakers, use neutral and non-pandemic related questions and prompts
  • Recognize that anxiety and stress due to our external conditions can cause reactivity in ourselves and others
  • Virtual communication can add to things getting lost in translation and can cause assumptions/misinterpretations. Feel free to ask for clarification, check for understanding, and create a space for others to do the same.
  • Be respectful of everyone’s unique WFH situation; refrain from comments about their surroundings and be understanding of distractions that may occur. Be mindful of what you say, knowing that children or other people in their space may hear

Best Practices

Be open to giving and receiving feedback about the effectiveness of virtual meetings – As we consider overall meeting burden, be mindful of the amount of time scheduled and the ways in which we each process information individually. Also consider whether (or not) a meeting is the most effective form of communication for the objective. This should also speak to the importance of discussing meeting effectiveness with each other in an open, honest and respectful way.

Manage speaking time and make space for different voices –Consider community members who haven’t yet spoken (before you speak multiple times).

Be as present as possible and manage distractions as best you can – Understand that managing distractions does not mean eliminating distractions.

Be mindful when recording meetings/downloading chat – If meetings are being recorded, the community should be made aware. The same applies for if/when the host plans to downloads the chat.

Consider questions, comments or feedback that may be better suited for sharing offline or in a 1:1 conversation rather than on the call; determine the best course of action accordingly – This may include both critical and constructive feedback. We agree to use our best judgement.

Join calls by video when possible and stay on mute when not speaking. Recognize and respect that others may have limitations regarding the use of video – This pertains to large group calls. For smaller team/1:1 meetings, the directive expectation should come from the host/meeting lead.

Make considerations depending on your meeting community– Not every agreement will apply to every meeting/situation, and agreements may apply differently based on your meeting role (i.e. facilitator vs. participant).

REGISTRATION

Registration has now closed.

Registration Deadlines

Registration opened on February 12th. Please note, while there are multiple deadlines for participation in specific governance sessions, there is only one conference registration required.

  • Monday, March 1st at 11:59pm EST – deadline for registration to participate and vote at Working Parties
  • Sunday, March 7th at 11:59pm EST – deadline for registration to participate and vote in the Voting Plenary

Our Member Services team is required to verify each individual’s membership status prior to the conference and will need lead time in order to do so. If you register after these deadlines and would still like to participate in the Working Parties and/or Voting Plenary at the V-AGM, please contact Aashka Merchant at [email protected] as soon as possible. Please note, while there is no guarantee that you will be able to vote if you miss this deadline, our team will do its best to accommodate late registrations. We will need at least 24 hours’ notice to provide voting credentials. More information on voting can be found on the Governance tab.

  • Wednesday, March 10th at 11:59pm EST – final deadline to register for the conference

Ticket Pricing

There are two tickets for the V-AGM. Both tickets will grant you access to the full 3-day conference.

  • $10 – Student/Educator/Senior/Fixed-Income Ticket
  • $35 – General Admission Ticket

Registration Subsidy

THE DEADLINE TO APPLY HAS PASSED

For the 2021 AGM, AIUSA will be offering each person chosen for a subsidy complimentary registration (either the $10 – Student/Educator/Senior/Fixed-Income Ticket or the $35 – General Admission Ticket). The subsidies are intended for active AI members and activists or those hoping to become active that would otherwise be unable to attend the conference due to financial constraints.

You must apply before the deadline to be considered. Please note that if a group intends to apply for the subsidy, each individual must submit an application as subsidies will be given on an individual basis.

After the application deadline has passed (February 21st at 11:59pm EST), we will notify applicants that have been tentatively awarded a subsidy by no later than February 22nd. At this point you will have until March 1st at 11:59pm EST to register for the AGM using the code provided to you. If you do not register by this date, you will forfeit your subsidy.

 

action alley

Dear Amnesty members,

Celebrating our 60th year together with the theme of “Together for Our Future – 60 years of uniting action-takers and change-makers”. We will be hosting our virtual Annual General Meeting on Friday, March 12 – Sunday, March 14, 2021. 

Each year our conference is home to Action Alley, the pulse of our member led activism. It is a place for activists to showcase and highlight issues they care about most. It also creates an opportunity for attendees to interact and take action along with fellow attendees.

Since moving this to an online platform, via Whova, we have made a significant effort to replicate the level of meaningful interactions. This was done by creating an online section for Action Alley. Whereas this resulted in some success we found there to be significantly higher levels of engagement  in the “Discussions” section of the app. Attendees were engaging in resource sharing, uplifting efforts from country specialists and local and student organizing in a way that mirrored our in person Action Alley.

Along with the backend data that supported this trend and the AGM program committee we have decided to host this year’s Action Alley in the Discussion Forum on Whova. 

What this means for us is that this will ease the application process for presenters and allow for greater flexibility on sharing content. And finally, it will give each presenter a greater audience for disseminating information and a higher number of actions taken.

Is there an issue that you’re really passionate about? Now’s your chance to mobilize with other activists to push the needle on your advocacy. 

How do I present my material?

Whova will launch on February 26th. All registered attendees will receive a Welcome Packet which contains detailed instructions on accessing Whova and navigating the platform. You can post your material on the Community Board.

merch store

Shop our limited edition AGM 60 Years Collection. Order as soon as possible for the best chance to receive your items before March 12th. Prices below do not include tax and shipping costs, which will be added at checkout. 

Shop the 60 Years Collection:

  • T-Shirt – $30.00 
  • Mug- $15.00 
  • Laptop Sticker – 1 for $2.00, 3 for $5.00, 5 for $12.00
  • Button(s) – 1 for $2.00, 3 for $5.00, 5 for $12.00
  • Beanie – $20

Shop by 60 Years Packages:

  1. 60 Years Package #1 – 1 button and 1 sticker for $3.00
  2. 60 Years Package #2 – Beanie, mug, button, and sticker for $35.00 
  3. 60 Years Package #3 – T-Shirt, mug, button, and sticker for $40.00
  4. 60 Years Package #4 – T-shirt, beanie, mug, button, sticker for $60.00
  5. 60 Years Deluxe Package: T-shirt, beanie, mug, button, sticker + a limited-edition sweatshirt $100.00

Please note: We cannot guarantee a delivery date with national shipping delays–order ASAP and before March 1st for the best chance to rock your new swag at AGM. Email [email protected] with any questions.

shop now