Statement by the International Republican Institute on July 14, 2012

The International Republican Institute, IRI, delivered the following statement on the mysterious death of Cuban political activist Oswaldo Payá.  Payá’s death, along with another passenger, youth activist Harold Cepero Escalante, marks the second time in 10 months that a well-known Cuban dissident has died under suspicious circumstances. (more…)

There is no doubt that digital technology played a crucial role during the Arab Spring. But today, one and a half year later, the question is whether it can contribute to stabilize the Middle Eastern countries once affected? Zack Brisson and Kate Krontiris of Reboot are the authors of the book “Tunisia: From Revolutions to Institutions” and have investigated how digital technology has facilitated the build-up of Tunisia after the protests. In a podcast they talk about Tunisia’s communication infrastructure, its digital economy and civil society using latest digital technology.

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As the number of distant courses is growing at universities all over the world, and as access to information is less than a click away, free online courses are becoming more and more popular. The MIT’s Open Courseware is one of the best known, but Udemy, Coursera, the Minerva Project and Udacity all offer courses created by top universities. The format is called Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) and combines video lectures, individual exercises and social interaction through chat rooms and Facebook. Many courses are for free and you will also receive a certification. Anya Kamenetz, a senior writer at Fast Company Magazine, has written several books about new forms of education and in a lecture she discusses the future of learning online.

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Today is a historic day in the work for global internet freedom. United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva has adopted a new resolution in order to ensure freedom of expression on the internet.   

The initiative was formulated by Sweden, Brazil, Nigeria, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States, but more than 80 states have supported the proposal that was accepted through a consensus decision. By guaranteeing freedom of expression online, the resolution strengthens the idea that there should be no discrimination of medium used for dissemination of information.

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“I believe that the questions addressed in Interop are fundamental in nature as we are trying to build a better world.” technology expert Urs Gasser writes in his blog regarding his and John Palfrey’s latest book Interop. Gasser and Palfrey have explored the role of interconnectivity and technical integration to solve challenges in society such as health care issues, financial crisis and global warming. They argue that the practice of standardization and interoperability of technology promotes innovation and economic growth. But they also discuss the potential negative aspects with respect to privacy, security and co-dependence of states.     

Read Urs Gasser’s blogspot