Your Guide to a Successful Proposal

Start a proposal

Welcome to our submission guide for the RightsCon Costa Rica Call for Proposals! This guide offers an overview of the five steps to a successful session proposal, and explains how we evaluate and build the RightsCon program.

We strongly advise that you consult this guide as you prepare to Submit Your Session in our Program Platform. Submissions are due on January 14, 2020 at 23:59 Pacific Standard Time.

First, a few reminders

In 2020, RightsCon is invested in building a strategic and outcomes-oriented program, with a focus on session excellence. Read on to learn about the new features and initiatives that are shaping this year’s programmatic approach.

Ready to start? Here are our five steps to success:


Step 1: Pick your program category

The RightsCon program is divided into tracks to help participants navigate the many issue areas our community covers. The categories listed below inform the creation of our final program tracks. Take a look to determine which category is most relevant to your chosen topic.


Alternative Models for Business and Labor

Alternative Models
for Business and Labor

Cybersecurity Norms and Practice

Cybersecurity Norms
and Practice

Digital Inclusion and Diversity

Digital Inclusion
and Diversity

Futures, Fictions, and Creativity

Futures, Fictions,
and Creativity

Peace, Stabilization, and Conflict Prevention

Peace, Stabilization, and
Conflict Prevention

Public Interest Tech and Human Rights-Centered Design

Public Interest Tech and Human Rights-Centered Design


Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Algorithm

Artificial Intelligence,
Automation, and the Algorithm

Data Governance, Protection, and Consent

Data Governance,
Protection, and Consent

Environmental Sustainability and Human Resilience

Environmental Sustainability and Human Resilience

Global Governance, Justice, and Jurisdiction

Global Governance, Justice,
and Jurisdiction

Philanthropy, Wellness, and Operational Development

Philanthropy, Wellness, and Operational Development

The Global State of Civil Society

The Global State of
Civil Society


Content Control and Censorship

Content Control
and Censorship

Democracy, Elections, and Political Participation

Democracy, Elections,
and Political Participation

Freedom of the Media

Freedom of
the Media

Network Connectivity and Internet Shutdowns

Network Connectivity and
Internet Shutdowns

Privacy, Surveillance, and Individual Security

Privacy, Surveillance,
and Individual Security

Trade, Commerce, and the Digital Commons

Trade, Commerce, and
the Digital Commons

Step 2: Map your goal and pick a session format

We work hard to ensure that the RightsCon program strengthens and connects our community. Your session should force us to confront real-world problems and encourage us to take action together. In your proposal, tell us what you want to achieve in the room (goal) and how you plan to get there (format).


Pick your session goal



Session Strategy


Pick your session format


Step 3: Keep our evaluation criteria in mind

Now that you’ve decided on your program category, goal, and session format, you’re ready to start sharing additional details. Remember that you don’t need to finish it all in one go – you can always save a draft of your proposal and return to it later. As you craft your proposal, make sure to hit all of our evaluation criteria as best you can.


Our evaluation criteria

RELEVANT

Is the proposal timely and salient to the broader human rights community? Does it discuss an important and emerging issue?

ACTIONABLE

Does the proposal set out an achievable goal? Does it aim for a realistic outcome that will push the needle forward?

ORIGINAL

Does the proposal introduce new voices, new concepts, a new format, or a fresh take on an issue?

DIVERSE

Does the proposal create a space where diversity of experience and thought are inherent to the conversation? Does it feature representatives from a range of backgrounds, communities, and industries?


Evaluation process

Each year, Access Now works with experts from around the world to curate a connected, strategic, and outcomes-oriented program structure. Once the submission period ends, the RightsCon Program Committee will carefully evaluate and review proposals based on the criteria above.

In addition to the actual content of your proposal, we look at moderator and speaker selections to check for diversity and inclusiveness. These selections can help distinguish your session from similar proposals, and hold significant weight in our evaluation process. For that reason, we strongly recommend that you confirm your speakers before you submit your proposal. Note that the program categories will not necessarily be reflected in the final program tracks.

A proposal may be accepted in its original form, or we may recommend specific changes to strengthen the session. The proposal process is highly competitive, and in years past, we’ve had to turn away many exceptional sessions for the sake of the broader program. In 2019, for instance, we received 850 submissions, and accepted 450 (53 percent) for the final program.


Outcomes

We are strong believers in the power of convening to drive collective action. RightsCon is a place to translate cross-sector dialogue into post-conference outcomes. Building on the success of RightsCon Tunis, our program process for RightsCon Costa Rica will emphasize high-quality, immersive sessions that spark conversation and collaboration, even after our summit ends.

As you draft, bear in mind the expected outcome of your session. Our Program Committee will take into account the clarity and feasibility of your outcome in the judging process. Below are examples of strong outcomes that have resulted from our convening.


Examples of outcomes

Step 4: Almost there! Review our session proposal checklist

Before you press the submit button, use our checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything.

  • 1

    I have created an account on the RightsCon Program Platform

  • 2

    I have completed all required questions on the session proposal form.

  • 3

    I have selected a program category, goal, and session format.

  • 4

    I have clearly identified my session outcome in my proposal.

  • 5

    My proposal includes speakers with diverse point of views and experiences, and fairly represents stakeholders and communities who are invested in the topic I plan to discuss.

  • 6

    I have confirmed the participation of my moderator and speakers.

  • 7

    I have looked over the evaluation criteria to make sure my proposal hits all the points.

  • 8

    I have triple-checked my proposal for any errors, inaccuracies, or spelling mistakes.

  • 9

    I have reviewed and agreed to the terms of Access Now’s Code of Conduct.

Program timeline

RightsCon 2020 Timeline

Questions?

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