Americans for Informed Democracy
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Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization that is based in Washington, D.C.
Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) was founded by a group of American students who studied abroad just after the September 11th attacks. A few of those who studied abroad were met with intense sympathy and solidarity from people around the world. When they came back to the US, they were often asked why some people from around the world disagreed with American values. These students set up AID to bring the world home to Americans, and to launch student dialogue and action about what the US role in the world should look like.
AIDemocracy's strategy has three pillars:
- Education: AIDemocracy helps students understand key issues in environment, development, peace and security, and health, as well as the global system that frames these issues. Specific tactics include: creating an annual Network Platform and Report Card, issue training (issue briefs, coaching, webinars, toolkits, videoconferences, film screenings, speaker tours, etc.), and issue monitoring (blogs, new media and student Issue Analysts).
- Cultivation: AIDemocracy builds student leaders and organizers who understand not only the issues, but also their own power, how to organize others, and how to access decision-makers. Specific tactics include: advocacy, organizing and leadership trainings, and building a community of student leaders (regional and annual summits, participation in meetings and parallel events, network “weaving”).
- Mobilization: AIDemocracy creates and connects students to opportunities to take action, from the campus to the national level. In addition to promoting opportunities to take action through AIDemocracy and partner campaigns, they also support student campaigns on these issues. Tactics include: policymaker education and lobby visits, using the media (op-eds, LTEs, etc.), blogs, new media (Facebook, video, etc.), days of action, strategic coaching, etc.
A distinguishing characteristic of AIDemocracy is its emphasis on the interconnectedness of global issues. We play a critical bridging function, connecting concerned youth with a wide range of pressing global issues. We engage youth who will fight for nuclear nonproliferation, or funding for climate adaptation, because they understand them also as a means to end poverty or to empower women.
The organization has worked hard to engage diverse constituencies in its mission and programming, including students from the Citadel to UC Berkeley and celebrities from Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander to Pakistani rock star Salman Ahmad. AID's work has been mentioned in more than 500 media outlets from sources that cover politics and global affairs such as the New York Times, C-SPAN, CNN, and The Washington Post to more unexpected sources such as Marie Claire and the Montel Williams Show.