Movements.org is a division of the non-profit Advancing Human Rights. It is an online marketplace that connects dissidents in closed societies with individuals with desirable skills such as legal, media, PR, and technological experts in open societies. Activists post their needs and request assistance, and experts and professionals post what they have to offer and respond to requests.
In October 2008, Columbia University, the US Department of State, Google, Howcast Media, and other media companies sponsored the inaugural Alliance of Youth Movements Summit. This event brought together digital activists, technology and media leaders, NGOs, and governments to convene, share best practices, and create a network of socially responsible grassroots activists using technology for their movements and campaigns.
Following the inaugural summit Jason Liebman (CEO and co-founder of Howcast), Roman Tsunder (co-founder of Access 360 Media), and Jared Cohen (Director of Google Ideas at Google) co-founded a non-profit organization, the Alliance for Youth Movements. This organization is dedicated to identifying, connecting, and supporting digital activists both at the annual summit and all year round.
In December 2009, The Alliance for Youth Movements hosted its 2nd annual summit in Mexico City. This summit was sponsored by the US Department of State as well as other media and event sponsors. The event convened activists and supporters interested in how social media and connection technologies were being used for to combat violence, with a special focus on Latin America.
In March 2010, The Alliance for Youth Movements hosted its 3rd annual summit in London, which was sponsored by the UK Home Office and other media companies. At the end of the summit it was announced that the Alliance for Youth Movements was launching a new online hub for digital activism, Movements.org.
In February 2011, Movements.org was officially launched and the Alliance for Youth Movements re-branded itself as Movements.org to have the same name as its website.
In June 2012, Movements.org formally became a division of Advancing Human Rights(AHR), created in 2010 by Robert L. Bernstein, the founder of Human Rights Watch and former President and CEO of Random House for twenty-five years. AHR focuses on freedom of speech, women’s rights and promoting the freedoms outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly by leveraging the power of the Internet. The merger was released in The New York Times.
In August 2012, Movements.org in collaboration with Al Jazeera launched an interactive tracking tool that tracks the Syrian Defections of senior military officials, members of parliament and diplomats of Assad's regime. The tracker was released on Al Jazeera.
On July 9, 2014, Movements.org launched as a marketplace site where dissidents in closed societies can connect to legal, PR, and technological experts in open societies.. In an article in The Wall Street Journal, Natan Sharansky, said of the platform, “Too often, leaders of the Free World have proved to be a disappointment to today's dissidents. The citizens of free nations need not be.”
Mission and Activities
Movements Partnerships Movements.org is a two-sided platform, similar to a voluntary Craigslist or eBay that enables the exchange of skills and resources. Activists can post short briefs describing their projects and needs, and provider individuals or organizations can post offers of assistance describing their skills and ways in which they can help. Movements received support from Google Ideas in its start-up phase, and from Ronin Analytics in the design of its digital security perimeter. Since its launch in July 2014, Movements.org has announced partnerships with: SaferVPN, a software provider which has committed to making free VPN subscriptions available to activists in closed societies; and Youth Service America, an organization dedicated to empowering young people to engage in volunteer work. Dissident users of Movements have also regularly published original content in The Daily Beast under the Movements banner on their experiences. Movements.org currently has over 20,000 users from up to 140 countries. The website is available in English, Arabic and Chinese.
- Shane, Scott (June 11, 2012). "Groups to Help Online Activists in Authoritarian Countries". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
- "Interactive: Tracking Syria's defections". Al Jazeera. May 11, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2015.