Your Guide to a
Successful Proposal

Welcome to our guide for the RightsCon 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 program. We will be updating this guide ahead of the 2022 Call for Proposals.

The 11th edition of RightsCon will take place June 6 to 10, 2022. Stay tuned for more information about the public program by subscribing to our newsletter!

Whether you’re a newcomer or returning member of our community, take a moment to read about our program priorities and policies for RightsCon 2022.

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.

Artificial Intelligence

Business, Labor, and Trade

Civil Society Resistance and Resilience

Content Governance

Data Protection

Digital Security for Communities

Futures, Fictions, and Frontiers

Global Cyber Norms

Governance and Elections

Human Rights-Centered Design

Internet Access, Education, and Inclusion

Internet Shutdowns and Disruptions

Investigation, Documentation, and the Media

Justice and Jurisdiction

Online Hate and Violence

Organizational Capacity and Resources

Privacy and Surveillance


Step 2: Define your goal and choose a session format

An effective 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.

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.

Not sure where to start? Double click one of the options below to see which format is recommended for you.

Step 3: Keep our evaluation criteria in mind

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 below.

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 confirm speakers and facilitators 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 problem or challenge?


Does the proposal introduce a novel idea or offer a fresh take on an issue? Does it purposefully add to or build off of established conversations?


Does the proposal welcome people with diverse experiences and opinions to the table? Does it seek to include speakers and facilitators from different contexts, communities, and sectors?


Does the proposal prioritize the participant experience? Does it put forth an intentional and thoughtful methodology to ensure participants are invested in the session goal?


An outcome is the product of an effective session. Once the session ends and the goal is achieved, what happens next? How will participants remain invested and continue to contribute and collaborate?

See past outcomes

Step 4: Use the checklist to submit!

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 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 confirmed the participation of my facilitators where possible.

  • 6

    I have looked over and taken into account the evaluation criteria in my responses.

  • 7

    I have triple-checked my proposal to make sure I’ve answered all questions as full as I can.

  • 8
    I have reviewed and agreed to the terms of Access Now’s Code of Conduct.

You’re all set!


Get in touch

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

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