Co-founded in 1992 by Yvette Alberdingk-Thijm and advocate and musician Peter Gabriel, WITNESS was created in the aftermath of the Rodney King incident, in which a bystander recorded police brutality. Its founding vision sought to amplify grassroots voices through stories and transform them into powerful agents of change. Today—20 years later—WITNESS has partnered with more than 300 human rights groups in over 80 countries, trained over 3,000 human rights defenders and citizen activists, and supported the inclusion of video in over 100 campaigns, increasing their visibility and impact globally. With grassroots partners, it changes laws, reverses policies, holds perpetrators accountable, and improves the lives of the vulnerable and oppressed among us. WITNESS engages millions of ordinary citizens in the struggles for human rights taking place every day all over the world.
Yvette envisions a citizen-driven human rights movement that effectively utilizes media and technology, and WITNESS as a human rights organization that bridges the worlds of human rights, media and technology by incorporating cutting edge innovations into traditional approaches to advocacy. Before becoming its ED, Yvette served on the WITNESS Board, worked globally in start-ups (incl. the technology start-up JOOST by the founders of Skype) and established companies in media, content and new technologies (incl. MTV Networks). She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation Center, a leading authority on organized philanthropy. Yvette is a Board Member of Access, a global movement for digital freedom; Mideast Youth, a creator of powerful platforms to amplify voices of dissent; and the Public Good Projects. She is also an Advisory Board Member of Uncensored Interview, a digital platform for independent musicians.