2023-2024 OPEN INTERNET FOR DEMOCRACY LEADERS PROGRAM
APPLICATIONS OPEN: JUNE 1, 2023 – JUNE 21, 2023
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Democracy has always required the free flow of ideas. In the modern age, this means a free, open internet where all citizens can freely voice their opinions, share, and debate. Access to an open internet for all is necessary to strengthen democratic engagement and governance, enable equal participation in the market economy, and promote social accountability.
The Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program – a collaboration between the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) – is a year-long non-residential leadership program that empowers emerging leaders from across the globe to build their advocacy and organizing skills to protect internet freedom.
The Open Internet for Democracy Leaders are a unique cohort of global advocates from civic organizations, media, and the private sector who are passionate about protecting and promoting an open internet.
The program aims to:
- Empower emerging open internet advocates to advance internet policy discussions and organize for change in their country and/or region.
- Strengthen the Open Internet for Democracy Community by connecting emerging open internet advocates with their global peers.
2023-2024 THEME –
COLLABORATING WITH POLICYMAKERS ON DIGITAL GOVERNANCE
Ensuring that the internet is governed in a way that protects human rights and fosters inclusive civic and economic participation is essential for democracy to survive in the digital era. Unfortunately, the ongoing decline in global internet freedom has made it easier for governments and other entities to enact unilateral measures such as laws and policies that aim to regulate–and often stifle–social, economic, and political engagement online.
In this environment, It has become increasingly difficult for diverse stakeholder groups to quickly provide meaningful input at the national, regional, and international level. Without broad-based multi-stakeholder engagement, there is a higher chance that new policies will be poorly conceived or infringe upon internationally recognized human rights.
This year, the Open Internet for Democracy Initiative is focusing on creating meaningful opportunities for members of distinct stakeholder groups (media, civil society, and the local private sector) to collaborate directly with government policymakers to promote and adopt policies that preserve, promote, and protect an open and democratic online space.
Over the course of the program, the selected Open Internet Leaders will work together to identify region-specific digital rights policy priorities, and will be partnered directly with policymakers and/or policy-focused civil society organizations to identify specific paths for engagement that both promote more inclusive digital rights policies, and encourage more direct multi-stakeholder cooperation in advance of policy adoption.
AUGUST 1, 2023 – JUNE 30, 2024
- Collaborative Project Engaging Policymakers
- During the program, the Leaders will actively participate in a group project aimed at promoting engagement and raising awareness among policymakers about digital rights. This project may involve various activities, such as conducting interviews with policymakers, jointly developing a policy brief, or undertaking another relevant initiative. The specific nature of the project will be determined at the program’s outset through collaborative discussions with policymakers and the selected Leaders. The overall objective is to strengthen a multistakeholder approach to digital governance.
- Mentorship Support
- Based on professional interests and goals, Leaders will be paired up with a Mentor from within the digital rights space. Mentors will offer guidance to Leaders on their digital rights work, and support Leaders to identify opportunities to expand their networks and increase the reach of their work.
- Produce at least 1 blog post or article for https://openinternet.global
- Actively engage in conversations on open internet issues, such as on Twitter with the program’s @OpenNetGlobal account and on LinkedIn with the Open Internet for Democracy community.
- Thought Leadership
- Participate in-person at the 2023 Internet Governance Forum in Kyoto, Japan (In-person participation is subject to visa approval. If visa is not approved, online participation is expected).
- Demonstrated interest or experience working on digital rights and open internet issues, with preference given to those focused on media, local private sector/business, or civic/political participation
- Demonstrated interest or experience in engaging directly with policymakers on key digital governance topics
- Experience in one or more of the following areas: policy, activism, research, or technical expertise
- Strong writing skills
- Ability to work independently with minimal supervision in collaboration with colleagues across different time zones
- Fluency in written and spoken English
- Demonstrated public speaking experience speaking a plus
- Ability to travel and participate in the 2023 Internet Governance Forum in Kyoto, Japan from 8-12 October 2023.
- Access to reliable internet connection that will enable participation in video or virtual workshops or conferences
- Ability to actively participate in regular check-in calls with program organizers and in virtual orientation sessions
- Applicants must live and work in an OECD-DAC eligible country.
STIPEND AND BENEFITS
Selected applicants will be joining a community of like-minded advocates in which they will have opportunities for peer learning and sharing their work. During the program, Open Internet Leaders will:
- Receive an honorarium of $1300 USD for completing their required activities
- Receive travel support to attend the 2023 Internet Governance Forum in Kyoto, Japan
- Have opportunities to collaborate on joint proposals or sessions for virtual conferences, such as RightsCon, and local/regional Internet Governance Forums.
- Connect with like-minded digital rights advocates and learn from peer-to-peer learning exchanges held throughout the course of the Leaders Program
- Have access to mentorship and soft skills training opportunities (held virtually)
- Join an online community including past and present Open Internet Leaders, as well as other key digital rights leaders.
The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is a core institute of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce. CIPE works with private sector organizations to increase support for and understanding of freedoms/rights essential for market-oriented democracies, including freedom of expression, assembly, and association.
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) is a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization that works with its local partners to establish and strengthen democratic institutions and practices around the world by building political and civic organizations, safeguarding elections, and promoting citizen participation, openness, and accountability in government.
The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) is a media development think tank housed within the NED. CIMA works to improve the effectiveness of existing media development efforts by conducting research and bringing together a broad range of experts to share their experiences. CIMA’s mission is based on the conviction that free and independent media play an indispensable role in developing sustainable democracies around the world.