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Science and Human Rights Conference: Call for Session Proposals

Deadline: Sunday, March 31, 2019

The AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, a network of scientific and engineering membership organizations that recognize a role for science and scientists in human rights, invites proposals for its upcoming conference in Washington, DC, October 23-25, 2019. Marking the Coalition’s tenth anniversary and looking forward to the next ten years, participants will learn from each other’s successes and challenges, identify emerging needs and opportunities, and help set the agenda for future collaborative action and impact. 

The Conference Host Committee invites session proposals that reveal innovative developments and applications in science and technology that can support the efforts of human rights practitioners, as well as those that tackle human rights challenges associated with the conduct of science and application of technology. Proposals from frontline human rights defenders, students and early career individuals are especially welcome.

Three types of sessions are invited:

  • Panels: These are 75-minute sessions with a moderator and two or three presenters. Panels can address one of two topics:
    • An urgent human rights issue or intractable conflict around which collaborations across human rights, science, engineering, health, and technology offer new or emerging opportunities; or
    • Collaborations between the human rights community and the scientific community to address our shared concerns regarding attacks on evidence-based research, policy and law.
  • Case studies: These are 15-minute presentations that share lessons learned – be they positive or negative - from collaborations to advance human rights by a team that includes scientists, engineers, and/or health professionals (including students and early career individuals). Case studies can focus on a specific problem and the approach the team developed to address it, or they can focus on aspects of the collaboration itself (for example, building trust with each other and impacted communities, tools the team used for remote collaboration, etc.)
  • Workshops: These are 90-minute spaces for innovative, creative thinking to develop potential solutions to specific human rights problems. Workshop proposals should identify a specific human rights challenge that requires a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach. Workshop proposals should name a facilitator and can identify up to three discussion leaders from relevant areas of expertise; however, workshops are not panels. These are interactive sessions that engage participants in actively contributing to solutions.

Proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Action-oriented: Will the session support steps toward real-world impact? The Conference Host Committee is especially interested in sessions that include the perspectives of frontline human rights defenders and impacted communities. Ideally, the session will include members of these impacted communities as speakers.
  • Collaborative: Will the session help build new collaborations across science and human rights? This could be done by sharing examples, offering skills development to support effective collaborations, or creating opportunities during the conference for participants to connect with each other in meaningful ways. 
  • Timely: Will the session address an urgent human rights need or emerging issue at the intersection of science and human rights? Will it provide participants with an opportunity to engage in time-sensitive action?
  • Evidence-based: Will the session share new evidence for successful advocacy and/or collaborations?  
  • Diverse: Proposals that include speakers from diverse sectors, practice areas, geographic regions, and backgrounds will be favored. Proposals from frontline human rights defenders, from marginalized communities whose human rights are threatened, and from students and early career individuals are especially welcome.

Proposals should be submitted in the following format:

  • Topic: In 1-2 pages, outline the topic of discussion, including any issue or problem the session intends to explore, proposals for action and explanations of how this topic meets the proposal criteria noted above. Please be sure to indicate the session type.
  • Speakers: Provide a separate list of brief bios for all speakers, moderators, and participants.

Please submit proposals online through the Google Form by Sunday, March 31, 2019. Proposers will be notified of the committee’s decisions by June 1, 2019.

If you have any questions, please contact the Coalition Secretariat at

Click here to learn more about the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition.


Interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at the Science and Human Rights Conference?

Contact Theresa Harris at for more information.

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