Atheist Alliance International co-hosts conventions and conferences with its Affiliate and Associate Members.
AAI wishes to support events that are intended to be harassment-free for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, physical appearance or disability. As a condition of AAI providing financial assistance to a convention or agreeing that the AAI logo may be used to recognise AAI’s support for or sponsorship of a convention AAI requires the host group of the convention to adopt an anti-harassment policy substantially similar in scope and effect to this anti-harassment policy, and provide it in the languages that will be used at the convention.
Public statements of policy
Short public statement: suitable for convention website home page, short program material and/or as a footer announcements
[Name of convention] is intended to be a harassment-free event for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, physical appearance or disability. The [name of convention] organisers will not tolerate the harassment of convention attendees in any form. Convention attendees who harass other attendees may be sanctioned or expelled from the convention at the discretion of the [name of convention] organisers. The convention’s anti-harassment policy can be found at [link].
Long public statement: suitable for convention website and/or longer program material
[Name of convention] is intended to be a harassment-free event for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, physical appearance or disability. The [name of convention] organisers will not tolerate the harassment of convention attendees in any form.
The purpose of this policy is to deter harassment and provide a framework to respond to allegations of harassment if they occur, not to limit consensual social or sexual interaction.
Based on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition, “harassment” is behaviour that:
Behaviour that can constitute harassment includes discriminatory comments or actions, personal abuse, intimidation, stalking, intrusive photography or video or audio recording, sustained disruption of presentations or other events, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention and the making of a false report of harassment against an innocent person. Critical examination of beliefs, including critical commentary on another person’s views, does not, by itself, constitute harassment. Harassment may be constituted by a single action/statement or a pattern of actions/statements, depending on the nature and severity of the conduct.
Attendees are expected to respect people’s personal space and accept “no” as a definitive answer to a request for any activity. Attendees who are asked to cease any form of harassment are expected to comply with such request immediately.
If you are being harassed or notice that someone else is being harassed please contact one of the [name of convention] organisers immediately. Organisers can be identified by [note identifying features eg t-shirts, badges, headsets] or through the [registration/information] desk.
Where a report of harassment is made to organisers after the conduct has occurred, reasonable measures will be taken to establish the facts, with no presumption of either guilt or innocence. This will typically include discussion with witnesses, if any, and the person accused of harassment. If appropriate the organisers will contact venue security or local law enforcement and/or arrange an escort to assist anyone who has been harassed.
If an attendee harasses another attendee at the convention, on the premises of the convention or at a convention-organised event the [name of convention] organisers may take any action they consider appropriate, including warning the harasser, sanctioning the harasser or expelling the harasser from some or all of the convention without (in the case of a paying attendee) a refund or (in the case of a speaker attendee) the payment of any speaking fee.
The [name of convention] organisers are committed to making attendees safe for the duration of the convention and appropriately addressing any incidents of harassment.
[Contact details for organisers – email, mobile phone – and, if applicable, for event security. Add local emergency and law enforcement numbers]
Implementation of policy
The organisers must designate at least two members of the organising committee or group to be responsible for managing any reports of harassment and escalation as required (Designated Representatives), who must be or report to the Chair (or equivalent) of the organising committee or group.
The Designated Representatives must ensure blank report incident forms are readily available at the convention, with space to record:
Internal guidance for organisers and convention volunteers
Warnings: Any convention organiser or volunteer can issue a verbal warning to an attendee if they are harassing another attendee. The issuance of a warning should be reported to the Designated Representatives as soon as possible.
Taking reports: All reports of harassment should be treated seriously and recorded on a report incident form by a Designated Representative or the convention organiser/volunteer reporting the incident. No specific promises should be made to people who report harassment regarding the exact action organisers will take. Ask for the information to complete the report incident form but do not pressure a person to provide information if they are reluctant to do so. Offer to arrange an escort or to call a friend or local law enforcement if the person who has been harassed would like you to. Respect the privacy of all the people involved in the incident. Do not share information about harassment reports with people other than the Designated Representatives.
Expulsion: An attendee may be expelled by a Designated Representative if they consider the harassment sufficiently serious - for example after a second (or more) warning, if the attendee continues to harass someone after they have explicitly been told to stop, if there has been a pattern of harassment over a series of incidents or for a single serious offence (eg actual or threat of physical violence, groping, lewd exposure, up-skirt photography).
Involvement of event security/convention venue staff/local law enforcement: the Designated Representatives may contact event security, convention venue staff or local law enforcement to assist with an incident if they consider it appropriate.
Public statements: convention organisers and volunteers should not make public statements about the behaviour of individuals during or after the convention. The Designated Representatives or spokespeople for [name of convention] should make any public statements if necessary.
Distribution of policy
Speakers: Speakers should be provided with a copy of the long version of the policy in advance of the event, which could be done as part of a package of information about the convention.
Attendees: At a minimum, the long version of the policy should be included on convention website with a link from the home page (where the short version should be stated), the long version should be included in the event program if there is one (if it fits, otherwise the short version should be included) and, printed copies of the long version should be available at the convention registration/information desk.
Organisers and volunteers: all organisers and volunteers must be made aware of the anti-harassment policy, informed that they must become familiar with the policy and are expected to abide by it. All organisers and volunteers should be prepared to issue a warning to an attendee who is harassing another attendee and report the incident to a Designated Representative. Any required escalation should be managed by a Designated Representative.
AAI’s use of information contained in harassment reports
The Designated Representatives or [name of convention] committee must provide a copy of all reports of harassment to AAI promptly after the conclusion of the convention, after removing identifying information related to all the people involved in the incident.
AAI will respect the confidential nature of the information contained in harassment reports and comply with relevant legislation regarding privacy and/or data protection. AAI may disclose information contained in harassment reports where requested to do so by law enforcement officials or, subject to any relevant legislative restrictions, to officers (or the equivalent) of other atheist groups or events where the AAI Board considers that such disclosure would assist the other atheist group or event to minimise the risk of harassment to its members or attendees.
Atheist Alliance International co-hosts conventions with Affiliate and Associate Members. Hosting a convention is a fantastic opportunity for national/regional/local organisations to increase their profile, gain media attention and attract new members through having world-class atheist speakers in your country. If your organisation is interested in co-hosting a convention please get in touch! Just email info [at] atheistalliance [dot] org to request the current AAI Convention Planner.
Atheist Alliance International facilitates and supports conventions and conferences hosted by its Affiliate and Associate Members, providing international credibility and prestige to local events and enhancing their success. Conventions raise the profile of atheist and secular issues and give people an opportunity to hear from world-class speakers and local leaders. Such events educate attendees and the public about atheism and provide opportunities for atheists and freethinkers to meet, discuss and learn about global and local issues of interest.
Make sure you are there for the next one!
Hosting a convention is a fantastic opportunity for Affiliate/Associate Members to improve their local/national profile, attract media attention, raise funds, develop organisational and leadership skills, build their volunteer base and find new members and supporters.
However, hosting a convention is also a risky venture, and must be planned well to ensure its success. Even though a convention provides substantial outreach and visibility, many groups are hesitant because of the risk and their inexperience. AAI's involvement can ensure that such events are successful - as well as arranging world-class atheist speakers, AAI can assist the host with planning, marketing, ticket sales, coordination and general advice. AAI also assist the host to maximise the post-convention benefits for its group.
AAI can support up to five conventions each year, preferably distributed around the world. The agreement between AAI and the host in relation to each convention is set out in a Letter of Understanding (LOU). If an Affiliate/Associate Member is you work with is interested in hosting an atheist convention with AAI's support, you should contact us as early as possible: our planning horizon is 12 to 18 months, and there may be unusual or unexpected considerations that take time to resolve.
Queries regarding convention co-hosting should be sent to president [at] atheistalliance [dot] org.
Upcoming Conventions/Conferences Hosted or Supported by AAI
Past Conventions/Conferences Hosted or Supported by AAI