Re-think the World Cup

The following is the first installment of a multi-part series examining the preparations and aftermaths of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

There are visible and invisible dictators. The power structure of world football is monarchical. It’s the most secret kingdom in the world.”

So said the great Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano. Thanks to sports journalist Dave Zirin, the quote has been getting quite a bit of attention recently. But the power structure of world football is not the only malevolent shadow lurking in the dark today. There have been a great series of injustices secretly unfolding in Brazil ever since the South American giant won its bid for the World Cup back in 2007.

On June 12th, the world will shift its attention and collective body clock south, with the idea that the 2014 World Cup is solely about soccer and national rivalries as the planet’s 32 top teams vie for soccer’s most coveted prize in 12 cities throughout Brazil. While an intriguing storyline for FIFA and its corporate sponsors, the storyline is a misleading half-truth at best.

At one point in time, I wanted to be in Brazil during the upcoming World Cup. To attend the pinnacle event of the world’s most popular sport, in the spiritual home of the sport itself, the idea was alluring – all the more so being that I had fallen in love with that wonderful country and its people after living there for a period of time during 2013.

I envisioned Brazilian flags hanging from balconies, groups of fans chanting in unison, and eruptions of shouts from outdoor cafes in Rio following a goal by Neymar. The sun would be shining, live samba would be flowing from open-air bars, and maybe – just maybe – there would be a raucous celebration throughout the streets of Brazil upon the Brazilian national team winning it all.

Unfortunately, this was an ill-fated vision. One that fell hard and swiftly upon learning what this World Cup is really about.

When I think about the upcoming World Cup now, a very different set of images come to mind.

I see 14 billion Brazilian taxpayer dollars squandered while FIFA escapes with 4 billion dollars in revenue tax-free; I see the use of those billions of taxpayer dollars to build or renovate stadiums that will sit idle or offensively underused after the World Cup, rather than building badly needed schools and hospitals in a country that is still very much developing and still very much grappling with widespread poverty, inequality, and violence; I see the forced evictions of thousands of marginalized, low-income favela residents to make room for sport venues and infrastructure projects; I see a corrupt government out to gain for itself and please foreign interests rather than take concern for the welfare of its own people and wondrous natural environment; I see the hijacking of a country by a select elite few, including FIFA, corrupt politicians, and foreign corporations; I see police brutality and a thinly layered mascara attempting to cover up deep-seated and festering social dynamics within society.

And through it all I see the continued endorsement of the event by major U.S. corporations, as well as hordes of foreign tourists who will flock to the shores and cities of Brazil by the hundreds of thousands, pleasantly ignorant to the true realities of this mega sporting event, the true costs of hosting it in this still-developing nation, the true impact that it has wreaked and will continue to wreak on the lives of many ordinary Brazilians.

The upcoming World Cup in Brazil is not largely about sport, it is about money. It is not about the pinnacle of competition, it is about greed and corruption. It is not about communal enjoyment of games, it is about inequality and corporate power.

It’s time to re-think the World Cup. The façade of sport needs to come down. It can come down as swiftly and forcefully as it did for my glorious visions of the World Cup. And it can start now, with Brazil.

Expose the kingdoms from their secrecy, and the kingdoms will reform. Or fall.

Read all entries in the Re-Think the World Cup blog series.

Explore these issues firsthand by traveling to Brazil on a Global Exchange Reality Tour. Become a Global Exchange member today and travel for 10% off all Reality Tours.


Photo Credit: Rae Louise Breaux

After last week’s 12th Annual Human Rights Awards event – our hearts are full and our determination for radical change and real democracy revitalized.

May 8th was a night to remember! Please find photos from the event on our Facebook page.

We had a great time with everyone who came to the Palace of Fine Arts, and we’re grateful for the support of our donors, sponsors, and volunteers. Together, we helped shine a spotlight on the work of our amazing 2014 honorees: the Freedom Schools, María Estela Barco Huerta, and the Cuban Five.

A big thanks to the evening’s human rights heroes and our special guest, Aisha Fukushima, who moved the audience with her heartfelt spoken word and song performance.


Accepting the award for the Cuban Five was María Eugenia Guerrero Rodriguez, the sister of Antonio Guerrero. The Global Exchange People’s Choice Award marks the first time these men have received recognition in the U.S., and the first time a family member of the Cuban 5 has spoken publicly in the U.S. on their behalf. Prior to the event, they sent letters to Global Exchange. See María Eugenia Guerrero Rodriguez’s speech on our Vimeo page.


Photo Credit: Rae Louise Breaux

Sharing her story of struggle and success working to protect the rights of indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico, International Honoree María Estela Barco Huerta, moved the audience with her words as she made a passionate call for us all to protect Mother Nature and to be defenders of human rights and dignity. See María Estela Barco Huerta’s speech on our Vimeo page.

Freedom Schools visionary Charlie Cobb and Dream Defenders Executive Director Phillip Agnew both took the stage to accept the Domestic Award for the Freedom Schools. Both channeled the power of history in honoring the struggle for civil rights and demanded that while we commemorate this history, we must recognize that there is still work to be done. See Phillip Agnew and Charlie Cobb’s speech on our Vimeo page.

We took the spirit of these speeches, and rounded out the evening in song with all attendees joining hand-in-hand to sing “We Shall Overcome.”

Bernice Johnson Reagon, legendary songwriter, singer and civil rights advocate, unfortunately was not able to join us on Thursday but sent in remarks.

Besides the inspiring speeches and music, the evening included a silent auction, delicious locally sourced food, wine from Frey Vineyards, and a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream buffet.

We thank all those, once again, who helped make this event a success.  Our work would not be possible without the dedicated support of our members and donors. Not yet a member, or inspired to make an additional gift? – click here to donate today.


Photo credit: Bill Hackwell

Global Exchange staff & founders "then"

Global Exchange staff & founders “then”

In 1988, four friends co-founded Global Exchange to fight a worldview based on greed, domination, and unvarnished worship of power. We envisioned building a robust U.S. movement capable of creating change from the grassroots, powered by people-to-people ties.

Now here we are celebrating our 25th year, sharing visions of peace with thousands of supporters, and revving up for a fresh new batch of What About Peace? art submissions.

With two big anniversaries coming up, there is no better time to get started on your submission for the 2014 What About Peace? contest:

  1. We celebrate International Human Rights Day this month. The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  2. December 14th marks the anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings and all over the country groups will be marking the day with vigils, marches, and meetings calling for an End to Violence, more sensible gun legislation, and a weeklong “Acts of Kindness” program.  Coat and clothing drives, soup kitchens and “Buddy Benches” for lonely or alienated school kids are possible ways to get involved.

WAPeacedoveNow is the time to think about Peace. Whether you want to think about Peace in your school, on your community’s streets, or in the international arena we want to hear from you. You have just about two months to get your pieces ready!


Peace on Earth Action Kit

Or if you want to share peace this holiday season, you can order a Peace on Earth Holiday Action kit for you or a loved one to inspire more visions of peace.


What About Peace? is calling youth ages 14 – 20 to submit their work; painting, short story, photography, graphic, poetry or essay to  answer the question: ‘What about Peace?’ February 17th is the deadline for submitting your work.

GX-birthdayGuess what today is…it’s Global Exchange’s 25th Birthday!

To celebrate, Global Exchange Human Rights Program Director Ted Lewis takes a look back over the past 25 years at Global Exchange’s never ending struggle for peace and human rights in his article which originally appeared in Global Exchange’s 25th Anniversary Newsletter. (Become a Global Exchange member and you can receive our newsletter delivered right to your mailbox.)  


Ted Lewis

Ted Lewis

25 Years in the Never Ending Struggle for Peace and Human Rights by Ted Lewis

Throughout human history, great movements for peace, human dignity, and self-determination have never been tidy or predictable. They have never succeeded without vision, patience nor sacrifice. Nor have their costly gains been destined to endure in the absence of ongoing struggle. The vision of those who founded Global Exchange in 1988 was to plunge directly into the ancient, immediate, and always turbulent currents of this perpetual quest for human liberty; bringing their talents, energies, communities, and good hearts to the work of building, renewing, and sustaining it.

They knew their work and their tactics would be controversial. Artists of social change have always stirred deep passions amongst both those who cast their lot with them and those who bitterly opposed them. Consider the lives and spirits of a few figures who have shaped our world and wrought dramatic changes over the ages: Jesus Christ, King Ashoka, Joan of Arc, Mother Jones, Emiliano Zapata, Mahatma Ghandi, Dorothy Day, Anne Frank, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara, Oscar Romero, Harvey Milk, Wangari Maathai, Samuel Ruiz, Rachel Corrie and so many others.

These leaders fought vastly different battles, were inspired by distinct visions, and have left unique footprints in their wake, but all had this in common: They were bold, took risks, spoke their minds, and adopted tactics that scandalized many of their contemporaries. They also succeeded in changing countless minds and the course of history.

No one at Global Exchange would presume to compare ourselves with these great leaders. We do unabashedly acknowledge learning from them and studying the ways they have shed light on injustice, illuminated a path to change, and inspired millions of people to participate and persist, both in success and failure. Aware of the contradictions, responsibilities, and great opportunities that confront the citizens of a world-spanning empire we have struggled for the last 25 years to free our own minds while devising an array of tactics to challenge the arrogance and excesses of power.

In practical terms this has meant mounting dozens of public education campaigns. To build an informed constituency for change we have organized more than a thousand educational tours to countries where U.S. policies have had strong – usually negative – impacts. We opened stores on both coasts to promote Fair Trade and expand markets for cooperatives and other producers around the world.

We have convened hundreds of targeted demonstrations, exposing abusive practices by governments and corporations – using shaming, consumer boycotts, and non-violent direct action to pressure for reforms. We have also provided direct support to movements for revolutionary change around the globe, often giving visibility to their leaders by organizing speaking tours for them in churches, community centers, universities, libraries, and public plazas across the United States. We have organized international elections observation at key transitional moments in more than 15 countries. Throughout we have engaged media –print, radio, television, and, of course, the Internet, as it blossomed into a powerful communications and organizing tool over the last two decades.


Global Exchange Staff--Then!

Global Exchange Staff–Then!

The Early Years

In 1988, the year Global Exchange was founded, freedom struggles in Central America, Haiti, and Southern Africa confronted systematic repression by regimes long supported by the United States. But that was changing. Fierce opposition on the ground and strong solidarity movements in the United States were making a difference. Years of organizing and a massive civil disobedience campaign had forced the Reagan Administration to join an economic boycott of South Africa it had long resisted. Similarly, deep opposition and Congressional votes against the Administration’s ugly proxy war on Nicaragua resulted in illegal funding of the war whose revelation in the “Iran Contra” scandal almost brought down the erstwhile “Teflon” Reagan.

Global Exchange joined the fray by organizing delegations in solidarity with Honduran opposition groups. Honduras, where death squads had obliterated a small revolutionary movement, was host to a large U.S. military presence and served as a base for the Contras who were attacking Nicaragua. Global Exchange recognized that that era’s solidarity movements had largely overlooked Honduras. Medea Benjamin’s widely read, Don’t Be Afraid Gringo chronicled the struggles of an extraordinary Honduran peasant women and helped move the debate as peace negotiations and disarmament began to replace war in the region. Meanwhile delegations to southern Africa helped build public awareness in the U.S. where deepening opposition to Apartheid accelerated its demise.

In 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell and the rotten and oppressive regimes of the Soviet bloc collapsed in the face of massive popular discontent, great hopes were awakened in the United States. Perhaps now, many thought, with the Cold War behind us we can finally put an end to the militarism that has diverted our precious resources and twisted our national priorities. Perhaps now we can invest in our people and the solutions to looming environmental disasters.

But that dream was not fulfilled. Instead, then President George H.W. Bush found new pretexts for war –against Saddam Hussein, against Manuel Noriega, and against “drugs” to keep the illusions of “security through strength” alive. Under the guise of the “New World Order” he sought to consolidate U.S. power and lay the groundwork for what we have come to know as “economic globalization” –or in other words opening the path to corporate domination of the world economy under rules that undermine labor, the environment, popular movements, and national sovereignty — all in the name of growth and efficiency.

Global Exchange naturally joined the opposition to the wars spawned by the first President Bush. Kevin Danaher began writing and speaking about the threat posed by unrestrained corporate control of the rules governing the world economy. Kevin’s persistent campaign – in public meetings, in articles and in books he authored; and, perhaps most importantly, on radio shows large and small in communities all across the United States, earned him the moniker: “The Paul Revere of Globalization’s woes.”

Recognizing the danger it posed for both Mexico and the United States, Global Exchange joined the labor movement and other progressive forces in the United States in adamantly, though unsuccessfully, opposing ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

On January 1, 1994, the first day of the treaty’s implementation, indigenous peoples in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas rose up in arms. They invoked the spirit of the legendary Mexican revolutionary, Emiliano Zapata who had famously proclaimed that, “The land belongs to those who till it.”

The poorly equipped Zapatista forces were immediately and ferociously attacked by the Mexican Army under the command of Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the fraudulently elected, Harvard educated president of Mexico who was one of principal architects of NAFTA. As a pre- condition for NAFTA, Salinas had worked closely with U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte to eliminate collective land rights that had, until 1993, been enshrined in Mexico’s constitution.

Sympathy with the rebels ran high and after just 12 days Salinas was forced to call off his offensive when more than a hundred thousand Mexicans flooded Mexico’s City’s Zocalo in support of the rebellion. As peace negotiations got underway a call for international solidarity was issued and Global Exchange responded immediately, sending delegations and direct support to army occupied communities that formed the civilian base of the Zapatista movement.

For the next ten years, Global Exchange maintained a continuous presence in Mexico’s southeast. Our team recruited, trained, and housed    taken a leading role in pushing big hundreds of volunteers who worked in cooperation with local human rights organizations and the Dioceses of San Cristobal to permanently maintain observers in more than 40 remote, army occupied villages.

These tenacious observers faced army harassment, threats from paramilitary organizations, and even illegal deportation. Nevertheless, they persisted, producing a series of reports, hosting dozens of international delegations, and coordinating sophisticated, high profile international elections observations in both Chiapas and nationally over a 12 year period highlighted by the demise of one- party rule.

During this time there were horrific events such as the 1997 paramilitary attack on the hamlet of Acteal that killed 45 children, women, and men. Nevertheless, the larger civilian observation effort Global Exchange formed a part of what was indisputably a vital factor in limiting and deterring the kind of unrestrained genocide that occurred during the prior decade in neighboring Guatemala – where more than 80,000 were slaughtered and 400 indigenous villages entirely obliterated.

Economic Activism

During the 1990s Global Exchange became a leading voice in the Fair Trade movement. This reflected our growing understanding that the new global economy thrives on geographically separating those who produce things from those who buy them, even as it sets up a race to the bottom for workers around the world. Opposing such pernicious trends is difficult and requires new tactics, one of which is educating people and harnessing their collective consumer power to force corporations to improve working conditions, pay workers fairly, and respect the environment.

That is why Global Exchange has opened Fair Trade stores and taken a leading role in pushing big companies like NIKE and GAP to adopt workplace health standards that set a bar industry wide. Other big corporations like Starbucks, Proctor & Gamble and Hershey have responded to pressure as well. Despite these successes, we also recognized that as long as the rules of the international economy favor corporate power over control by the people the wealthy will have a club to beat the rest of us into submission.

In November 1999, we helped organize a broad coalition of trade unionists, environmentalists, students, Zapatista inspired activists, and many others to surround and shut down the first North American meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle. This action had worldwide resonance and inspired several other massive direct actions aimed to tangle the agenda of the undemocratic global rule makers at subsequent meetings in Washington, Quebec, Italy and elsewhere around the world.

The movement behind these actions was a genuinely global and effective popular challenge to lords of capital and was just reaching maturity when the shocking, criminal, and cowardly attacks on the World Trade Center took place on September 11, 2001. The sickening loss of life and the lust for vengeance it inspired in the United Sates served to wipe all other issues off the table.

Resistance to War and Occupation

The leadership of Global Exchange quickly huddled and decided to buck the tide of war. Just a week after the attacks of September 11 we organized a large commemorative action calling for reflection, forbearance, and peace in San Francisco. We recognized – sooner than many – that this attack was just what the fraudulently elected American president, George W. Bush needed to consolidate his power and give free rein to the neo-conservatives, warmongers, and torture advocates lurking in his administration.

We didn’t want to be right about Bush’s intentions, but we were. As everyone remembers, Bush was not satisfied with attacking Al Qaeda’s base in Afghanistan. He repressed dissent, violated civil liberties, filled the airwaves with lies and propaganda while manufacturing false evidence of an Iraqi threat. Rather than deal with the core issues of the Middle East conflict – like the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands – George W. Bush rushed the country headlong toward a divisive war. In the face of this onslaught, we helped build what became a massive, worldwide movement to oppose the looming    war. Millions took to the streets around the globe in coordinated actions to keep the peace and uphold international law, but it was not enough.

In March 2003 the invasion and all its grim consequences ensued. In the early days of the U.S. occupation, Global Exchange worked with the newly emerging CODEPINK: Women for Peace to build ties to Iraqi civil society and monitor the occupation on the ground. But, as Iraqi resistance to the occupation mounted the situation became too dangerous and chaotic to continue the effort. Close partners suffered kidnappings and the “Occupation Watch” felt compelled to withdraw, even as tragedy mounted, and more than one hundred thousand of Iraqis died, and the country fractured. Not long after, the tragedy became very personal for those of us at Global Exchange. Our dear friend, Marla Ruzicka, a brave young activist dedicated to helping civilian victims of the war had her beautiful life’s work cut short in a car bomb attack near Baghdad.


Global Exchange staff-Now!

Global Exchange staff-Now!

The Road Forward

For several years, fighting back against the Bush Administration’s assault on peace and freedom absorbed most of our attention, but we never lost sight of the need to keep struggling for a peaceful, fair, healthy, and democratic planet. Even as our anti-war organizing continued, we invited elections experts from 15 countries to observe our 2004 electoral process with an international optic. When draconian anti-immigrant legislation threatened to become law in 2006 we join millions of immigrants – documented and undocumented – who took to the streets all across the United States. We worked with groups in Mexico and the United States to make the case that NAFTA had undermined the basic “Right to Stay Home” of Mexico’s people and that measures must be taken to restore it.

As the threat of catastrophic climate change has grown even more imminent we have joined forces with others around the globe who are asserting the natural rights of people and ecosystems, not giant energy companies or their allies in and out of government to control the decisions that will determine our collectives fates.

The next twenty-five years of life on planet earth will not be easy or simple ones, but Global Exchange will continue to be there, fighting together with those who hold life precious and are determined to build a better future. We have never done it alone, and we never will. We are all in this together.


This article originally appeared in Global Exchange’s 25th Anniversary newsletter issue which was mailed out to Global Exchange members. If you would like to receive our newsletter along with other benefits, please consider supporting Global Exchange’s continuing social justice efforts —Become a Global Exchange member.

Share Your Story: What was your favorite Global Exchange action? Where have you traveled with us?  What campaign, victory, event, protest moved you?  What inspired you to join us and take action? Share your stories, thoughts, and memories with us.



Today we are excited to participate in Blog Action Day, an annual event when bloggers from around the world gather to write and discuss one topic. This year’s topic is “Human Rights.”

Global Exchange Reality Tours has a vision that meaningful, socially responsible travel, can and does, change the world. By offering experiential educational tours, Reality Tours has connected people to issues, issues to movements, and movements to social change. Many of the highlights of our Reality Tours include meetings with local human rights activists who work tirelessly to support their communities.

Below, hear from our in-country coordinator in Uganda Brian Ourien about some of the most pressing human rights issues that face Ugandans today.


Human Rights in Uganda
The Ugandan constitution provides for the protection of every Ugandan’s human rights, with emphasis on providing an enabling environment for all to flourish. The greatest challenge, though, is the poor implementation of these laws, leaving huge gaps that allow abusers to take advantage of vulnerable people, mostly women and children.

Domestic servitude is the most common form of human trafficking. Many children are brought into the city and other urban areas by relatives and friends of relatives with the promise of a better life. Many of these children end up working as domestic servants in the homes of their urban relatives, and are sometimes sold off to work for people who are not even remotely related to them. This means that their dreams of getting a better education and a better life in the city are replaced by despair and some of the most decrepit living conditions.

Sex trafficking is a growing form of injustice in Uganda’s cities and towns. Despite its being illegal, prostitution seems to be growing. There is also a growing number of underage girls (some as young as 10 years old) being roped into illegal brothels, mostly set in the slum areas of the capital Kampala.

Child Soldiery in Uganda
With more than twenty years of conflict in Northern Uganda, children became the prime target for rebel groups, abducting and conscripting them into rebel ranks. The children were trained into mindless soldiers who executed terror with little or no mercy and remorse.

Over the years these children have trickled back into the country – having escaped with the most harrowing tales imaginable, while others were rescued by the Ugandan army and brought back home to eagerly-waiting families. Soon enough the difficult process of reintegration begins.

Often shunned by relatives, some of whom suffered at the hands of the child rebels, the returning children struggle to find identity and acceptance in the communities they once called home. Some of the children spent more than ten years in the jungles of Sudan, Congo and Central African Republic and now return to a ‘normalcy’ they have never experienced. Their violent approach to life and their short tempers find no place in a community already burdened by years of violent abuse at the hands of ruthless rebels.

Fueled by conflict over land long uninhabited and whose boundaries have been washed away by years of abandonment – whose previous owners found their only refuge in displaced people’s camps for more than twenty years, northern Uganda grapples with post-conflict issues.

From unclear farming boundaries and contested homelands to emotional trauma and economic strife, northern Uganda seeks to break free of the past and to build a future in which children will once again be free to grow in a world bursting with possibility and the promise of a bright future.

Brian also shares with us how travel to Uganda can expand Westerners perspectives:
2010.07.21-065Reality Tours is a great opportunity for participants to get immersed in the work of organizations fighting to secure the rights of vulnerable people in Uganda. Reality Tours participants get to hear, first hand, the stories of those who have faced grave injustice and whose life paths have been unfairly changed by selfish people.

Above all, the most memorable and important moments is the connection that grows between the participants and the people in the host organizations. There is always a heart-warming sense of family and unity when travelers visit the many organizations with rescued victims of violent oppression.

Thanks so much to Brian for taking the time to share his thoughts with us!

Take ActionTake Action!

  • Learn more about human trafficking in Uganda and other countries; Read about the socio-political situation in Uganda and Learn about child soldiers;

Human-Rights-Online-AuctionThe online portion of Global Exchange’s 2013 Human Rights Awards Online Auction is now open!

The auction runs from April 8, 2013 to April 18, 2013, with the live event taking place on May 9, 2013.

Proceeds go towards promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world.

Auction items range from vacation getaways to donated items guaranteed to delight and surprise.

Here’s just a taste of what’s available to bid on:

Take-ActionSo, tell your friends, family, and community and let the bidding begin!

Can you help spread the word?

That’s a terrific way to help support our human rights work without spending a dime! Here are a few easy ways to share our online auction with your friends and family:

1. Click “Like” and “Retweet” buttons on top right of this post;

2. Use the “Share this Page” buttons on the top right of each auction item page to share specific auction items with others

3. Are you on Pinterest? We have a board filled with auction items, so if you’re on Pinterest we encourage you to follow us on Pinterest and “pin” your favorite auction items.


Global Exchange Staff all gussied up at the 2012 HRA

Global Exchange Staff all gussied up at the 2012 HRA

Global Exchange is Celebrating 25 Years of Changemaking

It doesn’t always pay to be fashionably late. Case in point, if you want to celebrate with us at our annual Human Rights Awards Gala, you can enjoy some serious savings if you secure your place early.

Now through April 11th, tickets are just $95 each, compared to the regular price of $115. You can purchase Early-bird Human Rights Awards Gala Tickets here.

Join us for a night of fun. Mingle and chat about Fair Trade over cocktails and delicious appetizers.  Spark up a conversation about human rights in Mexico with thought leaders from the Bay Area and beyond. Savor a spoonful of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with members of the Global Exchange staff (it’s true, we love ice cream). It’s a great time for people to catch up with old friends and make a few new ones.


2013 Human Rights Award Honoree Noam Chomsky

This year’s honoree will be none other than the renowned political theorist and intellectual, Noam Chomsky. Global Exchange is excited to celebrate his vast accomplishments across diverse fields including political theory, philosophy, and international relations. As a guest at the event, you’ll enjoy an intimate setting along with our honoree.

What’s more, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in the ever-popular silent auction. Guests will bid on sustainable Fair Trade products, amazing getaways, and much more!  Global Exchange is celebrating 25 years of change-making, and we’ll be premiering a new video showcasing our 25 year journey during the gala.

Palace of Fine Arts. Photo Credit:

Palace of Fine Arts. Photo Credit:


Save the date:

All of us at Global Exchange are excited to have you join us at this year’s Human Rights Awards. Remember to save the date and buy tickets, and join us May 9th at the historic Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California.

Follow on Twitter:

Keep up to date about this year’s Human Rights Awards gala on Twitter with hashtag #HRA13.


Deborah James and Medea Benjamin pushing Starbucks to go Fair Trade, 1999.

We’re going to raise $25,000 by midnight on Dec. 31st.

Over the past 25 years, you have helped Global Exchange:

• transform the unfair practices of corporate giants like Nike, GAP, and Starbucks;
• build a thriving Fair Trade movement;
• monitor elections in Colombia, Mexico, and the U.S. and;
• build the Green Festival – the nation’s largest sustainability event.

Your support made all this, and much more, possible. Renew your commitment to social justice by making a donation today.

Global-Exchange-25-Year-AnnAs we set our sights on the next 25 years, with your support we will reform U.S. gun laws, force Hershey’s to go Fair Trade, and continue to oppose unjust policies in the U.S. and abroad.

Your continued support will help us build an unstoppable movement for change.

Please donate today and make great things possible:

• One Hundred $25 gifts will cover the cost of a trip to Ethiopia to meet with Fair Trade cooperatives and develop increase relationships with local artisans.

• Fifty $100 gifts will tour a speaker from the frontlines of the drug war in Mexico, educating and inspiring thousands across the U.S. to change the broken policies that are fueling this tragic war.

• Five $250 gifts will sponsor a year-long youth fellowship to inspire and train the leaders of tomorrow.

• Twenty-five $1,000 gifts will support all creative actions we have planned in 2013 to expose the havoc that lobbyists are wreaking on our democracy.

Want to see what we have accomplished in 2012? Watch this video (or re-visit our winter, spring, summer and fall roundups) to find out:

If we can accomplish all that in one year, think of what we have in store for the next 25 years!

Give today and ring in another year full of social justice victories.

As we close out the remaining weeks of 2012, Global Exchange is also beginning to gear up for our 25th anniversary next year. Before we look forward to another 25 years of social justice activism, let us look back at what we have been up to in 2012.

Here’s a very special video with highlights from our year, and we do mean “our” because we cannot do the work we do without YOU!

Please consider this your official invitation to JOIN US in this unstoppable movement for change. Together we are strong.

Global Exchange Gift Membership Package

We all have our own ideas on what the Holidays are all about. Family. Laughter. Good will.

Corporate greed and commercialization? They certainly don’t make the list.

It’s time to take back the Holidays.

The true meaning of the season cannot be packaged in a box. Instead of taking part in the corporate craziness, why not get the loved ones on your list something that brings them the true meaning of the holiday season?

A Global Exchange Gift of Membership is the perfect gift! You can give the gift of Fair Trade, peace, justice, people power, and human rights. You pick the gift and we’ll take care of the rest.

6 Gift Memberships to choose from:



















When your family and friends unwrap their Global Exchange Gift Membership, they will join a compassionate community of dedicated activists working for peace, justice and human rights.

We’ll send out the membership card and gift package, plus keep your recipient in the loop about Global Exchange programs and events with our newsletter and e-mail action alerts.

Order your gifts by December 14th at midnight to guarantee delivery by December 24th 2012.

Wishing you joy, justice, and peace this Holiday Season!

Now to set the mood, here’s a little poem written by Global Exchange Generation for Justice member Andy Klase:

Click on the poem to see larger version on Facebook


P.S. If you live in the Bay Area or DC, please be sure to join us for our Fair Trade Store holiday event on December 6 from 5pm – 8pm. Shop for all your Fair Trade gifts, meet our staff, and if you’re a member double your discount (20% for one night only.)