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Host a session


The call for session proposals is now closed.

For any queries, please contact:

How to host a session

Do you care about human rights? Do you want to help build a better Europe? We’re looking for partners to make Fundamental Rights Forum 2021 the best ever.
We want to hear your ambitious idea today. Be the catalyst of change for good.

Fundamental Rights Forum 2021 is hosted at the Vienna City Hall on 11-12 October 2021. It is the space for dialogue on the pressing human rights challenges in Europe today.

It will be a hybrid event: mixing live in-person sessions and virtual online discussions. We will connect to hubs, offices and homes across Europe.

We want people to participate no matter where they are. Depending on your preference, or travel restrictions beyond your control, we will run sessions and formats to suit you.

The Forum gives a platform to Europe’s current and future human rights defenders. It unites thinkers, doers and creators. And you hold the key to its success.

We want to read your proposals for agenda-setting sessions in line with the Forum’s six main themes.

In addition, this year there will be a strong focus on youth and also on our response to the rights challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both these threads run through all six themes. Please keep this in mind when submitting your proposal.

We want to hear from the rights champions of tomorrow. And we want to hear your ideas for strengthening human rights in the ‘new normal’.

You will join voices with human rights actors, civil society and institutions. The conversations you spark will shape critical human rights agendas.

It is a chance to connect, reflect and act on human rights in Europe.

Have you got an idea for hosting one of the Forum's many parallel sessions? We look forward to hearing from you.

All partners and contributors must have proven capacity and experience to host sessions. We want only leaders in any given field.

FRA aims to include diverse actors, to ensure the Forum covers all main themes.

We call for voices from different backgrounds, different parts of the EU, and beyond.

Our ambition is to build long-term partnerships, continuing the cooperation beyond the Forum.

FRA envisages three types of partnerships for the Forum 2021:


This includes the Forum’s Advisory Board, organisations, businesses and local government.

Each will support the Agency in implementing the Fundamental Rights Forum2021.

These partners are visible on all Forum communications, e.g. the Forum’s website and on social media.

The High Patron of the Forum 2021 is the President of the Austrian Republic Mr Alexander Van der Bellen.


These can come from a wide variety of national, international, regional and intergovernmental organisations.

We include civil society, academia, influencers and creatives, social partners, media, arts and sport.

Hosts/contributors can run single sessions or an entire strand of sessions, online. We will list them in the full Forum programme.

Submit your session idea using our online proposal form. All proposals should follow our Guidelines for Forum sessions.


These valued partners will help raise awareness before, during and after the Forum.

They will support the Forum's communication and outcomes; ensuring their follow-up and realisation.

Partners will support the Forum across a variety of communication channels.

They include major international media outlets to bloggers and vloggers. Sharing targeted messages with their audiences in print, online and social media.

Our partners will develop innovative tools to reach and engage the widest possible audience.

Panel debate


An interactive panel discussion with one facilitator and up to five speakers. These well-structured discussions will be open to an unlimited number of participants online. They should be critical and encourage an engaged exchange of different views on a pressing human rights topic. Diverse and inclusive panel debates should encourage live chat and polls. Translation: TBC.

  • Time: 75-minutes
  • Interactive Q&A to engage audience online
  • Avoid visual aids or presentations
  • No breakout rooms

Masterclass workshop


Share tools, ideas or promising practices in our skills- and capacity-building workshops. These will be limited to 60 participants led by two or three experts who face complementary challenges. They should encourage a lively, two-way debate, and brainstorming among workshop participants. Translation: TBC.

  • Time: 75-minutes
  • Interactive Q&A to engage audience online
  • Visual aids and presentations encouraged
  • Polls and collaborative documents encouraged
  • Include breakout rooms



Team up with new partners and organisations to tackle specific human rights challenges. Develop concrete calls for action, outcomes and joint initiatives with up to 30 participants. Network and problem-solve with those facing similar challenges. Up to four facilitators will lead these calls for action. Translation: Yes.

  • Time: 75-minutes
  • Collaborative documents encouraged
  • Include breakout rooms
  • No recording

Connect.Reflect.Act talk


One or two speakers present and focus on pressing human rights issue to challenge an audience of up to 70 people. It should encourage participants to connect (build partnerships), reflect (rethink established ideas) or act (call to take immediate steps or decisions).Translation: TBC.

  • Time: 10-15 minutes presentation
  • Optional: 30-minute audience Q&A
  • Entire sessions will be recorded for broadcast
  • Can be presented live, or pre-recorded (as live)
  • No breakout rooms



Share details of your successful project, promising practices or partnerships with others at the Fundamental Rights Forum. Help others to benefit from your knowledge and experience so they too can protect and promote human rights.

  • Time: 10-minute presentation
  • Optional: 30-minute audience Q&A
  • Entire sessions will be recorded for broadcast
  • Can be presented live, or pre-recorded (as live)
  • No breakout rooms



Showcase the best creative or documentary art that celebrates and supports human rights. Share stories of rights challenges, problems, emergencies, resilience and hope.

We welcome submissions including:

  • Short, 10-15 minute video
  • Documentaries
  • Full-length films (up to 90-minutes)
  • Photography/image collections – propose adequate formats (e.g. slideshows, individual files, video presentations)
  • Artworks

The forum will address two overarching topics in panel discussions, workshops, networking sessions, practical demonstrations and exhibitions.

  • Young people and Europe’s future
  • Europe’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic

As well as these two umbrella topics, we also expect the Forum to address six distinct themes.


A human rights oriented digital age

  • Can artificial intelligence be human-centric and human rights based? Is it possible? If so, how?
  • How can we foster a safe society and boosting security protecting human rights?
  • How can we most effectively fight online discrimination, bias and disinformation?

Social rights are human rights

  • How can human rights deal with the environment crisis?
  • How can we build fairer and equal societies amidst growing inequalities?
  • How we guarantee access to quality education and lifelong learning?

Fighting hate and discrimination

  • How do we combat hate, discrimination and foster inclusive and cohesive societies?
  • How can we effectively promote diversity and core EU values?
  • How can we debunk myths and foster social inclusion?

Strengthening human rights practice

  • How can we raise awareness on the Fundamental Rights Charter and foster a stronger culture of values in the EU?
  • How can we protect and support human rights defenders and practitioners?
  • How can we articulate and strengthen positive human rights narratives?

People on the move

  • Which are the main migration, asylum and integration challenges we face? What responses do we need?
  • What should human rights compliant policies for migration and asylum look like?
  • How to achieve successful integration of migrants? How to foster their participation in society?

Defending the rule of law and securing access to justice

  • How do we strengthen and support access to justice for the most vulnerable?
  • How should we better protect victims of crime?
  • How can Europe rebuild trust and uphold the rule of law?

Forum sessions should encourage the audience to connect.reflect.act on pressing human rights challenges in the EU today.

We want sessions that:

  • focus on impact and concrete outcomes in innovative ways;
  • link to an EU or UN policy framework (including Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs);
  • actively involve live and online participants;
  • are set up in partnership between organisations;
  • produce a tangible outcome, such as calls for action and commitments, joint statements, or partnerships plans which could feature in the Forum’s Chair Statement.

Voices at the Forum should be as diverse as possible. We want our sessions to reflect Europe’s diversity.

The focus is on young people. Their voices will be heard at the Forum as speakers and/or rapporteurs.

We encourage input from a variety of stakeholders. This includes civil society, policymakers, business, arts, media and academia.

Making sure that rights holders speak for themselves, not only others on their behalf.

All panels should have no more than four speakers and an experienced moderator should facilitate these.

We encourage open discussion and spontaneous debate and confrontation of ideas between people with diverse viewpoints.

All sessions should be relevant to the themes of the Forum.

And our final selection of sessions will be guided by room capacity and technical set up.

Fundamental Rights Forum 2021 will be a hybrid event: hosted from Vienna, linking live to European city hubs and other, entirely virtual, online sessions.
What session would you like to host? Please submit your proposal by 30 May 2021 at the latest.

After you submit a proposal, we will review the information you’ve provided. We’ll consider its quality, significance, originality and relevance in line with our selection criteria

Your commitment is important in this process. We rely on the input from speakers, facilitators and partners. Before you submit, please confirm individual availability for those key roles.

The thematic strands, described above, are for guidance. They will not necessarily be the same as in the final Forum programme.

Your input and proposals will help shape the Fundamental Rights Forum 2021. Your suggestions and perspectives will go into fine-tuning this major human rights event in Europe.

Please note, we may recommend modifications and changes to your proposal. We may do this to create a best-fit with other proposals we receive.

For example, in 2018 we merged proposals addressing similar themes to increase impact and reach. 

 The timeline for review and consolidation of proposals is as follows: 

February 2021 

Call for proposals is launched 

30 May 2021 

Call for proposals closes 

May 2021 

Forum 2021 reviews proposals 

June 2021 

Contact with applicants 

July 2021 

Programme published 

11-12 Oct 2021 

Forum 2021 – a hybrid event in Vienna and in European cities 

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