Avaaz was launched in the United States in 2007 and hasn’t looked back as it works to better the world and improve the effectiveness of civic activism. The organization works on such important areas as improving human and animal rights, addressing climate change, eradicating poverty, and easing conflict. The name of the organization is derived from the Persian word meaning voice or song. The website was co-founded by Moveon.org in partnership with Res Republica, the public service group that is dedicated to civic virtue and deliberative democracy.
The organization is geared toward idealism and creating the world that people want rather than maintaining the status quo of what we have. This belief that the advanced nations of the world are populated by practical idealists has borne fruit as the reach of Avaaz continues to grow. Online petitions and emails are used to increase involvement and engagement among ordinary citizens who may not otherwise get involved in the greater world around them. The organization also utilizes crowdsourcing to determine which causes they will work to address and where to direct their civic improvement efforts. These passive efforts work to increase the base of people that are actively aware of the problems facing the world and want to create positive change.
As the efforts of Avaaz continue to focus on virtual platforms, the world of civic activism continues to grow and expand. With the connectedness of the global world creating a much smaller environment, more people are feeling more engaged with world events. With this engagement can come the desire to improve the world at large, and Avaaz has successfully tapped into that sentiment. Online and email civic activism has found its place in the altruistic world and its impact continues to be felt across a large swath of the world’s society.