Press releases

The Open Knowledge Foundation honoured for civic innovation at National Democratic Institute Democra

Dec. 19, 2013

WASHINGTON — In recognition of the changing nature of democracy in the digital age, Rufus Pollock, founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation, is among a group of civic innovators from around the world who are being honored by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for their efforts to use technology to expand opportunities for citizen participation and to make governments more transparent and accountable.

Jack Dorsey, chairman and co-founder of Twitter, and Samantha Power, U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, will be among the speakers at the National Democratic Institute’s Democracy Dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 10, in Washington, DC, which marks the Institute’s 30th anniversary.

These individuals — who are government officials, elected politicians, entrepreneurs and civic activists — are using technology to crowdsource legislation, increase government transparency, connect citizens, support freedom of information online, and more. The group of eighteen innovators will be honored for their contributions to making democracy deliver around the world.

Other honorees include Jack Dorsey; Toomas Hendrik Ilves, president of Estonia; Belabbés Benkredda, founder of the Munathara Initiative, a Tunisia-based debating forum; January Makamba, deputy minister of communication, science and technology in Tanzania; Jennifer Pahlka, deputy chief technology officer of the United States and co-founder of Code For America; Swati Ramanathan, co-founder of Janaagraha, an Indian nonprofit that crowdsources corruption reports from citizens; Jorge Soto, Mexico’s director of civic innovation; Roya Mahboob, an Afghan software entrepreneur and women’s empowerment activist; María Baron, executive director of La Fundación Directorio Legislativo of Argentina; Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas and Ginny Hunt, strategy principal for Google’s Civics Team in the U.S.; Vukosava Crnjanski Sabovic, founder and director of the Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability in Serbia; Gregor Hackmack, co-founder of Parliament Watch in Germany; Ellen Miller, co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation in the U.S.; Beth Noveck, founder of the Governance Lab in the U.S.; Tom Steinberg, founder and director of mySociety in the U.K.; Rakesh Rajani, lead civil society chair and Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, lead government chair for the global Open Government Partnership; and The Amnesic Incognito Live System (TAILS).

“The contributions of this group of individuals, as well as other civic innovators around the world, to promote citizen participation and government transparency and accountability are immeasurable,” said Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state and NDI chairman. “Innovation is an integral part of supporting both established and nascent democracies, especially as technology continues to shape and deepen the relationship between governments and their citizens.”

At the dinner, NDI will also announce the creation of the Tom Daschle Leadership Initiative, which will aid NDI’s work with political leaders at all levels of government who value excellence and who are committed to improving the lives of the citizens they serve. Daschle, a former Senate Democratic leader, is a vice chair of the NDI Board of Directors.

The event will stream live at www.ndi.org/live. Follow the conversation at #ndi30.