HURIDOCS – who will continue Friedhelm Weinberg’s excellent leadership?

December 12, 2022

After more than 10 years, Friedhelm Weinberg will be leaving HURIDOCS in early 2023. Having worked with him in person on many occasions, I can testify that his leadership has been most impressive, for the NGO itself [see e.g. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/category/organisations/huridocs/] and the in the area of networking with others, such as the MEA and THF [see e.g. his: https://youtu.be/zDxPbd9St9Y]. In his own announcement, he modestly refers to all his colleagues:

It has been an incredible decade with HURIDOCS, working with amazing colleagues and partners at the intersection of human rights and technology. Together, we have drastically increased support to activists to leverage technology for documentation, litigation and advocacy work. We have pioneered flexible, reliable and robust software tools such as Uwazi, while responsibly sunsetting the past generation of open source software.

None of this would have been possible without the team we have built, and that was collaborating remotely across the globe well before 2020. It’s a committed, humorous and professional bunch, and I have learned so much with every single one of them, as we made things happen and as we hit walls and then picked each other up. I am also grateful to our board that brings together wisdom from leading NGOs, technology companies, the financial sector, but, more importantly, people that were generous with guidance, encouragement and critique.

It has also been a decade of many heartbreaks. From partners whose offices have been raided, that have been declared foreign agents, threatened, attacked. From wars and conflicts breaking out, affecting people we work with. From the difficulties of all we’re doing sometimes not being enough. From worrying how to raise the money to sustain and grow a team that can rise to these challenges.

It is a bittersweet departure, because it has been life-affirming – and yet it is for a perspective that fills me with warmth and excitement. For a while, I will be with our children, with the second one due to arrive in early 2023. 

As I have made the decision to leave HURIDOCS, I also have felt really down and much of the stress built up over a decade manifested physically. Seeking treatment, I have been diagnosed with burnout and depression, and have been recovering with the support from specialists, friends and family. This is neither a badge of honor nor something I want to be shy about, it’s just the reason you haven’t seen much of me recently in professional circles. It’s getting better and I am grateful to have the time and space for healing.

Currently, Nancy Yu is leading HURIDOCS as Interim Executive Director, as Lisa Reinsberg as the Board Chair holds the space and directs the succession process. I am grateful to both of them to step up and step in, as well as the team, our partners and funders for a decade of working together to advance human rights.

As the search for his successor has started, please have a look at the recruitment announcement and consider applying or sharing it with suitable candidates: https://lnkd.in/e7Y7smqT

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7005479545189322752/

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