Atheist Alliance International
|Motto||"For a Secular World"|
|Purpose||Promotion of atheism and secularism|
Atheist Alliance International (AAI) is a global federation of atheist organizations and individuals, committed to educating the public about atheism, secularism and related issues. AAI was founded in 1991.
AAI was founded in 1991 as Atheist Alliance, an alliance of four U.S.-based local atheist groups. Over time Atheist Alliance expanded, adding both local/regional U.S. groups and international groups as members, and changed its name to Atheist Alliance International in 2001. In 2010 and 2011 members approved the separation of the U.S. and international segments of AAI into separate organizations, to accommodate the different strategic interests of each group. The U.S. group of AAI was renamed Atheist Alliance of America (In 2016, AAoA sought and achieved autonomy from the decision-making Affiliate Council.); the international group retained the original AAI name but adopted new bylaws and a new organizational structure. The launch of the newly restructured AAI occurred at the World Atheist Convention in Dublin, Ireland on 3 June 2011.
In 2013, the AAI was granted special consultative status by the United Nations. In this role the AAI will be able to better serve atheists facing persecution from their governments.
AAI's Board consists of between 4 and 13 Directors elected for two-year staggered terms. No more than three Directors can come from any one country and each Affiliate or Associate Members is limited to one nominee on the Board at any time.
AAI Officers are Directors and elected for one-year terms by the Board following each Annual General Meeting. The current President of AAI is Christine Shellska from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
AAI has three classes of membership: Affiliate Members, Associate Members and Individual Members. Affiliate and Associate Members are atheist/freethought groups, which have their own individual members, and Affiliate Members must be democratic in nature. Individual Members are people who wish to support the work of AAI. All Members are entitled to attend member meetings but only Affiliate Members are entitled to vote.
AAI's vision is "a secular world where public policy, scientific inquiry and education are not influenced by religious beliefs, but based upon sound reasoning, rationality and evidence." AAI's mission is "to challenge and confront religious faith, to strengthen global atheism by promoting the growth and interaction of atheist/freethought organizations around the world and to undertake international educational and advocacy projects."
AAI's activities include:
- Facilitating and hosting atheist conventions and conferences around the world.
- Supporting Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda through the facilitation of student sponsorships and fundraising support.
- Publishing Secular World magazine edited by Rustam Singh and producing Secular World podcast, hosted by Jake-Farr Wharton and Han Hills.
- Supporting the development of new atheist groups, particularly in developing countries.
- Lobbying internationally to support freedom of expression and conscience, especially for atheists who are oppressed by religious discrimination.
The first annual convention held by AAI took place in 1995 in Los Angeles. The first international convention held by AAI took place in 2006 in Reykjavik, Iceland. In 2010, AAI began its current program of co-hosting conventions with affiliate and associate members.
Since 2010, AAI has co-hosted or supported conferences in:
In 2009, AAI launched the AAI Foundation, a long-term project dedicated to sponsoring volunteer educational projects in developing countries. Its first project provided funds and volunteers to the Kasese Primary Humanist School in Kasese, Uganda in 2010, when AAI selected and hosted four volunteers from North America and Asia to serve as teaching assistants at the school for three months.
In 2012, AAI lobbied for the release of Alexander Aan, an Indonesian civil servant, who, after posting "There Is No God" on Facebook, was fired from his job, attacked, threatened with beheading by local imams and arrested by the Indonesian police. AAI operates a legal defense fund and a scholarship fund in Aan's name. Aan was sentenced to two years and six months in jail on 14 June 2012 and fined Rp100 million (c. US$10,600). He was freed from prison on 27 January 2014.
In 2013, AAI started the fundraising project "Critical Thinking and Secular Ethics in Cambodia" through the Cambodian Children's Trust seeking to raise US$6,723 to "cover the costs of the pilot program ... and fund the continuation of the Critical Thinking and Secular Ethics Program through to late 2013." The fundraiser's online challenge ended July 2013 with the report that the goal had not been met.
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