International Board

The International Board consists of nine people, each of whom is a member of Amnesty International. They are elected to office by the biennial International Council Meeting (ICM).

The International Board members’ four-year terms are staggered, with half the members up for re-election at each ICM. Each member is eligible for re-election for a maximum of two consecutive terms.

The International Board may not include more than one member from any Amnesty International national body or more than one member of Amnesty International from any country, state or territory in which no Amnesty International body exists.

The International Board meets at least two times during any one year and in practice meets at least four times a year.

The International Board's role is to provide guidance and leadership for the Amnesty International movement worldwide. Its chief functions are set down by the statute and include to:

  • ensure the movement’s compliance with Amnesty International's statute
  • ensure implementation of Amnesty International's Integrated Strategic Plan
  • ensure the sound financial management of Amnesty International at the international level
  • provide consent for the establishment of sections, structures and other bodies of Amnesty International
  • hold sections, structures and other bodies of Amnesty International accountable for their functioning by presenting reports to the International Council Meeting
  • take international decisions on behalf of Amnesty International
  • ensure human resources development

The International Board also appoints and directs Amnesty International's Secretary General who, in turn, is responsible for the day-to-day conduct of the international movement, acting as the movement’s chief spokesperson, its chief political advisor and as the chief executive officer of the International Secretariat.

The International Board issues the wider Amnesty International movement with regular reports on its priorities, deliberations and decisions and includes financial reports and budget statements.

The International Board is accountable to the International Council. At each International Council Meeting, the International Board provides detailed accounts of the work it has undertaken and makes recommendations to the Council on matters affecting our future direction.

Contact the International Board: internationalboard@amnesty.org

Current members of the International Board:

Nicole Bieske
Chair

Nicole Bieske

Nicole studied law and humanities at Monash University in Australia and subsequently qualified as a lawyer. She worked as a corporate lawyer before commencing a PhD in international law (human rights). Nicole now works as an academic and human rights consultant and teaches in the Law Faculty at Monash University. She graduated from her PhD in 2010.

Nicole has been a member of Amnesty International for 13 years. Nicole was on the Board of Amnesty International Australia for seven years and was the National President (Chair) of the Board for three years. In this role, Nicole led the work of the Board in setting the strategic priorities of the organisation, monitoring the organisation’s performance and ensuring continuous engagement with Amnesty International Australia’s over 120,000 supporters, partners and the broader community. Nicole has significant experience in governance standards and practices, developing human rights campaigns, engaging with governments at all levels, fundraising, communication particularly across a large geographic area, and capacity building. She completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course in 2009 and was previously the Chair of the Global Governance Taskforce, a sub-committee of the International Executive Committee.

Rune Arctander
Vice-chair

Rune Arctander

Rune Arctander is a Norwegian citizen, and is working as the Deputy Secretary General of the Norwegian UN-Association.

Rune has been involved with Amnesty International for over ten years. He has served on the board of AI Norway since 2006, including as Vice-Chair. Rune headed the Norwegian section board’s development of the current long term strategy for AI Norway and has extensive professional as well as voluntary experience with stimulating youth activity and integrating youth into organisational life, both at the national and international level.

Jacco Smit

Jacco Smit

Jacco Smit is a Brazilian resident with Dutch nationality. After gaining a Master’s degree in economics at the University of Amsterdam, he worked for over twenty years as a financial controller, treasurer, project director and board member in various countries in the private sector. He is currently an independent advisor to the maritime and logistics industries with a focus on strategy, finance and risk management.

He served as treasurer on the board of Amnesty International Netherlands from 2006 to 2010, with a focus on improving the planning & control cycle and strengthening Amnesty’s financial position. He chaired the AI Netherlands finance & audit committee.

In Brazil Jacco actively supported a local human rights organisation in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, where he has gained considerableexperience in the fields of social work, human rights, and mobilising civil society. He has published several books and articles on the history and civil society of Brazil.

Jacco was elected as International Treasurer and member of the International Board in August 2015, and chairs the International Board Finance & Audit Committee. 

Vincent Adzahlie-Mensah

Vincent Adzahlie-Mensah

Vincent Adzahlie-Mensah is Ghanaian academic at the University of Education, Winneba with extensive experience in research, organizational leadership and institutional governance. He holds a PhD in International Education and Development from the University of Sussex, UK; an MPhil in Conflict Resolution and a BEd. in Social Studies from the University of Education, Winneba in Ghana. In his professional life Vincent is the Vice Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Education, Winneba. He has undertaken research for many international organizations including The Economist Intelligence Unit (UK), British Council (UK), USAID, World Vision and Australia Aid.

Vincent joined Amnesty International in 2001. Since then, he has served in various capacities, including as a member of the National Council, where he served as liaison for the West Africa Human Rights Education Project. He became Board Chair of AI Ghana in January 2009. During that period he led AI Ghana - developing policies, establishing effective governance systems and a leadership development programme – in the transition to regain section status in 2012. During that time Vincent was also a member of the Governance Committee of the International Board, and was involved in developing the Core Standards. He was elected as member of the International Board of Amnesty International in August 2013. 

Outside of Amnesty International, Vincent was a member of the Steering Committee of the Ghana Human Rights NGOs Forum. He served as a member of the Governing Council of the University of Education, Winneba. He served as Board member of several organizations including Facts for the Youth in the Southern Sector (an affiliate of the International Organisation on Migration in Ghana). He was a Director of Advocates and Trainers for Women’s Welfare Advancement and Rights. He was National Coordinator for Youth Development Foundation (YODEF). He also worked as liaison for Youth for Human Rights International in human rights education.

Andre Banks

Andre Banks

Andre Banks is an independent consultant based in New York City advising chief executives and leadership teams on growing their influence, audience and social impact. 

Andre has spent the last 15 years harnessing the power of storytelling and technology to build social movements in the US and around the world. He is the Co-founder and former Executive Director of All Out (www.allout.org), a new organization mobilizing in every region to create a world where no person will have to sacrifice their family or freedom, safety or dignity because of who they are or whom they love. In a few years, All Out has grown from a few thousand friends and followers to more than 2 million people standing up for equality in every country in the world. Last year, the Economist magazine recognized Andre as one of the "Top 50 Diversity Leaders in Public Life," citing All Out's leadership in the successful campaign to fight homophobia during the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. As a creative director and content strategist, Andre's work has also been recognized with the Webby, Lovie, Social Buzz, Icon and Index Awards.

Andre was formerly Partner and Director of Strategy at Purpose, where he worked to build new movements, brands and organizations from the ground up to address complex global challenges. Andre has advised the world's leading companies and organizations on fundraising, audience engagement and strategic communications, helping them put purpose and participation at the heart of what they do. Andre also serves on the board of ColorOfChange.org, a leading civil rights organization building a powerful voice for Black Americans in U.S. politics, recently named by Fast Company as one of the most innovative groups in the world. 

Andre was appointed to the International Board as a co-opted member in July 2016.

Sarah Beamish

Sarah Beamish

Sarah is Canadian and lives in Tkaronto (Toronto) on ancestral lands governed by the One Dish One Spoon Wampum of the Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples. She works at Klippensteins, a social justice and public interest litigation firm. She holds a law degree and a Master of Global Affairs with a specialization in Global Civil Society from the University of Toronto. She also has an undergraduate degree in political science, with a focus on globalization and governance.

Sarah has been a member of Amnesty International since 1999, and was elected to the International Board in 2013. She served on Amnesty International Canada's (English-speaking) board for over four years, including over three as President of the branch. She also spent several years working in a variety of activist capacities within and outside of Amnesty, particularly relating to Indigenous peoples’ rights, gender, corporate accountability, anti-oppression, youth and student leadership, and human rights issues in Colombia. 

Sarah has worked with a range of other NGOs and civil society actors in legal, research, and advocacy roles, including Médecins Sans Frontières, the Centre for Public Interest Law’s Mining Communities Support Programme, the One Justice Project, the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights, the International Human Rights Program, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. She has received numerous awards for her research and writing on human rights issues.

Carolyn Hardy

Carolyn Hardy

Carolyn Hardy was appointed as a co-opted member of the Amnesty International Board in March 2014. 

Carolyn has worked for the United Nations for the past twelve years as a passionate advocate for the rights of women and children. Most recently as Head of Private Sector Relations at UN Women in New York where her role encompassed management and oversight of UN Women’s outreach to and relationships with the Private Sector globally and guidance and support for UN Women’s country offices and National Committees.

Previously she served as Deputy Director of UNICEF’s Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division in Geneva; and as Chief Executive of the Australian National Committee for UNICEF in Sydney. Prior to that that she held Marketing roles with The Australian Financial Review newspaper for six years.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing, and she has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors program.

Shahram Hashemi

Shahram Hashemi

Shahram Hashemi has been involved in human rights activism for over a decade, working with various human rights organizations.  After graduating with a degree in Finance from Adelphi University's Honor College, he went on to earn a Master's in Economic Development and Human Rights from Columbia University in New York City.

He was elected to the International Board of Amnesty International at its 2015 International Council Meeting in Dublin. He is a former member of the Amnesty International USA's Board of Directors (2007-13) and served as the Section's Treasurer for four years and later as Chairman of the Board.  He also served as the Chair of AI USA’s National Advisory Council from 2013-15.

In addition to his human right work, he is a producer and documentary filmmaker at The Front Post, producing for major international media outlets.  Most recently, he served as Executive Producer for the Amnesty International "Bringing Human Rights Home" concert on February 5, 2014 at Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, which featured Imagine Dragons, Madonna, Pussy Riot and more.  He also lectures on International Relations at the college level.

Shahram is the recipient of the former Mayor of New York City F.H. LaGuardia Memorial Association Award for his service in the 9/11 rescue efforts.

Mwikali Muthiani

Mwikali Muthiani

Mwikali is a Human Resources & Organization Development Specialist and is the Founder & Managing Consultant at MillennialHR, a human resources Consultancy firm based in Nairobi, Kenya, providing organization development and human resources services to clients across Africa.  With a career spanning over 20 years, Mwikali has worked for the Nation Media Group, the leading Media house in East & Central Africa, leading the human resources as the Group Human Resources Director for five years. She has worked for GlaxoSmithKline a leading pharmaceutical company, providing human resources leadership in East Africa for seven years and also for ActionAid Kenya, as Human Resources Manager. She is a Certified Human Resources Professional (HRMP) and holds an MBA in International Business from the University of Nairobi.

Mwikali joined the International Board as a co-opted member in March 2012 and was elected by the International Council in August 2015 to serve for a four-year term. She is a board member of Faulu Bank Kenya and has served in the international board of Africa Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) for six years.  She is a member of the Institute of Human Resources Management - Kenya (IHRM), the Society of Human Resources Management - US (SHRM), and the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM).

Paul Divakar Namala

Paul Divakar Namala

Paul Divakar Namala is an advocate for Dalit rights, Economic Rights Expert, and Human rights defender. He is one of the founding members of the National Campaign on Dalit Rights and is currently the General Secretary of Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR). He is also currently the Chairperson of the Asia Dalit Rights Forum, which is a forum consisting of organisations and networks from across the five South Asian countries, working towards ensuring inclusion and to address issues of untouchability and caste-based discrimination in the region. His deep interest for the economic empowerment of Dalits has been the reason behind initiating a campaign on ensuring equitable access to government budgets and he is the convenor of the National Coalition on SCP TSP Legislation (NACSTL).

He has been actively engaging with the communities in strengthening access to justice, gender concerns especially on the intersectionality of gender and caste, financial accountability, transparency and participation. He has also engaged with the state on issues of budgets and bringing in the perspective of issues of the marginalised and has served on several committees constituted by the government to look at budgetary allocations and equity budgeting.

Paul was elected to the International Board at the 2013 ICM.

Guadalupe Rivas

Guadalupe Rivas

Guadalupe Rivas was born and lives in Mexico City. She graduated from the Engineering School of the National University in México, where she currently works as Project Coordinator, a responsibility that she shares with other private projects as an independent consultant. She has performed different duties within the field of management, both in the educational sector and for private companies, in relation mainly to the use of technology and communication systems.

She chaired the Amnesty International Board of the Mexican Section in the years 1989–1992 and 2001–2003, having other coordination responsibilities within that same board. At the international level, she was Alternate Chair for the International Council Meeting for a number of years. She was also a member of the Standing Committee of Human Information and Financial Matters, from 1993 to 1998.

She was elected to the International Board in 2009 and from September 2011 to August 2013 she held the post of Vice Chair of the International Board.