The world has seen technology play a greater and greater role in the call for and birth of new democracies in the last few years. Thanks again to technology, the leaders of fledgling democracies will now be able to receive on-demand advice and support in a whole new way.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and leaders from around the world will come together July 9th with leaders from the technology sector to conduct a virtual ribbon cutting for the LEND Network.
LEND, which stands for Leaders Engaged in New Democracies, will use new technology to bring together key actors in countries that are in the midst of democratic transitions with leaders who have themselves played a key role in a democratic transition. By leveraging online voice, video and text communication along with groundbreaking translation tools, the LEND Network will address cost and logistical barriers to face-to-face meetings.
The Secretary of State’s Senior Advisor for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies, Dr. Tomicah Tillemann, says the technology will create a secure virtual platform where advisors from some 20 countries that have joined the partnership can offer information in a real-time setting:
"No two transitions are alike. We would like to be able to ensure that leaders in countries that are going through this process have access to a broad range of opinions and a broad range of views and the goal ultimately is to give them the tools and the information they need to make good decisions."
The Club of Madrid, a sponsor, will also facilitate face-to-face meetings to bring participants in the LEND Network together with former leaders of democratic nations. Housed under a U.S. and Estonian-led working group within the Community of Democracies, LEND is a public-private partnership. Other sponsors include Google, OpenText, Dialcom-Spontania, USAID, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency,. (SIDA)
“We feel strongly that in order to be successful in the 21st Century, democracies need to learn from one another,” said Dr. Tillemann. “This is an opportunity to facilitate that process.”