Yvette Alberdingk ThijmsqYvette Alberdingk Thijm:  Human Rights Leader Exposing the Truth
Executive Director, WITNESS
Twitter: @yvettethijm
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yvettealberdingkthijm
Website: witness.org

Bio: Executive Director of WITNESS; foundationcenter.org (Trustee), AccessNow.org (Board Member), Majal.org (Board Member),  formerly (Executive VP, Business Affairs) MTV Networks International; Joost (Executive Vice President, Content Strategy & Acquisition)

Innovating in Field of Work:

  • Employs media and technology (cell phone video and visual data and platforms to share it) to advocate for and advance global human rights
  • Outspoken champion of a new narrative for human rights advocacy, promoting community and partnership over male narratives of heroism to generate sustainable activism
  • Vision to empower any mobile phone user anywhere to capture and share human rights abuses in a safe and effective way so that more video can result in more justice and rights
  • Democratizes human rights advocacy, enabling millions of participants, moving it out of limited realm of ‘experts’


  • Generates an organizational culture by promoting equal voice, trust, and policies maximizing personal flexibility
  • Evolved from an individual leader to networked leadership to build capacity in others
  • Empowers everyone to stand up for human rights and freedoms

Role Model:

  • Chair of the Board and active mentor to young Bahraini woman who leads—Majal.org, amplifier of underrepresented voices, with female developers dispersed across Middle East working at great personal risk
  • Co-led two women’s leadership retreats in Mexico—Women, Spirit, and Power—developing networks of support among human rights defenders worldwide
  • Yin over yang approach to reduce trauma and burnout among human rights professionals

Reinvention / Risk / Momentum:

  • Drastically altered path throughout career. From corporate media exec to disruptive tech start-up to human rights change-maker, she remains true to self. In doing so, she forged new paths for herself and others.
  • Actively defies traditional roles, transgressing boundaries and definitions, both as a leader and as a strategist for social change. Applying all the things she learned along the way in new and unexpected ways – right now: media and technology for human rights.

“To make today’s society just and sustainable, 21st century approaches must be applied –sharing resources and knowledge opens up more for all.”