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20 août 2007

Independent Sector to Present WITNESS with the Leadership IS Award

Independent Sector will honor WITNESS, an international human rights organization, with the 2007 American Express Building Leadership Award for promoting leadership in other organizations and for building leaders from within. The award will be presented to the organization with a plaque and a gift of $10,000 at the Independent Sector Annual Conference in Los Angeles from October 21 to 23, 2007.

Founded in 1992 by musician and activist Peter Gabriel, the Reebok Human Rights Foundation and Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyer’s Committee for Human Rights), WITNESS trains organizations to use video and online technologies to increase awareness of human rights violations. In doing so, the organization empowers groups within the global human rights community to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools for justice and policy change. Through its Core Partners program, WITNESS provides hands-on video training for grassroots organizations in the United States and around the world that advocate for political, social, and economic rights to help them become more effective advocates for their respective causes.

In California, the State Senate Majority Leader introduced sweeping legislation to overhaul the State’s juvenile prison system five days after the screening of “System Failure,” a film by partner Books Not Bars, which revealed rampant abuses in the system. In the Casamance region of Senegal, the Minister of Women’s and Family Affairs pledged unprecedented funding for women landmine victims following the release of a video by WITNESS partner, the African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights, which exposed the devastating effects of these weapons of war.

From 2002 to 2006, WITNESS worked with Burma Issues, a human rights organization, to document the systematic repression of civilians by Burma's military government, and to place that footage in front of activists and government officials worldwide. The rising profile of this crisis helped lead to the introduction of a first-ever resolution at the UN Security Council on Burma, as well as significant increases in funding for displaced civilians.

“We applaud WITNESS for its commitment to building the capacity of locally based organizations that work to galvanize public support for human rights reforms in this country and abroad,” said Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “WITNESS embodies the ideals of this award by helping other organizations become leaders and by developing policies and practices that promote leadership within the organization.”

Internally, WITNESS is committed to fostering an open work environment and has implemented several policies to encourage staff to take on leadership roles, advance within the organization and participate in professional development opportunities. To ensure maximum impact for its work, the organization developed a process called “5 Key Results Areas,” which enables staff to stay tightly focused on measurable results and regularly assess progress. Driven by the strong belief that each staff member has innate leadership potential, it has also committed to sending staff to the Rockwood Leadership program.

WITNESS is honored to be recognized with the 2007 American Express Building Leadership Award for our commitment to training our partner organizations to turn video testimony and images into powerful human stories that make a difference,” said Gillian Gladwell, executive director of WITNESS. “We have worked with hundreds of organizations, advocates and media-makers to give them the tools they need to drive their own advocacy, and with the launch of our newest initiative, The Hub (, in Fall 2007, we hope to inspire thousands more people around the world to use video as a tool for activism and policy change. We are also very committed to developing leadership within the organization.”

The American Express Building Leadership Award, formally known as the Leadership IS Award, is sponsored by the American Express Foundation. The award was established in 1999 to recognize the importance of investing in the people of the nonprofit community by celebrating an organization that embodies this principle in spirit and practice.

For more information about the American Express Building Leadership Award, please visit the IS web site.

2 commentaires:

on tour with Gabriel a dit…

Dommage que Witness ait refusé d'être représentés au festival des vieilles charrues en Juillet :'(

Gabnews a dit…

Peut être que le lieu n'était pas idéal pour le faire et entre le refus de Witness de figurer et le refus de Gabriel d'y être filmé, il semble qu'il y ait eu quelque soucis à les organisateurs du festival, non ?