Culture Ideas Research

Nigerian Info-Tech Civil Society Actor, ‘Gbenga Sesan, Makes Stanford Digital Civil Society Lab 2020 Cohort as Non-Resident Fellow.

The Digital Civil Society Lab (DCSL) and the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) have announced a new joint cohort of Non-Resident Fellows.

The cohort includes, for CCSRE: Elizabeth Adams, Renata Avila, Samir Doshi, and Hong Qu. For DCSL: Beatrice Martini, Mutale Nkonde, Julie Owono, Tawana Petty, Zara Rahman, and ‘Gbenga Sesan. Topics covered by the selected projects cover disinformation, surveillance, fair lending, artificial intelligence, transparent technology design, algorithmic bias, public interest internet infrastructure, and more. 2020 fellows were selected from a competitive group of over 150 applications.

The Non-Resident Fellowship supports social sector leaders to dedicate time to working on ideas that apply to broad swaths of civil society but that may not quite fit into their “day job.” The fellowship provides time, space, expertise, and financial support to help turn ideas into prototypes or action and to build a cohort of fellows to support ongoing learning and community.

The 2020 fellows hail from three continents and represent a broad range of expertise within civil society. While all the fellows are developing ideas at the intersection of civil society and digital issues, the four fellows hosted by CCSRE are working on challenges specifically related to racial equity and technology. All fellows will be in residence on the Stanford campus for an intensive week in late January to kickstart their projects and will work closely together as part of the same cohort throughout the yearlong fellowship term.

The fellowship offers a number of opportunities to engage with scholarship and with the Stanford community. As appropriate to each project, fellows will have the option to work with undergraduate students through the Comm230ABC seminar series, participate in on-campus events and conferences, receive research assistant support, and assist in designing a Race and Technology Action Summit. All the fellowship activities are designed with the goal of bridging academic scholarship and new developments within the social sector.

Gbenga is the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative a pan-African social enterprise working on digital inclusion and digital rights through its offices in Cameroon, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia. During the year-long fellowship, he will be working on Ayeta: “a Proactive Toolkit for African Digital Rights Actors”.

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