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2021 Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

2021 Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

Deadline: 23-Jun-21

Applications are open for the next cohort of Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program!

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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 nine-month (September – May) 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.
2021-2022 THEME: Amplifying local voices to defend digital democracy
Ensuring that the internet is a trusted digital space 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. Yet, over the past decade, there has been a global decline in internet freedom, and actions by governments and non-state actors to close the space for an open internet have become even more advanced and easier to deploy. Indeed, the rise of digital authoritarianism is a direct threat to open and democratic values everywhere.
The Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program is looking for applicants who pinpoint a particular digital rights issue occurring in their country or region that, if left unaddressed, poses a direct threat to democracy. They will then develop an advocacy/research project to raise awareness about the issue. It may be an emerging issue that few have looked at before, or it may be an existing one, but which the applicant has a novel approach to tackling. In particular, they will be looking for applicants who are interested in building connections with other stakeholders to address the problem. Furthermore, a plan as to how to highlight the issue at regional and global forums is expected as a key element of this program is to help connect and network open internet advocates at the regional and global levels to champion positive change.
The selected applicants will be a part of a larger international network where they can learn from peers and share their work. Open Internet Leaders will receive an honorarium of $1000 USD for completing their required activities, as well as travel and per diem covered for at least one international trip (Note: Travel opportunities may change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If for any reason travel is not possible, CIPE, NDI, and CIMA, will explore ways for the Open Internet Leaders to participate in international fora through virtual conferencing platforms.)
Core Responsibilities
National or regional advocacy and research
Implement an in-country activity that directly contributes to a local, national or regional conversation on internet freedom. The activity should incorporate coalition-building for effective advocacy against government policies or practices (in place or proposed) that threaten digital rights. Examples of what projects might entail include:
Organizing an advocacy campaign to raise awareness aimed at equipping policymakers with information about the pitfalls of policies inspired by digital authoritarianism.
Producing research that examines the impact of digital authoritarianism on access to news and information.
Mapping national and/or regional policies or proposals and their potential consequences.
Developing a training module/video that explains the implications of digital authoritarianism for civil society, media, and/or the private sector.
Conducting multi-stakeholder workshops or roundtable discussions to develop a position paper or a social media campaign on a proposed government action that threatens digital rights.
Communications and Outreach
Produce at least 2 blog posts or articles
Actively engage in conversations on open internet issues, such as on Twitter with the program’s @OpenNetGlobal account.
Identify potential areas for collaboration among local and regional open internet advocates/groups, and develop strategies for engagement and collective action.
Community Collaboration & Thought Leadership
Participate at the 2021 Internet Governance Forum (virtually or in-person).
Contribute to knowledge and awareness of the Open Internet for Democracy Community about local/regional/national threats to an open internet through participation in relevant events and ongoing information sharing.
Eligibility Criteria
Demonstrated interest or experience working on open internet issues, with preference given to those focused on media, economic inclusion/digital economy/entrepreneurship or civic/political participation
Experience in one or more of the following areas: policy, activism, research, or technical expertise
Ability to work independently with minimum supervision in collaboration with colleagues across different time zones
Strong organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills
Strong social media skills
Fluency in written and spoken English
Strong presentation skills
Ability to travel to one international conference (location TBD; costs covered; In-person participation in such events is contingent on health considerations related to the COVID-19 pandemic)
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.
For more information, visit https://openinternet.global/call-for-applications

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