In closed societies and fragile states, the fundamental human right of free expression is often curtailed or limited. Arts and music that expresses controversial or critical views of society and government, in particular, have a long history of drawing attention to issues that have no other public outlet. It resonates among listeners and inspires them to reexamine and challenge previously held ideas and societal values and can spur into action for positive change.
Our artistic freedom initiatives help outspoken musicians in these contexts by providing them with technical resources and capacity building assistance to help them more effectively exercise their right to free expression, increase exposure to their audiences, and amplify their social messages allowing for more transparency and information flow on issues of critical importance.
Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution
Peacebuilding is a multidisciplinary, cross-sector technique best suited for long-term engagements that target multiple levels of society. The goal is to establish and sustain relationships among people locally and globally—thus engendering sustainable peace – to address the root causes of violence, create a societal expectation for peaceful resolution of conflict, and stabilize communities politically and socioeconomically.
Our aim is to resolve injustice in nonviolent ways and to transform the cultural and structural conditions that generate deadly or destructive conflict. We focus on participatory and collaborative design, development, demonstration, implementation and bringing community project solutions to scale in merging innovative finance, technological innovation, and best practices in project management.
With this ease of accessibility of the information age comes an influx of misleading facts and disinformation meant to sway public opinion and policy. Through tools such as false reporting and misguided facts on social media, malicious actors work to alter the reality to fortify their agendas. Dedicated programming prevents such nefarious intervention and provides citizens with access to facts-based information to better help them hold their governments accountable.
We support and incubate independent media projects within closed societies. By working in tandem with local journalists and media managers, we provide critical support to press freedom worldwide, thereby enhancing prospects for democratic institution-building. We have successfully nurtured local media outlets provided technical expertise to facilitate the production and availability of independent news in post-conflict situations and in states that are transitioning to become open societies, creating spaces for information and idea-sharing where they had not existed before.
Civil Society Capacity Building
Civil society organizations (CSOs) are the bedrock of fair and free democracies as they are the key to fighting corruption, monitoring governments, and denouncing human rights abuses. Especially in transitioning states, civic engagement and education, public testimony, and partnerships with CSOs are paramount to nurturing societies that respect all people's rights and the promotion of public participation in an accountable and productive manner are priorities.
Because CSOs often emerge informally, even groups with years of experience can benefit from engagements that support their internal capacities and stretch their goals. We work to bolster the natural connection and trust CSOs build through their regular activities and networks to develop collaborative, innovative projects that increase their impact and scope of work.
Robust democracies depend on strong, competitive, and well-developed political institutions to provide ideas and rhetoric that feed the healthy debate of public policy, the rule of law, and honest governance. Political participation is an action that influences the distribution of social goods and values. Through political activities such as voting, community organizing, public opinion research, and advocacy work, citizens can voice their agreement or displeasure with government officials, institutions, and policies and aim to change them.
We work with local stakeholders to develop stronger political parties, better election governance, and effective public opinion research to encourage greater political participation across the spectrum.
Cyber Security and Internet Freedom
A critical foundation of stable and peaceful societies is the right of people to freely access information without incrimination, censorship, or retribution. Such access to information and debate helps citizens hold their governments to be more accountable and transparent. Increased connectivity and online privacy also spur creativity, productivity, and democratic advocacy. The same technology that can be used to empower individuals and communities is being perverted by repressive regimes to enforce minority rule and extremist policies.
We empower citizen groups through the application of innovative and discreet cyber platforms that allow activists greater access to information and secure communications in closed societies. In more open societies, we focus on amplifying the underrepresented voices for change that otherwise would go unheard.