***This blog was originally published on the Open Gov Hub blog 9/29/2017***
September 30, 2017
Nada Zohdy – Director, Open Gov Hub
American democratic values and norms are facing unprecedented threats, from deep polarization, to the erosion of public trust in institutions, political capture by special interests, and more. Yet the US is not alone: many other countries have been tackling similar challenges stemming from a pervading sense that governments are only serving a privileged few, rather than the many.
In response, Global Integrity, the Open Gov Hub and the Sunlight Foundation (with support from the Omidyar Network) are launching a partnership, in collaboration with Transparency International – Defending Democracy: Lessons from Around the World. The goal is to bolster the efforts of domestic democracy advocates and journalists by supporting them to learn from other countries’ experiences in defending democracies in distress.
The program has two components: a “Democracy Dialogues” Series that will include a total of 12 convenings (each highlighting a different international experience); and a parallel effort to write-up and summarize lessons to promote continued dialogue and learning (an “Open Repository on Closing Governance”). We aim to create a platform for dialogue and exchange between diverse media and civil society actors, all protecting and promoting foundational democratic practices in their own ways.
We will focus on three broad themes: corruption, elections, and media/press freedom. All activities will aim to focus on new challenges within these themes (for example, combating fake news, entrenched oligarchy, and securing digital voting infrastructure). These themes were identified as priorities in our early consultations with US-focused organizations and are issues to which we bring relevant expertise and networks. There is also a timely window of opportunity to address them, given the growing severity of challenges related to corruption and press freedom, and the upcoming 2018 US midterm elections alongside numerous elections throughout 2018 worldwide.
This program will run from September 2017 until March 2019. We are looking to partner with a wide variety of actors to implement this critical work. Whether you are domestically or internationally focused, if you would like to participate in one or more convenings, submit a short written piece, suggest international cases or actors, or support this work in any other way, please contact Nada Zohdy, Director of the Open Gov Hub, at [email protected].