Summer fellows share stories of struggle and triumph

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Rod Searcey

In July, the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) welcomed a group of 23 democracy leaders from around the developing world for a three-week training program on democracy, good governance and rule of law reform as part of the 11th annual Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program.

Selected from over 500 applicants, the fellows have diverse backgrounds across sectors and geographies, working in civil society, public service, social enterprise and technology to improve democracy and governance in their home countries.

Fellows were instructed by an all-star roster of Stanford scholars and policy experts with backgrounds in international relations, law, medicine and political science. Lecturers included Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California Tino Cuéllar; former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; FSI Director and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul; and CDDRL Director Francis Fukuyama.

Fellows also visited several major Bay Area technology firms and philanthropic organizations, such as Twitter and the Omidyar Network, to explore new opportunities to support their work.  

New to the program this year was the incorporation of TED-style talks, which served as a platform for fellows to practice the technique of storytelling by sharing their personal stories and motivations for pursuing the work they do. Throughout the three-week program, these 9-minute talks provided fellows with a better understanding of their peers’ backgrounds and an opportunity to realize shared experiences.

From finding long-term solutions to refugee crises to the invention of new technologies that curb government corruption, fellows shared impactful stories that cut across sectors and regions, sharing common challenges and pathways to their success. You can find some of their talks below:

Karina Sarmiento (Ecuador)

Regional Director, Asylum Access Latin America

"Building up a Movement: Refugees in Latin America"

Karina Sarmiento is the regional director for Asylum Access Latin America, an international organization working to support refugee rights. Sarmiento leads the organization’s growth and implementation strategy for refugee legal aid clinics, strategic litigation, community legal empowerment and national policy advocacy across Latin America. 

Teddy Warria (Kenya)

CEO, Africa 2.0 Kenya

"Connecting Africa"


Teddy Warria is a Kenyan entrepreneur and the CEO of Africa 2.0 Kenya, an action-oriented network of young and emerging leaders from Africa who share a collective vision for the future. Warria is also the director of Africa’s Talking LED, a mobile telecommunications company working to close the information poverty gap in Kenya. 

Silvina Rivarola (Argentina)

Criminal Prosecutor, Office of the Attorney General, City of Buenos Aires

"Can Liberal Democracy Exist Without an Independent Justice?"


Silvina Rivarola is a criminal prosecutor with the Attorney General’s office for the City of Buenos Aires where she is in charge of the cybercrime unit. Rivarola has devoted her 25-year career to advancing the rule of law in Argentina’s judicial branch where she previously served as a criminal judge.  

Sergii Golubok (Russia)

Human Rights Lawyer

"International Human Rights Courts: What do they mean for Rule of Law?"


Sergei Golubok is a human rights lawyer in Russia who specializes in international human rights law and the protection of constitutional freedoms. Golubok has defended several high profile civil society groups and activists before the United Nations treaty bodies and the European Court of Human Rights.  

Oludotun Babayemi (Nigeria)

Co-Founder, Connected Development (CODE)

"Making the State Accountable: Technologies and its Inertia in Nigeria"


Oludotun Babayemi is the co-founder of Connected Development [CODE], an organization that uses online and offline tools to put pressure on governments and organizations in Nigeria to be more accountable and transparent. Their “Follow the Money” campaign has helped to monitor and track public resource allocation so marginalized communities receive government provisions and services.

Catherine Phiri (Zambia)

Public Prosecutor, Government of Zambia

"The Place of Witness in the Criminal Justice System in Zambia"


Catherine Phiri is a public prosecutor for the government of Zambia where she prosecutes cases of corrupt practices, abuse of authority and money laundering that undermine the rule of law. Through her work she has helped implement systems that enhance the efficient and effective flow of cases. 

Myat Ko (Burma)

Co-Founder, Yangon School of Political Science

"Transition and Survival of Democracy in Burma"


Myat Ko is the co-founder of the Yangon School of Political Science where he directs the school’s political education department working to train and empower citizens with knowledge to support Burma’s political development. In 2012, he participated in an election observation process held under the Yangon School.

Roukaya Kasenally (Mauritius)

Senior Advisor, African Media Initiative

"Mauritius: The Dwindling Democratic Star"


Kasenally is a senior advisor with the African Media Initiative, an organization supporting independent media on the African continent. Kasenally has served as a researcher for a number of pan-African democratic and governance institutions and co-founded an advocacy organization to engage the Mauritian public in democratic development. Kasenally also teaches at the University of Mauritius.

Bruno Defelippe (Paraguay)

Co-Founder and CEO, Koga Social Business Lab

"How Changing Businesses Can Change the World"


Bruno Defelippe is a social entrepreneur who has launched several social initiatives to engage young people to solve social and environmental challenges in Paraguay. He is the co-founder and CEO of Koga Social Business Lab, which incubates social businesses and provides a strong ecosystem for social entrepreneurs to thrive.