Amnesty International AGM report

by ray goodlass

Amnesty International Australia AGM in Canberra was informative, inspiring and also enjoyable. I wasn’t sure if the plan of a videoconference link up of every state and territory branch would provide for an inclusive and participatory meeting, but to my pleasant surprise it did. It was also of course less expensive than a full face-to-face meeting, and the ‘oil miles’ were far, far less.

Though I’ve been a petition signer and financial contributor for many years, and more lately a local group letter writer I’ve only recently become a signed up financial member, and this was my first AGM. As such I learned a lot about how AI works, as is common for a ‘new chum’ on such occasions.

As an AGM the essentials such as governance, elections and finances were dealt with, and efficiently and quickly too. As a Green I was pleased to see decisions made by consensus if possible, though AI has no qualms about going to a vote if there isn’t consensus, unlike the Greens, where a vote is the last resort.   

But what really interested and pleased me was the other business that was dealt with, which made it more like a conference than an AGM.

So the meeting dealt with issues such as effectively campaigning for Human Rights in the light of the up-coming federal election, the ‘decentralisation’ of AI by creating ‘hubs’ world wide as opposed to the large secretariat in London (which currently has a staff of 500), a move to create those hubs in the ‘south’ in places such as India and the Middle East, and also a great workshop on the benefits and disadvantages of activism versus organizational structures.

Most of these topics were discussed through face-to-face workshops rather than videoconferencing, which later reported to the plenary videoconference.

So all in all a very productive exercise that taught me a lot and was also quite inspiring.