Avaaz is a Persian word meaning “voice” in many Middle Eastern, Asian and European languages. The Avaaz organization was founded in 2007 and is based in the United States. Avaaz is aptly named because they try to give a voice to global concerns and allow people from all over the world to come together online and take a stand on issues they feel are important. Avaaz was founded by Ricken Patel who serves as the President and executive director of the organization. He has a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard. He worked with the International Crisis Group in Sierra Lione, Sudan, and other conflict-ridden nations as part of his job there. When Patel returned to the United States, he volunteered for MoveOn.org and learned about online activism.
Avaaz members support causes including global action on climate change and building global support for refugees. Their mission is to organize citizens of all nations to close the space between the world we have and the world most people want. They campaign in fifteen languages and have a principle team on six continents. There are thousands of volunteers around the world as well. Avaaz members sign petitions and fund media campaigns. They also send emails, make calls, and lobby the governments of countries in which they want to see change happen.
Each year the group’s priorities are set through polls sent out to every member. Campaign ideas are polled and tested weekly through random ten thousand member sample polls. Campaigns that complete the process and reach full membership are then joined by hundreds of thousands of Avaaz members sometimes in a matter of hours or days. The staff listens to its members and then suggests actions instead of pushing their own agendas on their members. Avaaz is completely member funded so it is not swayed by corporate investors.
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