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Rebecca Hale – AAA 2013 National Convention

Rebecca Hale, a resident of Colorado Springs, CO, was elected president of the American Humanist Association in January of this year. Hale has been an advocate for secularism and humanism for many years as co-owner of, the largest online store of freethought merchandise. She is also the co-founder of the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs, a local affiliate of the American Humanist Association, and serves on its board of directors. She is a Humanist Celebrant certified by the Humanist Society of the American Humanist Association. As AHA president, Hale hopes to help raise public awareness and acceptance of humanism, advancing the AHA’s agenda of supporting public policy based on reason and science. Hale is the 20th president, and the 4th woman, to serve in the organization’s history. She presides over the current AHA board of directors, which is comprised of six women and six men.

Marayam Namazie – AAA 2013 National Convention

Namazie was born in Tehran but left with her family in 1980 after the 1979 Iranian Revolution was suppressed by the Islamic movement. She has worked as the executive director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees, and is spokesperson for the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia law in Britain. The campaign is opposed to faith based laws and promotes citizenship rights and one secular law for all. She is also Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain which aims to break the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam and to oppose apostasy laws and political Islam.

Moreover, she is a National Secular Society Honorary Associate and the NSS’ 2005 Secularist of the Year award winner; Spokesperson of Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran; and Central Committee member of the Worker-communist Party of Iran. She is involved with Iran Solidarity, which she founded, and the International Committee against Stoning among other activities. She was selected one of the top 45 women of the year 2007 by Elle Quebec.

She has spoken at numerous conferences and written many articles on women’s rights issues, violence against women, political Islam, and secularism – some of which have been translated into various languages.

Presently, she lives in the United Kingdom.

Elizabeth Cornwell – AAA 2013 National Convention

An evolutionary psychologist, Elisabeth has been involved with the Richard Dawkins Foundation since its inception. Her innovative ideas include the OUT Campaign, Non-Believers Giving Aid, the science vignettes, the Four Horsemen and other DVDs, and bringing childcare to national conferences. She has worked to create an atmosphere of cooperation within the secular movement, bringing Richard and other speakers to conferences and university campuses across the US and Canada. Elisabeth has published in the popular press on matters ranging from science to women’s issues. USA Today listed her as one of the prominent women in the Freethought community. Through her leadership, RDF-US will continue to influence and expand the ideas and values of secularism on a global level.. She obtained her PhD in psychology at the University of St Andrews.

Ed Buckner – AAA 2013 National Convention

Ed Buckner received his B.A. from Rice University in 1967 and his M. Ed. and Ph.D. from Georgia State University.

He has edited Freethought Press books by Massimo Pigliucci, Keith Parsons, Carol Faulkenberry, and Edwin Kagin. With his wife Diane, he co-edited freethinker and retired FBI agent Oliver G. Halle’s Taking the Harder Right. With his son, Michael Edward Buckner, he co-edited Quotations That Support the Separation of Church and State (1995). He has written chapters in a number of books, as well as many reviews, essays, blog contributions, and letters to the editor, in the US, India, the UK, and elsewhere.

Now retired, Buckner has served as executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism (2001-2003) and as president of American Atheists (2008-2010).

In addition to writing, Buckner has debated and spoken all over the United States and in the United Kingdom about freethought and secular humanism, often about the Treaty of Tripoli and about secularism. Buckner and his son, Michael, wrote In Freedom We Trust: An Atheist Guide to Religious Liberty, published by Prometheus Books in December 2012.

David Niose – AAA 2013 National Convention

David Niose is the president of the Secular Coalition for America, an advocacy group for non-theistic viewpoints in the United States. From 2009 to 2012 he also served as president of the American Humanist Association.

Niose advocates for an identity-oriented approach to secular activism to raise awareness of the secular demographic in American society.
David, an attorney, developed and implemented a legal strategy that emphasizes the concept of equal rights and nondiscrimination rather than the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause in cases protecting religious minorities.

He has appeared on national and local media outlets speaking on behalf of the American Humanist Association and humanism, among other topics. His TV appearances include MSNBC, Fox News, the BBC, and The Daily Buzz and he has written for numerous media outlets, including Psychology Today, Newsday, The Huffington Post, Lawyer’s Weekly publications, Humanist magazine, and Progressive Populist.

Niose is the author of Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans, published by Palgrave Macmillan in July 2012.

Ayana Watson – AAA 2013 National Convention

Ayanna Watson is the founder of Black Atheists of America, Inc. (BAAm). BAAm is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between atheism and the black community.

The organization has been successful in bringing together black atheists and combating the common misconception of solidarity among black atheists. With BAAm, Watson has also brought light to some of the issues that discourage black atheists from being active in both the atheist and black communities.
Ultimately with BAAm, Watson seeks to build a stronger and more diverse atheist community. She hopes that her efforts will provide for a society where one can embrace the label
“atheist,” without the fear of being ostracized by family, friends and members of their community. She envisions a world where individuals embrace critical thinking in lieu of faith

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