Atheist Alliance International

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Atheist Alliance International
AAI.png
Abbreviation AAI
Motto For a Secular World
Formation 1991
Type Non-profit organisation
Purpose Atheism
Headquarters Washington, D.C., United States
Region served Worldwide
Official language English, Spanish
Website atheistalliance.org
Generic atheist symbol, the result of a 2007 AAI contest, created by Diane Reed.[1][2]

Atheist Alliance International (AAI) is a global federation of atheist organisations and individuals, committed to educating the public about atheism, secularism and related issues. AAI was founded in 1991.

History[edit]

AAI was founded in 1991 as Atheist Alliance, an alliance of four US-based local atheist groups. Over time Atheist Alliance expanded, adding both local/regional US groups and international groups as members, and changed its name to Atheist Alliance International in 2001. In 2010 and 2011 members approved the separation of the US and international segments of AAI into separate organisations, to accommodate the different strategic interests of each group. The US group of AAI was renamed Atheist Alliance of America; the international group retained the original AAI name but adopted new bylaws and a new organisational structure. The launch of the newly restructured AAI occurred at the World Atheist Convention in Dublin, Ireland on 3 June 2011.[3]

In 2013, the AAI was granted special consultative status by the United Nations. In this role the AAI will be able to better serve non-believers facing persecution from their governments.[4][5]

Organization structure[edit]

AAI's Board consists of between 4 and 13 Directors elected for two-year staggered terms. No more than three Directors can come from any one country and each Affiliate or Associate Members is limited to one nominee on the Board at any time.[6]

AAI Officers are Directors and elected for one-year terms by the Board following each Annual General Meeting. The current President of AAI is Christine Shellska [7] from Calgary, Canada.

AAI has three classes of membership: Affiliate Members, Associate Members and Individual Members. Affiliate and Associate Members are atheist/freethought groups, which have their own individual members, and Affiliate Members must be democratic in nature. Individual Members are people who wish to support the work of AAI. All Members are entitled to attend member meetings but only Affiliate Members are entitled to vote.[8]

AAI's vision is "a secular world where public policy, scientific inquiry and education are not influenced by religious beliefs, but based upon sound reasoning, rationality and evidence." AAI's mission is "to challenge and confront religious faith, to strengthen global atheism by promoting the growth and interaction of atheist/freethought organisations around the world and to undertake international educational and advocacy projects."[9]

AAI's activities include:

  • Facilitating and hosting atheist conventions and conferences around the world.[10]
  • Supporting Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda through the facilitation of student sponsorships and fundraising support.
  • Publishing Secular World magazine and producing Secular World podcast, hosted by Jake-Farr Wharton and Han Hills.[10]
  • Supporting the development of new atheist groups, particularly in developing countries.
  • Lobbying internationally to support freedom of expression and conscience, especially for atheists who are oppressed by religious discrimination.

Conventions[edit]

The first annual convention held by AAI took place in 1995 in Los Angeles.[10] The first international convention held by AAI took place in 2006 in Reykjavik, Iceland. In 2010, AAI began its current program of co-hosting conventions with affiliate and associate members.[10]

AAI co-hosted / supported conferences by year since 2010:

  • 2010: Melbourne, Australia;[11] Montréal, Canada; Copenhagen, Denmark; Mexico City, Mexico.[citation needed]
  • 2011: Dublin, Ireland;[12] Kamloops, British Columbia (Canada);[13] Gambia; Kenya.
  • 2012: Manila, Philippines;[14] Kamloops, British Columbia (Canada);[15] Köln, Germany.

Other projects[edit]

In 2009 AAI launched the AAI Foundation, a long-term project dedicated to sponsoring volunteer educational projects in developing countries. Its first project provided funds and volunteers to the Kasese Primary Humanist School in Kasese, Uganda in 2010, when AAI selected and hosted four volunteers from North America and Asia to serve as teaching assistants at the school for three months.[citation needed]

In 2012, AAI lobbied for the release of Alexander Aan,[16][17] an Indonesian civil servant who was fired from his job, attacked, threatened with beheading by local Imams and arrested by Indonesian police after posting "There Is No God" on Facebook. AAI operates a legal defence fund and a scholarship fund in Aan's name.[16] On 14 June 2012, Aan was sentenced to two years and six months in jail and fined Rp100 million (c. US$10,600).[16] On 27 January 2014, Aan was freed from prison.[18]

In 2013, AAI started the fundraising project Critical Thinking and Secular Ethics in Cambodia[19] through the Cambodian Children's Trust[20] seeking to raise 6723 USD to "cover the costs of the pilot program ... and fund the continuation of the Critical Thinking and Secular Ethics Program through to late 2013." The fundraiser's online challenge ended July 2013 reporting the goal had not been met.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Diane Reed response on Think Atheist website to a question regarding copyright status of the symbol.". 
  2. ^ "PDF of the Secular Nation article "A Conventioneer's Delight! Pt 5 of 5"". Archived from the original on 2008-11-21. 
  3. ^ "New Atheist Alliance International Launched in Dublin, Ireland 3 June 2011". Atheist Alliance International. June 3, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Atheist Alliance International obtains UN Special consultative status" (Press release). AAI. 18 August 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Recommends Special Status" (Press release). United Nations Committee on NGO's. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "Directors". Atheist Alliance International. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Directors". Atheist Alliance International. Retrieved December 2, 2014. 
  8. ^ "AAI Bylaws". Atheist Alliance International. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Vision & Mission". Atheist Alliance International. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  10. ^ a b c d "About AAI". Atheist Alliance International. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ Holkner, Rachel (March 15, 2010). "The rise and rise of atheism". Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Dublin hosts first atheist congress". The Irish Times. June 6, 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  13. ^ May 4, 2011. "Centre hosts B.C.'s first non-believers conference". kamloopsnews.ca. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  14. ^ Langseth, Melissa (June 6, 2012). "PATAS Convention – From The Eyes of the Chairperson". patas.co. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  15. ^ Gryboski, Michael (May 17, 2012). "'Imagine No Religion' Canadian Atheist Convention Sells Out". The Christian Post. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c Winston, Kimberly (July 20, 2012). "Atheists rally for persecuted unbeliever in Indonesia". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  17. ^ Sara Malm (14 June 2012). "Indonesian man jailed for two-and-a-half years for writing 'God doesn’t exist' on his Facebook page". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  18. ^ "Atheist Alexander Aan gets out of prison". The Jakarta Post. 31 Jan 2014. 
  19. ^ "Critical Thinking and Secular Ethics in Cambodia". February 15, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Cambodian Children's Trust". March 12, 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Start Some Good - CTSE Project". Retrieved July 12, 2013. 

External links[edit]