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.
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. At the workshops, Russian HRDs formulate recommendations for the EU and then present these recommendations to diplomats. The outcomes of the workshops have contributed to EU guidelines for support to Russian HRDs and to increased practical action to support HRDs such as trial monitoring, public statements and issuing of visas. The most recent (6th) workshop took place in Moscow in March 2020. It brought together representatives from the EU Delegation, 16 EU and "like-minded" countries, and 21 Russian HRDs. The EU mentioned the previous workshop in it's Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World for 2018, where it stated that the "workshop provided an excellent opportunity for networking and learning about each other's needs." 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 June 2019, I facilitated and helped design a two-day workshop for over 20 staff/volunteers from Amnesty International offices and European sections to identify and plan activities to address human rights-related developments in a changing world order.
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.