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FSI's research on the origins, character and consequences of government institutions spans continents and academic disciplines. The institute’s senior fellows and their colleagues across Stanford examine the principles of public administration and implementation. Their work focuses on how maternal health care is delivered in rural China, how public action can create wealth and eliminate poverty, and why U.S. immigration reform keeps stalling. 

FSI’s work includes comparative studies of how institutions help resolve policy and societal issues. Scholars aim to clearly define and make sense of the rule of law, examining how it is invoked and applied around the world. 

FSI researchers also investigate government services – trying to understand and measure how they work, whom they serve and how good they are. They assess energy services aimed at helping the poorest people around the world and explore public opinion on torture policies. The Children in Crisis project addresses how child health interventions interact with political reform. Specific research on governance, organizations and security capitalizes on FSI's longstanding interests and looks at how governance and organizational issues affect a nation’s ability to address security and international cooperation.

Recent News

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Technology, accountability and democracy in South Asia and beyond

September 2013

A call for papers has been issued for a conference on the intersection between technology, accountability and democracy will be organized in Mumbai, India in Jan 2014.

Stanford conference to explore right to information and technology

March 2013

On March 11-12, the Program on Liberation Technology at CDDRL is convening a conference to examine digital tools and their impact on the development of democratic development.

Exploring new technologies at Stanford to monitor human rights

August 2012

Teaming up with the Brookings Institution and Google, CDDRL hosted a workshop to bring together four United Nations special rapporteurs, civil society activists, technologists and government donors...

Stanford Knight journalism fellows share technology ideas

February 2012

During the Feb. 16 Liberation Technology Seminar, five teams from Stanford University’s John S.

Kathleen Reen discusses Internet security and safe computing

February 2012

Kathleen Reen, vice president for Asia and New Media programs at Internews, delivered the Feb. 9 Liberation Technology Seminar on the topic of "Strategies and Support for a Global Open Internet."

Are the days of web surfing over?

February 2012

In an opinion piece for The New York Times on Feb. 4, Evgeny Morozov declares the days of cyberspace exploration over, snuffed out by the world of social media and search engine optimization.

Rebecca MacKinnon on how the Internet should be structured and governed

January 2012

Rebecca MacKinnon, the Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, delivered the inaugural lecture for the Liberation Technology Seminar Series on Jan.

Klingner discusses Martus, a free and open source software program

December 2011

Jeff Klingner, computer science consultant at Benetech, delivered Dec. 8 Liberation Technology Seminar on the topic of collecting, protecting, and analyzing human rights data.

Two approaches to debates on technology and democracy: Evgeny Morozov

December 2011

On Dec. 1, Evgeny Morozov visiting scholar at CDDRL's Program on Liberation Technology delivered a seminar on the current state of the Internet and the democracy debate after the Arab Spring.

Kim states technology enables the right to education

November 2011

Paul Kim, the assistant dean for technology & CTO at Stanford University's School of Education, led the Nov.

Gregory and Nunez discuss the use of video cameras in human rights work

October 2011

Sam Gregory, program director at WITNESS
 and Bryan Nunez, technology manager at Witness, delivered the Oct.

Srinivasan speaks to using social media to create connections

October 2011

Ramesh Srinivasan, assistant professor at UCLA in design and media/information studies, delivered the Oct. 20 Liberation Technology seminar.

Stern discusses strengthening grassroots in Africa providing the “last mile”

October 2011

In the October 13 seminar entitled, "The Last Mile: Grassroots Development and Technology in Africa” Joshua Stern, executive director of Envaya, and Jesse Young, CTO of Envaya, shared their...

McLaughlin speaks on the expansion of the internet and its risks

October 2011

Andrew McLaughlin, a lecturer at the Stanford Law School and the executive director of the Creative Commons delivered the inaugural lecture for the fall season of the Liberation Technology Seminar...

Liberation Technology Seminar Series launches for the fall quarter

September 2011

The Liberation Technology Seminar Series is set for an exciting fall quarter.

Bridging Silicon Valley and Tahrir Square

June 2011

The Program on Liberation Technology at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) hosted two events in May, which brought together the technology and activist communities in...

New course: The internet, public action, and development

March 2011

A new course entitled, The Internet, Public Action and Development, will be co-taught in the spring by CDDRL Director, Larry Diamond and Vivek Srinivasan, Program Manager for the CDDRL Liberation...

How Web 2.0 drives political change in the Arab world and beyond

March 2011

On February 24, the Program on Liberation Technology at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) hosted a conference entitled Blogs and Bullets: Social Media and the...

Fung on why technology hasn't revolutionized politics

March 2011

Archon Fung, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship at the Harvard Kennedy School, delivered the March 3 Liberation Technology seminar titled, Why Technology Hasn't Revolutionized...

Jennifer Bussell on reforming Indian Public Services in the digital era

January 2011

Jennifer Bussell, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs at the Lyndon B.

Vivek Srinivasan on the role of technology in combating corruption

January 2011

Vivek Srinivasan, who will be assuming the position of CDDRL Program Manager for the Liberation Technology Program, delivered the January 20 seminar to discuss the use of technology to combat...

Jonathan Zittrain on minds for sale

January 2011

The first Liberation Technology seminar of the winter quarter on January 6, featured Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet &amp...

Nathan Eagle on mobile phone usage in the developing world

December 2010

Nathan Eagle, Founder and CEO of txteagle spoke at the weekly Liberation Technology Seminar Series on Dececember 2, 2010 about mobile phone usage in the developing world. class sees Stanford students develop ICT solutions to healthcare challenges in Kenya

July 2010

This Spring quarter, while our seminar series took a break, Program co principals Terry Winograd and Joshua Cohen taught a new course at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the


weinstein Jeremy M. Weinstein Senior Fellow Professor, Political Science