Ricken Patel

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Ricken Patel
Born (1977-01-08) January 8, 1977 (age 43)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
OccupationFounding President and Executive Director of Avaaz
Alma materOxford University, Harvard
Notable worksAvaaz

Ricken Patel (born January 8, 1977) is the Canadian–British[1] founding President and Executive Director of Avaaz, a major global civic organization with the world's largest online activist community, including over 43 million subscribers.[2]

Patel was voted "Ultimate Gamechanger in Politics" by the Huffington Post,[3] and listed in the world's top 100 thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine.[4] He was also named a Young Global Leader[5] by the World Economic Forum, referred to as "the global leader of online protest" by The Guardian[2] and listed as one of People Magazine's most eligible bachelors.[6]


Patel was born in Edmonton, Alberta, to a Kenyan-born Indian father of Gujarati origin and an English mother with Jewish heritage.[2][7]

As a boy, Patel studied on a First Nations reserve where he was bullied[citation needed]. He told The Times: "I've always felt solidarity with people suffering injustice. My theory is that my Mum gave me so much love I've always had extra to give."[citation needed]

Patel studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Balliol College, Oxford,[8] where he helped organize against the 1998 introduction of tuition fees. He graduated first in his university class, and held leadership roles in student government and student activism. He has a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where (mirroring his activism at Oxford) he helped lead the campus' highly publicized living wage campaign.


After leaving Harvard, Patel lived in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan and Afghanistan, consulting for organizations including the International Crisis Group.[9]

Prior to founding Avaaz in 2007, Patel was the founding Executive Director of ResPublica,[10] a global public entrepreneurship group that worked to end genocide in Darfur and build progressive globalism in US politics, among other projects. The stated goal of ResPublica was to promote “good governance, civic virtue and deliberative democracy”. While in the US, Patel was an online member of the group MoveOn.org, from which he learned the tools of online campaigning.[11]

In 2007, Patel founded the online campaigning organization Avaaz – with the stated goal to “close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want”. Avaaz campaigns online and off on a number of human rights, social justice, environmental, media freedom and peace and security issues. Avaaz's membership has spread to every country in the world and has more than 44 million members. Patel refers to Avaaz as a community and technology platform which "has merely given voice to a global hunger for greater democracy."[9][2]

In media[edit]

Patel was on the cover of May/June 2013 issue of Intelligent Life magazine.[8] The Guardian referred to Patel as "the global leader of online protest" with a "vaunting sense of optimism."[2]


  1. ^ "Wakey-wakey: Electronic activism is stirring a lot of citizens into life, whatever leaders think". The Economist. 17 February 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e Andrew Anthony, "Ricken Patel: The Global Leader of Online Protest, The Guardian, 16 March 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  3. ^ Huffington, Arianna (8 October 2009). "HuffPost Game Changers: Your Picks for the Ultimate 10". Huffington Post.
  4. ^ "100 Top Global Thinkers 2012". Foreign Policy.
  5. ^ "Ricken Patel, Executive Director of Avaaz, to deliver Commonwealth Lecture". The Commonwealth.
  6. ^ "Super Heroes". People Magazine.
  7. ^ NP, Ullekh (5 September 2011). "Avaaz founder Ricken Patel: The man who gives you your voice". The Economics Times.
  8. ^ a b "The Man Behind Avaaz". The Intelligent Life (The Economist). 2013. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Profile: Global campaign group Avaaz". BBC News. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  10. ^ "ResPublica". Archived from the original on November 20, 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  11. ^ Bentley, Sarah (February 9, 2011). "Can Avaaz change the world in a click?". The Times.

External links[edit]