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Democracies Online is an international initiative and partnership to promote the development and sustainability of online civic participation and democracy efforts across the world. Democracies Online begins formal activities in late 1997. The goal of Democracies Online is to build a strong foundation for improving democracy as democracies around the world converge with information networks. The project's secretariat will be housed by the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. Grant seeking and general fundraising efforts are now underway. Once the base level of funding for first year of core activities is obtained the following services are planned: oDemocracy Notes - A twice monthly electronic newsletter will be distributed globally via e-mail, news groups, and the WWW. The newsletter will objectively cover trends, issues, and efforts related to the convergence of democracy and information networks. Distribution to 10,000 direct subscribers is envisioned within six months. oDemocracies Online Newswire Service - A "best of" moderated e-mail list service will forward useful announcements and postings about democracy online and related topics. This service will become a primary channel or newswire for broad information exchange. oDemocracies Online Peer Networks - Neutral peer-to-peer global online communication spaces for "sectors" of diverse democracy online "builders" will be established. These trusted and targeted forums will use a mix of e-mail and the WWW for conferencing and information sharing. These peer development sectors may include civic non-partisan online democracy efforts, online media and news, general civic education, government online, advocacy, campaigns and parties, journalists, commercial online and standards developers, among others. A key interest of participants will be an interest in using information networks to help improve their contribution to their own democracies. A set of basic diagrams are available. They helps place the core services in context and illustrate what the "builders" are able to do in their communities. The following additional activities will be explored and funded separately once the project is officially established:
- Democracy Online World Virtual Summit - A multi-track international virtual conference with major sponsors is proposed for October 1998. Pre-conference in-person and online events will likely be held around the world by conference co-sponsors. The 187 country International Telecommunications Union will hold their four year Plenipotentiary meeting in Minneapolis from October 12 to November 6, 1998. A special event gathering a handful of "democracy online leaders" for a presentation to interested ITU delegates, country staff, NGOs, and global media will be seriously explored and coordinated with appropriate groups. This does not signify current ITU involvement with the conference.
- Democracies Online Foundation - Democracies Online will explore with a number of global partners the establishment of a major five year, multi-million dollar funding effort to help seed civic online democracy efforts around the world. Details of such a multi-partner/donor effort will need to be carefully developed and implemented to attract significant resources within the context of the unique requirements of diverse democracies. The foundation effort would be announced during the Democracy Online World Summit with a goal of approving the the first sets of grants starting in 1999 for use after the year 2000.
Contacted at Parthenay. Interest in Alliance project.