Saturday, January 30, 2010

Call for papers- TPRC 38th Research Conference

George Mason University School of Law hosts TPRC'38th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy Oct. 1-3, 2010. TPRC is now soliciting abstracts of papers, panel proposals, and student papers for presentation at the 2010 conference. The deadline for abstracts and panel proposals is March 31, 2010. Proposals should be based on current theoretical or empirical research relevant to communication and information policy, and may be from any disciplinary perspective. TPRC seeks submissions of disciplinary, comparative, multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary excellence. Subject areas of particular interest include, but are not limited to 11 listed topics below. Click the links for more information on TPRC's website.  
  1. Network Competition, Policy and Management
  2. Broadband Deployment, Adoption and Measurement
  3. Spectrum Policy
  4. Societal Issues: Universalty and Affordable Access
  5. The Transformation and Future of Media
  6. The Transformation and Future of Intellectual Property and Digital Rights
  7. Privacy, Security, Identity and Trust
  8. Internet Governance and Institutional Strategies for Information Policy
  9. Advanced Mobile Services:  Broadband, Video and New Applications
  10. The Internet Ecosystem
  11. Other Emerging Topics are highly encouraged

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Asia Foundation's most recent report about Legal Empowerment

The Asia Foundation (which we affectionately call TAF), where I used to work and which is an expert in law and governance in Asia, has a new blog post on Legal Empowerment by Debra Lardner my friend and colleague. In fact, TAF has often been given credit as the first to coin the term 'legal empowerment' in a 2001 TAF study funded by the ADB. Since then, TAF has also published a related report on Legal Identity and Poverty and most recently, Legal Empowerment for Women and Disadvantaged Groups

In any event, Debra's post on The Legal Empowerment Approach, which appears on TAF's blog, summarizes this most recent study and some of its findings: 
By Debra Ladner

Decades of heavy investment in “supply side” rule of law initiatives in Asia and elsewhere have yielded limited results. Programs focused on training judges and other court officials, introducing modern case management systems, and reforming court procedures have not consistently translated into improved access to efficient and fair justice institutions for ordinary citizens, and particularly not for the poor, women, and other vulnerable groups. Frustration with these disappointing results has led to increased attention on legal empowerment as an alternative approach.

Legal empowerment programs have proliferated in recent years. Rather than focusing on improving judicial institutions and processes, the legal empowerment approach seeks to build the capacity of citizens and communities to enforce their rights through legal and administrative procedures. These programs generally combine activities including the dissemination of information on legal rights and procedures, community based trainings, legal counseling and paralegal services, community organizing, advocacy, and even efforts aimed at reforming laws and legal institutions.

As an organization at the forefront of supporting legal empowerment efforts throughout the Asia-Pacific region, The Asia Foundation has undertaken a number of studies to critically evaluate the efficacy of legal empowerment as a strategy for improving local governance and alleviating poverty. The most recent study, “Legal Empowerment for Women and Disadvantaged Groups,” which the Foundation implemented with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), examined two key questions: First, can legal empowerment initiatives make development assistance more effective, particularly in reaching women and disadvantaged groups? And, second, how can we evaluate the impact of legal empowerment efforts?

The first question recognizes that there is often a gap between the objectives of mainstream socioeconomic development projects and their results, particularly in reaching vulnerable groups. This gap may be due, in part, to the fact that development projects rely on the active engagement of key stakeholders, including both citizens and local-level officials. However, these individuals, particularly women and other disadvantaged groups, often lack the know-how, confidence, time, or incentives to participate in ways envisioned by the project, while the government officials responsible for administering a program may be unfamiliar with their obligations to extend services to all members of the community. The study hypothesized that legal empowerment could help bridge this gap by providing vulnerable groups with the information, training, assistance, and confidence needed to enforce their legal rights.

To test this hypothesis, the project added pilot legal empowerment components to ADB-funded development projects in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan. These legal empowerment initiatives were specifically designed to enhance the effectiveness of the larger development assistance projects, particularly in terms of their positive impact on the lives and women and disadvantaged groups. In Indonesia, for example, a legal empowerment component was added to the ADB’s Neighborhood Upgrading and Shelter Sector Project (NUSSP), which aims to provide low income families and communities with resources to improve their homes and neighborhoods. To access the project’s resources, however, potential beneficiaries must navigate a range of administrative procedures. These requirements present a major obstacle to ordinary citizens, particularly to the poorest of the poor, who generally lack the necessary knowledge, skills, and confidence to navigate such hurdles. The legal empowerment initiative included a range of activities to help overcome these barriers: a media campaign to raise awareness among both citizens and government officials responsible for administering the NUSSP; a series of briefings and trainings on how to access funds available through the NUSSP; a guided tour of the land agency office to educate participants on land registration procedures; and a mapping of local community needs to promote the interests of poor residents.

The second question the study examined was how to evaluate the impact of legal empowerment projects. Legal empowerment is a gradual process of change. It doesn’t happen overnight and its effects are not always tangible or easily observed and quantified. We can have a high degree of certainty about superficial measures, such as the number of individuals trained or the number of brochures distributed. But it is very difficult to answer the more important questions: What, if any, practical, concrete impacts do legal empowerment activities have on people’s lives? Are there clear, measurable differences we can expect to see between a person who is legally empowered and one who is not?

A distinctive feature of the study is that it not only asked these tough questions; it also included a rigorous monitoring and evaluation methodology, which was designed to test the effectiveness of the various legal empowerment strategies employed in the pilot projects. The monitoring and evaluation effort included baseline and end-of-project surveys administered in both intervention sites that received legal empowerment and control locations that did not. The surveys examined changes in four components of legal empowerment – knowledge, confidence, strategies used to assert one’s rights, and the outcomes of those strategies. For example, respondents were asked where they would seek assistance to deal with certain problems; whether or not they are able to participate in local level decision making bodies; and if they are confident in their ability to follow official instructions when seeking government services.

This methodology provided a basis for comparing differences between individuals who received legal empowerment and those who did not, giving us a more objective basis for understanding what works and what doesn’t, and why. The findings suggest that legal empowerment can indeed assist in advancing the goals of development assistance programs, while the recommendations include practical strategies for the integration of legal empowerment components in future sectoral development programs. Read the full report.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

3rd #ICT4D Twitter Chat "Working with Local Governments"

I have been attending these now monthly #ICT4D Twitter Chats (organized by ICTWorks) since the first chat in November, but I missed the third chat last Friday because I was filled up with appointments in Serbia. So I was looking forward to the chat summary on ICTWorks' website, and it was posted yesterday, which I reproduce and adapt here, so that you can see what are current issues facing practitioners : 

Last Friday, the third monthly #ICT4D Twitter Chat brought together 30 of the field's thought leaders (follow them all) to focus on and discuss ways that ICT4D can and does work with local governments, especially in situations like the recent disaster in Haiti.
Four questions guided the conversation (full transcript) which once again was a fast, free-flowing exchange of ideas:

  • Do you work with local governments or bypass them? Why?

  • What are the keys to project success with local governments?

  • How can you work with compromised governments, like Haiti?

  • What lessons for ICT have been learned so far in the Haiti relief effort?
Keys to success with local governments
One of the critical success factors identified collectively by the group was the importance of having a strategic personal relationship with a "project champion" in either a local government or other community leadership role. Because ICT4D projects by their very nature are long-term investments in the future, this local connection brings a strategic perspective and focus, as well as providing an opportunity to ensure the work is based on real, expressed needs of people in the area being served -- not just those of donors and interest groups "back home".
An interesting discussion during the event turned on the question of assigning credit for successful ICT4D implementations. While the group believed in the importance to position the local government or community champion as the driving force behind such projects, it's also important not to lose your own individual or organizational identity. Making sure people remember who helped make a solution possible will prevent costly searches for expertise in the future.
Working in a time-critical disaster relief context, like has been happening in Haiti in the past few weeks, brings some unique issues. Participants generally believed that when peoples' lives are on the line, it's important to "do" first, and inform others later. Waiting to get approvals from a local government in shambles is often not the best course of action.Learning from ICT deployments in Haiti
However, major functions of ICT4D-focused relief groups should be focused on quickly identifying local "hubs" of knowledge and communication in the community, and helping rebuild communication infrastructure for these governments as well as major NGO's. Without these critical links in place, a coordinated relief effort just is not possible, resulting in wasted resources and delays in response.
In a situation like Haiti, with at least 150,000 known dead at the time of writing this article, lack of interoperability and cooperation between groups has undoubtedly cost an untold number of lives. The ICT4D community can learn from this, however, and take steps to proactively coordinate resources (e.g., local disaster contingency plans by organizations based in the community, and open standards for ICT response systems). This coordination in advance will help make the response more timely and effective in the critical hours after a disaster strikes. It's our responsibility as ICT4D professionals to work toward that end today to save lives tomorrow.
Recommended NGO's in Haiti- Finally, we asked participants to suggest some of their favorite relief organizations using ICT in Haiti. Here's a list of those shared:

Get more details here at the chat summary on ICTWorks' website

Monday, January 25, 2010

Conference on Law and Policy Issues in Cloud Computing by UC Berkeley Schools of Law and Information, March 12 2010

The Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and the UC Berkeley School of Information will host a conference on March 12, 2010 on campus- "Emerging Law and Policy Issues in Cloud Computing" -to explore the emerging legal and policy issues raised by the increasing use of cloud computing. Speakers from government, corporations, academia, and law firms will discuss privacy concerns,  regulatory issues, consumer protection, intellectual property questions, and best practices for practitioners.

As more and more computing activity shifts to the cloud, individuals and corporations are entrusting their data and its processing to third parties operating in a virtualized computing environment.  New business models have arisen to meet the opportunity presented by cloud computing, but many of the legal issues surrounding activity on the cloud remain unresolved. 

Panelists include representatives from companies at the forefront of cloud technology such as IBM, Microsoft,, Sun, and Intuit; legal academics from leading universities including UC Berkeley, the University of Chicago, the University of Ottawa, and the University of Mannheim; government officials from the Federal Trade Commission; and practitioners with extensive experience advising their clients of the benefits and risks of the cloud and negotiating deals for vendors and customers.

Agenda Topics/Speakers:

Regulatory & Jurisdictional Issues 
Cloud computing is inherently multijurisdictional.  This panel will discuss the differing, and often contradictory regulations that cloud providers must navigate in order to provide their services.  Who can demand data from cloud providers and how should cloud providers handle requests for data from third party sources (both public and private)?  Which country’s data retention and data access laws apply to data stored in a cloud environment?  The panel will also discuss best security practices for cloud providers.
  • Duane Valz, Chadbourne & Park LLP (moderator)
  • Michael Geist, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law
  • Barbara Lawler, Intuit
  • Rich Sauer, Microsoft  
  • Adam Miller, California Department of Justice

Privacy & Security Does the cloud require a new privacy framework? This panel will address the privacy threats that arise due to remote hosting and processing of data.  Does the cloud permit increased third party access to data for both private individuals (via subpoena) and governments (via the Patriot Act, for example)?  To what extent may cloud providers mine user data for economic and strategic gains?  Who is responsible to ensure compliance with national and local privacy laws?  This panel will attempt to structure policies to relieve the tension between cloud users’ privacy rights and cloud provider’s legal and economic obligations.
  • David Fagan, Covington & Burling LLP (moderator)
  • Paul Schwartz, BCLT & Berkeley Law 
  • Michelle Dennedy, Sun Microsystems
  • Thomas Fetzer, Univ of Mannheim Law School
  • Alan Raul, Sidley Austin LLP
Consumer Protection, Data Portability and Competition 
The benefits of cloud computing can obscure the risk of data loss and data removal.  Moreover, the difficulty of moving data (including e-mail, photos, audio and video) from one vendor's cloud application to another  and the advantages provided by vendor access to information about user behavior  can effectively lock-in consumers and decrease competition.   Is government regulation required to protect cloud users and their data?  Are limits on the use of user datastreams by intermediaries necessary to protect consumers and promote competition?
  • Daren Orzechowski, White & Case LLP (moderator)
  • Randal Picker, University of Chicago Law School
  • Carl Settlemyer,  Federal Trade Commission
  • Lydia Parnes, Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati PC (fmr FTC)    
  • Jason Schultz, Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic

The Art of The Deal
Experienced practitioners will discuss the typical terms and conditions of agreements between users and vendors at various levels of cloud computing: infrastructure-as-service (IAS), platform-as-a-service (PAS) and software-as-a-service (SAS). They will also discuss ways to negotiate resolutions when the parties' interests are conflicting.
  • Renzo Marchini, Dechert LLP (moderator)
  • Julian Millstein, Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • John Moss, 
  • Peter Tennent, IBM                                           
  • Stephen Gillespie, Fenwick & West LLP

Intellectual Property Issues in the Cloud
This panel will address the intellectual property issues that arise in the cloud. Do the notice and takedown provisions provide an adequate structure to regulate copyright infringement in the cloud?  Do the anticircumvention portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act remain relevant in a cloud environment?  How do intellectual property holders enforce their rights given the increased anonymity of both users and content providers?  Will trade secrecy increase in importance when software is no longer distributed to users?  Will jurisdictional and infringement issues reduce the effectiveness of patent protection for online software?
  • Evan Cox, Covington & Burling LLP (moderator)
  • Pam Samuelson, BCLT & Berkeley Law
  • Jule SigallMicrosoft
  • Lee Van Pelt, Van Pelt, Yi & James LLP

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Announcing: Center for Justice, Law, and Development

Johannes Wheeldon, a fellow Law and Development practitioner and academic, is the Director of the Center for Justice, Law, and Development, a new resource for law and development, with the goal of promoting discussion between students, researchers, and practitioners. The center will focus initially on justice issues in the Former Soviet Union, the role and potential of diasporas in development, and more general trends in international development.

Monday, January 18, 2010

WSIS Forum 2010 open consultation: Call for participation

WSIS implementation is 5 years old! I've been keeping track of WSIS general happenings since the first Geneva WSIS in 2003. I'm impressed by the passionate movement in ICT4D, even though there are ideological wars, politicking, and the usual challenges in implementing an international agenda. I'll be interested to hear what some of the key issues are at this upcoming annual WSIS conference.

For the first time, too, WSIS is using an online social networking platform to promote discussion, walking the talk. I blogged about the new site, as well as their choice of software as a platform, earlier. 

Here's a reproduction of the call for participation from UNESCO

UNESCO, together with ITU, UNCTAD and UNDP, is organizing an open consultation for the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2010. All individuals, networks and organizations interested in this issue are invited to participate in the three-fold process, consisting of an online discussion, a questionnaire and a review meeting.
2010 is a turning point towards the achievement of the WSIS goals by 2015. This year’s Forum, which will be held in Geneva (Switzerland) from 10 to 14 May 2010, is an important opportunity to review the progress made in the WSIS implementation during the last five years and to reconsider strategies for the remaining five years.

Following the outcomes of the 2009 WSIS Action Line Facilitators Meeting on 22 May 2009, as well as several exchanges among WSIS stakeholders, an open consultation, focusing on the themes of the 2010 Forum, has been set up.

The process will be carried out in three phases:

  • An online multi-stakeholder consultation is taking place on the online WSIS Community platform until 5 February. Stakeholders are invited to express and exchange their ideas in order to generate possible themes and potential speakers for the 2010 Forum. To join this discussion, please click here
  • Stakeholders can also submit their official contributions, by 5 February, through an online questionnaire or by sending a query to:
  • All submitted comments will be examined during the Final Review Meeting, which will take place at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva on 10 February. To register for this meeting please click here. Remote participation will also be possible via webcast, the link to which will shortly be available on the Forum’s website.
The WSIS Forum builds upon the tradition of the annual WSIS May meetings. The 2009 Forum attracted more than 400 participants representing governments, civil society/NGOs, private sector and intergovernmental organizations from around the world. The new format of the 2010 meeting is the result of last year’s open consultations with all WSIS stakeholders. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy Anniversary- Nostalgic about Global Voices

This is a Global Voices post by my friend and colleague David Sasaki (whom I saw again just last month at the Development Summit). As author and outreach director for GV, this post can be found in his GV section but was originally published at While Global Voices is not a Law or ICT network per se, I do subscribe to its law and technology feeds as part of my dose of global news in those areas. In light of my previous announcement of Global Voices upcoming 2010 Summit, I thought it is appropriate to include David's nostalgic observations from the inside, including about humble GV beginnings and some special folks who were there at the very first meeting in 2004. Very impressive and inspiring, and if 'pilot' projects can be scaled up and replicated, this must be a poster child. I'm not gawking at success- I can tell that much leadership, passion, coordination and hard work went on behind the scenes- I am curious at the business processes and management best practices that can be reproduced across all ICT4D projects globally to promote success. 

Shamelessly reproduced from David's post on global voices here:

Five years ago I boarded a flight from San Diego to Boston to attend the 2004 Internet & Society conference at the Berkman Center. This was just a month after George Bush won the 2004 election and so there was an element of group therapy to many of the panel discussions. 2004 was the year when, according to Wired Magazine, the Internet invented Howard Dean. Dean's campaign was supposed to be the harbinger of a new era of net politics where the progressive grassroots took advantage of online tools like blogs and (this was before YouTube even existed) to bring about more enlightened, representative governance. Instead,according to the ever-snarky Register, “organized religion, not net religion, won it for Bush.”

While the majority of the 2004 Internet & Society conference was focused on deconstructing the US election, two of the fellows at the Berkman Center, Rebecca MacKinnon and Ethan Zuckerman, wanted to widen the scope of the discussions to look at how the internet was affecting society and politics worldwide. Disillusioned by the arrogance and frequent incompetence of big media, Rebecca had just left CNN where she was working as the Beijing Bureau Chief. She came to the Shorenstein Center to study the relationship between blogs and international news coverage, with a specific focus on the coverage of North Korea.
Ethan meanwhile had recently published Making Room for the Third World in the Second Superpower, which served as a foundation for much of his later thinking and research about 1) the role that bloggers play in filling voids of information from “under-covered parts of the world” and 2) the role that “bridge-builders” play in amplifying their voices across cultural, national, and linguistic divides.
Even when we do have some information about under-covered parts of the world, we have another problem, what Ito terms “the caring problem”. People pay attention to subjects they care about. They tend to ignore subjects they know little about. Media, trying to serve its customers in a free market, responds by giving them more information on subjects they've demonstrated an interest in and ignoring other subjects. As a result, consumers don't get interested in new topics, as they're not exposed to them. So even if people blog or report about situations in the Congo, readers don't pay attention to these reports and the noosphere, the realm of thought and culture, remains weak in those areas.
To solve the caring problem, Ethan continues, “will require a focus on bridge builders,” people who are able to contextualize conversations, issues, and debates from one community and introduce them to another. Some of the greatest examples of online bridge-builders at the time were Hossein Derakhshan from Iran, Joi Ito from Japan, Xiao Qiang from China, Ory Okolloh from Kenya, Salam Pax from Iraq, and Jeff Ooi from Malaysia.
Rebecca and Ethan wanted to bring some of these bridge-builders (later dubbed “bridge bloggers“) together to discuss, debate, and shape a shared vision for an inclusive, unmediated, global, grassroots conversation. About forty of us gathered in a medium-sized classroom at Harvard's law school to discuss how “the use of weblogs and other new technologies enhance online global dialogue and political advocacy.” At the end of the day Joi Ito andJim Moore led a session with the objective of drafting a manifesto, which is just as applicable today as it was then.
Two of the most outspoken participants throughout the day's discussions were Hossein Derakhshan and Jeff Ooi, who are now in prison and parliament respectively. Reflecting on just how much can change in five short years, I decided to make a list of some of the international participants from that first Global Voices meeting and look at where they are now.
Ory Okolloh (Kenyan Pundit): At the time of the first Global Voices meeting Ory Okolloh was a student at Harvard Law School and an enthusiastic blogger known as “Kenyan Pundit.” Like other bridge bloggers, she frequently wrote about Kenya for a mostly Western audience and wrote about the West for Kenyans. Throughout 2005 she wrote seven posts on Global Voices introducing some of the pioneers from the African blogosphere. Today Ory continues to blog at Kenyan Pundit. She has spoken at both TED and Pop!Tech. And she has left the legal world to focus on the use of technology in activism with Ushahidi and Mzalendo.
Omar and Mohammed Fadhil (Iraq the Model): A mild controversy surrounded the participation of Iraqi brothers Omar and Mohammed Fadhil in the first Global Voices meeting. First of all, their trip was financed by Spirit of America, a patriotic US non-profit which supports the work of the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan. (At the meeting Jim Hake announced that Spirit of America had developed the first blogging platform to support Arabic text
As far as I'm aware the platform was never actually launched.
 Jim says the platform was used for three and a half years by “Friends of Democracy“.) Second, when Omar and Mohammed arrived to the US to attend the conference they received an unexpected invitation to visit President George Bush in the White House. A couple years later Bush even cited an Iraq the Model blog post in his address to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (seriously):
The Iraqi people are beginning to say — see positive changes. I want to share with you how two Iraqi bloggers — they have bloggers in Baghdad, just like we've got here — (laughter) — “Displaced families are returning home, marketplaces are seeing more activity, stores that were long shuttered are now reopening. We feel safer about moving in the city now. Our people want to see this effort succeed. We hope the governments in Baghdad and America do not lose their resolve.”
There were even rumors that Omar and Mohammed were receiving funding from the CIA, an allegation that New York Times reporterSarah Boxer found no evidence for. Today both Omar and Mohammed are based in the US where they are the Middle East Editors for the conservative online media network Pajamas Media. Mohammed is now studying programming at Open Source University while Omar is a graduate student in International Affairs at Columbia University. Omar still writes at Iraq the Model and published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal in September.
Isaac Mao: Isaac is the co-founder of the first Chinese blogging platform As he wrote last year in The Guardian, his first post was published on August 5, 2002, and his infectious enthusiasm for blogging and sharing information quickly spread across China. If anything, Isaac's enthusiasm about the positive social impact of blogging has only grown. He was a fellow earlier this year at the Berkman Center where he continued his research on “Sharism.” In June Isaac and I co-curated the Cloud Intelligence Symposium at the Ars Electronica festival. He remains active in organizing barcamps and conferences in China, and is an advocate of online free speech.
Joi Ito: At the time of the first Global Voices meeting Joiintroduced himself as the Vice President of International and Mobility for Technorati and his blog was called “Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.” He was at the time the ultimate internet geek, a clear writer with an international outlook and strong technical fluency. His personal IRC channel was a meeting place in 2004 and 2005 for everyone interested in blogs, wikis, and the social web. Even today you'll regularly find 50 - 100 people connected and just hanging out. Back in 2004 Joi focused much of his writing on “the caring problem” (and, to a lesser degree, getting Angelina Jolie to blog). He was also active with Isaac Mao back in 2005 trying to promote dialogue between Japanese and Chinese bloggers during a period of escalated antagonism between the two countries. Today Joi is the CEO of Creative Commons and a legal resident of Dubai. Earlier this year he led a workshop on Creative Commons and digital media with the Royal Film Commission of Jordan.
Jeff Ooi: Back in 2004 Jeff was blogging at Screenshots, which was hosted at Blogger. He also had launched USJ-Subyang Jaya, an English-language online news portal, ran a podcast calledSuiteTalker, and managed a community of Malaysian photographers. Later he blogged for CNET Asia, and in 2007 he and Ahiruddin Attan were sued by the New Straits Times Press for 10 blog posts which they alleged were libelous. Last year he ran for office as a DAP candidate in the 2008 general election and won a seat in Malaysian parliament. He continues to blog regularly forAsian Correspondent.
Rashmi Sinha: We all went out to dinner at some Cambridge restaurant after that first GV meeting and I remember how everyone was circling around Jay Rosen, Hoder, and Joi Ito like they were celebrities. Such fawning always - especially among bloggers - drives me crazy. So I took a seat in the corner of the restaurant with a soft-spoken woman who said she was from India and that she recently finished her Ph.D. in neuroscience. (I had recently been in India and studied neuroscience for a couple years in college.) In January 2002 Rashmi founded Dialog Now, a blog which encouraged dialog between Indians and Pakistanis during the 2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff. You can read her post from December 2004 about Global Voices here. Five years after the Global Voices meeting and she was voted by Playboy magazine as one of the ten sexiest CEO's in the worldRashmi foundedSlideShare in 2007 with her husband Jonathan Boutelle.
Hoder: At the first Global Voices meeting Hoder led a session titled “How to build a blogosphere.” The title is a somewhat pompous allusion to his claim that he is personally responsible for the tremendous growth of Persian-language blogs in Iran. In November, 2001 he created a step-by-step guide on how to set up a blog in Persian and in the next couple years the Iranian blogosphere grew to become one of the most vibrant and politically active around the world. At the second Global Voices summit in London Hoder met our then-contributor from Israel, Lisa Goldman, and decided to visit her a month later. It is so interesting to look back at the New York Times op-ed he published during his visit, and also at Lisa Goldman's account of their time together. Hoder was arrested in Tehran on November 1, 2008. He is allegedly being held in Evin Prison and there has lately been a lot of talk about his role in the Iranian show trials following the Green Revolution. Hoder is an extremely complicated guy. I'm pretty sure he's managed to piss off every single person who has ever considered him a friend. Of course, we all want him out of prison. But it is difficult to know the best way to advocate for that to happen; especially when we don't even really know why he's in prison in the first place. Cyrus has been following the story closely and I assume that he will continue to do so until Hoder is released. You can get more context about Hoder and all the controversies surrounding him on his Wikipedia page.
Yvonne T. Chua: Yvonne is an investigative journalist and journalism trainer for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. In 1999 she wrote “Robbed: An Investigation of Corruption in Philippine Education” and at the time of the Global Voices meeting she was interested (way ahead of her time) in how new media would change journalism training. Today PCIJ is one of the leading centers in teaching digital media for investigative reporting in South East Asia. Their 20th anniversary conference in September was focused on new media and democratization.
Akwe Amosu: She joined as its founding executive editor in 2000 and at the time of the first GV meeting she was working on Peace Africa, an aggregator of news and information related to peacekeeping missions in Sub-Saharan Africa. At ourthird Global Voices Summit in Delhi, India she organized a small meeting of African and Chinese bloggers to encourage more open discussion about the impact of Chinese presence in Africa and African presence in China. She is now the Africa Advocacy Director for Open Society Institute and the Senior Policy Analyst for Africa at the OSI Policy Center. She is also a member of Global Voices' board of directors.
It was, looking back on it, a mix of elite bloggers, affiliates of the Berkman Center, and affiliates of Open Society Institute's Information Program.
The most important outcome of the meeting, however, was an agreement to develop an index of bridge blogs from around the world. Hoder began the process by listing the blogs of all the participants at the meeting on his own personal wiki. That list was later transferred to the Global Voices wiki. (Here is what the wiki looked like back in 2005.) We soon realized that a static wiki-based list of blogs wasn't interactive enough. Rebecca proposed using Bloglines as an aggregator of “bridge blogs” from around the world. (Very interesting to look back and see which bloggers from early 2005 are still blogging today and which countries - like Madagascar - aren't even listed.) Ethan suggested that we use the tag “globalvoices” on Delicious to track bridge blog posts. But it wasn't until Paul Frankenstein - then a summer intern at the Berkman Center - began posting daily roundups of the global blogosphere that Global Voices began to take its present form.
My first post on Global Voices was exactly five years ago to the day. I suggested that BloggerCon IV be held outside of North America and Western Europe. (It seems that the 2010 Global Voices Summit will be our first south of the equator.) In June 2005 I was hired as the first Global Voices regional editor and began posting daily roundups of what bloggers throughout Latin America were writing about. My first roundup post summarized reactions by Mexican bloggers to a 2005 communique posted by the Zapatistas(shortly after I had traveled to Chiapas). Throughout 2005 I recruited as many authors to write about Latin America on Global Voices as possible. Iria PuyosaEduardo ÁvilaGeorgia Popplewell,Roy Rojas, and Alán Flores were among the first contributing authors.
I could spend hours reminiscing about those first months of Global Voices. It was such an exciting time. We really believed that we were on the cutting edge of a sea change in how citizens around the world would communicate and find out about one another. And we were. That's not to say that our mission was complete. Even now, we're still only about 10% there. But what an amazing 10% it has been. Over the next few years following that first meeting we would discover three major obstacles to our mission and we would develop new projects to meet those challenges.
Today I am sitting at De Prague Cafe in Beirut, a meeting place of poets, intellectuals, and bloggers. I hear Arabic, English, French, and Italian. Sami just stopped by. Then NohaDonatella, andAyesha. We hadn't planned on meeting up here, but bloggers find fast wi-fi like camels find water.
I am reading a post that Rebecca published on December 3, 2004. It is about what an ideal world news service would look like. And I am realizing that we did it. We built that. We worked our asses off to do something that we should all really be proud of.
Yes, we still have a long, long way to go. I am more cognizant of that than ever after attending last week's Arab Bloggers Meeting. Evgeny's latest article in the Prospect does a pretty good job listing just a few of the challenges.
But the point is, we're not just making lists of what is wrong. We are making lists of what needs to be done to make it right. And, month by month, year by year, we're slowly checking those items off.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...