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Amnesty International Canada Board of Directors Announcement: Alex Neve stepping down as Secretary General after 20 years

    January 24, 2020

    From Amnesty International Canada Board of Directors (English branch)

    It is with a mix of sadness and gratitude that the Board of Directors announces that after 20 years in the role, Alex Neve is stepping down as Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch, effective June 30th 2020, to pursue other opportunities.  

    The Board is tremendously grateful for all that Alex has contributed to Amnesty International’s work in Canada and globally, and to the broader human rights movement, over these past 20 years. 

    Over those two decades Alex led Amnesty International Canada through significant changes, including the development of a substantial program of work with respect to human rights concerns within Canada and the broadening of the organization’s mandate to extend to all human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights. Amnesty International tripled in size during that time and cemented itself as one of Canada’s leading human rights organizations.

    During these twenty years Alex has led or participated in over 40 Amnesty International research, advocacy and campaigning delegations to twenty countries throughout Africa, Latin America, Asia, the United States and Canada, including various First Nations communities, Guantánamo Bay, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoïre, Chad, South Sudan, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. He has become a well-known commentator in the national media and a familiar face addressing rallies, classrooms, conferences and parliamentary committees across the country. 

    Above all else -- whether it has been efforts to free prisoners of conscience, demonstrate solidarity with human rights defenders, push to overturn bad laws and adopt legal and policy reforms, mobilize pressure to address injustice, or build broad public awareness about the importance of human rights -- Alex has worked tirelessly with our staff and members across Canada towards one essential goal: universal human rights protection.   

    ”While it is difficult to imagine Amnesty International Canada without him, we will continue to strive to match Alex’s boundless energy, passionate commitment and inspiring vision for the future,” said Lana Verran, President of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch. “We will miss Alex’s leadership, and wish him the very best in any new endeavour and with any organization that may be fortunate enough to welcome him.”  

    Over the coming months we will be conducting a search to find the next Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch.

    Details of the recruitment process and information for those interested in applying can be found here at the following link: https://mis.tl/AI-SG-CA. The deadline for submitting applications is February 25th, 2020. 

    From Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada's English branch

    Dear friends, 

    This is certainly not an easy message to write. After much deliberation I have reached the decision that it is time for me to move on. My last day as Secretary General of the branch will be June 30, 2020. I deeply appreciate the tremendous support of our Board President, Lana Verran, and all members of the Board, in allowing me the space to come to this decision in the right way and at the right time.

    I cannot imagine any deeper honour or more precious gift than to have served as AI Canada’s SG for the past 20 years. It has been profoundly humbling to have been able to contribute to such important human rights work, nationally, regionally and globally. And it has been deeply rewarding to do that work alongside such inspiring, supportive, creative, dedicated staff colleagues, Amnesty members and partners over these past two decades. I have been particularly fortunate to have had the incredible support of Bob Goodfellow and Jayne Stoyles, who have worked collaboratively alongside me as Executive Director over that time span.

    How I wish I could confidently say that I will leave in 2020 feeling that human rights are better respected and protected in our world than when I began as SG in 2000. For surely, although we know that the road to universal human rights is a very steep climb, we are intent on always moving up that incline. But that is not so sure in our turbulent and divided world these days. Certainly not so sure, given the harsh realities of climate change, conflict, racism and inequality while growing waves of hatred and demonization, masquerading as populism, cleave our societies apart and target the most marginalized in our communities. 

    Yet, all around us there is an unstoppable force of outrage on the march, there is unflinching resistance in frontline struggle and there are profound lessons of humility and justice when we truly listen to and learn from those who have the most to teach. And there are still human rights wins, all around us. I will continue to draw on the wisdom and lived-experience of the survivors, mentors, defenders, allies, activists and dear friends who always open my eyes to what next and what more. And I will never doubt that a world of universal human rights, of all rights for all people, is within reach.

    With a heart full of gratitude, solidarity and respect,

    Alex

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