Atheist Alliance International

Atheist Alliance International
Abbreviation AAI
Motto "For a Secular World"
Formation 1991
Type Non-profit
Purpose Promotion of atheism and secularism
Headquarters Washington, D.C.,
United States
Region served
Official language
English, Spanish
Generic atheist symbol, the result of a 2007 AAI contest, created by Diane Reed.[1][2]

Atheist Alliance International (AAI) is a global federation of atheist organizations and individuals, committed to educating the public about atheism, secularism and related issues. AAI was founded in 1991.


AAI was founded in 1991 as Atheist Alliance, an alliance of four U.S.-based local atheist groups. Over time Atheist Alliance expanded, adding both local/regional U.S. groups and international groups as members, and changed its name to Atheist Alliance International in 2001. In 2010 and 2011 members approved the separation of the U.S. and international segments of AAI into separate organizations, to accommodate the different strategic interests of each group. The U.S. group of AAI was renamed Atheist Alliance of America; the international group retained the original AAI name but adopted new bylaws and a new organizational structure. The launch of the newly restructured AAI occurred at the World Atheist Convention in Dublin, Ireland on 3 June 2011.[3]

In 2013, the AAI was granted special consultative status by the United Nations. In this role the AAI will be able to better serve non-believers facing persecution from their governments.[4][5]

Organization structure

AAI's Board consists of between 4 and 13 Directors elected for two-year staggered terms. No more than three Directors can come from any one country and each Affiliate or Associate Members is limited to one nominee on the Board at any time.[6]

AAI Officers are Directors and elected for one-year terms by the Board following each Annual General Meeting. The current President of AAI is Christine Shellska [7] from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

AAI has three classes of membership: Affiliate Members, Associate Members and Individual Members. Affiliate and Associate Members are atheist/freethought groups, which have their own individual members, and Affiliate Members must be democratic in nature. Individual Members are people who wish to support the work of AAI. All Members are entitled to attend member meetings but only Affiliate Members are entitled to vote.[8]

AAI's vision is "a secular world where public policy, scientific inquiry and education are not influenced by religious beliefs, but based upon sound reasoning, rationality and evidence." AAI's mission is "to challenge and confront religious faith, to strengthen global atheism by promoting the growth and interaction of atheist/freethought organizations around the world and to undertake international educational and advocacy projects."[9]

AAI's activities include:


The first annual convention held by AAI took place in 1995 in Los Angeles.[10] The first international convention held by AAI took place in 2006 in Reykjavik, Iceland. In 2010, AAI began its current program of co-hosting conventions with affiliate and associate members.[10]

Since 2010, AAI has co-hosted or supported conferences in:

Other projects

In 2009, AAI launched the AAI Foundation, a long-term project dedicated to sponsoring volunteer educational projects in developing countries. Its first project provided funds and volunteers to the Kasese Primary Humanist School in Kasese, Uganda in 2010, when AAI selected and hosted four volunteers from North America and Asia to serve as teaching assistants at the school for three months.

In 2012, AAI lobbied for the release of Alexander Aan,[16][17] an Indonesian civil servant, who, after posting "There Is No God" on Facebook, was fired from his job, attacked, threatened with beheading by local imams and arrested by the Indonesian police. AAI operates a legal defense fund and a scholarship fund in Aan's name.[16] Aan was sentenced to two years and six months in jail on 14 June 2012 and fined Rp100 million (c. US$10,600).[16] He was freed from prison on 27 January 2014.[18]

In 2013, AAI started the fundraising project "Critical Thinking and Secular Ethics in Cambodia"[19] through the Cambodian Children's Trust[20] seeking to raise US$6,723 to "cover the costs of the pilot program ... and fund the continuation of the Critical Thinking and Secular Ethics Program through to late 2013." The fundraiser's online challenge ended July 2013 with the report that the goal had not been met.[21]


  1. "Diane Reed response on Think Atheist website to a question regarding copyright status of the symbol.".
  2. "PDF of the Secular Nation article "A Conventioneer's Delight! Pt 5 of 5"" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-11-21.
  3. "New Atheist Alliance International Launched in Dublin, Ireland 3 June 2011". Atheist Alliance International. June 3, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  4. "Atheist Alliance International obtains UN Special consultative status" (Press release). AAI. 18 August 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  5. "Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Recommends Special Status" (Press release). United Nations Committee on NGOs. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  6. "Directors". Atheist Alliance International. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  7. "Directors". Atheist Alliance International. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
  8. "AAI Bylaws". Atheist Alliance International. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  9. "Vision & Mission". Atheist Alliance International. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  10. 1 2 3 4 "About AAI". Atheist Alliance International. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  11. Holkner, Rachel (March 15, 2010). "The rise and rise of atheism". Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  12. "Dublin hosts first atheist congress". The Irish Times. June 6, 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  13. May 4, 2011. "Centre hosts B.C.'s first non-believers conference". Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  14. Gryboski, Michael (May 17, 2012). "'Imagine No Religion' Canadian Atheist Convention Sells Out". The Christian Post. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  15. Langseth, Melissa (June 6, 2012). "PATAS Convention – From The Eyes of the Chairperson". Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  16. 1 2 3 Winston, Kimberly (July 20, 2012). "Atheists rally for persecuted unbeliever in Indonesia". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  17. Sara Malm (14 June 2012). "Indonesian man jailed for two-and-a-half years for writing 'God doesn't exist' on his Facebook page". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  18. "Atheist Alexander Aan gets out of prison". The Jakarta Post. 31 Jan 2014.
  19. "Critical Thinking and Secular Ethics in Cambodia". February 15, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  20. "Cambodian Children's Trust". March 12, 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  21. "Start Some Good - CTSE Project". Retrieved July 12, 2013.

External links

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