25 years of activism for Human Rights

Global Exchange, founded by Medea Benjamin, Kevin Danaher and Kirsten Moller, has been a leader in human rights, social and economic justice, and environmental sustainability work since 1988. Over the last 25 years, we have won victories big and small on behalf of workers, small farmers, the environment and vulnerable communities around the world.

1988
Global Exchange was founded with the aim of educating and organizing people at home while building people-to-people ties of solidarity with global allies. 
 
1989
Global Exchange works in Brazil, launching our first Reality Tour to meet with civil society groups, including the landless workers movement (MST).
 
1990
Global Exchange launches our No Blood for Oil campaign to end the war in Iraq, rallying millions to march for peace under banners that made the link between U.S. oil addiction and war. 
 
1991
Global Exchange opens an office in South Africa, making it easier for us to build alliances with grassroots organizations working toward democracy. 
 
1992
Global Exchange helps build a Fair Trade movement in the U.S., co-founding the National Fair Trade Federation. 
 
1993
Global Exchange launches our Freedom to Travel Challenge, leading 175 courageous U.S. citizen diplomats to exercise their constitutional right to travel to embargoed Cuba. 
 
1994
Global Exchange joins activists worldwide to oppose the unjust and oppressive policies of the World Bank and IMF, and co-founded 50 Years is Enough
 
1995
Global Exchange starts our Mexico program to support democracy while challenging militarization, repression and impunity. 
 
1996
Global Exchange re-brands Nike as “the sweatshop shoe company,” calling international attention to workers’ conditions. 
 
1997
Global Exchange jumps into cyberspace, launching our website. 
 
1998
Global Exchange’s San Francisco Fair Trade store moves out of a 300 sq. foot garage space, and into its own shop in Noe Valley—5 other physical stores follow. 
 
1999 
Global Exchange joins with social movements around the world to protest corporate globalization at the Seattle World Trade Organization ministerial meeting. 
 
2000
Global Exchange launches our Fair Trade coffee campaign, successfully convincing both Starbucks and Proctor & Gamble to offer Fair Trade. 
 
2001
Global Exchange hosts our first annual Human Rights Awards, honoring local hip-hop activist Michael Franti and Guatemalan human rights attorney Mynor Melgar. 
 
2002
Global Exchange’s Medea Benjamin co-founds CODEPINK, a network of women dedicated to ending the war, and holds a 4-month vigil for peace outside the White House. 
 
2003
Global Exchange celebrates with the workers of Saipan, winning the largest ever sweatshop class-action lawsuit settlement against 26 giant retailers, including The Gap. 
 
2004
Global Exchange’s Fair Elections International brings distinguished election monitors from global democracies to observe and report on U.S. elections for the first time in history. 
 
2005
Global Exchange brings Indigenous activist Elaine Alexie on speaking tour of the U.S., putting a human face on the “environmental issue” of climate change. 
 
2006
Global Exchange launches our Raise The Bar, Hershey! campaign and files charges against chocolate manufacturers Nestlé, ADM and Cargill for human rights abuses. 
 
2007
Global Exchange takes a stand for workers rights, bringing together Walmart critics from U.S. and Mexico for the first ever bi-national meeting to reform the company’s anti-labor practices. 
 
2008 
Global Exchange adds Seattle as a home for the Green Festival, introducing over 100,000 people to the thriving local and green economy. 
 
2009
Global Exchange joins with communities around the world to demand Chevron—and the entire dirty oil industry—end its egregious exploitation of people and the planet for profit. 
 
2010
Global Exchange partners with Not For Sale and sends a Reality Tour to Uganda to learn about the abduction of children forced to become “child soldiers”.
 
2011
Global Exchange organizes the first-ever discussion of the Rights of Nature at the United Nations, and launches the book, “The Rights of Nature: The Case for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.” 
 
2012
Global Exchange helps Mexican victims of the drug war speak truth to power on the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, traveling through 29 U.S. cities, examining the drug war and gun violence on both sides of the border. 
 
2013
Global Exchange’s Elect Democracy campaign takes on the hired hands that call the shots in DC: big money lobbyists. From challenging Super PAC millions to lobbyist billions, our work is going to be fun, tough, and more important than ever.