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Draper Hills Summer Fellows converse with CDDRL faculty during lunch.



Launched in 2005, the Draper Hills Summer Fellowship on Democracy and Development Program (DHSFDD) is a three-week academic training program that is hosted annually at Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. The program brings together a group of 25 to 30 mid-career practitioners in law, politics, government, private enterprise, civil society, and international development from transitioning countries. This training program provides a unique forum for emerging leaders to connect, exchange experiences, and receive academic training to enrich their knowledge and advance their work.
For three weeks during the summer, fellows participate in academic seminars that expose them to the theory and practice of democracy, development, and the rule of law. Delivered by leading Stanford faculty from the Stanford Law School, the Graduate School of Business, and the departments of economics and political science, these seminars allow emerging leaders to explore new institutional models and frameworks to enhance their ability to promote democratic change in their home countries.
Guest speakers from private foundations, think tanks, government, and the justice system, provide a practitioners viewpoint on such pressing issues in the field. Past program speakers have included: Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California Honorable Tino Cuéllar; Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy; Stacy Donohue, director of investments at the Omidyar Network; Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google; and Judge Lucy Koh, judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Summer Fellows also visit Silicon Valley technology firms such as Google and Twitter to explore how technology tools and social media platforms are being used to catalyze democratic practices on a global scale.
The program is funded by generous support from Bill and Phyllis Draper and Ingrid von Mangoldt Hills. View last year’s program agenda and read the  2015 class bios.



Our program curriculum combines a style of five different sessions, which include:

1.     Academic sessions provide a framework and theory to understand democratic development taught by interdisciplinary faculty from across Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Lectures are accompanied by a set of academic readings drawn from books and journals that participants are asked to complete before each lecture. Please reference our program agendas to learn more about our academic sessions.

2.     Case study workshops are rooted in real-world stories and scenarios of specific policy reforms that have taken place in developing countries. The cases we use for teaching can be found in our case study library.

3.     Ted-style talks allow fellows to tell their story to the group to uncover more about their work, personal life, and struggles to overcome injustice and advance democracy. You can watch select Ted-style talks from our 2015 fellows here.

4.     Guest lectures feature prominent figures in public service, the technology industry, and the philanthropic community who provide a practitioners' perspective for our fellows, and allows them to make strategic connections to these organizations.

5.     Site visits to leading technology firms, such as Google and Twitter, allow fellows to get an inside perspective on Silicon Valley’s leading tech giants and how their platforms can help support democracy leaders.



The Draper Hills Summer Fellows alumni network includes 273 alumni from over 70 developing democracies worldwide. Their professional backgrounds are as diverse as the problems they confront in their home countries, but the one common feature is their commitment to building sound structures of democracy and development. The regions of Eurasia, which includes the former Soviet Union and Central Asia, along with Africa constitute almost half of our alumni network. Women represent 40 percent of the network and the program is always looking to identify strong female leaders working to advance change in their local communities.

Previous Draper Hills Summer Fellows have served as presidential advisors, senators, attorneys general, lawyers, journalists, civic activists, entrepreneurs, judges, think-tank directors, and influential members of the international development community. The program is highly selective and received over 500 applications in 2014.

Please see the alumni section on our website for a complete listing of program alumni.

Fellows Spotlight: Sakena Yacoobi (Afghanistan '08), Founder and CEO, Afghan Institute for Learning



The program's interdisciplinary faculty includes leading political scientists, lawyers, and economists pioneering innovative research and analysis in the fields of democracy, development, and the rule of law. Faculty engage the fellows to test their theories, exchange ideas and learn first-hand about the challenges activists face in places where democracy is at threat. CDDRL Draper Hills Summer Fellows core faculty includes; Larry Diamond, Kathryn Stoner, Erik Jensen, Francis Fukuyama, Stephen D. Krasner and Michael McFaul



Stanford will pay travel, accommodation, living expenses, and visa costs for the duration of the three-week program for applicants. Participants will be housed on the Stanford campus in residential housing during the program. When possible, applicants are encouraged to supply some or all of their own funding from their current employers or international nongovernmental organizations. The program is unable to provide funding for families to accompany fellows to Stanford for the program or to accommodate them during the program's duration.  



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