He's already sailed the Cape of Good Hope with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, volunteered for a public health agency in Gambia, and is working toward his Masters from The Clinton School of Public Service. Ryan "Ubuntu" Olson is an emerging LGBTI leader on the global stage.
Now Ryan has been awarded a self-funded internship at the United Nations.
Once he raises the nearly $7,000 to cover his internship costs (click here to donate), Ryan will be assisting the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office in educating the U.N. community, particularly their religious NGO colleagues, on LGBTI human rights issues and how to incorporate them into their advocacy work.
A coalition of LGBTI organizations, human rights groups, and Member States of the United Nations are laying the groundwork for a future U.N. General Assembly resolution that calls for the global decriminalization of homosexuality and affirms the dignity and worth of every human being regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Ryan will develop educational trainings and materials using his expertise in the Yogyakarta Principles - a universal guide to LGBTI human rights which affirm binding international standards with which all States must comply. He will create manuals and media pieces, and facilitate dialogues on LGBTI issues.
I have already written in this blog about the growing danger to LGBTI people in the Developing World, particularly from the type of supernatural, fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity exploding in those regions. If you have any doubt about whether the threat is real, watch Vanguard's disturbing documentary, "Missionaries of Hate" about the "Kill the Gays" bill being considered in Uganda. Ask the queer couple imprisoned, then released and disappeared in Malawi. Ask Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International.
As important as our own struggles for equality are here at home, we have to support the work of brave souls like Ryan Olson who dare to address the life-threatening conditions facing LGBTI people globally.
Ryan's spiritual, educational work at the U.N. will help ameliorate this crisis, and provide valuable insight for LGBTI human rights work everywhere. He plans to take the skills and educational tools he develops through the internship with him when he returns to his organizing and human rights work in East Africa.
Please join me and donate to support Ryan "Ubuntu" Olson's internship at the United Nations. Something like 10,000 people read this blog every month, so if just 7% of you donate $10, Ryan can begin his work in New York City immediately. The internship needs to begin now, during the 65th Session of the U.N. General Assembly which begins on September 14, 2010.