|Membership and Structure|
Membership will be open to students through the formation and registration of chapters in schools, colleges and universities that sign on to the Charter of the Benenson Society. Associate membership may be held by teachers and others interested in supporting the work, as well as by members who finish their studies and wish to remain associated with the Society.
It is envisaged at this time that the Society has a rather loose structure and organization so that it is best suited to the needs and opportunities in each school, college or university, in which there is a chapter. A chapter may use the name Benenson Society, and the symbol of the white rose, simply by signing on to the Charter and registering the chapter.
It is hoped that chapters would assist each other through group email lists and other forms of communication. Joint action on various cases could be thus promoted and resources shared. The Society would seek to cooperate on specific issues with Amnesty International (while not having any formal membership or link with the organisation). It would also seek to work with other organizations, such as Consistent Life, a network of over 200 organizations that oppose war, abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia and poverty, Christians Against Torture, founded by Peter Benenson, Aid to the Church in Need and Christian Solidarity Worldwide, both of which advocate for those imprisoned or persecuted because of their religious beliefs, Human Rights First, and other human rights organisations. We are also exploring a relationship with Caritas Australia, part of the world’s second largest humanitarian organisation.
Initially the chapters at St Aloysius’ College, Milsons Point, and Loreto, Kirribilli, will coordinate registration and contact group lists.
The Patron of the Society is Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia. Bishop Michael has been a member of Amnesty International since 1976. In the 1980s, he was a member of the then British Section Council for two years, coordinated a local Amnesty campaign for the release of a Soviet prisoner of conscience, and chaired the Section’s Religious Bodies Liaison Panel for many years. He also wrote the latest Amnesty prayer for their ‘Protect the Human’ campaign