Statements for candidates in the 2019 Board Elections | Amnesty International UK

EILIDH DOUGLAS

Knowledge and experience

As Vice Chair, and a Board member since 2014, I have significant experience in navigating the strengths and challenges of governance in our member-led movement. As former Vice Chair of Equality Network, Scotland’s LGBT rights charity, I bring comparative experience of different structures, cultures, and strategic approaches.
 
I work closely with Amnesty Scotland, and volunteer for the Edinburgh Free Legal Advice Centre and Shelter – through which I understand the opportunities available for collaboration with politicians, communities, and civil society. And in my day job as an associate at international law firm CMS, specialising in dispute resolution, I provide clients with assessment of risk – legal, financial, reputational – and strategic advice to achieve their wider goals.

Amnesty membership and experience

I first joined Amnesty as a fresher in 2009; by 2010, I had joined my university group’s committee, trained as a School Speaker, and spoken at my first AGM. Amnesty had made - like so many of the youth and student members I have met over the years - an activist for life.
 
I served on the Student Action Network Committee from 2012-13, the Governance Task Force from 2013-15, and joined the Board in 2014. From 2015-18, I was Chair of the Activism Subcommittee. In 2018, I was elected Vice Chair of the Board.

Election manifesto

Since 2014, I have contributed my professional experience and activist’s enthusiasm to ensure Amnesty thrives in the UK. I am standing for re-election to continue that work.
 
As Chair of the Activism Subcommittee, I helped develop a strategy to strengthen, grow, and diversify our grassroots movement. By changing how we organise, Amnesty can empower more people to become human rights activists – whether in their own communities, or as part of a global campaign. It would be a particular privilege to oversee that strategy being put into action.

Eilidh is a nominee for an Unreserved seat on the Board. 

CONOR DUNWOODY

Knowledge and experience

Voluntary work gives me purpose. Alongside top-level experience in Amnesty governance, I also have grassroots experience from volunteering for an educational charity (Yes Futures) and other fundraising (eg raised £1000+ for Donate4Refugees).

I also possess a corporate background in business development and client management for Chief Financial Officers at $1bn+ companies. Evidencing my target-driven nature, this has developed several key skills needed to succeed in this role- active listening, persuasive communication and performance measurement.

Furthermore, I am skilled in engaging stakeholders and decision makers, for example working as a 'marketing champion' to drive collaboration between sales and marketing.

Amnesty membership and experience

I have been a member of Amnesty since 2015, first with Sheffield University Amnesty and as an individual member. Subsequently, I was elected to the Student Action Network Committee as Chair. This was a governance-oriented role which involved managing relationships between AIUK and the student movement, by:

  • Implementing student engagement strategy
  • Communicating AIUK messaging
  • Managing social media 
  • Working with other AlUK networks
  • Organising events attended by 70-200 attendees such as Action for Change and the Student Conference

Individually, I attended the 2017 AGM and organized the 2017 Northern Regional Conference. I understand Amnesty's governance, structure and goals, and strongly identify with its mission.

Election manifesto

Human rights are increasingly important yet are being slowly eroded. Countering this requires an organized grassroots movement like Amnesty, which could not run without effective governance. I believe that I can contribute to this from my experience in Amnesty and activism.

I want to help deliver Amnesty's goal of building a more diverse, engaged Human Rights network. Closer ties between student and local groups is key - starting with making Amnesty a more inclusive space for students (eg. better representation at the AGM). lf elected, l will ensure this perspective is represented at AIUK.

Conor is a nominee for an Unreserved seat on the Board. 

BASIA GIEZEK

Knowledge and experience

My human resources and recruitment experience comes from my roles as a Team Leader for International Citizen Services in Palestine, as well as a Chair for the Country Coordinator's Forum at Amnesty International UK. 

As for fundraising and other forms of income generation skills, before going to Palestine as the ICS Team Leader I had to fundraise £800 in order to contribute to the program. 

Prior to my activism at Amnesty International, for over a year, I volunteered for Kalayaan, a London-based charity that looks after migrant domestic workers. My role at Kalayaan involved case-work assistance, help-desk and administration. In 2015, I worked as a Team Leader for ICS in Ramallah, West Bank. My duties included project management, research, budgeting, risk management, and pastoral care. 

I am currently doing a postgraduate degree in International Human Rights and Development at South Bank University in London.

Amnesty membership and experience

I have been a member and activist of Amnesty International for almost two years. Since March 2017, I have been a Country Coordinator within the South East Asia Team, and since April 2018, a Chair for the Country Coordinator's Forum. 

As a Country Coordinator for Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific Islands, Malaysia, and Singapore, I make sure that local groups and individual members stay abreast of human rights situation in these countries. As a Chair for the Country Coordinator's Forum, I have the honour and pleasure of working with the 50 incredible Country Coordinators to facilitate delivering Amnesty's cases, actions and campaigns to activists and the public in the UK and abroad.

Election manifesto

I believe that one person can achieve a lot. Together, however, we can move mountains. This is why I am a member of Amnesty International, and this is why I am standing as a candidate for the Board.

Basia is a nominee for a Country Coordinator seat and an Unreserved seat on the Board. 

HELEN HORTON

Knowledge and experience

A lengthy career in education gave me experience, not only as a special needs teacher and teacher trainer but also in administration including numerous committee memberships. This included being the North East representative to the then Teacher Development Agency (TDA) for 5 years. In 2014 I moved to the voluntary sector, working as a volunteer in both the Asia and Pacific regions. As such I have both practical experience of working on the ground in remote and challenging environments and also of negotiating with government departments, funding bodies such as the Department for International Development (DfID), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and International Non-Government Organisations (INGOs). Additionally I am a speaker of several languages, both European and Asian.

Amnesty membership and experience

I have been both an individual and local group member for over thirty years. I was chair of the Lancaster group from 1995-2002. I have attended more than 20 AGMs where I have been an active participant. In April 2018 I became an Amnesty School speaker. 

Election manifesto

I have been passionate about human rights activism and social justice since my teens and long term, active Amnesty Member. I believe that it is only through being prepared to speak out that we are able to take a firm stance against injustice and to create an environment of tolerance and understanding in an increasingly globalised world. I also believe firmly that it is important to empower young people through giving them a voice since they are our hope for the future. 

As an Amnesty Activist my particular interests are in the rights of children and the campaign for unilateral abolition of the death penalty. 

My personal circumstances are such I now have the time to dedicate, if elected, to a full involvement on the Board.

Helen is a nominee for a Local Group seat and an Unreserved seat on the Board. 

ALEX JACKSON

Knowledge and experience

I’m a committed Amnesty activist who is unimpressed with the ‘requirement’ of a skills audit in the context of a democratic election.

Amnesty membership and experience

I was a founder member of Oban Group in the 80s and remained active with them until 1997 when I went to live and work in a country where Amnesty cannot operate. I rejoined in 2007 and became an active member of Glasgow Daytime Group.  I have been Country Coordinator for Eritrea since 2013.

Election manifesto

Asserting the fundamental human rights of all humans is one of the greatest challenges for contemporary humankind and Amnesty is arguably the world’s most important grass-roots human rights organization.  It is therefore essential that AIUK is as democratic as possible with as much power as possible in the control of the membership.  This is not the case at the moment.  The supreme authority of the conference should be re-established and the considerable skills and knowledge of Local Group activists and Individual Members should be used to a much greater extent.  I have visited many Local Groups as a Country Coordinator and have invariably been impressed by the skills and commitment of the membership; they are one huge “human resource”! 
Society in many parts of the world seems increasingly divided and so extreme criticism of large sections of humankind has become the norm.   Amnesty has been stating that they have been “fighting the bad guys since 1961”; we should be fighting for all humans including those with whom we disagree and should not be indulging in populist personal attacks.  Amnesty’s agenda should not be determined by the mass media and the powerful; we should be struggling particularly hard for those whose story and situations are not high profile. 

Alex is a nominee for a Country Coordinator seat and an Unreserved seat on the Board. 

JAMES LOVATT

Knowledge and experience

Managerial experience of transformational projects in the public and charitable sectors, currently contributing towards digital, data & technology strategies within UK Civil Service, I help design, build and run services which are used by millions of people every day. 

Other past experiences and expertise include: 

  • Governance roles for membership-based organisations, most notably with Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland.
  • Chair of a local political party, standing at two General Elections 
  • Chair of Rotaract in Great Britain & Ireland
  • Research Officer for international human rights organisation in South East Asia

Amnesty membership and experience

Joined Amnesty in 2013, quickly becoming a country coordinator campaigning on a wide variety of issues across Asia, leading two regional teams as well. Currently the Burma/Myanmar Country Coordinator and South East Asia & Pacific Regional Coordinator. Role entails assisting casework with activism team, producing online content, speaking at local meetings & in the media, and in the past, I have organised a protest outside the Burmese Embassy for imprisoned student activists as well as taken part in All Party Parliamentary Groups in Burma. 

Appointed to the Board of AIUK in December 2016, and elected proper in 2017. Chair of Nominations Sub Committee since July 2018. 

Election manifesto

Having lived in two countries under military rule, and direct experience of seeing what a loss of a variety of basic rights equals, I am committed to lifelong campaigning for anyone who has those rights taken away from them for whatever reason – or never had those rights in the first place. 

Through volunteering I’ve seen how organisations like ours achieve significant change by growing grassroots activism, and at the same time bring communities together. 

I’m standing so that I can contribute my time and skills to developing those grassroots movements & communities through good governance and continued organisation growth. 

James is a nominee for a Country Coordinator seat and an Unreserved seat on the Board. 

JULIANE THORBJØRSEN

Knowledge and experience

When I was 7 I joined an environmental youth organisation and I have never stopped being an activist since, from volunteering for humanitarian organisations as well as grassroot movements working for equal language rights, to working in fundraising for one of the biggest international environmental NGOs. I have years of front line experience in activism and social movements. Furthermore, I am comfortable in leadership positions and I have experience with influencing decision-makers from my fundraising work. Lastly, I believe I could have a positive impact on the AIUK Board.

Amnesty membership and experience

I have been a member for 7 years. At 16 I became a youth activist for Amnesty Norway, and went on to serve as President for my school group. I moved to the UK for university in 2015, and immediately joined the student Amnesty Society. During my time at Durham University, I was elected as Publicity Officer and then President for the group. At the Student Conference in 2017, I was elected on the Student Action Network Committee alongside 7 other student activists. As the Chair for this Committee I gained valuable insight of Amnesty UK and our student activism. After graduating university in 2018, I spent 3 months interning with Amnesty Norway. 

Election manifesto

I believe the board should be representative of our membership basis, which is why I am standing as a candidate. I’m extremely passionate about Amnesty and the direction in which we’re taking the organisation, as well as youth activism. Combining the two, I believe it is invaluable to support young voices at all levels of our organisation. I say this as a young person who over time has gained experience of how the different levels of the structure operate. My commitment to human rights work is strong, and I would be honoured to serve the Amnesty UK Board.

Juliane is a nominee for an Unreserved seat on the Board. 

REBECCA WARREN

Knowledge and experience

I have experience, including Board level experience and governance, in multiple other campaigns that synergise with Amnesty, including: the responsible investment charity ShareAction (Treasurer); the Campaign against Climate Change (Treasurer); and CND (Council member). 

I am a qualified and experienced accountant (ICAEW member) with more than 20 years’ experience in the public, voluntary and commercial sectors. I have an MBA with voluntary sector specialisation.

Amnesty membership and experience

Active campaigning member since 1991. Actions include: promoting and spreading the message of Amnesty; participating in demonstrations and conferences; letter and card writing; member and Treasurer of local group (Mayfair and Soho); using human rights knowledge in other contexts.
Member of Board of Amnesty International UK Section from 2017.
Member of FARSC (Finance Audit and Risk Subcommittee) 2012-18. 
Trustee of Amnesty International UK Charitable Trust from 2018.

Election manifesto

I joined Amnesty more than 27 years ago, initially because I wanted to fight torture, and my commitment has grown over the years, as I have also acquired financial experience and qualifications and experience of other campaigns. I offer my combination of skills and experience with commitment to Amnesty as a winning combination that is immensely valuable to Amnesty.
 
The need for Amnesty has never been greater. The impact of Amnesty is sometimes hard to measure, but crucial. I believe that Amnesty has vast numbers of beneficiaries: every person who never experiences a human rights violation because Amnesty exists.
 
I am honoured to play a role in shaping Amnesty's future direction and strategy. If re-elected I promise to put my skills to use wisely, and use my experience of other campaigns to strengthen Amnesty. I also promise to speak out for the campaigning and other interests of my own and other local groups.

Rebecca is a nominee for a Local Group seat and an Unreserved seat on the Board.