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Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program 2022 ($2000 USD honorarium & Fully Funded to 2022 Internet Governance Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)



Application Deadline: July 8, 2022

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 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.  

The program aims to: 

  1. Empower emerging open internet advocates to advance internet policy discussions and organize for change in their country and/or region.
  2. Strengthen the Open Internet for Democracy Community by connecting emerging open internet advocates with their global peers.

This year, the Open Internet for Democracy Initiative seeks to adapt and strengthen digital rights advocacy tactics in a context of rapid digital policy change. The Leaders Program is looking for advocates from diverse stakeholder groups (media, civil society, the technical community, and the business sector) who are defending digital democracy by pushing back against harmful legislation impacting the digital space in their countries and regions. Leaders will connect and collaborate with peers and mentors around the world to discuss how they are grappling with these rapid policy challenges.

The Open Internet for Democracy Leaders 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, we are looking for applicants who are interested in building connections and close collaborations with other stakeholders to address these problems.

Collaboratively, they will 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.


  • 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.  


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

* Note: participation is anticipated to be in-person, but may change depending upon COVID-19 restrictions.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program 2022

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