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Avaaz is an online activist network, based in the US, whose role is to sensitize the public on issues that affect them, such as, human and animal rights, poverty, corruption, climate change and conflict. Avaaz was founded in 2007 by Res Publica, MoveOn.org and Service Employees International Union. Res Publica is a group of public sector professionals who promote civic virtue, good governance and deliberate democracy. MoveOn.org is a public policy advocacy group.
Ricken Patel, president of Avaaz, studied politics, philosophy and economics at the Balliol College, Oxford University and proceeded to do his Masters in Public Policy at Harvard University. He acquired skills such as election monitoring, restoring public faith and using online activism tools while working at International Crisis Groups and MoveOn.org.
Initially, Avaaz was funded by various organizations but since 2009, it relies solely on donations from individual members. Campaigns are conducted by campaigners who are stationed in over 30 countries including UK, Brazil, Lebanon and India. Campaign suggestions come from their members, with the support of teams of specialists. Their campaign tactics include tools such as public petitions, email-your-leader and videos. They sometimes use advertisements, rallies, friendly stunts and phone-ins.
Avaaz’s mission is to bridge the gap between the world that most people desire and the world we live in today. Avaaz supports progressive causes, such as, challenging Monsanto, building global support for refugees and calling on global mass action on issues that affect the society. In 2011 military intervention in Libya was made possible because of Avaaz’s efforts of establishing a no-fly zone over her.
In 2016, Avaaz was actively involved in the US elections as they were strongly campaigning against President Trump with the slogan “Defeat Donald Trump”. They even went an extra mile and created a software which assisted in overseas voter registration. This goes to show just how Avaaz are dedicated to their mission.