The National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) are collaborating to facilitate the Open Internet for Democracy Initiative—a collective effort connecting civil society, media, the local private sector, and political groups to preserve civic space online.
As part of this Initiative, NDI, CIPE, and CIMA are leading the second edition of the Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program. This program empowers emerging Leaders from across the globe who are passionate about protecting and promoting an open internet and to build their advocacy and organizing skills to protect internet freedom.
This year, the cohort of Leaders will focus on the threat of digital authoritarianism to an open internet. Digital authoritarianism differs from the current multi-stakeholder model of internet governance, in that it believes governments should have total control of the internet within their borders. The Leaders will explore how, where, and with what effect policies inspired by digital authoritarianism are impacting the development of an open internet and how to push back against this type of digital authoritarianism.
Olga Kyryliuk (Ukraine)
Olga holds a PhD degree in International Law and is CEO & Founder of The Influencer Platform – a Ukrainian-based organization that trains and unites influencers of all generations who stand for digital rights, equal opportunities, and the open Internet. Olga is involved in regional Internet governance and human rights initiatives, being an Ambassador of the South Eastern European Dialogue on Internet Governance in Ukraine, and a founding member of the Internet Freedom Network for Eastern, Central Europe, and Eurasia. She is a member of the EuroDIG and ICANN communities. She’s been working with leading humanitarian organizations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Danish Refugee Council, dealing with provision of legal support to internally displaced persons.
OgheneVwede Gift Agboro (Nigeria)
OgheneVwede Gift Agboro has a multifunctional background in law, internet and technology policy, programme design, and advocacy. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Law at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She has gained professional experience in law, consulting, technology and the non-for profit space through internships at firms such as Aluko &Oyebode, ThistlePraxisConsulting, Linux Professional Institute(Innovation Hub), and LEAP Africa. As a Google Policy fellow, she has participated and contributed to the public dialogue on issues relating to broadband and access policy, content regulation, copyright and creativity, consumer privacy, open government, government surveillance, data security, data innovation and free expression.
Thato Mochone (Lesotho)
Thato Mochone is a Specialist at Vodacom Lesotho, a leading telecommunications company. She also currently serves as a Commissioner to the Lesotho Law Reform Commission whose function is to review laws of Lesotho with a view towards systematic development and reform. Previous to her work in the private sector, she has over five years of experience in media and broadcasting, which includes working as a broadcast journalist for Lesotho’s state owned radio station. She is an alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (YALI) and Mandela Institute of Developmental Studies (MINDs), and holds a Master’s of Science degree from London South Bank University, UK.
Mary-Jean Nleya (Botswana)
Mary-Jean is a writer and often writes for The Global Communiqué, a current affairs digital magazine, and contributes written pieces to other media platforms. She is a co-panelist for Declarations, a podcast from the Centre of Governance and Human Rights at the University of Cambridge that explores issues on human rights. Mary-Jean spent four years engaged in work that straddles socio-legal and development issues; and in 2017, she executive-produced a documentary on access to affordable internet for students in African public schools, with a particular case-study on Malawi. The documentary explored the use of Information Communication Technologies to better improve education outcomes in indigent communities. Mary-Jean is an associate fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society and a One Young World Ambassador.
Kudakwashe Hove (Zimbabwe)
Kudakwashe Hove is Legal and Digital Policy Lead at the Media Institute of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe Chapter. Kuda leads his organisation’s work on digital policy in Zimbabwe and the Southern African region. He is also tasked with information and communications technologies sectors engagement to foster the exercise and enjoyment of freedom of expression, digital rights and the right to information. Kuda develops and delivers strategic legal interventions under the Media Defence Fund in the promotion and protection of freedom of expression and the right to information in Zimbabwe.
Margaret López (Venezuela)
Margaret López is a journalist with a decade of experience. She holds a Diploma in Economics for Journalists from Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV). Her interest in science and economics topics led her to get involved in Data Journalism, and the Open Data movement. She won the second place in Chicas Poderosas Hackathon with “My Open Vote” proposal in 2016. She is a member of the Creative Commons Global Network. She has been recently interested in Digital Rights, and the possibilities offered by Open Data to strengthen journalism.