Notes and Changes

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In this conversational event, Alejandra Ancheita, Namatai Kwekweza and Wolfgang Kaleck will discuss the changing context of their activism and efforts to bring power back to the centre of reflection about human rights.      

Global structures of power are rapidly changing – with shifting geopolitics, the rise of megacities, the emergence of global elites that cross boundaries of global North and South, and more. As structures of power become more sophisticated, human rights activists often end up in reactive mode, rather than reflecting on these changes and on how to reorganise their strategies.     

Together, three experienced activists will reflect together on their analysis of changing power dynamics and their multiple layers, and what this means for strategies for advancing human rights. 

What different roles can organisations and individuals in different places play in the context of shifting structures of power? How can we build equitable collaborations across North and South, and between activists with more and less power in local contexts? What might be the implications of a call for human rights work to be more explicitly political? And how can activists and their families be safe and supported as they pursue new strategies to defend human rights?  

Namatai Kwekweza
Namatai Kwekweza is 22 years old with 5 years of experience in community organizing, social entrepreneurship and human rights advocacy, mainly focusing on youth and women's rights. She is a disruptive thought leader and consultant who currently serves as the Executive Director of WELEAD Trust, an organization that she founded at age 18 in 2017, which is focused on youth leadership development and advocacy. Namatai is an awardee of the WalkAbout Prize, a Fellow at the School of International Futures, a Rotarian and an award winning professional public speaker under Toastmasters International in Southern Africa. She holds an Executive Certificate in Diplomacy, Protocol, Etiquette and Professional Branding as well as a Diploma in Contemporary Diplomacy and International Relations from the Zimbabwe Institute of Diplomacy. Namatai is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws Degree at The University of South Africa and aspires to be a constitutional and international human rights lawyer. She also hopes to advance herself in the fields of war studies, strategy and politics. Namatai is a futurist and foresight practitioner who is passionate about advancing human potential, human empathy, chaos theory, game theory, complex problem solving, design thinking, systems thinking and leadership development in Africa.

Wolfgang Kaleck
Wolfgang Kaleck founded the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin in 2007 and has served as its general secretary and legal director since then. Kaleck previously worked as a criminal law attorney in a law firm, which he co-founded in 1991. Since 1998, he has been involved in the Koalition gegen Straflosigkeit (Coalition against Impunity), which fights to hold Argentinian military officials accountable for the murder and disappearance of German citizens during the Argentine dictatorship. Between 2004 and 2008, he worked with the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights to pursue criminal proceedings against members of the US military, including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. For his work as lawyer and founder of ECCHR, Kaleck has been honored with multiple awards. He is author of several books, incl. Law versus Power (2019), Die konkrete Utopie der Menschenrechte (2021). 

Alejandra Ancheita
Alejandra Ancheita, founder and Executive Director of the Mexico City-based NGO ProDESC (The Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Project), is a Mexican lawyer and activist, leader of the human rights movement for migrants, workers, and indigenous communities of her native country. Since founding ProDESC in 2005, Alejandra Ancheita and her dedicated team have run strategic campaigns aimed at protecting the economic, social, and cultural rights of Mexico’s most marginalised people. ProDESC’s work is guided by her innovative vision of an integrated approach, which combines community education and organising, corporate research, human rights litigation, and policy advocacy; thereby bringing about real structural change. Among her most notable accomplishments at ProDESC, she achieved unprecedented results to establish accountability mechanisms for transnational corporations in Mexico.  

Alejandra is one of the leading Latin American voices in the human rights movement. She has spoken in various international forums, such as the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society and the OECD Annual Meeting of National Contact Points, as well as arguing cases before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and national courts.  

Alejandra is the 2014 Laureate of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, the highest acknowledgement from the international human rights community. The same year, she also received the Omecíhuatl medal from the Women’s Institute in Mexico City in recognition of her important contributions to women human rights. In 2015, the Mexican Senate acknowledged Alejandra's prominent work in defense of workers, migrants, indigenous and agrarian communities. More recently, in 2019, she was awarded a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Université Paris Nanterre, becoming the first Mexican woman to be honoured with this distinction.