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Open Internet announces 8 Global Leaders for 2020-2021.

Updated: Dec 9, 2020


The Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition (IRPC) of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum has developed a solid, sensible set of norms and standards based on the fundamental belief that all humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights, which must be respected, protected and fulfilled in the online environment. Adherence to a universally applied set of standards and norms for a free and open Internet that reflects a commitment to inclusion, participation, and accountability is a vital component of modern democracy. To create a framework for Internet openness for democracy advocates to fight for more democratic societies based on the IRPC principles, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) are developing A Democratic Guide to Applying the Internet Rights and Principles.


What is the Open internet Leaders Program about:


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 non-resident leadership program that empowers emerging leaders from across the globe to build their advocacy and organizing skills to protect internet freedom. 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.

Open Internet for Democracy Leaders was launched in 2018.Since then it has had 3 Cohorts. The 2018-2019 cohort,2019-2020 cohort and the ongoing 2020-2021 cohort. 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 cohorts have had a total of 20 Leaders from around the globe.


Who are the 2020-2021 leaders

YOHANNES ENEYEW AYALEW (ETHIOPIA)

Yohannes is a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Law, Monash University in Australia. His project looks at internet freedom in Africa.



MERI BAGHDASARYAN (ARMENIA)

Meri Baghdasaryan is a human rights attorney from Armenia, focused on international human rights litigation and research. She has served as an expert for the Council of Europe and UNDP Armenia



SHEILAH BIRGEN (KENYA)

Sheilah’s work in Kenya and across Africa includes co-creating digital policies, enabling the growth of startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), and convening communities and entrepreneurs. She is the CEO of The CoRD, an innovation ecosystem building, policy creation, and advocacy agency based in Nairobi.

PAOLA GALVEZ (PERU)

Paola has a passion for leveraging technology to advance diversity and inclusion. She is currently the head of regulatory and public affairs at Niubox, a Peruvian consulting firm where she is tasked to develop and deliver strategic regulatory interventions to shape a better regulatory framework for the digital ecosystem.

NASHILONGO GERVASIUS (NAMIBIA)

Nashilongo Gervasius is a Digital Consultant and lead technology, media and freedom of expression, gender, democracy and governance research and projects at NamTshuwe Digital.


CATHERINE MUYA (KENYA)

Catherine Muya is a lawyer and policy officer advancing digital rights and data governance in sub-Saharan Africa through comprehensive policy engagement and advocacy. As a Tech Policy Fellow at the Lawyers Hub Kenya, she leads her organization’s work in Internet Governance and Electoral Democracy.

ESTHER MWEMA (ZAMBIA)

Esther Mwema is an artist whose drive is to build tools toward girls' safety (via Safety First for Girls) and to increase digital citizenship in local communities (via Digital Grassroots).



GIDEON SARPONG (GHANA) Gideon Sarpong is a policy analyst and media practitioner with over eight years of experience in policy, data and investigative journalism. Gideon is a co-founder of iWatch Africa and currently the Director of Policy and News


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