Your Ultimate Guide to RightsCon Tunis
On June 11-14, 2019, a global community of business leaders, policy makers, general counsels, human rights defenders, government representatives, and technologists from more than 120 countries will come together — for the first RightsCon in Africa and the Middle East — to shape the future of human rights in the digital age.
RightsCon Tunis features our largest, most connected program to date with 17 program tracks and 450+ sessions. At any given time, there will be many sessions happening simultaneously. And while the program is the heart of RightsCon, there are a number of ways to engage throughout our time together: attending satellite events, visiting the Community Village, hanging out in various lounges, setting up bilateral meetings, and socializing at After Dark events.
This year we’re set to have over 2,500 participants join us, and while the size of our community and our program underscores the importance of coming together, we also know all of the opportunities can be overwhelming to navigate. Think of this guide as your RightsCon Tunis cheat sheet. Everyone’s RightsCon experience will be different – tailored to their work and interests – and here’s how we suggest making RightsCon work for you.
Double check that you’re registered – Whether you’re a speaker, participant, or session organizer, in all the excitement ahead of RightsCon, it can be easy to miss one important step: registration! RightsCon sells out every year and you’ll need your ticket to get into the venue.
Visas – If you have a visa or are picking yours up on arrival, make sure you have your documentation with you, including your personalized invitation letter, details about your accommodation, and how long you’re staying. See below for details about what to do when arriving in Tunis.
Arriving – If you’re arriving in Tunisia through the Tunis-Carthage International Airport, the RightsCon team will be waiting for you on arrival with booths before and after customs. Whether you need assistance with your visa on arrival, have questions about getting a SIM card for your phone, or need directions to the RightsCon shuttle, we’re there to help!
Things to think about before leaving the airport – Many places in Tunis only take cash, so you may want to withdraw Tunisian Dinars from one of the many ATMs before leaving. WiFi is available at the venue, but if you’re a power user and need high-speed connection, or are hoping to be connected on the go, you can get a SIM card from one of the many service providers located at the airport.
Transit from the airport – We’ll have RightsCon shuttles running to and from the airport and the RightsCon venue every hour between 8:00am and 1:00am June 10 to June 14, 2019. The RightsCon venue is located at 1001 Avenue Mohamed 5, Tunis. The shuttle drop-off is walking distance from a number of hotels in the area including Hotel Africa, Hotel La Maison Blanche, Novotel Hotel, and Hotel Ibis.
Have questions? – We want to ensure your arrival and stay in Tunis is as smooth as possible, so we’ve answered a range of frequently asked questions. Don’t see the answer to your question here, or there? Send us a note to [email protected].
This year’s RightsCon venue is a bustling hub, located at the Laico Hotel and the Palais des Congres, right next to the city’s Human Rights Square, and just a few minutes’ walk from the heart of downtown Tunis. Check out our detailed venue map on the attend page and our interactive map of Tunis here.
The size of the RightsCon venue reflects the growth of our community, and we recommend getting familiar with the venue ahead of joining us. (Pro tip: you’ll always have a venue map handy while at RightsCon, just flip over your badge!). It will be especially important to keep your badge with you at all times this year, as the entire summit zone will be closed to anyone who is not a RightsCon participant.
Our number one priority is ensuring that RightsCon is safe, secure, and productive for all participants. If you haven’t yet, review our blog post on how we’re thinking about safety and security and check out our 5 tips for staying safe and secure at RightsCon.
Most importantly, meet our team members Thom and Ben, get familiar with how registration will work and how to move between the different spaces in the RightsCon summit zone by reading our latest blog post.
RightsCon Tunis hosts our best program yet – a connected, comprehensive, and strategic agenda made up of 17 thematic tracks, over 450 sessions, and more than 1,000 speakers. One of the best parts of RightsCon is the versatility and variety of the program. Deep dive on a specific issue area by following a track from start to finish, or take a bird’s eye view of the human rights space by picking and choosing across tracks. The options are endless. Here’s what we suggest:
First things first, sign up for Sched. The RightsCon program is digital, meaning we won’t distribute printed versions (though it will be available as a reference at the info desk in the Access Now Lounge). By creating a profile on Sched, you can easily explore issue areas, learn more about speakers, and even build your own personal schedule.
Next, get a sense for what’s on the agenda at RightsCon by reading through our program snapshot blog, where we’ve provided summaries of all 17 tracks.
Want to know what’s trending? During our Call for Proposals, we identified four key trends that cut across our thematic tracks: Elections, Digital ID, Technology-Facilitated Gender Based Violence, and Content Moderation.
All set? Build your own personal schedule!
In 2019, we set an ambitious goal to achieve excellence across our program. We mapped out specific objectives – from providing moderator training, to connecting session organizers within tracks, to reporting on and communicating out post-session outcomes – to elevate our program’s cohesion and effectiveness. We hope the results speak for themselves.
Listen to experts present new ideas in rapid fire through our lightning talks
This year’s program has many dynamic and compelling lightning talks – 5- to 15-minute presentations structured in thematic blocks – from experts across fields on new and insightful issues, projects, and ideas. These talks are designed to spark critical thought and innovation in the digital rights space. Check them out here.
Visit with organizations and businesses in our Community Village
Back by popular demand, the Community Village at RightsCon Tunis is a two-story space for hanging out, connecting with other participants, and learning about the work of organizations from around the world. You can meet up with representatives from Berkman Klein Center, SMEX, Microsoft, Internews, Facebook, APC, One Trust, ICANN, and more. It’s also the home of our Village Stage, a high-production and dynamic space for ground-breaking panels and lightning talks. See which sessions will be hosted on this stage here.
Explore cutting-edge tools and projects in our tech demos
Attend tech demo blocks across the program and see a collection of dynamic presentations on technological innovations, the latest software, circumvention tools, and digital security strategies. You’ll hear from practitioners, advocates, and entrepreneurs who are tackling human rights issues and creating the technologies of the future. Find the tech demos here.
Drop in and chat with our Digital Security Clinic
Technologists from our free-of-charge, 24-hour Digital Security Helpline will be on hand to help you improve your digital security practices and guide you on solutions and techniques to protect you or your organization against online threats. Take a moment to sit down with them at the clinic in the Access Now lounge during RightsCon. (You can also schedule a one-on-one session with a member of the Helpline team during the conference by emailing [email protected].)
Set up one-on-one meetings before you arrive
Some of the most effective work at RightsCon takes place in bilateral meetings that allow you to advance your work with trusted partners. Take a look at the program to see who’s coming and book a semi-private meeting pod (first come, first served). While we can’t share contact details of participants for privacy reasons, we encourage you to set up conversations ahead of time. Sched allows you to create your own profile and link your social media handles, making it easier for your fellow RightsCon attendees to contact you.
Take a moment for wellness at RightsCon
There’s no doubt about it, RightsCon is an action-packed experience. We believe it’s important to create space for calm and quiet in commitment to the wellness of the community. Attend one of our morning yoga sessions or take some time to yourself in our device-free wellness space on the second floor of the Laico Hotel.
Join one of our regional lunches
Come network with other RightsCon participants and meet folks from your region! The countries listed for each regional lunch by no mean reflect a political or geographical decision. You should feel free to join any lunch based on your interest and preference, or break into country sub-groups. Find your regional lunch here.
Attend one of our Landmark sessions
Landmarks are featured sessions covering the core trending issues that have emerged from the RightsCon program. These sessions elevate topics that deserve greater attention in support of creating the most impactful programming possible. Landmarks are hosted in the RightsCon main stage – the Beehive – at the Palais, and benefit from greater production support, including translations. Explore the Landmarks here.
Participate in French or Arabic sessions
We recognize the importance of the role of RightsCon in providing a space for people in the region to gather. In order to facilitate that platform – and for the first time ever – RightsCon will host sessions in three languages: English, French, and Arabic. We’ll also offer translation on the Beehive stage and have volunteer translators available for support at the info desk.
Up your advocacy game by attending skill-building sessions for campaigning
This year, we’ve added a show-and-tell track for advocacy and campaigning. Sessions will design and develop toolkits to improve reporting skills and offer access to softwares to enhance lobbying and advocacy on the ground. The aim is to leave these sessions with the confidence to advance social justice causes before international bodies, national parliaments, and the tech sector. Check out the track here.
Whether it’s your first time in Tunisia or you’re a returning visitor, there’s lots to see! We’ve put together an interactive map (with the help of our Tunis team and regional champions) to highlight all the best restaurants, clubs, cafes, and must see tourist attractions.
Not sure how to get around? Taxis are inexpensive and readily available. If you need help booking ask your hotel or flag one down yourself – just make sure to look out for ones with a red light, which means they are available! Taxi drivers often only speak French or Arabic, and may not always know where to find specific addresses, so it’s helpful to consult a map and get a sense of your route beforehand. You can also give OTO or Bolt, two new apps for ride-sharing in Tunisia, a try.
Make it all the way to the end here?
Great time to create your Sched profile and get building!