Grant Opportunity: Internet Freedom Fellow Program 2016

U.S. Mission in Geneva to host sixth edition of the Internet Freedom Fellows program

Geneva, Switzerland,
September 18, 2015

With a view to implementing the 2016 edition of the Internet Freedom Fellows program (IFF), the U.S. Mission is soliciting program proposals by Geneva-based NGOs and independent organizations.

Launched by the U.S. Mission in 2011, IFF is a unique initiative which yearly allows 5 to 6 human rights activists from around the globe to gather in Geneva, Washington D.C. and Silicon Valley, California. During the course of an intensive two-week program, the fellows, whose common interest lies in the use of the Internet as a tool to promote human rights in societies where individual freedoms are often challenged, are given the opportunity to meet and engage with government leaders, fellow bloggers and members of civil society and the private sector who are actively engaged in technology and human rights. The key goal of the program is to share experiences and lessons learned on the importance of a free Internet to the promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly as fundamental human rights. Priority is given to activists from countries ranked low on the Freedom House scale of Not Free Countries (http://www.freedomhouse.org/report-types/freedom-world). By identifying and involving grass roots human rights activists from these target countries, the IFF program highlights in a tangible manner why and how a free internet is essential to the work of similar bloggers around the world.

The theme for IFF 2016 is “Internet Governance”.

The U.S. Mission is soliciting program proposals by interested NGOs and independent organizations to design and implement the one-week Geneva portion of the IFF 2016 program. The program tentatively scheduled for the third week (March 16-18) of the 31st Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) will provide funding for the participation of 5 fellows through a grant. The program should be designed to provide the fellows with an intensive exchange experience looking at internet freedom and human rights. After the Geneva portion the fellows will travel to the United States for a second week of U.S.-based programming.

Program proposals should include a selection of events to be attended by the bloggers at the UN during the HRC Session, the organization of a symposium by the fellows at the U.S. Mission, as well as the organization of a side event at UNOG on the sidelines of the HRC highlighting the importance of a free internet to freedom of expression.  The program should also include exposure to diverse organizations, NGOs and local decision makers willing to share their experience as a means of enabling the fellows to learn more about internet freedom in general.

The grant recipient will be responsible for organizing all program elements of the three-day Geneva portion of the program, participate in the selection process, as well as manage travel arrangements for the fellows from their home countries to Geneva, onward to the United States and back.

Interested NGOS and independent organizations should indicate their interest and submit their program proposals by email to PatinPB@state.gov. The deadline for proposals is October 30, 2015.

For additional information, please contact Paul Patin at 022 749 4358.