Amplifying Voices

Working for a global organization on an issue as nuanced as human rights has taught me invaluable lessons in communicating and collaborating, particularly in a multi-cultural context. The work we produce at Amnesty heavily relies on the principles of empathy and shared experiences, especially in my team where one of our primary goals as a communications program is to strengthen global solidarity between different communities around the world. I consider myself remarkably lucky to work with and learn from some of the world’s most highly regarded experts on issues ranging from the abolition of the death penalty in West Africa to women’s rights in South America. My goal as a communicator is to understand the complexities of these issues and find out how to clearly present that information to the wider public.

If I want to explain human rights issues to people who have very different life experiences from my own, it’s essential that I start by taking a moment to step away from my personal worldview and embrace new ways of thinking by listening to people from different backgrounds. This can be an incredibly challenging exercise when you are naturally passionate about the issue at hand, but it is a skill that I find incredibly rewarding in the long run.

Strengthened By Empathy

Working for a global organization on an issue as nuanced as human rights has taught me invaluable lessons in communicating and collaborating, particularly in a multi-cultural context. The work we produce at Amnesty heavily relies on the principles of empathy and shared experiences, especially in my team where one of our primary goals as a communications program is to strengthen global solidarity between different communities around the world. I consider myself remarkably lucky to work with and learn from some of the world’s most highly regarded experts on issues ranging from the abolition of the death penalty in West Africa to women’s rights in South America. My goal as a communicator is to understand the complexities of these issues and find out how to clearly present that information to the wider public.

If I want to explain human rights issues to people who have very different life experiences from my own, it’s essential that I start by taking a moment to step away from my personal worldview and embrace new ways of thinking by listening to people from different backgrounds. This can be an incredibly challenging exercise when you are naturally passionate about the issue at hand, but it is a skill that I find incredibly rewarding in the long run.

Empathy is one of life’s greatest problem-solvers. It allows you to find common ground in unexpected places. But my experience at Amnesty has shown that the only way to honestly empathize with someone else is to approach them without any expectation or intention that I might influence their opinion in some way. I’m more interested in using my skills to amplify the voices of the people I work with and empower them to influence the world rather than to purely rely on my singular worldview to decide my ability to affect change and activism. Listening to different points of view in the spirit of empathy and solidarity has proved vital to accomplishing that goal|

The only way to honestly empathize with someone else is to approach them without any expectation or intention that I might influence their opinion in some way

About Caroline Courtney

With an educational background in international relations and working experience in digital content, Caroline’s work is at the intersection of the many skill sets required to produce high quality and “future-proof” content that inspires human rights change.  v

Mount Vernon taught me the value of working with people from diverse skillsets and working styles and how important it is to approach challenges from multiple angles in order to find the best solution. 

In February 2017, she became one of the founding members of PrismA, the LGBTI staff network at Amnesty International’s Secretariat. The network was awarded a Gender Defender Award by Amnesty’s Gender, Sexuality and Identity Unit in 2018.

Outside of her work at Amnesty, Caroline spends time reading and writing about film, media culture and philosophy. She is currently looking for opportunities to begin freelance writing.

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