Week 1 at Amnesty International

View of Washington, D.C. from the Potomac River

I don’t think I have ever found a work experience to be so rewarding and engaging. Every day at Amnesty is like a semester’s worth  of learning and activity. And the best part of all? Everything I do is about right-now and making real change, not theorizing about interpretations of political ideology or discussing texts for class. No — what I get to do here in the office is about making the world of tomorrow, next week, and next year a better place. I couldn’t ask for anything better! 

So, to recap: last week I worked on two documents for Adotei (neither of which I am sure I can get into too much detail because the papers are for Congress and the reports cited have not been officially published yet). The first was dealing with a Prisoner Of Conscience from Ethiopia… I got to put together a toolkit of materials and supporting background information for Senate offices to reference which was really cool! And the second project concerned drafting an issue brief on Cameroon to be sent to the foreign policy staff in various Senate offices. Really, truly amazing stuff going on here, and I feel so lucky to get the chance to help make it all happen! What an inspiring place this is….

In a few hours I will head off to Senator Gardener’s office with a group of Ethiopian Diaspora members to discuss Senate Resolution 432. I’ve got to say, it should be exciting, but I’m also quite nervous seeing as I didn’t realize I would also get to attend up until a few minutes ago! Then again, knowing the wonderful person Adotei is I should have assumed that he would let me share this experience. I was just proud that I managed to set up a meeting in a Senate office in all honesty! Either way, I can’t wait. I’ll let you all know how that turns out in my next post I suppose — there are a few more meetings in the works for this week so I’ll get a hang of it fast!

We’re going a million miles a minute over here — trying to keep up with human rights around the world is pretty crazy stuff! I’ll keep you guys posted. 

–Nicole Southard (CMC ’17)


Student Lobbying Helps Move Bill to House Floor

In February, two Amnesty CMC students went to DC to participate in the Lemkin Summit to end genocide and mass atrocities and spent a day lobbying on the hill for the Global Magnitsky Act!

This bill would give the President the ability to impose sanctions on non-U.S. citizens
guilty of corruption or gross violation
s of human rights perpetrated against whistleblowers.  It would additionally enhance congressional involvement in the designation of individuals to be investigated for crimes, and work towards the goal of ensuring that U.S. financial institutions are not complicit in supporting those profiting off of atrocities (for more information see: www.http://enoughproject.org/blogs/global-magnitsky-human-rights-accountability-act-moves-forward-congress)

Now, the Global Magnitsky Act has moved forward in the House of Representatives! Lemkin participants held over 100 meetings on Capitol Hill during our Summit, and that work is making a difference.

Congratulations to the CMC students who helped to pass this legislation!