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Leaders working on the front lines of democracy to participate in prestigious Stanford fellowship program

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Twenty-five leaders from 23 countries compose the 2012 class of Draper Hills Summer Fellows.

From Argentina to Zimbabwe, the 2012 Draper Hills Summer Fellows are working on the front lines of democracy, development, and the rule of law —often under threat— to improve their respective societies and defend the principles of justice and freedom.

Twenty-five leaders from 23 countries compose this year's class. More than half are women championing and inspiring new democratic models by leading pro-democracy movements in Ethiopia, empowering female entrepreneurs in Bangladesh, and reforming the criminal justice system in Georgia. They are joined by Arab Spring activists from Libya and Syria who have been jailed and persecuted for their work upholding human rights principles.

Across Africa, this year's fellows are bolstering good governance, combating corruption, increasing access to justice, and regulating natural resources. The fellows also include judges, national representatives, and police commissioners from Asia and Latin America who are enhancing transparency in government, strengthening civil service administration, and promoting electoral transparency.

Selected from a pool of 460 applicants, the 2012 class will arrive at Stanford on July 22 to begin a three-week training program at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Fellows live together on the university’s campus where they will connect with peers, exchange experiences, and receive academic training from a team of interdisciplinary faculty.

One of the few programs of its kind in academia, the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program combines the rich experiences of practitioners with academic training to maximize the impact of their work advancing political, economic, and social change.

Academic sessions are delivered by a team of Stanford political scientists, lawyers, and economists who are pioneering innovative research in the field of democratic development. Faculty engage the fellows to test their theories, exchange ideas, and learn more about the situations they study from afar. Guest speakers from private foundations, think tanks, government agencies, and the U.S. justice system provide a practitioner’s perspective on pressing issues. Site visits to Silicon Valley firms round out the experience, allowing fellows to explore how technology tools and social media platforms are being used to catalyze democratic practices.

Entering its eighth year, the Draper Hills Summer Fellows program includes a network of 200 alumni from 57 developing democracies. The program is funded by the generous support from Bill and Phyllis Draper and Ingrid von Mangoldt Hills.

To learn more about the 2012 Draper Hills Summer Fellows and their innovative work, please click here.