The 51st annual general meeting of Amnesty International is set to take place this weekend in Miami with a lineup of human rights defenders, organizers and activists prepared to call the world to action on human rights issues. As for the University of Miami, two alumnae have established themselves within Amnesty to strive to inspire change.
One of the speakers at the three-day event will be UM alumna Brittney Bartlett, who earned a master’s in international administration at UM in 2015. She’ll be among the more than 1,000 human rights activists who converge at the DoubleTree by Hilton from April 1-3 in the Miami Airport Convention Center.
An assistant campaigner with the Individuals at Risk Program, Bartlett leads the Urgent Action Network, a rapid-response network that issues cases on threats to human rights worldwide every day. Bartlett said her time at UM contributed to her interest in working with human rights, specifically Amnesty International.
“Through the graduate program, we gained deep insight as to how organizations are started, managed and sustained,” Bartlett said. “Through my coursework, I decided that I wanted to go in the direction of working for a non-profit in human rights.”
The non-profit organization is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for human rights. Their action focuses on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to discrimination.
Bartlett mentioned how UM has offered her a wealth of information and networking, which contributed to her work in Amnesty.
“UM is a great name to have on your CV, period,” she said. “Peers, professors and persons of influence … Come to aid in career search after graduation.”
One of Bartlett’s roles within Amnesty is training interns and volunteers. One of those interns is UM alumna Kamila Orlova, who graduated in 2015 and has been with the organization since August.
As Orlova was earning her degree in political science, she became more and more aware of human rights violations throughout the world, and Amnesty International was often where she learned about violations.
“I was fascinated by the extensive work that they have done, from research and investigation on the facts, to exposure of the violations, to mobilizing people and bringing the human right violators to justice,” Orlova said. “I saw the possibility to intern at Amnesty as my teeny contribution to the fight for fundamental human rights for all.”
Orlova is currently a part of the membership mobilization department events team, where she assists in planning and organizing Human Rights Conferences events, such as the upcoming general meeting.
When Orlova first started working at Amnesty International’s New York office, she met her fellow Cane, Bartlett, who readily accepted her into their team that they affectionately call a “Famnesty.”
“Brittney is a very nice and fun person, and I had the privilege to work together with her on projects, including the upcoming conference,” Orlova said. “It is especially nice that this conference will take place in Miami, my alma mater and where Brittney told me more about her time in UM as a Cane.”
Both Miami alumnae are excited that the conference is held in the city of their alma mater, stressing that students should come to the conference to learn about human rights and to network.
“It is highly important for students of UM to attend,” Bartlett said. “They can gain insight into the field of human rights, have the opportunity to network with experts in various fields within human rights and research and even possibly spot a celebrity or two; last year Jesse Williams from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and singer Estelle spoke on a panel for Art for Amnesty.”
For more information about the conference, visit www.amnestyusa.org/events/human-rights-conference-2016.