Step 1

Choose a program category

Step 2

Pick a session goal

Step 3

Pick a session format

Step 4

Host online or in-person

Step 5

Consult our evaluation criteria

Step 6

Review our checklist

RightsCon 2025’s Call for Proposals will support 18 program categories. The categories help our team review and compare proposals on similar or related topics, and inform the final program tracks that participants can use to navigate the schedule.

Take a look to determine which category is most relevant to your session idea.

  • Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies
  • Business and Human Rights
  • Conflict and Humanitarian Action
  • Content Governance
  • Data Protection
  • Digital Security for Communities
  • Freedom of the Media
  • Freedoms and Agency in the Age of Surveillance
  • Futures, Fictions, and Creativity
  • 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

A session starts with a goal. Why do you want to host a session at RightsCon, specifically? What do you want to achieve in the room, and how will participants help you reach that point? Your goal will dictate which session format to pursue.

Not sure where to start? Choose one of the options below to see which format is the best fit for you in Step 3.

What do you want to achieve?

When you select a format in the proposal form, a series of tailored questions will appear. The questions will prompt you to think deeply about your session structure and content, and methods to ensure participants are invested in your goal. Remember: once the proposal form is submitted, you will not be able to change the session format.


A moderated conversation where experts share perspectives on a thematic or regional issue in dialogue with participants.

1 facilitator, 3-4 speakers

50-100 participants in-person

Unlimited participants Online

60 minutes. In-person: theatre set up, Online: livestream


A collaborative format where participants provide input on a project under development or an issue that requires attention

3-4 facilitators

15-30 participants in-person

30 participants online

60 minutes. In-person: single table setup, Online: Zoom internal


A hands-on format where participants can build skills, co-create resources, and learn tactics.

3-4 facilitators

50-100 participants in-person

50 participants online

60 minutes, In-person: banquet style, Online: Zoom internal

Private Meeting

A closed-door format where invited stakeholders can collaborate and contribute to a plan of action

3-4 facilitators

10-20 participants in-person

20 participants online

60 minutes, In-person: single table setup, Online: Zoom internal

Lightning Talk

A short, prepared presentation that frames an issue or cause around a personal narrative.

1-2 speakers

Up to 100 participants in-person

Unlimited participants online

8-10 minutes. In-person: pop-up stage, Online: livestream

Tech Demo

A short, prepared presentation that showcases a new tool, technology, or technical project.

1-2 speakers

Up to 100 participants in-person

Unlimited participants online

8-10 minutes. In-person: pop-up stage, Online: livestream

You can choose to host your session online or in-person. A select group of roundtables and private meetings may be elevated to a hybrid mode.

Online sessions are hosted entirely on our virtual summit platform and are scheduled across different time zones. If you run a session online, you will access the session from your personal device.

In-person sessions are held at our venue and scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m local time . Sessions hosted in-person will have limited technical capabilities to ensure more dynamic face-to-face interaction, and all facilitators, speakers, and participants should plan to attend in-person.

Based on feedback as well as budgetary, timezone, and team capacity constraints this year, we have decided to reduce the amount of sessions that include hybrid elements. For the roundtable and private meeting formats only, there will be a select number of sessions that will be elevated to support a two-way exchange between online and in-person participants. Please note that unlike online sessions, hybrid sessions will only be hosted from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time, and so may not be ideal for the timezones you intend to reach to participate. In this case, we suggest you opt to host fully online instead.

Access Now works with experts from around the world to evaluate proposals holistically and build a community-sourced program. Once the Call for Proposals closes, the RightsCon Program Committee will review proposals by category and advance sessions based on the core criteria above.

The review process is competitive, and in the past years, our team has had to turn away many exceptional proposals for the sake of a well-rounded program. To set your proposal apart, we strongly recommend that you refer to our evaluation criteria and guidance on participatory design as you fill out the form, and source facilitators and speakers before you submit.


Is the proposal timely and salient to the RightsCon community? Does it address an important topic at the intersection of technology and human rights?


Does the proposal set out an achievable goal? Does it aim to find solutions to a specific problem?


Does the proposal introduce a new idea or offer a fresh take on an issue? Does it purposefully build on established conversations?


Does the proposal welcome people with diverse experiences and opinions to the table? Does it feature perspectives from different contexts and communities?


Does the proposal prioritize the participant experience? Does it put forth an intentional session design to ensure participants are invested?

Before you press the submit button, use our checklist to make sure your proposal is ready for review!

  1. I have created an account on the RightsCon proposal portal.
  2. I have completed all required questions in the proposal form to the best of my ability.
  3. I have selected a format and program category that matches my goal.
  4. My proposal supports a diversity of perspectives across regions, communities, genders, and sectors.
  5. I have reviewed the recommended proposal resources.
  6. I have confirmed the participation of my facilitators and speakers, where possible.
  7. I have looked over and taken into account the evaluation criteria in my responses.
  8. I have attended / considered attending a RightsCon Proposal Training session.
  9. I have reviewed and agreed to the terms of Access Now’s Code of Conduct.

You’re all set!


An outcome is the product of an effective session.

Once the session ends, how will you build momentum? How will participants continue to contribute and collaborate?

Below are examples of outcomes.

Create a coalition

Launch a campaign

Draft standards

Fund a project

Revise a resource

Hold a training

Session description (in English)

“Digital ID systems continue to be implemented at national, cross regional and international levels. The growth of “digital public infrastructure” is being built upon the foundation of the digital ID system, most of which not only attempt to become systems for legal identity, but also to encompass access to essential public and private services, from social welfare and healthcare to banking and financial services. But at the time, most of these systems employ technologies that are damaging to human rights and have the potential to become pervasive surveillance mechanisms, such as biometrics and predictive analytics. Alternatives to the centralized model of digital ID and to the use of biometric technologies have arisen from different sectors, but none of them has reached a level of usage that made a significant impact.

In this conversation, we aim to discuss the different alternatives that exist to the current model of digital ID, and to imagine possible solutions and alternatives for what a model of rights-respecting, inclusive digital ID might become.”

What do you want to learn from participants during the session?

“We expect that participants will be able to propose ideas and discuss the challenges of the different alternatives and approaches in a way that will be conducive to the community having a better understanding of which alternatives might be better positioned to actually face the issues currently surrounding digital ID systems.”

How will participants continue to contribute and collaborate after the session ends?

“Participants will have the opportunity to join the digital ID community and/or the #WhyID list to continue engaging with the discussion in future meetings and working groups.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you’re a newcomer or returning member of our community, take a moment to read about our program priorities and policies for RightsCon 2025.

Where do I submit a proposal?

The RightsCon proposal portal is a one-stop shop where you can submit and manage session proposals, apply for our Community Support Fund, and more. Create an account to get started!

You can propose a maximum of three sessions for consideration. Please note that the limit only applies to the number of proposals per person, not per host institution.

What are the roles in an online session?

Depending on the format, a session will include a number of different roles:

  • A session organizer develops the session content and structure, and coordinates with facilitators and speakers at all relevant steps in the process.
  • A facilitator leads discussion and activities, and steers participants to reach the session goal. Most, but not all, session organizers also choose to facilitate.
  • A speaker frames the conversation from an expert’s perspective and offers ideas for participants to question and consider.
  • A participant brings personal insights and experiences to the table and actively contributes to the session goal.
  • A technical moderator (online) or room monitor (in-person) manages participant access, and ensures the session runs smoothly and ends on time. Our team will assign one technical moderator or monitor to every session room.

What is RightsCon 2025 approach to a “hybrid” program?

Hosted both online and in-person, RightsCon 2025 will mark our second hybrid summit. The program will support six session formats intended to foster moments of connection and collaboration, and a schedule which will enable live participation across different time zones.

Based on how you anticipate joining us for RightsCon 2025, you can choose to host your session online or in-person. Online sessions are run entirely on our custom summit platform, while in-person sessions are held at our venue in East Asia. You can pick either option, but once you submit the proposal form, your selection is final.

Based on timezones, budgetary, and team capacity constraints this year, we have decided to reduce the amount of sessions that include hybrid elements. For the roundtable and private meeting formats only, there will be a select number of sessions that will be elevated to support a two-way exchange between online and in-person participants. If you are a session proposer for these formats, and are interested in being considered for hybrid elevation, we want to know why bringing both online and in-person participants together is necessary to support your session goals. Please note that unlike online sessions, hybrid sessions will only be hosted from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. local time. If your intended online participants cannot participate in that timezone, it is best to host your session fully online.

For more information on our program structure and strategy this year, check out our Call for Proposals launch blog, where you can find the changes we’re making for this RightsCon cycle thanks to the valuable feedback we received from our community during our consultation calls.

Where can I find helpful resources to support my proposal?

In addition to the guide for a successful proposal you’re currently reading, we have several tools at your disposal to support you in designing and writing a proposal that not only guarantees an excellent session, but guides you in advancing your goals at and beyond RightsCon. In our resources section, you will find guidance on participatory session design focused on online, in-person, and hybrid modes. 

This year, we’re also unveiling a brand-new training series dedicated to helping session proposers craft strong proposals! These workshops will walk you through using our proposal platform and how to choose the best format to take your session goal from concept to reality. We’ll also host weekly interactive Q&As to provide you with the opportunity to meet other session proposers and raise any additional questions on the proposal process.

How does RightsCon support session organizers?

RightsCon convenes people from around the world to discuss critical issues and advance a shared agenda for human rights. If your proposal is accepted into the program, we’ll work with you to develop a participatory and action-oriented session, and provide training, resources, connections, and opportunities to network with other organizers, all in the service of building a program that reflects the diverse needs, priorities, and interests of our community.

At RightsCon, participants are not passive listeners, but active contributors. Your proposal should clearly articulate what you want to achieve and how participants will help you reach that goal. No matter the format, a well-structured session will make the best use of the people and perspectives in the room.

Can I host a session in any language?

Yes! While most sessions are conducted in English, the program supports many other languages, including Korean, Japanese, Arabic, French, and Spanish. In an effort to make RightsCon more accessible, the proposal form offers optional sections where you can submit answers in another language.

If the form presents a barrier to submitting a proposal for consideration, please reach out to our team at [email protected], and we’ll work with you to facilitate your participation in RightsCon.

What if I need funding to travel or participate?

RightsCon offers a Community Support Fund, available to those who wish to attend RightsCon in-person or online. The fund offers travel support for in-person participation (including travel, and accommodation, among other travel-related costs), as well as direct financial support for online participation (including connectivity, translation and other services).

While the fund is open to everyone, we prioritize applications from session organizers, facilitators, and speakers from communities who are traditionally underrepresented in global convenings. However, as a nonprofit organization with limited resources, we are unfortunately unable to guarantee funding to every applicant. Applications to the Fund will be open in early June and will be available through the RightsCon Proposal Portal.

What are RightsCon’s policies on diversity, equity, and inclusion?

We take seriously our responsibility to build a program and a summit space that reflects the diversity of experiences embodied by our community. RightsCon’s policies on diversity, equity, and inclusion aim to address dynamics of privilege and power that impede trust, openness, and collective action.

Diversity is one of our core evaluation criteria. As always, we welcome proposals that explore technology’s intersection with gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability status, economic status, and/or other social, cultural, or personal identities. 

Organizers should arrange session lineups with care and consciousness of regional representation, and representation of communities across regions – such as Indigenous peoples, Black communities, and people with disabilities – that are traditionally pushed to the margins and excluded from global convening spaces.

Access Now upholds a no-tolerance policy for men-only panels (“manels”). We also look critically at sessions that only feature perspectives from communities which perpetrate and benefit from systems of oppression, including but not limited to: colonialism, racism, classism, and land and resource exploitation.

We may reach out to organizers to offer feedback or recommend facilitators for sessions where these standards aren’t met. In rare cases, we may pull a session from the schedule if it violates our policies.
Access Now’s Code of Conduct establishes principles and expectations for participation at RightsCon. If you have ideas on ways we can better serve our global community, contact us at [email protected].

Get in touch

Have a question about submitting a session? Not sure where to start? Get in touch with us at [email protected] to chat with our team and receive tips and advice directly from the source.

Subscribe to the RightsCon Rundown for program updates, community news, and more.