Eric L. Michelsen’s Amnesty International Web Page                   Rev 5/17/2017


This is a personal web page.  All information is the opinion of the owner, and NOT UCSD.

Eric’s Physics web page:




Daddy & Ethan
Eric L. Michelsen (I'm on the left), PhD Physics 2010, UCSD.

At the Planned Parenthood march in Encinitas, CA.


More on Why I Support Amnesty International .

2017 Board of Directors Candidacy


I am a Board Candidate in the 2017 election.


I joined Amnesty International in the late 1970s, because Ferdinand Marcos made me.  I was outraged that my own government was, at best, complacent, and at worst, complicit, in the human rights abuses that were going on in the Philippines.  Thirty years later, at an AI function, I mentioned my start to then-Executive Director Larry Cox, and a man whom I had never met before.  The man gave me a hug, and said, “Thanks, man.  You helped get me out of prison.”  Later he told me, “Not all of us made it.  They shot the love of my life in the back of the head.”


My Priorities:  I have big dreams for Human Rights and AIUSA.  My two highest priorities on the Board of Directors will be Membership Empowerment Training, and improving our online tools for members.  I hope to bring engineering quality standards to our computer systems design.  This will bring a better experience to our users, at lower cost to AIUSA.


Amnesty International experience:  Member, activist, and donor since 1977.  Member of AIUSA local group 137, San Diego.  I have represented my group for voting at several regional and AGM conferences.  Member of Executive Director’s Leadership Council from 2005-2012.  Member of the Financial Resources Development Committee from 2009-2013.


I initiated and funded the original Training Digitization Project, and was one of 4 members of the team that developed the Membership Empowerment Training Program proposal.  This proposal was approved unanimously by the Board of Directors on 12/6/2015.  We are now expanding a training program that empowers members to self-mobilize locally in a responsible manner, consistent with AI’s principles and practices.


In 2016, I arranged for AIUSA to speak at my children’s school, ending with 600 high schoolers all over the gym floor writing letters on behalf of Individuals at Risk.  (Emily and Margaret were fantastic here!)  I hosted an AIUSA fundraising event at my home, and advised the organizers of a Planned Parenthood march of 3000 local people.


Other relevant experience:  As an engineer for many years, I am trained and experienced in making the most of limited resources, setting realistic goals, adapting to changing conditions, and making tough decisions based on reality, not wishes.  I have big dreams for Human Rights and AI, but I know that the best way to achieve those dreams is to stay grounded in reality.  I’ve worked for large companies, and helped start up several new companies.  I’ve seen how organizations work, and how they fail.  In 30 years of teamwork, I’ve learned how to work with many different kinds teams.  I’ve made many mistakes, and I have learned from them.  I know that managing a volunteer organization is different from a business, but there are many common skills.


I am a proud union member.


Nomination process:  I respect and support the nomination process, including the Nominating Committee.  However, I petitioned in 2015 to be a Board candidate, because in mid-2015, my family and I were moving to a new city, including a new school for my children.  At the time, we did not have a new home yet, and I didn’t feel my personal situation was stable enough for me to commit to a board position.  Happily, we got settled quickly.  Many people then encouraged me to petition. 


I am eager to serve the cause of human rights.


Hear my Science for Human Rights interview with Maureen Cavanaugh on KPBS (21:23):


Listening is an act of love.

"You are not required to complete the task, yet you are not free to withdraw from it." (Talmud, Avot 2:21)


“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”  --Albert Einstein

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”  --Albert Einstein

“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”  --Albert Einstein

“Friends tell friends what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.”


Why isn’t “tolerance” one of the standard virtues?


“To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.”  --George Orwell


“But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.  That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”  --Hermann Goering

Favorite book:     But Not the Hippopotamus, by Sandra Boynton.
         Runners up: A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon
                           Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, by Douglas Wood


Mark MacPhail died in the service of his community, and of an individual being attacked.  That makes him a hero.  It was never our intention to neglect the memory of Officer MacPhail.  It was only the continual threat by the State to a man, against whom there was no significant evidence, that forced us to focus on averting yet another avoidable tragedy. 


How much greater would we, the electors of the State, all be, if we had been free to honor those who deserve honor, instead of fighting for justice on behalf of those who deserve justice?




Stop Violence Against Women



Let there be peace on earth,

And let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth,

The peace that was meant to be.

All one with creation,

Family all are we.

Let me walk with my family

In perfect harmony.


Let peace begin with me,

Let this be the moment now.

With every step I take,

Let this be my solemn vow:

To take each moment

And live each moment

In peace eternally.

Let there be peace on earth,

And let it begin with me.