Global Exchange

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Global Exchange
Global Exchange logo.png
MottoResisting injustice, envisioning alternatives and taking action.
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California

Global Exchange is an advocacy group and non-governmental organization (NGO), based in San Francisco, California, United States. The group has defined its mission as to promote human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice around the world.[1] It deals with a wide range of issues ranging from the U.S. war in Iraq to worker abuse and fair trade issues.

Global Exchange is a 501(c)(3) organization and its board of directors includes Walter Turner, Wanda Whitaker, Dale Wannen, Deborah James, and Allen Gunn.[citation needed]

Since inception, Global Exchange has reached thousands of members and supporters, through educating the U.S. public about root causes of injustice and the impacts of U.S. government policies and corporate practices. The group builds people-to-people ties, engages grassroots education for action and linking social and environmental movements through public education, speaking tours, experiential travel called Reality Tours and activism.[citation needed]


In 1988, Medea Benjamin, Kevin Danaher, Kirsten Moller, and Kathie Klarreich founded Global Exchange.[2] The formation of the organization was rooted in the increasing interdependence of national economies and the subsequent need to build political alliances across national boundaries to protect the economic, social and political rights.[3]

Along with Rainforest Action Network and the Ruckus Society, Global Exchange played a central role in organizing the 1999 Seattle WTO protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO) summit in Seattle in 1999.[4]

In 2001, Global Exchange produced a Green Festival in Seattle, WA.[2]

In 2011 Global Exchange released a book called, The Rights of Nature: The Case for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, with articles by Maude Barlow, Pablo Solón Romero, Vandana Shiva, Nnimmo Bassey and others.[5]

Activities and programs[edit]

Global Exchange tries to increase public awareness of what it feels are the root causes of injustice. For this it promotes a change from a profit-oriented global economy to people-oriented local economies which respect the rights of workers and nature.[4] Its Community Rights Program assists communities confronted by corporate projects to assert their right to make decisions that place the rights of residents above the legal rights of corporations. It also focuses on advancing the Rights of Nature, a paradigm shift championed by the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth held in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2010, by President Evo Morales.[citation needed]

The Economic Activism for Palestine project focuses on corporate accountability for human rights and international law violations in Palestine. The program targets corporations that are directly involved in Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.[citation needed]

The Fair Trade Program promotes fair trade to end child and forced labor in the cocoa industry, as well as educate consumers to purchase fair trade chocolate. Its corporate campaigns targeted among others Starbucks and M&M's. In 2012 Global Exchange joined with Green America and the International Labor Rights Forum to pressure The Hershey Company to go fair trade [6] and end child labor in the Theobroma cacao fields. The campaign is called Raise the Bar, Hershey.[7][8]

Global Exchange was part of a coalition of groups that charged US retailers, including Gap, with illegally underpaying workers in their sweatshops in Saipan.[citation needed]

The Mexico Program confronts the rising violence and unrest. The program develops dialogue and effective advocacy toward bilateral military policies, gun trafficking, drug policy and democratic reform.[citation needed]

The Elect Democracy campaign challenges corporate money in US politics. The campaign's strategy is to expose the impact of the FIRE economy campaign contributions and to provide factual examples of how a political campaign dependency upon corporate campaign contributions and subsequent corporate lobbying can lead to the prioritization of corporate interests over the needs of the We are the 99%. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to increase accountability through campaign finance reform.[citation needed]

The Green Economy Leadership Training (GELT) program ran from 2010-2012 to implement green economy solutions (home weatherization, establishing urban gardens, etc.) while training individuals in how to build, work and live in a new green economy/clean energy framework. GELT was based in Highland Park, a low-income community in Detroit. Dozens of full-time volunteers worked side-by-side with Highland Park community members to put energy efficiency and LEED for Neighborhood Development guidelines into practice, demonstrating what the transition to and opportunities in a clean energy economy look like.[citation needed]

Global Exchange gives Reality Tours to various countries of the world with the stated aim of educating the visitor with the realities of living in different cultures.[9] Global Exchange Reality Tours organizes trips to over 30 countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Reality Tours offer experiential educational tours, connecting people to issues, issues to movements, and movements to social change social change. Global Exchange offers legal trips to Cuba for US citizens.[citation needed]

As part of their campaign to reduce oil consumption, on November 29, 2006, two protesters from Global Exchange and Rainforest Action Network, Mike Hudema and Matt Leonard, at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show walked onto a press stage where General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner was speaking and tried to get him to sign a pledge making GM the most fuel-efficient car company by 2010. Wagoner refused to sign, saying that he promised just that in his keynote speech.[10]


The World Trade Organization has claimed that a number of websites such as the Global Exchange, etc., "contain accusations against the WTO which are based on incorrect information or downright falsehoods."[11]

The conservative think tank Capital Research Center claims that the group was responsible for violent demonstrations at the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle in 1999. It also claims that Global Exchange appears to be spearheading former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's public relations efforts in the United States by offering reality tours for American tourists in Venezuela.[12]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "History & Victories – Global Exchange". Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-04-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b "Global Exchange | international organization". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  5. ^ "The Rights of Nature: The Case for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth | The Council of Canadians". Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  6. ^ Satre, Lowell J. (Lowell Joseph), 1942- (2005). Chocolate on trial : slavery, politics, and the ethics of business (1st ed.). Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press. ISBN 0821416251. OCLC 58478938.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry". Food Empowerment Project. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
  8. ^ "Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign Welcomes Hershey's Announcement to Source 100% Certified Cocoa by 2020 | International Labor Rights Forum". Retrieved 2019-11-02.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2009-04-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Protesters Storm Wagoner Speech At L.A. Auto Show" Archived 2007-04-27 at the Wayback Machine. By Reilly. November 29, 2006. Winding Road.
  11. ^ Criticism, yes … misinformation, no!. World Trade Organization.
  12. ^ "The American Friends of Hugo Chavez: Dial 1-800-4-TYRANT" Archived May 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, by Ana Maria Ortiz and Matthew Vadum, Capital Research Center's Organization Trends, March 2008.

External links[edit]