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LitTalks: Global Politics & Philanthropy

A Regional Discussion Series

HRFN’s “LitTalks” raises the most pressing questions about the global impact of United States politics on human rights today. We’re gathering regional perspectives from activists, funders, political thinkers, artists, and others to:

  • Unpack the state of social justice organizing
  • Analyze human rights philanthropy in times of pandemic
  • Shed light on a shifting world order


Part 1 – Latin America and the Caribbean:
Debating the Impact of the U.S. Election
Pilot Program – Debuted Wednesday, December 9, 2020

What can Latin America expect from the Biden Administration? What are the central issues to be addressed: Migration? Organized crime? Defense of democracy? What priorities does civil society expect to see in policy and what do human rights activists themselves want to see? What role does philanthropy play?  With examples from the most excluded sectors, such as Afro-Colombians and Indigenous people, and an eye on changing global relations, we explore this moment. What is the role of gender in the region? Will China be the new hegemonic power in LAC? Priorities for philanthropy?

(English Video) (Spanish Video)


Part 2 – The United States: A New Relationship with the World?
Tuesday, February 9, 2021 | 10–11:30 AM ET

The hegemonic crisis. The internal fractures (racism, inequality, poverty) and their link to foreign policy. How will a post-imperial United States link up with the world? The Atlantic relationship, the anti-interventionist tendency (of the right and the left). Is the U.S. sharing power or is it trying to lead in the international system? How will the Biden Administration make the transition to a new role? What is the role of U.S. philanthropy domestically and abroad amidst this sea of changes?

(English Video) (Spanish Video)

Livestream in Spanish available in collaboration with EsGlobal.


Part 3 – A New Middle East After Trump?
Thursday, March 25, 2021 | 10–11:30 AM ET

The Trump Administration’s impact on the region. The U.S. withdrawal. Who takes its place? The geopolitical, political, and identity tensions in the region (Iran vs. Saudi Arabia). Supporting social movements in crisis. Internationalized civil wars (Syria, Libya, Yemen). Social protest in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran. The problem of oppressed communities. The role of women in protests and in militarization. Internal migration.

Find out more about the conversation here.

Livestream in Spanish available in collaboration with EsGlobal.


Part 4 – Resisting Authoritarianism in Asia
Thursday, April 22, 2021 | 8:00am (EST), 12:00pm (UTC), 5:30pm (IST), 8:00pm (CST)

Massive mobilizations for human rights are standing strong across the Asia region: from the months-long farmers’ strike across India to the anti-government, anti-monarchy student movements flooding the streets in Thailand. The resistance movements defying the military coup in Myanmar are the most recent example of the pressing fight for human rights.

At the same time, new challenges are emerging. How are issues of the climate crisis, digital rights and online surveillance, authoritarian rules, economic growth and COVID-19 shaping the landscape for human rights organizing in the region? What role does China play as a growing regional and global power and what will the new United States administration’s agenda look like in this context?

Join us to unpack the interconnected human rights issues shaping — and being shaped by — the Asia region today!

Find out more about the conversation and view English and Spanish recordings of the event here.


Part 5 – African Futures
Thursday, May 20, 2021 | 10-11:30 AM ET

Throughout the African region, self-led and self-determined movements are redefining African futures. Land defenders are fighting  state -sponsored land grabs. LGBTQI communities are  organizing  (and winning!) to overturn colonial-era laws that criminalize same-sex relations. Youth organizers are resisting police violence and government corruption via hashtags and social media. Regional funds are building structures for resourcing their communities using participatory models and supporting on their own agendas.

The reconstruction of the post-Soviet influence. Nationalism on the rise. Authoritarian democracy and corruption. Reinforcement of the military apparatus. Tensions with NATO. Restrictions on civil society: the November 2020 law on “foreign agents.” How can foreign philanthropy operate under the control of civil society? The future of the relationship with the United States, China, and Europe.


Part 6 – The World Needs Multilateralism (Reformed!)
Date and Time: TBD

Crisis of the multilateral/liberal system formed after World War II. Weaknesses and limitations of this system. The relationship with International Law and protection of rights. Attacks of the global ultra-right. How to improve and defend it. Role of civil society and foundations. A new multilateralism for a multipolar world. What role for Southern countries? How can philanthropy support the multilateral system?

(Register Now – please note the date and time are TBD)

For questions about the series, please contact us at info@hrfn.org.


Host: Ana María Enríquez

Executive Director, Human Rights Funders Network (HRFN), Ana María leads the network’s efforts to connect activists, intellectuals, artists, and social movement leaders with philanthropy leaders, promoting dialogues and strategies across sectors. Ana María has 20 years of experience working in the USA, Europe, and Latin America. She has worked with global private foundations, multilaterals, and NGOs working to advance human rights including UN Women, where she designed and led the Fund for Gender Equality, a 50 Million Euro Fund to advance women’s rights, the Ford Foundation, where she led an initiative in support of social justice philanthropy in the Global South, and the Global Fund for Women, among others. Fluent in Spanish, French, and English (and conversant in Portuguese), Ana María works from her home country of Colombia and is currently Co-Chair for the Management Board of the Funders Initiative for Civil Society (FICS).

Moderator: Mariano Aguirre

Mariano Aguirre Ernst, our moderator based in Oslo, is a researcher on peace and conflicts; political analyst. He is an associate fellow Chatham House (London); member of the Latin American Network for Inclusive and Sustainable Security, Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Berlín-Bogotá); and Board member of the Human Rights Institute, Deusto University (Bilbao). He is also a member of the Transnational Institute (Amsterdam). He has been Senior Advisor on Peacebuilding at the Office of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Colombia (2017-2019) and Director of the Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution (NOREF) (Oslo) (2009-2016). A Spanish citizen, born in Argentina he has lived in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, the United States, and Colombia. Aguirre is the author, among other books, of Leap into the Void. Crisis and decline of the United States.

No Upcoming Events.
In-Person Gatherings9:30am-6:00pm PST

Mapping the Money: A Changing Landscape of Human Rights Funding

The Human Rights Funders Network and Foundation Center recently launched the first-ever five-year trends analysis in our Advancing Human Rights: Knowledge Tools for Funders Initiative, which maps the landscape of global human rights grantmaking. Join us on February 14, 2018 in San Francisco, as we celebrate the launch of this multi-year undertaking and reflect on where the field has been and…

Past Events

In-Person Gatherings

Affinity Equity Summit and Solidarity Defense & Action Funder Briefing

In partnership with several affinity groups across different sectors, we are pleased to invite you to the Affinity Equity Summit on February 12th and Solidarity Defense & Action Funder Briefing on February 13th at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland, CA. The event will bring funders together across a multitude of sectors to connect and…

Webinars1:00 – 2:00pm EST

Supporting Local Organizations: Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Foundations

The Human Rights Funders Network, Peace and Security Funders Group, and Philanthropy NY invite you to a discussion on the value of funding local/grassroots organizations, obstacles foundations face, and recommendations for how to overcome them. Two of our members – American Jewish World Service and Peace Direct – will kick off the conversation with brief…

Kevin Frayer, Getty Images
7:30-8:45am PST / 10:30-11:45am EST / 4:30-5:45pm GMT / 8:30-9:45pm MMT

Briefing Call on the Rohingya Crisis in Burma (Myanmar)

Hosted by: Human Rights Funders Network (HRFN), New England International Donors (NEID), and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), and co-hosted by HRFN’s Asia and Pacific Funders Working Group. The Rohingya, an ethnic and religious minority in Burma, have experienced persecution for decades. In recent months the situation has escalated with a campaign of ethnic…

In-Person Gatherings12:00-2:00pm EST

Mapping the Intersections of Peace and Security and Human Rights Work

Hosted by Philanthropy New York, 1500 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY The relationship between peace and security and human rights is complex. The protection and promulgation of human rights are essential to creating peaceful societies; yet, when peace is threatened, human rights are often sacrificed in the name of security. Where do these fields…

Photo Courtesy of: Open Society Foundations
In-Person Gatherings10:00-11:30am EST

Human Rights Crisis in Africa: A Call to Action to Address Abuses Against Persons with Albinism

The Open Society Foundations and Human Rights Funders Network invite you to this briefing to raise awareness on this underfunded and under-recognized human rights crisis facing persons with Albinism in Africa. Co-sponsored by: Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group, the East Africa Association of Grantmakers, and the newly launched HRFN Africa Donors Working Group Location: Open Society…

In-Person Gatherings1:00-4:30pm

International Grants Operations Working Group (IGOWG) Fall 2017 Meeting

“Secure Grantmaking in Closing Spaces” Hosted by American Jewish World Service (AJWS) Location: 45 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, NY, NY IGOWG is a working group of the Human Rights Funders Network, a global network of over 1,500 grantmakers committed to advancing human rights through effective philanthropy. The working group focuses on solving operational issues…

Photo Courtesy of: Fondo Semillas
Webinars10:00-11:15am Mexico City

Mexico Post-Earthquakes Donor Briefing

Last month Mexico was hit by two large earthquakes that deeply affected Mexico City and several states around central and southern Mexico. The urgent situation has generated an immediate response from civil society and citizens around the country and beyond. Please join this urgent update call to learn from colleagues in Mexico about the unfolding…

In-Person Gatherings2:30-4:00pm

Human Rights Funding: Mapping the Who, What, and Where

Join the Human Rights Funders Network (HRFN), hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and co-sponsored by Disability Rights Fund and New England International Donors, for a look at HRFN and Foundation Center’s Advancing Human Rights research and a funder-only tutorial on Foundation Maps: Human Rights, HRFN’s interactive map of human rights grantmaking.

In-Person Gatherings10:30am-12:30pm EST

Joint Funders Roundtable Discussion on Promoting & Supporting Young People’s Participation In Peacebuilding & Violence Prevention

Location: UNDP, 304 East 45th Street, New York 6th Fl Conference Rm & Remote Participation via Conference Line The United Nations Security Council, Member States and international actors are increasingly giving youth a greater voice in decision-making and enabling young people to play an important and positive role in promoting international peace and security. This…