Ai Weiwei's Alcatraz Exhibition '@Large' Opens September 27th

Alcatraz

This article was originally written by Andrew Dalton of SFist. Celebrated Chinese dissident, architect and artist Ai Weiwei's highly anticipated exhibition "@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz" will open this fall on September 27th and run through the end of April 2015. The exhibition will feature seven site-specific installations in four different locations on the former federal prison island, three of which are not normally open to the sightseeing public.

The exhibition is being put on by San Francisco's FOR-SITE foundation along with the stewards of the island at the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. According to this morning's official announcement, it will offer "a new cultural lens through which to experience the notorious military and federal penitentiary turned national park."

The works are meant to explore questions of human rights and freedom of expression in the context of incarceration, detainment and protest. Ai himself was secretly detained by the Chinese government for 81 days in 2011 on charges of tax evasion. Since his passport was revoked and he is still not permitted to leave the country, don't expect the artist to make an appearance at the site. The works were developed in Ai's Beijing studio.

From the official announcement:

The large-scale sculpture, sound, and mixed-media works will be installed in the two-story New Industries Building where “privileged” inmates were permitted to work; the main and psychiatric wards of the Hospital; the A Block cells, the only remaining section of the military prison that was constructed in the early 20th century; and the Dining Hall.

Aside from the dining hall, all of those locations are usually off limits to visitors. During the exhibition's five-month run, they will all be open to the ticket-buying public.

Tickets go on sale to the general public through Alcatraz Cruises next month on June 27th and will include access to the exhibition as well as the general Alcatraz audio tour. Tickets to Alcatraz typically sell out weeks in advance, but expect them to go even faster with the extra cultural draw. A limited number of same-day tickets will be set aside for anyone who can make it to the Early Bird boat at 8:45 a.m. daily. Tickets will be $50 for adults and juniors, $38.25 for children (5-11), and $48.25 for seniors.

[Official Site] Tickets via Alcatraz Cruises

Feature photo by Sam Breach.

Remembering the Grace of Dr. Maya Angelou

This week the literary and civil rights world lost an true heroine, advocate and mentor, Dr. Maya Angelou. She will be remembered not only for her pursuit of justice and her literary genius, but also for the graceful way in which she conveyed her messages. We believe that the below video captures this grace. Her words and spirit will be missed. To read about her legacy, click here.

Congratulations to Global Witness for Winning the TED Prize AND the Skoll Award for Entrepreneurship!

Global-Witness

NEW YORK, March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- TED and the Skoll Foundation are proud to join in making a unique announcement: each will direct their annual million-dollar prizes to Global Witness. TED will grant its award to Charmian Gooch, Global Witness Co-Founder and Director. The Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship will honor all three Co-Founders and Directors – Patrick Alley, Charmian Gooch, and Simon Taylor – and the organization itself for its extraordinary innovation in disrupting an unjust and unsustainable status quo.

Though TED and the Skoll Foundation separately decided to honor Gooch and Global Witness with their 2014 awards, the organizations are making a joint announcement to highlight the value, merit and distinct contributions of this cutting edge investigative and campaigning organization. For 20 years, Global Witness has run pioneering analysis and campaigns against natural resource-related conflict and corruption and associated environmental and human rights abuses.

"I am thrilled to announce Charmian Gooch as the 2014 TED Prize winner," said Chris Anderson, TED curator. "That both TED and Skoll independently selected Charmian and Global Witness as recipients of these prizes is a remarkable testament to their daring investigative and campaigning work. The TED Prize is granted annually to an inspiring individual with a world-changing wish – one that Charmian will reveal at the TED Conference in just two weeks' time."

TED, the nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, awards its annual prize to an extraordinary individual with a bold, creative vision to spark global change. The TED Prize leverages the TED community's resources and invests $1 million into a powerful, world-inspiring idea. 2014 TED Prize recipient Charmian Gooch will announce her wish live from the main stage at the annual TED Conference. The session will be broadcast globally for free on March 18 (6-7:45 pm PDT):http://tedlive.ted.com/webcasts/2014

"Social entrepreneurs are, by definition, disruptors. Patrick, Charmian, and Simon's leadership epitomizes great social entrepreneurship in Global Witness's quest to expose global conflict, corruption, and environmental degradation, lifting millions out of poverty and protecting the environment. We are delighted to announce Patrick, Charmian, and Simon as among our 2014 Skoll Awardees," said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation.

"Skoll and TED both connect and showcase inspiring, entrepreneurial, breakthrough innovators. We are thrilled to be working closely with our TED colleagues, who share our mission to catalyze social change."

The Skoll Foundation presents the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship each year to transformative leaders who are disrupting the status quo, driving large-scale change, and are poised for even greater impact. Recipients of the Skoll Award gain leverage and scale through a global community of social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving the world's most pressing problems. Global Witness's Patrick Alley, Charmian Gooch, and Simon Taylor will be honored along with other 2014 Skoll Awardees at the 11th Annual Skoll World Forum in Oxford, April 9-11.

"Everyone at Global Witness is honored and thrilled to receive these two prestigious awards, from two remarkable organizations," said Charmian Gooch, Co-Founder and Director of Global Witness. "They truly are a rocket boost to our work – making it possible for us to carry out even more cutting edge investigations, report on matters in the public interest, and launch hard hitting campaigns that challenge vested interests and change the system. I'm personally also very excited about the prospect of announcing the details of my TED Prize Wish live from the TED conference in March. This being our 20thAnniversary year, we couldn't have wished for a better birthday present."

About Global Witness

Founded in 1993, Global Witness is a UK not-for-profit based in London and Washington DC.

Global Witness investigates and campaigns to change the system by exposing the economic networks behind conflict, corruption and environmental destruction. The organization focuses on undertaking hard-hitting investigations into matters of public interest that expose the companies, the corrupt, the bankers, the corporate executives, and the middlemen of various kinds who willfully enable corruption to take place on a grand scale. Global Witness reports on these matters, and launches campaigns that change the terms of debate and set the global agenda.

Patrick Alley, Co-Founder & Director, Global Witness Since posing as a timber buyer in Global Witness's first investigation into the Thai-Khmer Rouge timber trade in 1995, Patrick has taken part in over fifty field investigations in South East Asia, Africa and Europe and in subsequent advocacy activities. Patrick has focused on Global Witness's campaigns on conflict resources, notably former Liberian President Charles Taylor's'arms for timber' trade, the minerals trade in Eastern DRC and more recently the Central African Republic, as well as providing strategic direction for Global Witness' work on forest issues, especially challenging industrial scale logging and land grabbing in the tropics. In addition, he is involved in the strategic leadership of Global Witness.

Charmian Gooch, Co-Founder & Director, Global Witness Charmian worked on Global Witness's first ever investigation into how the illegal timber trade between Cambodia and Thailandwas funding the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. Subsequent to that, Charmian developed and launched Global Witness's groundbreaking campaign to combat 'blood diamonds,' using detailed research and field investigations across Africa andEurope. Global Witness was nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for its work on conflict diamonds, and in 2005 the organization received the Gleitsman International Activist Award. Charmian has wide-ranging experience advocating for international policy solutions to address natural resource-related conflict and corruption. In addition, she is involved in the strategic leadership of Global Witness.

Simon Taylor, Co-Founder & Director, Global Witness Simon worked on Global Witness's first ever investigation into how the illegal timber trade between Cambodia and Thailand was funding the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. After that, Simon launched and led Global Witness's oil and corruption campaign inDecember 1999, after investigating companies and elite groups involved in this sector. This began the global call for transparency around payments by companies to governments for natural resources, leading to Global Witness's conception and co-launch of the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) campaign, which now consists of over 790 civil society organisations worldwide. Simon has detailed expertise of natural resource-related corruption and extensive advocacy experience, and continues to be at the forefront of the push for a global standard of revenue transparency legislation, as well as being actively involved in Global Witness's work to expose corruption in the sector.  In addition, he is involved in the strategic leadership of Global Witness.

For press inquiries: Andrea Pattison +44 7703 671 308 apattison@globalwitness.org

About the TED Prize The first TED Prize was awarded in 2005, born out of the TED Conference and a vision by the world's leading entrepreneurs, innovators, and entertainers to change the world – one wish at a time. The original prize: $100,000 and the TED community's range of talent and expertise. What began as an unparalleled experiment to leverage the resources of the TED community has evolved into an ambitious effort to spur global-scale change.

From Bono's the ONE Campaign ('05 recipient) to Jamie Oliver 's Food Revolution ('10 recipient) to JR's Inside Out Project ('11 recipient) and Sugata Mitra's School in a Cloud ('13 recipient), the TED Prize has helped to combat poverty, take on religious intolerance, improve global health, tackle child obesity, advance education, and inspire art around the world.

For Press Inquiries: Erin Allweiss +1 202 446 8265/ Erin@thenumber29.com

About the Skoll Foundation & the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship

The Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship distinguishes transformative leaders who are disrupting the status quo, driving large-scale change, and are poised for even greater impact. Recipients of the Skoll Award gain leverage and scale through a global community of social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving the world's most pressing problems.

The 2014 Skoll Awardees will be honored at the 11th Annual Skoll World Forum in Oxford, April 9-11. Sign up to watch the live stream from Oxford here.

For press inquiries: Suzana Grego +1 650 331 1021/ sgrego@skollfoundation.org

Vice and Madonna Collaborate on "Art for Freedom"

Perhaps taking a cue from Bono, Madonna has teamed up with Vice to address human rights violations through art. And not just through her art, you could be the artist that ignites change. After uploading artwork to the Art for Freedom website (or hash tagging your art #ARTFORFREEDOM via other social media outlets), an artist is selected every month by Madonna, Vice and a guest curator. Madonna will then give $10K to the charity of the selected artist's choice in an effort to encourage creative expression that brings awareness to human rights. Sounds like a win-win.

A Must Watch: Ken Roth on the Colbert Report

Take Ken Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, who is a human encyclopedia on all things human rights and mix in Stephen Colbert, a political satirist/comedian + the last person you'd expect to discuss human rights abuses and you get a very entertaining interview.


Here are some of the gems that emerged from the interview:

Colbert: "My guest is Ken Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. If he's here, who's watching the humans?"

Roth: "No one likes to have their human rights abuses known. Even Saddam Hussein tried to hide his human rights abuses against the Kurds." Colbert: Right, I don't tell anybody about my interns.

Colbert: "I don't want to be on the wrong side of Apartheid…again. It's a long story."

Colbert: "King Hamad, again, is a friend of mine. President Xi and Hamad and I get together and it's like…have you ever seen 'The Hangover?' It's like that; only the tiger belongs there." (on the King of Bahrain and the President of China).

Fireside Chat with Intel CEO, the Enough Project and activist Robin Wright

This article is reposted in its entirety from the Enough Project. On Tuesday, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced that its entire 2014 line of microprocessors would be conflict-free making them the first in the rare mineral-heavy industry to completely phase out conflict minerals in one of their products.

This announcement was followed by on Wednesday by a conversation and moderated Q&A with Intel and social activists, including the Enough Project, on the challenge for the electronics industry, as a main users of metals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in making conflict-free products.

Participants:

Watch the full fireside chat here:

Glancing Back at 2013

Glancing-Back-at-2013

This year was rife with important milestones, achievements and events related to the human rights movement. We’ve compiled the milestones that most resonated with us. Let us know what resonates with you in the comments section below. 1) Defeated Militia: Colonel Sultani Makenga, Commander of the M23 rebel group in the eastern DRC, surrendered in Uganda along with 1,700 of his rebel fighters this past November. The M23 were ambushed by the Congolese army (also backed by 3,000 UN fighters) and were forced to either be captured or flee. It was under these pressures that they declared a ceasefire, ending a very bloody 20-month uprising.

2) In RemembranceNelson Mandela, former South African President and beloved anti-apartheid leader, died on December 5th 2013. Widely called “Madiba,” Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for his political activities during apartheid in South Africa.  Despite his imprisonment he preached the importance of reconciliation and represented survival in the struggle for human dignity. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and leaves behind a legacy of equality, justice and freedom.

Seamus Heaney, an Irish poet and playwright who won the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature in 1995, died on August 30th, 2013. One of his most famous poems spoke of suffering and conflict in Northern Ireland. Below is an excerpt; for the full poem click here.

History says, Don't hope On this side of the grave, But then, once in a lifetime The longed-for tidal wave Of justice can rise up And hope and history rhyme.

3) AppointmentsSamantha Power’s appointment as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations began on August 5th, 2013. Power is widely considered one of the most important thought leaders and is most known for her strong human rights background and specifically for her extensive genocide research. She wrote “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” a study on the response of U.S. foreign policy in regards to various cases of genocide. She also authored “Chasing the Flame: One Man's Fight to Save the World,” a book about the heroic life of Sergio Vieira de Mello.

4) Symbol of Defiance: Surviving a gunshot wound to the head for defending her right to an education, Malala Yousafzai continues to promote girls education and serves as an inspirational role model for millions of girls around the world. Malala publically debuted with a moving speech to the UN to mark her 16th birthday.  Malala tells her story of being shot by the Taliban in Pakistan in newly published book, “I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban.”

5) Most Perplexing Conflict: Syria’s civil war continues to escalate in intensity, complexity and scope. For more than two years, violent conflict has ravaged this country and has maimed or taken the lives of thousands of innocent civilians and produced an epic refugee crisis with estimates of 6.5 million people now forcibly displaced with little access to aid or security. Widely considered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises partly due to the internal chemical weapons attacks that have killed more than 10,000 Syrians, international observers remain baffled as to a viable political (non-military) solution that would result in meaningful peace and lasting stability.

6) More than Meets the Eye: When Edward Snowden, former CIA worker, leaked classified details of the NSA surveillance program, he initiated a controversial, if not historic, debate on privacy vs. security in a post 9/11, digital world, questioning how far the government should go to protect the American public. At the core of this debate is whether the metadata surveillance collected in the name of national security is pursued at the expense of civil liberties, such as privacy rights and freedom of expression. Human rights defenders say current surveillance policies must be reformed to respect privacy and maintain freedom of speech. This is a debate worth following as the implications are serious and far-reaching. For more information click here.

7) Notable Movies: 12 Years a Slave, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Anita and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.

8) Favorite Reads: The Lemon Tree, The Glass Palace, Long Walk to Freedom, The Kitchen House, Strength in What Remains.

9) Favorite Tweets

@CivCenter: When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” -Kenyan proverb

@AmbassadorPower: Violence against women isn’t cultural, it’s criminal. Equality can't come eventually; we must fight for it now.

10) Stunning Statistic: The NSA tracks 5 billion cell phone records daily!

Nelson Mandela: His Legacy Lives On

Nelson-Mandela-Cover

nelson-mandela-released-sized(2)Yesterday the world lost one of its most beloved leaders, Nelson Mandela, former South African President and anti-apartheid leader. The news was met with somber reactions as his life was reflected upon and his death mourned. According to CNN, he will be buried in a state funeral on Sunday, December 15th in Qunu, South Africa. The official memorial service will be at the First National Bank Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday, December 10th, which is also International Human Rights Day, appropriately fitting.

South African President Jacob Zuma addressed his country yesterday with the sad news. He said "our nation has lost its greatest son, our people have lost a father. Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss."

An enduring loss, indeed. U.S. President Barack Obama also made a heartfelt statement yesterday where he reflected on Mandela's legacy and also on his own experience protesting against apartheid. The full video of his statement is below.

To learn more about Nelson Mandela, A3A strongly recommends reading his inspiring, autobiography "A Long Walk to Freedom." Rest in Peace, Mr. Mandela. Your legacy lives on.

Cover Photo by Andy Wong/AP. Post Photo by Getty Images.

How Howard Buffett Will Use His Grandfather’s Recipe For Riches To Disrupt Philanthropy

HB

This article is written by Greg Ferenstein and originally appeared on Co.Exist. It has been reposted here in its entirety.

Howard Buffett is attempting to unify the scattered world of independent nonprofits through his grandfather's multi-billion dollar investment strategy: Invest in a portfolio of smart people and let them flourish. Having just taken the reins as Executive Director of the family foundation after holding posts in the White House and Department of Defense, Buffett has ambitious plans to pay the world's savviest nonprofits to collaboratively tackle the full spectrum of food security, from third-world farmer education to public policy

"My grandfather, in part, has been so successful because he has identified the best human capital for managing businesses," Buffett tells Fast Company. Emulating the strategy of investing in people who have proven strategies, the younger Buffett is building a coalition of already-successful leaders in each niche of food security.

The approach, he hopes, will become the standard for his family's growing network of mega-philanthropists: rather than dolling out cash to independent, uncoordinated actors with the most heart-string-tugging story, they could take on an entire social problems (like food security or breast cancer) by systematically lining up nonprofits to tackle each part of the causal chain, from federal policy to victim resources.

Getting Rid Of Redundancies

"If you are an NGO, doing the exact same thing as another NGO, and that other NGO is doing better than you're doing it, then you are in business for the wrong reason," Buffett says in an exasperated rant against the individualist nature of charities. Overlapping operations, he says, not only waste money through redundant overhead, but keep brilliant minds occupied with logistical distractions that sap their potential impact.

"We will give you money to execute your mission," Buffett says, "if you work together and identify the most cost-effective and successful ways to achieve that."

Meanwhile, looking at the entire causal chain of a crisis is key to revealing missing links in the solution, such as political or logistical hurdles that are essential to success, but not appealing enough to raise dollars.

Buffett learned the importance of interconnectedness after witnessing efforts to save forests be thwarted by starving locals. "They're going to cut down the forest, burn the trees, and then try to grow food on something that has horrible productivity value," he says. The horrific conditions led the foundation to not only shift from environmental stewardship to food security, but to the current strategy of solving problems as a closed ecosystem. Now, the Buffet foundation sponsors everything from an endowed political science chair at Texas A&M that studies conflict and hunger to public awareness campaigns.

A New Take On Evaluating Philanthropic Impact

"Emotion is not fungible, so to measure success through the emotional feeling we get from doing something is not an effective way of measuring," says Buffett, who needs a way to objectively evaluate the unwieldy volumes of grants proposed to his own foundation. But, unlike money, he says, "there is nothing that exists as a universal measure of impact for a philanthropic endeavor."

To make the tough comparisons between education, hunger, veterans, or disease eradication, Buffett designed an "issue agnostic" survey of scope, relevancy, cost-efficiency, and risk of any proposal.

The first question, for instance, is "Assuming we are successful, how many people would we reach directly with the funding of this gift?" Proposals gets 3 points for affecting +1 million people, 2 for greater than 100,000, and 1 for less than 100,000. Those proposals with a less ambitious scope can secure a coveted spot on the portfolio team by being particularly unique or cost-efficient.

He maintains that the measure helps him balance caring for the needy with the harsh realities of inefficient programs. "There's absolutely nothing wrong" with emotion, he says, admitting that the crisis of global food security has a particular effect on him. "My fear is when emotion clouds rationality."

Selling Suffering

"In the philanthropic world, the problem is the product, in the business world, the product is the solution." says Buffett, who argues that NGOs are forced to "sell suffering." The needless focus on sappy narratives often overlooks sophisticated solutions that can't be easily marketed with a T-shirt-clad celebrity holding a small child.

As an example, he notes, hunger-stricken continents are perfectly capable of offsetting their own crises , since famine and food surplus hit neighboring countries in the same year. If food-swap agreements were in place, the surplus country could donate food when they have more crops, knowing they'd get reciprocation in an inevitable drought.

"I see this as sexy," he says, half-jokingly. Buffett argues he's able to harness these kinds of sophisticated solutions because of his foundation's unique approach to objective measures and a broad-spectrum tackling of whole social issues.

A Business-Minded Approach To Philanthropy

Frustrated by the bureaucratic restraints of government and inspired by the nimbleness of the growing social entrepreneurship industry, the 27-year-old Buffett aims to bring some private sector savvy to the philanthropic world. He hopes his coalition strategy will encourage nonprofits to consider their "comparative advantage," and that his universal measure of "impact" can be as fungible as money. Finally, he aims to move charities away from selling narratives to selling solutions.

He even imagines a world were nonprofits can acquire one another. "You want to bring this back to the business world, there are no incentives for philanthropic organizations to merge," he says, adding that there are no easy legal means by which nonprofits can combine their resources as for-profits do.

Buffett was raised to blur the lines between nonprofit and for-profit: He is the product of a billionaire grandfather who has both pledged to give most of his money away and maligned the concept of inheritance as perpetuating "members of the lucky sperm club."

Yet, grateful for the opportunities his family gave him, and the legacy of giving his grandfather catalyzed, Buffett aims to make this exceptional charitable philosophy a mainstream belief for his generation.

"Our old definitions of success were wealth, power, and fame," he says. "We need to see those as a means to an end, and those need to be impact."