The RightsCon 2025 Call for Proposals is now open!

► Read our guide

► What’s new?

► Program priorities

► Modes and formats

► Coming up next

The journey to next year’s RightsCon (February 2025) officially kicks off today with the launch of the Call for Proposals! Do you have a session idea at the intersection of human rights and technology? Submit a proposal now until June 7, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Organizing a session at RightsCon offers a platform to showcase your work on a global stage, build coalitions and strategies, learn from fellow thought leaders, and shape policy agendas. You will be joining a network of business leaders, government representatives, technologists, academics, journalists, and human rights activists – the RightsCon community – who meet at our summit to collectively drive forward the digital rights movement. We don’t require a specific level of expertise to host a session; instead, we’re looking for proposals crafted with participation in mind, bringing together diverse perspectives, and an original framing and approach to issues relevant to the RightsCon community.

Ready to start drafting? First, read our Guide to a Successful Proposal! Whether you’re a RightsCon newcomer or a veteran, the Guide has all the information you need to build a successful proposal.

Ahead of RightsCon 2025, we’ve been reflecting on the long-term future and sustainability of the summit. Over the course of the past twelve years, we’ve seen some remarkable outcomes, and watched the community grow and the program adapt to reflect the ever-evolving digital rights landscape. Our last Call for Proposals saw increased metrics across the board: we received the highest number of proposals to date (a 60% increase from the previous year) originating from 132 countries. While invigorated by the growth and continuing evolution of our community, we’re weighing this against community feedback about the size and scale of the program and other considerations, including our team’s capacity and the growing cost of producing an event of this scale.

For our summit to continue meeting the needs of the community at a pace we can sustain, we’re orienting our current cycle around a “back to basics” approach that prioritizes professionally-produced formats for a cross-sector community to connect, coordinate, strategize, and drive tangible outcomes over formats with high-cost, formality, and a speaker versus audience model. This means that we will be scaling down some areas, including curating a slimmer final program, and reduced mainstage programming, while expanding others: more support for proposers, alternative entry points for contribution to the program, and more informal, open spaces for networking and non-programmed connections. Read on to see how these changes will play out in the lead up to and during the summit.

What’s new?

► Changing timelines

This year, session proposers will receive notification of their proposal’s final status in late August, six months in advance of the summit, in contrast to the previous three month timeframe. Thanks to community feedback, we’ve restructured our program timelines to make sure that session organizers have ample time to plan their participation, whether in-person or online. While session organizers will learn about the status of their participation much sooner, the update form will remain open until October, to leave additional time for organizers to finalize their session design and speaker lineups.

► Our hybrid approach

Building on the successes and learnings from RightsCon Costa Rica (2023), our upcoming hybrid summit will follow a similar model, with a combination of in-person, online, and hybrid programming during the in-person summit hours (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time) and online programming outside summit hours. Due to technical and financial constraints, and the coordination challenges of delivering sessions across multiple timezones, we will host a reduced number of hybrid sessions in the roundtable and private meeting formats only. If you’re interested in hosting a session in either of these formats and require hybrid capabilities, please articulate in the proposal form why crossover participation is essential to achieving your session’s objectives.

► Supporting session proposers

Not sure about the best format to support your session goal? Need a question answered before submitting your proposal? We’re here to help! Our training series has been extended to the proposal stage of program-building to provide additional support to session proposers. During these proposal training sessions, we’ll guide you through the ins-and-outs of our proposal platform, explain our review process and selection criteria, and share best practices and tips for building successful proposals. You can also catch us at our weekly office hours to chat with our team, connect with other proposers, and receive tips and recommendations to help you bring your session ideas to life. Head over to our program page to sign up.

► Single speaker nomination

If you’re not ready to submit a proposal but would like to share a thematic or regional perspective, consider nominating yourself for our “single speaker list” and potentially contributing to an accepted session. Session organizers will have access to this repository, and if you have a perspective that meets a gap in their lineups, they’ll contact you directly. The application form will launch after the close of the Call for Proposals, so stay tuned for more details!

Program priorities

Our program categories reflect the most pressing issues for the RightsCon Community, provide structure to the review process, and inform the creation of tracks that participants will use to navigate sessions during the summit. Additionally, proposals may be assigned to one of our “intersecting themes” – health, disability rights, gender justice, youth and children’s rights, indigenous rights, and environment – which cut across some or all of our program categories:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies
  • Business and Human Rights
  • Conflict and Humanitarian Action
  • Content Governance
  • Data Protection
  • Digital Security for Communities
  • Futures, Fictions, and Creativity
  • Freedom of the Media
  • Freedoms and Agency in the Age of Surveillance
  • Global Cyber Norms and Encryption
  • Governance, Politics, and Elections
  • Human Rights-Centered Design
  • Internet Access and Inclusion
  • Internet Shutdowns and Disruptions
  • Justice, Litigation, and Documentation
  • Online Hate and Violence
  • Organizational Capacity and Funding
  • Tactics and Contexts for Activists

Modes and Formats

You can choose to host your session either online or in-person. Online sessions are hosted entirely on our virtual Summit Platform and are scheduled across different time zones. In-person sessions are held at our venue and scheduled from 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m local time. As mentioned above, hybrid capabilities will only be available for a limited group of roundtables and private meetings and will be hosted during in-person summit hours. If you are intending to bring in virtual participants for a hybrid session, please be mindful of whether your intended participant group will be able to join during the local timezone’s programming hours.

Depending on your session’s goal, you can choose between 6 formats. Find the full list, objectives, and set up-details for each in our Guide, along with recommendations to help you choose the best option for your session.

Coming up next

In the coming weeks, we’ll announce the official venue and dates for our first RightsCon in East Asia. You can see an overview of our event timeline on our blog.

After the Call for Proposals deadline on June 2, our team will conduct an initial quality check and then hand over the proposals to the Program Committee, a panel of experts and advisors, who will review each submission based on our evaluation criteria, and select the sessions that will run in our final program.

If you haven’t yet, make sure to sign up for our newsletter, the RightsCon Rundown, to stay informed of the latest news and updates. Any questions? Reach out to our team at [email protected], and we’ll be in touch.

That’s all for now, we can’t wait to see your session ideas!

Luis, Sarah, Igor, and the RightsCon team

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