Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

Applications open until April 5, 2018!

Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

Applications open until April 5, 2018!


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 nine month 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.

This program is designed to support open internet advocates organizing for change in their countries while connecting them with new allies around the world.


9 Months (estimated May 2018 - January 2019)


Expectations of selected Leaders include:

  • National or regional advocacy
    • Implement an in-country activity that directly contributes to a national or regional conversation on internet freedom (such as hosting a public debate on open internet issues, developing materials that explain digital rights to a general audience, legislative advocacy, coalition building, performing research on a specific digital rights issue or conducting a social media campaign on the importance of an open internet).
  • Communications/Outreach
    • Produce at least 4 blog posts or articles for
    • Actively engage in conversations on open internet issues, such as on Twitter with the program’s OpenNetGlobal account.
    • Map the network of in-country and regional groups and individuals in the open internet community; build relationships and engage with them regularly; develop joint efforts as possible.
  • Thought Leadership
    • Participate in a week-long Washington, DC-based “design sprint” to develop the Open Internet for Democracy Playbook, which will serve as a companion guide to the Democratic Principles for an Open Internet.
    • Participate at one international conference related to an open internet from an internet governance or human rights angle. Present on work as an Open Internet Leader, and speak national or regional threats to and experiences advocating for an open internet.

Selection Criteria

  • Ability to work independently with minimum supervision in collaboration with colleagues across different time zones
  • Strong organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills
  • Demonstrated interest or experience working on open internet issues, with preference given to those focused on media, private sector/entrepreneurship or civic/political participation
  • Strong social media skills
  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • Strong presentation skills
  • Must be able to travel to Washington, D.C. and one international conference on open/internet/internet freedom (location TBD; costs covered)
  • Preference given to individuals from non-OECD countries

Stipend & Financial Benefits

Open Internet Leaders will receive a honorarium of $1000 USD for completing their required activities, as well as travel and per diem covered for trips to Washington, DC and one international conference.

Host Organizations

The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is an affiliate of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and 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.


Contact Morgan Frost at mfrost [at] cipe [dot] org