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[liberationtech] Iran Cyber Stewards Program

Olivia Ito olivia at
Mon Jan 18 07:54:16 PST 2016

Hi everyone,

We are very excited to announce the launch of the new Iran Cyber Stewards
Program. This is an incredible opportunity that we are thrilled to have in
our community. Please feel free to forward to those who you think would be
interested in applying. The application deadline is: *January 22, 2016,
11:59pm PDT.*

*About the Iran Cyber Stewards Program *

Iranians are actively seeking to have their voice heard on a range of civil
society issues such as economic inequality, women’s rights, minority rights
and democracy. Replacing physical civic gatherings and events is a growing
online community of concerned Iranians. With high Internet and mobile
penetration rates, the Internet brings new opportunities for civil society
organizing and citizen empowerment for a young and tech-savvy population.
Like citizens everywhere, Iranians have taken to social media, chat apps
and other forums to share information, engage in dialogue and access the
latest news about current affairs and other issues.

However, this arena is not without constraints. Access to information is
hampered by censorship and other information controls, while online
activism carries some risk of harassment, arrest and detention. Regardless
of online activities, Iranian activists and journalists might find
themselves under surveillance or hacked by agents in Iran. Despite debates
about Internet policy reform, these trends are unlikely to change in the
foreseeable future.

Given these trends, there is a need for the global community to support
efforts at improving access to digital rights in Iran. To encourage such
initiatives, ASL19 is launching the Iran Cyber Stewards program for
individuals working on innovative projects that support and strengthen
civil society initiatives in the digital sphere. This year-long program
will support 3-5 individuals working on initiatives that directly
contribute to practical responses to civil society issues. This program was
inspired by Citizen Lab’s Cyber Steward program, although it operates
independently of The Lab.

*What can Cyber Stewards expect?*

• Mentorship from ASL19 staff
• Introduction to resources that may be helpful for your project
• A small grant of US$5,000
• Additional financial support to attend two Iran Cyber Steward meetings.
The first meeting will be held in San Francisco in late March / early

Each Iran Cyber Steward will be expected to lead the development and
implementation of their project, submitting brief quarterly reports. ASL19
will provide mentorship remotely via online channels. The program is
expected to run from February 1 for a one-year period.

*Submission Guidelines *

This program is designed to support individuals working on innovative
projects that support and/or strengthen civil society initiatives. They can
be projects in any stage of development, from ‘just an idea’ to ‘already
under implementation’.

• Short bio or CV
• Project description including the following (3-pages max)
◦ Project idea
◦ Realistic goal of what you’d like to accomplish by the end of the 1-year
◦ What you hope to get from this program
◦ Assessment of anticipated risks and challenges, and how you plan to
respond to these

Please submit all documents to stewards at by 11:59pm PDT, January
22, 2016 with “Iran Cyber Stewards Proposal” in the subject title.

*Evaluation Criteria *

Projects will be judged based on ability to contribute to practical
responses to civil society issues, innovation, sustainability and impact.
Preference will be given to projects that adopt  constructive engagement
strategies using technology to respond to civil society needs. Projects
that improve access to rights, responsive governance and citizen interests
in Iran are also highly encouraged.

*About ASL19 *

ASL19, Farsi for Article 19, is a technology and research lab working to
build practical responses for access to information challenges such as
censorship. Our work helps Iranians assert their fundamental rights to
freedom of expression and access to information, rights which are essential
for a vibrant civil society in Iran. Originally founded in 2012 to help
Iranians bypass Internet censorship, our work also includes the development
of ‘post-circumvention’ platforms that enables easy access to information
that was previously diffuse, difficult to obtain or unavailable. Learn more
at <>

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