Conference Leaves Me Inspired, Exhausted and Re-energised

The title to this post may be confusing. However, i’m confident most delegates who attended left the AIUK conference feeling exhausted from the non-stop meetings and socialising over the weekend. But from my conversations with others and personal experience I know that they are all fired up with ideas, passion and revitalised with enthusiasm and energy to campaign for human rights. Today had three main parts. The first was completing the debate and voting on resolutions. Then came a panel discussion on engaging with the new global powers with panel members with expertise on Russia, South Africa and India. The key point is for Amnesty to be creative, to be aware of local context and use different strategies in each country. To hear about the successes from each country and the challenges was inspiring. There has been quite a lot of success in terms of civil and political rights in South Africa but more work to be done on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The last part of the day was the celebration of what activists have achieved through the infamous Dan Jones awards for outstanding activism. These were presented by Lady Godiva (an impersonator anyway). There were examples of my former University of York Amnesty group campaigning on Shell, Dover Grammar school organising a Santa run for Troy Davis, Buxton AI group going to Paris to the Laos embassy there (not one in UK) regarding a political prisoner and fantastic fundraising by Leeds AI group through music events. My highlight though was the Solihull Amnesty International group winning an award for their innovative fundraising through a milking competition at the Knowle Festival (in their absence I collected an award on their behalf). Congratulations to them for their success.

One thing I’d like to get across to local members who haven’t been to a National Conference and AGM is that the experience is truly inspiring. To meet hundreds of ordinary people who undertake such amazing activism like many Amnesty group and individual members here in the West Midlands just makes me energised to want to do more and gives me a sense of collective pride in what we all do. I do hope those who haven’t been before will consider attending in future as it is well worth it.

PS. Also met members from Worcester and Wolverhampton today and aware that there were members present from Mid-Warwicks too.

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