Designing and leading workshops that are well-structured, participatory and results-oriented - that summarizes my work in the area of facilitation. The experiences, knowledge and ideas of participants are always key ingredients in shaping workshop outcomes. Follow-up actions are usually discussed and planned, in order to help ensure that recommendations or ideas are put into practice.
The EU Ambassador speaking at the HRD workshop I facilitated at the European Union Delegaton in Moscow, September 2015. It was "a very beneficial event for both NGOs and diplomats," according to the EU.
Starting in September 2015, for Amnesty International, I've been designing, facilitating and reporting on workshops in Russia which aim at increasing EU protection of Russian HRDs. I work with human rights defenders to formulate recommendations for the EU and then facilitate a discussion of these recommendations between HRDs and EU diplomats. The outcomes of the workshops have contributed to guidelines for EU and EU member states' support to Russian HRDs and to more practical action to support HRDs such as trial monitoring, public statements and issuing of visas. The most recent (4th) workshop took place in Moscow in November 2017. It brought together representatives from the EU Delegation, 26 countries (both EU and "like-minded") and 19 Russian HRDs. HRDs reviewed and elaborated on recommendations to the EU on actions to support and protect them, then discussed these with the diplomats. Good practices, success stories and suggestions for improvement were identified and discussed.
In November 2015, I facilitated a similar workshop in Turkey, whose outcomes contributed to the EU's local strategy to protect and defend human rights defenders.
In 2014-2015, as team leader of a European Commission-sponsored project to establish the EU Temporary Relocation Platform for human rights defenders at risk, I designed and facilitated two consultation workshops for member organizations with over 40 participants. I also designed (in collaboration with Platform members such as the Gulf Center for Human Rights) and facilitated a workshop for the Middle East and North Africa region bringing together representatives of European and international NGOs and participants from Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. In May 2015, I led a 1.5 hour panel discussion on "temporary relocation of HRDs at risk" for hundreds of participants at the annual EIDHR Forum in Brussels.
In October 2014, for Amnesty International UK, I designed and facilitated a two-day workshop in Kabul, Afghanistan, bringing together a group of nine Afghan human rights defenders and 11 EU and other diplomatic missions. Participants discussed the main difficulties faced by Afghan HRDs, especially women HRDs, and actions that EU and other missions could take to improve protection of Aghan HRDs. The workshop provided key inputs for the EU’s new strategy to protect local HRDs. The EU said the workshop was “a great success.”
We had some very good discussions, and it was a great pleasure to see the Afghan women in the group work, where they showed genuine enthusiasm and engagement…Chris facilitated the workshop in a very nice manner, that was exactly right for the different participants - EU.
Facilitating a workshop on temporary relocation of human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa, Istanbul, November 2015
I lead public meetings, introducing the topic and the speakers, allowing the audience to ask questions, wrapping up the discussion with observations or conclusions. During the Movies that Matter Film Festival in The Hague in March 2012, I lead a question and answer session following the showing of the film "How To Start A Revolution." In the popular Amsterdam café de Balie I moderated a 1.5-hour public meeting on the situation of human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the organizations ICCO, gate48, Een Ander Joods Geluid and SIVMO in September 2010.