Conversation with Matt Kennis, 2013 AIUSA Board Candidate

Matthew Kennis Photo 3Matt Kennis is the Chair of the Central America/Mexico Co-Group, and the Guatemala Country Specialist for AIUSA.  Matt is also the former Northeast Regional Field Organizer for AIUSA. Matt is a 2013 AIUSA Board Candidate.


Covered in this episode:

  • Matt shares how a trip to Guatemala as a high school student, led him to a career in human rights
  • Involvement of early work on Guatemalan ex-military leader Efrain Rios Montt genocide case.
  • Early experience with Amnesty International
  • Why Matt continues to be involved with Amnesty International
  • The importance of individual case work
  • How Amnesty International allows its members to use & develop their skills
  • The need for better coordination between research, campaigns, and advocacy
  • Membership Empowerment
  • Increasing the Special Initiative Fund (SIF)
  • Amnesty’s “Moving Closer to the Ground
  • Health of local & student groups
  • Human Rights Victories: Hissène Habré, former leader of Chad, now bring prosecuted for war crime by Extraordinary Chambers
  • Hardest Days: The murder of Natalia Estemirova, a leading human rights defender in Chechnya
  • Importance of small victories
  • Being a Country Specialist and Chair of Central America-Mexico Co-Group
  • AIUSA Blog & Actions on Guatemala
  • Amnesty International Report “Transforming Pain into Hope, Human Rights Defenders in the Americas
  • Why run for the board
  • Issues and concerns of membership bringing to board service
  • Challenges for the board
  • Call to AIUSA members to contact Matt with ideas, questions, or concerns: Email Matt at

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