Profiles of Organizations

Write a summary of an organization that is working on the issue you are researching, or an organization that is taking an approach to another issue that you think would be a good model for the issue you are working on. What is the organization’s mission? What populations or communities does it serve? Who is involved in the work? What strategies does the organization use? Discuss what  you think is most interesting or compelling about the work this organization is doing. Be sure to include a link to the organization’s website.

Your post is due by Wednesday, April 1, at 1pm, and your replies are due by the following week.

12 thoughts on “Profiles of Organizations”

  1. Otpor was an organization that played a major role in the Serbian Revolution. Otpor meaning “Resistance” was founded in October 1998 by group of students to resist the University Law that restricted the academic autonomy. The organization mainly consisted of students but the Democratic Party and activists from various NGOs were also involved. As the organization developed, its main objective shifted to removal of Milosevic from his office and they used various strategies to achieve their goal. They used nonviolent campaigns to encourage people to participate. Moreover, they united the opposition parties and mobilized large number of people to demonstrations against Milosevic. In addition, the symbol of Otpor, the clenched fist also played an important role in mobilizing and bringing the people together. Otpor also incorporated various tactics which included street theater, marches, demonstrations, hanging posters and stickers, speeches, strikes, boycotts, etc. As a result of their continuous effort and resistance through their strategies and tactics, Serbia successfully toppled their dictator Milosevic. Thus, an organization first established to serve university students became a major organization that contributed to the fall of Milosevic. After the revolution, the organization got merged into the Democratic Party and some of the leaders created CANVAS to teach other activists lessons learned from their experience.

    I think the most interesting work of this organization is the fact that a group of students successfully mobilized large number of people to bring down the authoritarian leader. Another interesting fact about this organization is that they pursued no leader structure which allowed flexibility and creativity of each member.

    Otpor did not have their official website since they got merged into other organizations. Instead, these are links to CANCAS and other websites which give descriptions of Otpor.
    http://www.canvasopedia.org/
    http://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/index.php/movements-and-campaigns/movements-and-campaigns-summaries?sobi2Task=sobi2Details&sobi2Id=16
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otpor!

    1. It is interesting for this organization to not have a “leader” and the ideas would come up from several different thoughts as it focuses on the different ideas coming from each member. I can relate this to my organization because there is no set leader; it is combined with people with similar ideas coming together to come up with unique ideas and trying to implement them.

    2. I agree in thinking that its really interesting that a simple student organization was able to unify all these differing opposition groups under one banner in their fight to take down Milosevic. I wonder if the lack of a sole leader might have been a big reason in that, as it did not make any of the other opposition groups beholden to the leaders of Otpor, and thus made everyone belief that they all had a voice in this organization.

    3. There is no doubt about the power of young generations, especially the success of the student group of students in the revolution. It is interesting that the working function of organization is bringing each member’s flexibility and creativity instead of pursuing a leader. However, I believe this will deeply influence the efficiency of making decisions since opinions could be different from each other.

  2. The Anti-Defamation League is an international NGO that fights against anti-Semitism and other forms of hate and bigotry throughout the world, and attempts to promote peace and understanding among different peoples. Though the ADL does have a primary focus on combating anti-Semitism, its overall goal is to combat any form of hate or bigotry, and it works to protect and support the rights of all faith groups and ethnic groups. With this primary focus on combating anti-Semitism though, as the ADL was originally formed to protect Jewish rights and fight discrimination against Jews, it has taken a large interest in combating the rise of Islamic extremism, as that has long been a hotbed for anti-Jewish rhetoric and action. With the rise of social media, and its expert use by many terrorist groups, the ADL has started to explore why this use of social media is effective, and how it is able to recruit new sympathizers to the cause, while successfully spreading its message of hate and extremism. The ADL attempts to promote peace and understanding to further its goal of ending hate and bigotry, and has started to use many of the tactics that are popular with espousing and spreading these forms of hate speech and action, such as social media, to combat it and attempt to spread knowledge and understanding instead.
    I think the most interesting aspect of the ADL is that it does take a strong stand against Islamic extremism, and attempts to combat it through social media and other platforms, as I had always thought that the ADL was more focused on primarily ending hate speech and bigotry, and that even though extremism and terrorism does fall under that umbrella, that it was too big of an idea for the ADL to tackle.
    http://www.adl.org/combating-hate/international-extremism-terrorism/
    http://www.adl.org/

    1. I have never heard of this international NGO and it is good to be aware of this organization as a Global Affairs major. As you have pointed out, the fact that the organization used social media to promote their goal is very interesting. I think social media will continue to play an important role in international issues and even greater role in the near future.

    2. Through reading your post, I think the ADL is a professional organization taking a strong against Islamic extremism, and it attempts to combat it through social media and other platforms as well. I believe that the key for organization to achieve the success in the revolution is its clear functions, precise opportunity, and enough public influences.

  3. Taksim Solidarity Group is a non-governmental organization, formed by people in order to preserve the Gezi Park area. The government brought up a lot of things concerning the country as a whole; however, he was acting like a dictator and there was no end to his decisions. When the protests broke out, people realized that there are a lot of people with the same ideas and these people of Turkey formed this organization to address their demands and want their voices to be heard. On June 4, 2013 a solidarity group associated with the Occupy Gezi movement, Taksim Dayanışması (“Taksim Solidarity”), issued several demands like the preservation of Taksim Gezi Park and ending the police violence towards protesters during the time of the protests. They want the right to freedom of assembly and the prosecution of those are responsible for the violence against demonstrators. The government started to sell some parts of Turkey to rich private companies who were willing to own, this group also brings that up, wanting to put an end to the sale of “public spaces, beaches, waters, forests, streams, parks and urban symbols to private companies, large holdings and investors. They want the right of people to express their “needs and complaints without experiencing fear, arrest or torture.” Also, for the media whose professional duty is to protest the public good and relay correct information, which was definitely not the case during Gezi Park protests and even towards the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They want the media to act in an ethical and professional way.

    http://www.taksimsolidarity.org/

    1. I think this organization is interesting in that it was first created to protect the Gezi Park area and developed into an organization that reflect the demands and voices of the people in Turkey.

      I am curious about the contributions of this organization to the uprising in Istanbul, Turkey in 2013. What were some of the contributions they made?

  4. Human Rights Watch is a non-profit, independent, and international organization paying attention to the Hong Kong umbrella revolution in 2014, since the demands of those protesters have strong correlation with human rights and democracy. Human Rights Watch works as part of a vibrant movement to uphold human dignity and advance the cause of human rights for all. The mission of the organization is defending human rights worldwide, and their work is guided by international human rights and humanitarian law and respect for the dignity of each human being. They scrupulously investigate abuses, expose the facts widely, and pressure those with power to respect rights and secure justice. There are more than three hundreds people focusing on human rights issue and getting involved in the work. The group consists of professional experts, lawyers, journalists, and scholars from different backgrounds worldwide.

    The main strategy of the organization is actively focusing on the impact. They always on the lookout for new opportunities to advance our cause, especially working on difficult situations that long-term attention is required for meaningful impact. In addition, various international human rights movement and mutually beneficial partnerships are willing to give support to Human Rights Watch. Therefore, it is obvious that they can have the chance to work closely with a broad range of local and international civil society actors to maximize their impact and speaking out against attacks on civil society and defend the political space within which the broader human rights movement operates.

    From my perspective, I believe that the greatest challenge for this organization is spreading the western values when they advocate for the issues of different countries. For example, in this Hong Kong case, it is obvious that they would not have the enough space for implementing their work regarding to China’s unique and complicated political situation. Furthermore, Chinese government declares that internal affairs should always be solved by its own government instead of having more interventions from the international community. Therefore, Human Rights Watch would have difficulty working on local cases depending on deeper historic and cultural circumstances.

    Links:
    http://www.hrw.org/en
    http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/16/eight-questions-about-occupy-hong-kong

    1. I agree with your last paragraph, I think it would be a challenge of this organization spreading the western values. Since Chinese government wants their international affairs to be solved by its own government instead of having international community intervene in their issues, it would be hard for this organization to work on the issues.

    2. Even though Human Rights Watch can not work specifically in China, as you point out, I wonder if its huge clout that it has in the rest of the world, especially in the West, would still be extremely beneficial to the situation in Hong Kong, as it would be able to put pressure on Western governments, or motivate citizens to do this, to themselves put pressure on the Chinese government in the resolution of this case.

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