The Symposium on Strength and Solidarity for Human Rights is a multi-year project to provoke new efforts and energy for building organizational strength and increased solidarity across the human rights field.

As states retreat from their responsibility to protect rights, the need for cross-cultural, intergenerational, multi-identity, and all-class participation in defense of human rights grows ever more critical.

We need shared language and common frameworks in order to be more effective allies. We need open conversations about power and deference to those on the frontlines to renew our struggles and fortify relationships. We need robust connections among our organizations to maintain and increase mutual support.

To that end, the Symposium on Strength and Solidarity for Human Rights seeks to be a source of ideas and provocation within the global human rights movement. From now until 2025, we’re convening frontline activists, organizational leaders, scholars, and movement builders in conversations about the challenges rights defenders face. And we’re drawing on those conversations to produce written and digital materials about building respectful organizational culture, achieving effective governance and funding, and establishing a rigorous practice of solidarity.

Our Approach

Institutional health and reliable solidarity are critical to the success of human rights work. In order to advocate and promote both, we:

BUILD SPACES OF TRUST that allow leading members of human rights organizations and movements to make an honest appraisal of the human rights sector and their role within it

MODERATE COMPLEX CONVERSATIONS so that participants of all origins can speak and collaborate with safety and ease

CONNECT SYMPOSIUM PARTICIPANTS with opportunities to strengthen their relationships and think deeply about the health and resilience of their movements and organizations

FOCUS ON SOLIDARITY AND DEFERENCE as powerful tools in multi-generational, multi-cultural and multi-class struggles for human rights

FOSTER CONDITIONS TO NURTURE OPTIMISM AND CREATIVITY because hope and invention are fundamental to every struggle

What We Do

We serve as a meeting point for the people and ideas driving – and disrupting – the human rights sector. We seek to foster new conversations among rights leaders, and all those who support and study their work, by hosting:

The Symposium

We bring proven rights leaders together for an extended conversation about the ways that language, power, governance, identity and leadership continue to shape human rights organizations and movements – as well as the forms of solidarity that can be built between them. Learn more about our events

A podcast

Each episode features insights and reflections on the tools and tactics of human rights work and how activists are thinking about their strategies. Listen in

A collection of ideas

Commentaries and analysis that provoke rigorous thinking and interrogation within the human rights field. We’re always receiving new material and we invite you to send us your favorite papers and pitch in. See what’s new

Our Team

CHRIS STONE   Principal Moderator 

Chris brings decades of experience in justice sector reform, good governance, and innovation to his role as principal moderator of the Symposium. Chris is professor of practice of public integrity at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. He previously served as president of the Open Society Foundations (2012-2017), Guggenheim Professor of the Practice of Criminal Justice and faculty director of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at the Harvard Kennedy School (2005-2012), and president of the Vera Institute of Justice (1994-2004).

AKWE AMOSU   Program Director, Moderator

Akwe’s career has spanned journalism, advocacy, and philanthropy. She comes to the Symposium from the Open Society Foundations where she served most recently as Chief Integration Officer, after earlier stints as the Regional Director for Africa and Director for Africa Advocacy. Akwe began her career in African journalism, moving to the Financial Times, and later to the BBC World Service where she regularly produced and hosted live news and current affairs for an Africa-wide audience of 18 million. She left the BBC to join the team building the allAfrica.com news site and later served as head of communications at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa before joining OSF in Washington, DC.


Nani Jansen Reventlow is a recognized international lawyer specialised in strategic litigation at the intersection of human rights, social justice, and technology. She is the founder of Systemic Justice, which works on community-driven litigation for racial, social, and economic justice; the architect of Catalysts for Collaboration, promoting interdisciplinary work on digital rights; and an Adjunct Professor at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government. Nani contributes incredible technical acumen and creativity to The Symposium. Previously, she founded and built the Digital Freedom Fund (2017-2021), which supports digital rights litigation, and initiated a decolonizing process for the digital rights field in Europe.


Emilie Palamy Pradichit is an intersectional feminist visionary & international human rights lawyer specializing in accessing justice through strategic litigation before the UN — where her innovative work has successfully held governments and businesses accountable for their human rights abuses and violations. She is the Founder & Executive Director of Manushya Foundation — powering women & youth to speak truth to power at the forefront of their fight for justice and equality — defending indigenous, forest-dependent, LGBTIQ & marginalized communities across Asia. Growing up as a Lao refugee in the disenfranchised suburbs of Paris, Emilie began to champion social justice at a young age. She served with the French MFA’s human rights department upon graduating with her LL.M & postgraduate law degree in public international law at the Sorbonne. She later joined UNDP in New York and Bangkok, protecting the human rights of the LGBTIQ+ community and People Living with HIV, before becoming the Asia Director of the nonprofit UPR-Info, where she transformed the landscape of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) engagement across Asia during her leadership.

SAMSON ITODO   Moderator

Samson Itodo is an experienced community organizer and development practitioner with over a decade experience in constitution and governance reform, human rights, elections, civic engagement, and political organizing. He serves as the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa and Convener of the Not Too Young To Run Movement. He provides strategic policy advice to parliamentary committees, electoral commissions, political parties, civil society organizations, and academic institutions. Since 2007, he has worked with community-based groups and social movements across Africa to advance human rights, public accountability, and inclusive governance. One of his most significant achievements has been the successful campaign #NotTooYoungToRun to lower the minimum age for elective office in Nigeria.  In 2018, he was appointed by the Gates Foundation as a Goalkeeper and honored by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) Washington DC as the 2018 Rising Democracy leader in Africa. Samson is a member of the Board of Kofi Annan Foundation and the Board of Advisors of International IDEA; he previously served as lead consultant for International IDEA on developing a strategy for mitigating electoral and political violence in Africa.  Samson holds Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees in Law, both from the University of Jos, and a Masters of Public Policy from the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.


Alberto Vásquez is a human rights lawyer and disability rights advocate. He is the co-director of the Center for Inclusive Policy (CIP) where he leads the work on legal issues and community inclusion. Alberto brings 17 years of experience in law reform, advocacy and human rights monitoring in the field of disability and mental health. He previously served as the research coordinator for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and as a consultant for several United Nations entities. In Peru, he was actively involved in the milestone reform recognising the universal legal capacity of persons with disabilities. He studied law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and completed his LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Alberto is also president of the Peruvian NGO Sociedad y Discapacidad – SODIS, a founder member of the Latin American Network of Psychosocial Diversity, and an honorary fellow at the University of Essex.

KATE O’REGAN   Moderator

Kate O’Regan is the inaugural Director of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and a former judge of the South African Constitutional Court (1994-2009). In the mid-1980s she practiced as a lawyer in Johannesburg in a variety of fields, but especially labour law and land law, representing many of the emerging trade unions and their members, as well as communities threatened with eviction under apartheid land laws. Since 2009, she has served as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court of Namibia (2010-2016), and as a member of the boards or advisory bodies of many NGOs working in the fields of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and equality.


Sarah is a quadrilingual professional with over ten years of experience in program management, human rights advocacy and team leadership with insights into organizational ad cultural differences across four continents. She has lived, learnt and worked in Egypt, France, Malawi, Uganda, Costa Rica, Canada and Kenya. A proven executor and trusted advisor with multi-sectoral, multi-issue experience and who has a deep commitment to building a stronger and more effective human rights movement across multiple fields and geographies.

Before joining the Symposium as a program manager, Sarah was involved in the Canada labour movement for close to a decade as an organizer, representative and as a manager with the Service Employees International Union and most recently with the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

PETER COCCOMA   Audio and Music Producer

Peter is the audio and music producer for our podcast, Strength and Solidarity. When he’s not editing on our behalf or composing our beloved theme song, Peter works with film, music, and audio for a variety of clients and personal projects. He has directed documentary, experimental, and music videos that have been shown at film festivals around the world. He’s composed music for independent films as well as radio shows from This American Life, Gimlet, and more. As a musician, Peter has toured internationally with various artists and continues to make records with Alpenglow. His work has been featured in Pitchfork, The Guardian, Paste, and other publications. His forthcoming solo album is an instrumental record for electronics and strings that he wrote while living on an island in Lake Superior.

DANIELLA LOCK  Postdoctoral fellow

Daniella is a postdoctoral fellow assisting with the preparation of curriculum materials for the Symposium, while carrying out research at the Bonavero Institute for Human Rights. She recently completed a PhD in human rights law in London, considering limitations to the protection of human rights in Europe. Prior to completing her PhD, she studied philosophy and politics. Daniella has worked with a range of NGOs, activists and political organisations. These include Liberty, Amnesty International, JUSTICE, Wadzanai, Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (Burma), and the Labour Party.


In memoriam

Innocent Chukwuma was a globally renowned advocate for human rights and good governance, and he was an expert at moderating complex conversations. Innocent played an integral role in developing the concept and design of the Symposium on Strength and Solidarity for Human Rights, joining Chris Stone for the first gathering of rights leaders as far back as 2010. We are ever grateful for his warmth, his poise, his wisdom, and his deep commitment to friendship and the field of human rights.

You can read more about Innocent’s countless contributions to the rights field and to our project here, or visit a memorial page set up in his honor.


How can I join The Symposium on Strength and Solidarity for Human Rights?
We hold two Symposia a year. These are events in which around 20 invited participants playing leading roles in human rights organisations and movements around the world take part in a week-long series of immersive and intensive moderated conversations. The exchanges provide participants with opportunities to analyse the current state of their field and see how their peers are tackling problems and innovating to strengthen their work. Above all, each group investigates what makes effective and powerful solidarity possible and what might impede its progress. If you would like to be invited to participate in a Symposium, please visit Invitational Events and click on “request an invitation”.


Is there a fee to participate in The Symposium?
No, the full costs of our program are covered by the generous support of The Ford Foundation and The Oak Foundation. To learn more about their portfolio of work, please visit their respective sites.

Who are The Symposium moderators?
Moderators are active members of The Symposium community. We recruit moderators from among those who have participated in recent conversations and meetings of the Symposium. We look for agile facilitators, active listeners, and intuitive collaborators. Our moderators work in teams at each event, and train together annually.

Questions about an upcoming event?
Please email contact@strengthandsolidarity.org.

Is Symposium participant data protected? How can I remove my name from the list?
Yes. All of our data protection procedures are GDPR compliant and we will seek permission from every participant in order to retain and use their data.