Tales of freedom and justice


The 12th annual Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program gathered 25 democracy leaders from around the developing world for a three-week training program on democracy, good governance, and the rule of law reform. Selected from a large pool of applicants, the fellows have diverse backgrounds across sectors and geographies, working in civil society, public service, social enterprise, media and technology.

Fellows were instructed by an all-star roster of Stanford scholars and policy experts, including former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; FSI Director and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul; CDDRL Mosbacher Director Francis Fukuyama and Larry Diamond, senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Fellows also met industry leaders such as Eric Schmidt of Google, democracy leaders such as Carl Gershman of the National Endowment for Democracy and others. During the program, they shared their personal stories about the struggle in their home countries, but also stories of their fight for justice, equality, and democracy, stories of optimism and endurance.

You can find some of their talks below and for more videos visit our YouTube channel


Kasha Nabagesera (Uganda)

The founding member of Uganda's LGBTI Movement

"I am the only founding member of Uganda's LGBTI movement who is still based in the country"



Kasha Nabagesera is the executive director of Kuchu Times Media Group, the first LGBTI media platform in Africa. She is known as the “founding mother” of the LGBTI movement in Uganda - where homosexuality is illegal - advocating for equal rights and the eradication of all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Listen to her story about big losses and big wins, everyday dangers and hope.

Rafael Marques de Morais (Angola)

Investigative reporter, MakaAngola

"Why the government is after you when you are sleeping so much?"

Rafael Marques de Morais is an award-winning journalist and human rights activist in Angola, working to investigate corruption and abuse of power by the country’s ruling family. He founded Makaangola, a watchdog website dedicated to exposing corruption and human rights abuses in Angola. Find out why his son thinks that his father is harmless for the government.

Belabbes Benkredda (Algeria)

The founder of Munathara Initiative

"Debate is the central part of the democratic equation."

Belabbes Benkredda is an award-winning social innovator and the founder of the Munathara Initiative, the Arab world’s largest online and television debate forum highlighting voices of youth, women, and marginalized communities. Operating in 11 Arab countries, Munathara’s monthly prime-time TV debates are the only civil society-run, independent political talk program on Arabic television. Munathara Initiative organized over 650 workshops with more than 10 thousand participants from 12 countries. They have around 90 thousand of registered users. More importantly, Munathara Initiative provided safe public space for young women to voice their opinions and mark their presence in public, traditionally dominated by the middle-aged men.