Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program ($2000 honorarium)

Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program 2022

Applications are now open for the 2022 Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program. The Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program is a collaboration between the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA); 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.

Aims of the Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program 2022

  • 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.

Theme for the Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

The theme for this year’s Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program is: Uniting Grassroots Voices for Digital Democracy in an Era of Rapid Policy Change. 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.


  1. Biodiversity Accelerator+ Programme 2022 (Fully-funded to Singapore)
  2. Meaningful Business 100 Award Programme 2022 for Young Leaders
  3. Trash to Cash Challenge 2022 for Young People worldwide (Total prize of $1,200)

Eligibility Criteria for the Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

  • The Program is looking for applicants who pinpoint a particular digital rights policy issue occurring in their country or region that, if left unaddressed, poses a direct threat to democracy. In particular
  • Applicants who are interested in building connections and close collaborations with other stakeholders to address these problems.
  • Applicants will Collaboratively, develop a research product to raise awareness about these policy developments in a global context, contributing case studies from their own country’s experience with the issue. This research product will take a novel approach to tackling these rapid digital policy developments and share findings at regional and global forums. Following this publication, each Leader will conduct an advocacy campaign to raise awareness of the policy or policies threatening an open and democratic internet in their country or region.

Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

Benefits of the Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

  • 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 $2000 USD for completing their required activities
    • Learn from leaders in the digital rights and advocacy community during presentations and workshops
    • Access mentorship and soft skills training opportunities
    • Connect with cohort of Leaders during an in-person project design sprint
    • Participate as Open Internet for Democracy representatives at international conferences such as the Internet Governance Forum and RightsCon

Core Responsibilities:

  • Create a joint policy paper on ways to strengthen digital governance
    • Together, the cohort will collaborate on a joint policy paper to produce recommendations and case studies that identify opportunities and threats around a specific policy trend with significant impact on an open, and democratic online space.
    • The cohort will select the topic during a four day in-person project design sprint (anticipated to take place in late January 2023, location TBD). The policy paper will be further developed and finalized through on-going virtual engagement with the cohort throughout the remainder of the Leaders program.
  • Conduct national or regional advocacy to strengthen digital governance
    • Individually, Leaders will be responsible for organizing a local or regional activity with diverse stakeholders (e.g. civil society, independent media, and local business) to disseminate the findings from the policy paper produced as a cohort (see first bullet point). Some examples of possible advocacy activities include:
      • An advocacy campaign to raise awareness among policymakers about the pitfalls of policies that would contribute to the spread of digital authoritarianism.
      • Training modules or videos that explain the implications of digital authoritarianism for civil society, media, and/or the private sector.
      • A multi-stakeholder workshop or roundtable discussion (with civil society, media, and/or the private sector) to discuss a proposed government action that threatens digital rights.
      • A clear strategy for engaging local and regional open internet advocates and groups to collaborate on future efforts.
  • Communications and Outreach
    • Produce at least 1 blog post or article
    • Actively engage in conversations on open internet issues
  • Community Collaboration & Thought Leadership
    • Participate at the 2022 Internet Governance Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (virtually or in-person – TBD)
    • 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.

Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

Selection Criteria for the Open Internet Democracy Leaders Program

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Strong organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English.
  • Demonstrated public speaking experience speaking a plus.
  • Ability to travel to at least one international conference (location TBD; costs covered; In-person participation in such events is contingent on health considerations related to the COVID-19 pandemic) a plus.
  • 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.

Deadline for the Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

The deadline for the Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program is on the 8th of July, 2022

Application process for the Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

Apply here

For more information: Visit the Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program 2022 Official Webapge

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