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2018 Call for Conference Session Proposals


Our call for session proposals is now closed. [A PDF version is available in English and Spanish.]

Thank you for submitting a proposal. We are currently reviewing proposals and aim to contact applicants regarding selections by early August.

We invite proposals for:

  • Plenary lightning talks (7-minute presentations that present a specific idea, recommendation, or case study). While we are open to any lightning talk connected to the conference theme, the following topics are of interest: 1) Leading from the South – What we can learn from Global South Philanthropy and 2) Responding to Impunity and Corruption – The Role of Human Rights.
  • Tracks (60-90 minute breakout sessions geared towards engaging 20-40 funders on practical tools and approaches in human rights grantmaking). The tracks will meet each day of the conference. Participants will select one of four tracks ahead of time:

TRACK 1 – Beyond Grantmaking: explore models that transcend traditional grantmaking to accelerate and deepen funders’ impact and support activists innovative ways. From funder activism and advocacy to mission-aligned investing and loans, this track will examine ways that funders are evolving their purview and scope to adapt to today’s context.

TRACK 2 – Funder Relevancy in Advancing Movements: identify strategies that movements—both new movements and existing movements testing out new strategies—are effectively using to respond to closing spaces and authoritarianism and uncover how funders can be relevant and most effectively bolster this work.

TRACK 3 – Shifting the Power: identify creative strategies for shifting power into the hands of those doing the work on the ground. From activist-led funds to participatory strategic plans to funding grantee endowments, this track will look at practical ways in which funders are ceding power.

TRACK 4 – Recapturing the Narrative: analyze the Human Rights “public relations crisis” and explore arts/culture, communications, direct-action, campaigns, and other approaches that funders and activists can use to change the narrative.

Proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Compelling: To what extent does this proposal advance our thinking on a critical and timely issue in human rights and/or philanthropy?
  • Relevant: How well does the proposal connect to the conference theme or tracks?
  • Action-oriented: Is the proposal likely to engage participants in a way that inspires a real-world outcome?
  • Original: Does the proposal introduce new voices [to HRFN and the Human Rights Funding Community], new concepts, new format, or offer a fresh take on an issue?
  • Collaborative: Does the proposal have the potential to initiate or encourage collaborations?
  • Diverse: To what extent does the proposal present traditionally underrepresented or marginalized perspectives? Does the proposal feature speakers from a diverse range of backgrounds and communities and have an intersectional approach?

Please note: If the Conference Advisory Committee recommends your proposal for the upcoming conference, HRFN staff and committee members will work with you to develop the session, identifying interactive and dynamic formats. While we will try to honor your desired session type and format, we will determine which modality will best showcase your ideas within the conference agenda and arc.  Unfortunately, due to focus and limited time slots, we will not be able to accept every submission.