CIPE Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

CIPE Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

About the Program

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 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:

  • 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.


    Core responsibilities:

    Collaborative Project Engaging Policymakers

    During the program, the Leaders will actively participate in a group project aimed at promoting engagement and raising awareness among policymakers about digital rights. This project may involve various activities, such as conducting interviews with policymakers, jointly developing a policy brief, or undertaking another relevant initiative.

    The specific nature of the project will be determined at the program's outset through collaborative discussions with policymakers and the selected Leaders. The overall objective is to strengthen a multistakeholder approach to digital governance.

    Mentorship Support

    Based on professional interests and goals, Leaders will be paired up with a Mentor from within the digital rights space. Mentors will offer guidance to Leaders on their digital rights work, and support Leaders to identify opportunities to expand their networks and increase the reach of their work.


    Produce at least 1 blog post or article for

    Actively engage in conversations on open internet issues, such as on Twitter with the program’s @OpenNetGlobal account and on LinkedIn with the Open Internet for Democracy community.

    Thought Leadership

    Participate in-person at the 2023 Internet Governance Forum in Kyoto,
    Japan (In-person participation is subject to visa approval. If visa is not approved, online participation is expected).

    Selection Criteria

  • 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

  • Demonstrated interest or experience in engaging directly with policymakers on key digital governance topics

  • 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

  • Fluency in written and spoken English

  • Demonstrated public speaking experience speaking a plus

  • Ability to travel and participate in the 2023 Internet Governance Forum in Kyoto, Japan from 8-12 October 2023.

  • 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 assistance eligible country.

    Stipend and Benefits

    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 $1300 USD for completing their required activities

  • Receive travel support to attend the 2023 Internet Governance Forum in Kyoto, Japan

  • Have opportunities to collaborate on joint proposals or sessions for virtual conferences, such as RightsCon, and local/regional Internet Governance Forums.

  • Connect with like-minded digital rights advocates and learn from peer-to-peer learning exchanges held throughout the course of the Leaders Program

  • Have access to mentorship and soft skills training opportunities (held virtually)

  • Join an online community including past and present Open Internet Leaders, as well as other key digital rights leaders.

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see; CIPE Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program

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