The RightsCon program
The RightsCon program is the guiding pillar of our summit series. Every year, we solicit hundreds of session ideas from human rights defenders, business leaders, policymakers, journalists, and more through an open Call for Proposals. These proposals are the bedrock of the RightsCon experience, and help us shape a timely and outcome-oriented agenda on human rights in the digital age. Explore the Call for Proposals in numbers below or in pdf.
RightsCon Costa Rica program categories
The RightsCon program has grown increasingly complex over time to reflect the breadth and depth of technology’s impact on society and our human rights. Explore the issue areas we cover below:
for Business and Labor
Peace, Stabilization, and
Public Interest Tech and Human Rights-Centered Design
Automation, and the Algorithm
Protection, and Consent
Environmental Sustainability and Human Resilience
Global Governance, Justice,
Philanthropy, Wellness, and Operational Development
The Global State of
and Political Participation
Network Connectivity and
and Individual Security
Trade, Commerce, and
the Digital Commons
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The RightsCon program is the guiding pillar of our annual summit. Hosting a session at RightsCon is one of the best ways to showcase your work, connect with like-minded leaders, hone strategies, ask for advice, learn new skills, consult users, and build the momentum that fuels our work. Every year, we receive hundreds of session proposals from around the world, and we work hard to curate a program that reflects the complexity of the issues at the intersection of human rights and technology.
The Call for Proposals for RightsCon Costa Rica was open from October 2019 to January 2020. It is now closed. You can view the Guide to a Successful Proposal for an overview of the program process. If you proposed a session for RightsCon Costa Rica, we will notify you about the final status of your proposal in March 2020.
We will notify you in March 2020 if your session has been accepted, rejected, or merged with another, similar proposal. Please note we are unable to provide updates on your proposal status while the review process is underway.
Each year, Access Now and the RightsCon team work with leading experts who form our Program Committee. Once the Call for Proposals period ends in January 2020, the Program Committee will review and evaluate proposals session based on specific criteria. Co-chairs will look for proposals that are relevant, actionable, original, and diverse. After the Program Committee review, the RightsCon team will conduct a final, holistic review of all session proposals in order to curate a strategic, high-quality program. We will notify you if your session has been accepted, rejected, or merged with another, similar proposal in March 2020. Note that the program categories will not necessarily translate into the final program tracks. Learn more about our evaluation criteria and process in our Guide to a Successful Proposal.
Once your proposal is accepted into the program, we will launch the session excellence process. “Session excellence” entails providing resources, moderator training, and opportunities for networking to session organizers, all in the service of producing a first-class program. On a technical level, the process may require merging a session with similar proposals, adjusting the format, refining the goal or outcome, and recommending additional speakers. We will also conduct an audit of all sessions to ensure that the panel of speakers meets our diversity and inclusion requirements.
Absolutely! A critical part of the session excellence process involves connecting speakers with session organizers to improve the overall quality and impact of the RightsCon program. Once your proposal is accepted, we will provide you with a list of individuals who have applied to speak at RightsCon and consented to share their contact information. You can use this list to reach out to interested individuals and invite them to speak in your session. If you need specialized recommendations, contact us at [email protected] to explain what sort of perspective or issue area expertise your session requires. Please reach out to us as soon as possible, as our capacity to match speakers and sessions decreases as preparation for the summit ramps up. Even if you do not request our assistance, we may approach you with speaker recommendations. We place speakers based on a variety of factors, including both the needs of the session and the needs of the individual. If you would like to invite a high-level speaker, visit our website to see who will be joining us in San José. We will update this information on a regular basis, and our team will facilitate introductions, if appropriate.
All RightsCon participants are required to register and secure a ticket prior to arrival in San José, Costa Rica on June 9, 2020. If your proposal is accepted into the program, we will provide you with a menu of ticket discount codes that you can share with the speakers associated with your session. These codes can be applied upon checkout through our ticketing portal on Eventbrite. We firmly believe the price of a ticket should never prohibit participation in RightsCon. That’s our official policy, and it applies regardless of where you’re located. However, for those who have the means, we ask that you pay what you can, in order to balance out the costs for participants who are unable to meet the true ticket price.
Every year we fund and support travel for a small number of participants. We do our best to reserve this support for participants who face financial and other barriers to travel, and particularly participants from the Global South and representatives from communities at risk. The form to apply for travel support will be available on our Program Platform until March 6, 2020, and final decisions will be communicated to applicants on March 20, 2020. You can consult our website to see if you require a visa to enter Costa Rica and if you qualify for any exceptions. Visa process time is approximately one month. We encourage everyone who requires a visa to begin the process as soon as possible. If required, you can request a visa invitation letter on our Program Platform.
If your proposal is accepted into the program, you will have the opportunity to update information about the session and make a note of any security or sensitivity concerns that our team should be aware of. We will send out notifications about the final status of your proposal in March 2020, and open the update form soon after. For urgent matters, please contact our team directly at [email protected] If you prefer to send an encrypted email, please use [email protected] (key available here).
There are two phases to building the final program once we have sent out proposal status notifications. If your proposal is accepted, you will have the opportunity to inform us which days of the summit, if any, you are unable to host the session. Afterwards, in April, we will share a draft schedule with organizers before publishing the final program schedule in May. While we do our best to accommodate the schedules of our speakers and session organizers, and we will work with you to smooth out any issues in the lead-up to the summit, we typically can’t guarantee the availability of specific time slots or rooms. Once we have finalized the schedule, we will share an official Session Organizer’s Guide, which includes information about room layouts, set-up, and more.
Unfortunately, we can only provide translation services for our Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and other plenary sessions. If you are a session organizer and require translation services for your session, you will need to notify us in your session update form and secure those services from an external provider.
It depends. Some rooms will have A/V capabilities, while others will not. A technical team and room monitors will be on hand at the venue to assist. Internet access is not always reliable on site, and we recommend that session organizers download and save materials offline prior to arrival in the summit space. We will provide session organizers with a guide that contains an overview of the venue and room layouts, tips on how to run a successful session, and information about tickets and registration.
The official RightsCon program features a range of session types to showcase your work, engage fellow participants in workshops, build strategies, and highlight new ideas.
An intimate, conversational format, with no more than three people on stage.
An interactive, table-based session focusing on a single issue or question.
A substantive discussion between multiple stakeholders and hosted in an intimate setting with no more than 25 people.
A TED Talk-style lecture (5-15 minutes) featuring a single speaker, and exploring a provocative idea, initiative, or challenge.
RightsCon panels are dynamic and discussion-oriented. Speakers can – and should – interact with the audience, without the help of of presentation tools.
A hands-on presentation (20 minutes) of a new technology, tool, or technical project.
An informal meeting on a particular issue area. This format allows participants to network, connect, and forge partnerships.
A roundtable, without the table. These “in-the-round” sessions are participant-driven and foster interactive discussions.
Our speaker application form is now available on our Program Platform! From now until April 1, 2020, you can apply to speak at RightsCon Costa Rica. Our team works with session organizers to place and recommend speakers across our world-class program. Fill out the form to give us a sense of where your perspective and expertise will be most impactful.
Engage Beyond the Program: Connect, Meet, Gather
Beyond scheduled programming are opportunities for connecting in pre-RightsCon satellite events, lively exhibition spaces, intimate private meetings, and after-hours social events.
Capitalize on our summit’s convening power by coordinating half-or-full day meetings in the lead up to or after RightsCon.
Connect and showcase projects, initiatives, tools, and research in our mixed-use exhibition space throughout the summit.
Invite key partners to a private meeting on a specific issue area or project in order to advance your goals and priorities.
After a full day of programming, wind down and network with other participants at a range of social events.
Want to know more about the above opportunities? Send us an email at [email protected]
The RightsCon Costa Rica Program Committee
Each year, the RightsCon team works alongside the Program Committee, made up of internal Access Now staff and external experts from around the world, to curate a connected, strategic, and outcomes-oriented program tracks. Take a look at who is helping us shape the agenda for RightsCon 2020: