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Avaaz: Activism by Representation

Founded in 2007 Avaaz is an international activism organization based in the United States. The British newspaper “The Guardian” called it the largest, most powerful online activism network on the globe.

Avaaz- a name based on a Persian word for “voice”- was founded by several individuals and organizations including Res Publica, MoveOn.org, founding President and Executive Director Ricken Patel, former U.S. congressperson Tom Perriello and many more. The group refrains from an overriding philosophy, seeking to find practical solutions to issues like climate change, human and animal rights, war and poverty.

They use a sample voting poll process to select global issues brought to them by members and then seek to determine the best way forward. Responses can involve anything from petitions, campaigns to encourage people to contact their elected representatives and advertising to sit-ins, protests and media stunts.

They have advocated for no-fly zones in both Libya and Syria and supported some of the rebel factions in Syria. They helped smuggle reporters into and out of Syria as well.

When the protests that led to the civil war in Syria began the company donated over a million dollars of internet communications equipment to the protesters, who were having access restricted by the Syrian government. When the uprising led to full blown war they donated millions in medical supplies to some rebels.

They also campaigned against Donald Trump’s election in 2016, producing software that helped overseas voters- many of whom were active duty military personnel- register to vote.

Avaaz opposed a questionable acquisition by 21st Century Fox of European media and telecom company Sky plc in the British High Court.

Originally funded by foundations, in 2009 Avaaz changed policy and now only takes donations with a limit of $5,000. They have raised over $20,000,000 this way.

Learn More: www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-17199253