Atlas was launched on January 1st, 2020. But that's not when it all started 💬.
In the summer of 2019, Andrea Venzon and Colombe Cahen-Salvador were immersed in discussions around the world's hottest topics: the catastrophic effects of climate change, the uprising of citizens demanding democracy and the related repressions, or simply the injustices minorities continually face around the world. Andrea and Colombe were trying to think about how to solve those issues and realized that many of the most worrying threats of our times are by nature supranational, and hence no actor is currently capable of properly dealing with them: intergovernmental organizations do not have the power nor legitimacy, while borders and electoral calendars constrain national governments and leaders.
As a result, they decided to act by founding NOW! (the previous name of the organization), the global movement pushing for humanity to work as One, to solve the biggest challenges of our time. On January 1st, 2020, NOW! was launched. Within the first year, we ran five global campaigns to promote democracy worldwide, propose drastic actions to curb the climate crisis, advocate for a higher representation of women in political power, and push for a fairer distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, among other topics.
Members from all continents hit the streets to raise awareness, organize protests, and stunt actions or collect signatures. Together, we created a global community that achieved early successes: we formed coalitions of politicians pushing for parity, and others helped us create a League of Democracies. We secured the support of the Director-General of the WHO to ensure that health workers across the world would get priority access to COVID-19 vaccines, and we organized protests to support democracy struggles in more than 40 cities on the ground while reaching 4 million people digitally. You can read more about this here.
Our founders always had a theory: politics should be global. On the first anniversary of the pandemic in March 2021, they took a leap of faith and launched the Forward campaign to challenge the U.N. Secretary-General selection process and prove that global politics is the future. To achieve change, we cannot just ask those in power to do better, we have to hold them accountable while bringing some like-minded people into power. Through the Forward campaign, thousands of people joined the effort to build a global political movement: volunteers and supporters from all over the planet participated in an internal primary resulting in the election of a former Head of State as the Forward candidate for the United Nations. The candidacy reached the highest levels of the United Nations. You can read more about it here.
Once the Forward campaign was up and running, the assumption that people could be mobilized on global politics was confirmed. The NOW! & Forward leaders thus decided to merge the two movements to increase the chances of creating a more united and hopeful future. Forward was hence integrated into NOW! to create Atlas on July 18th, 2021.
In the following months, Atlas continued its operations while exploring more and more ideas, from the Equitist philosophy to the idea of creating a digital state. In July 2022, Atlas members gathered in Geneva for their first general assembly. Shortly after that, the team started working to create a democratic, global governance.
This book remains to be written. Join us to write the next chapter! Sitting back and waiting for others to take action is no longer an option. We have a duty to stand for one another. We have the power to shape this world for the better. We have to unite.