A Fireside Chat: The Future of Tech-enabled Democracy, Rejecting the Race to the Bottom

6.23.2021, 12:00PM

About the Event

Date: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 12PM EDT / 9AM PDT

Format: 1-hour virtual discussion via Zoom, recorded and open to Leadership Network for Change (LNC) and CIPE Partners and Staff


  • Welcome Remarks: Andrew Wilson, Executive Director, CIPE
  • Fireside Chat: Featuring Frank Fukuyama in conversation with Lucy Bernholz
  • Q&A: Facilitated by Louisa Tomar, Program Officer, CIPE
  • Closing Remarks and LNC Grant Funding Announcement: Lauren Weitzman, Program Manager, CDDRL

The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law (CDDRL) presented a Fireside Chat featuring Stanford’s Frank Fukuyama and Lucy Bernholz to discuss what a positive future of tech-enabled democracy could look like and how we might collectively get there.

COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation and the reliance on technology around the globe, and yet the digital age remains in its infancy. Decisions made today and over the next decade will determine whether technology will serve as a tool for advancing solutions to shared challenges such as dignified work and climate change, or a weapon for a race to the bottom, of surveillance, control, division and inequality. Renewing confidence in our collective capacity as leaders of business, government and civil society to build a more just, inclusive and democratic future begins with the audacity to reimagine technology as pro-humanity and pro-democracy.

This event not only marked the beginning of a conversation around a shared positive future, but also launched a new joint initiative between CDDRL and CIPE for Local Democracy in Action Grants that brings together the Leadership Network for Change and CIPE’s global partners to work cooperatively toward local and global solutions to democratic resiliency, tech-enabled democracy, and inclusive economic growth.

Local Democracy in Action Grants

The June 23 event was the first day of a call for proposals for the Local Democracy in Action Grants (LDAG). You can find more information and instructions on submitting an application here. These local collaboration grants are designed to bring together LNCs and CIPE partners to work across industry, sectors, and borders to introduce local democratic approaches, analysis, research or dialogue to improve the way in which local communities solve today’s greatest democratic challenges. The LDAGs will offer up to $5,000 per individual and up to $15,000 for organizations, for a period of 5 months beginning September 1, 2021 and running until February 1, 2022. Applicants may be asked to work with other individuals and organizations as part of their activities. Selected grantees will be decided based on project scope, geographic area, diversity of sector and stakeholders, and feasibility (please include any COVID-19 related contingency plans).


The Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University is an interdisciplinary center for research on development in all of its dimensions: political, economic, social, and legal, and the ways in which these different dimensions interact with one another. Started in 2002, we seek to understand how countries can overcome poverty, instability, and abusive rule to become prosperous, just, democratic, and well-governed societies. We also want to analyze the ways in which democracy and development can be threatened by the authoritarian resurgence, technology, populism, and the broader process of globalization.

About LNC

LNC: The Leadership Network for Change is an expansive group now encompassing nearly 2,000 up and coming leaders and change-makers from all corners of the globe. This diverse and widespread network is comprised of alumni of three practitioner programs based at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University: the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program, Leadership Academy for Development and the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program. Please visit http://www.cddrl.fsi.stanford.edu to learn more about our individual practitioner programs and alumni activities.

For more information, please contact: Lauren Weitzman (laurenw3@stanford.edu), Louisa Tomar (ltomar@cipe.org) or Ritika Singh (rsingh@cipe.org)