A Communications Platform of Global Democracy Resource
1 introduction and SUMMARY
Total Cost for First Year € 45,000.00
Required to Commence € 15,000.00
Amount Requested € 4,500.00 / 13,500.00
Our Mission and Vision
We are dedicated to freedom and democracy, and to communicating effectively about their manifestations, history and future, sources and threats. We are telling the story of freedom to help communities worldwide make real the long cherished dream of self governance.
We focus on political democracy and on the broader concept of community freedom. We believe community freedom to mean groups of people can solve problems most effectively when they assume their rights and develop solutions for themselves, as well as collectively establish the rules by which they can execute those solutions. Community freedom is an ongoing dynamic present throughout human experience; one surviving in brutal dictatorships as well as still developing in long established democracies.
Our Overall Objective
To tell the story of freedom effectively, we are building the world’s first thorough democracy museum. In its full development, we will have created a useful, ongoing, and collaborative (a) museum of democracy; (b) a democratic museum; and (c) a museum for democracy.
a. The World Democracy Museum is a museum in a traditional sense. It is intended to be a thorough electronic portal for all things related to freedom and good governance, a full service, “one stop shop” for democracy related information and resources;
b. We will not leave democracy on shelves. The World Democracy Museum is also a new type of living, community museum (Museum 2.0). It will be interactive: allowing users to add their own materials and descriptions and choose how to contextualize these material in the overall story of democracy as presented in the Museum. This will allow people to tell their own community’s story of freedom from their unique perspective. Different communities worldwide will work together to plant and grow this collaborative museum. The people also will give life to the World Democracy Museum by being directly involved in its governance;
c. The World Democracy Museum is also a new type of activist museum. The organizational home of the Museum is an advocacy organization, the GDR, which is an NGO active in the global democracy movement After the establishment of Museum projects, the World Democracy Museum will participate in the community through other civil society projects.
Why the World Democracy Museum is Needed
Steps and stumbles on the road to freedom are our shared heritage. It is a thrilling narrative, which is being composed and recomposed. The ongoing struggle for popular governance is one of the oldest and most important undertakings in history. It is, therefore, surprising there is no museum focusing on it. There certainly is none focusing on democracy as an integral movement in the world. There is no museum or gallery or academic center focusing on history of democracy or democracy in art. There does not seem ever to have been a thorough touring exhibition on any of these important and fascinating subjects. There is also no exhaustive library, no academic center, nor recurring film festival on freedom and good governance and its history and other aspects. There is no center on freedom as an inspiration for and influence of architecture or film. There is no literary anthology; virtual or otherwise. There is not an exhaustive online library or portal focusing on history of democracy or law of democracy or new developments in democracy.
The story of freedom has something to teach about solutions to current and future problems. Someone wanting to witness the narrative and learn its important lessons would need to go to hundreds of libraries and thousands of webpages. This situation is inconvenient, but worse, it prevents the narrative from living and teaching us effectively. Failure to provide a holistic picture of democracy perpetuates a false implication that democracy is something belonging to any one place or time. It is important to understand there is no overall portal to assemble and present democracy as a philosophy and movement of all times and places, intrinsic to many aspects of social and political life. There is also a need to present good governance as something that flourished in different times and places thus dispelling myths that democracy is “European”.
How the World Democracy Museum is Timely
Democracy as a form of government has spread dramatically over recent decades. There has been a contemporaneous increase in real and perceived threats to democracy (e.g., increased cross border criminality, surveillance technology, voting fraud, mass poverty, etc.). In summary, democracy is a hotter topic than it was in past decades. This has increased the immediacy of needing to learn more about democracy, its workings, and what causes it to fail.
GDR specifically designed the Museum to respond to several important trans-national trends:
a. Proliferation of physical and electronic museums and increase in their perceived
b. Alteration in the culture and functionality of the worldwide web (web 2.0). Users expect or demand interaction. People want to do more than look at content. They want to download and edit it, post their own content, comment and respond to other comments. This information flood has given rise to community portals – an effort to organize all the information on one subject into one website (i.e. sites of different media related by theme versus single medium sites of different themes such as You Tube );
c. Proliferation of the third sector of the economy (civil society and NGOs);
d. Breakdown of various types of organizational forms. Once clear divisions between sectors of society are blurred by public/private partnerships, privatization of municipal functions, NGOs/IGOs assuming government tasks, foundations established by companies, et cetera.
How the World Democracy Museum Meets Needs
We will close the gap between existing needs and trends. Instead of addressing any one issue, we are creating a thorough and dynamic community portal on freedom and democracy; assembling and then disseminating geographically dispersed material. Activities will begin immediately in the form of a grassroots start-up. Rather than wait for large institutional funding and elite endorsements, we will begin with eager partners and donators, free software, and volunteers. We believe the power of this plan and the ideas behind it will attract adequate resources.
Our Internal Governance
The World Democracy Museum is housed in Stichting World Democracy Library, an incorporated Dutch foundation conducting activities as Global Democracy Resource (GDR). The management of the Museum itself will be an exercise in democracy. The Board of Directors will be assembled to represent a cross section of world communities and beliefs. The Board of Directors has plenary legislative authority, and management is delegated to the Coordinator who will represent the Coordination Team (executive authority) on the Board of Directors. All donors to the World Democracy Museum are represented in a proportional amount of membership. Citizens may join the World Democracy Museum as members, and collectively elect representatives on the Board of Directors. Members also will be able to make resolutions directly online in a members’ corner on the webpage. Resolutions are passed at the regular general meetings. This is a bold and useful step forward in Web 2.0, which includes, like Wikipedia, citizen input, but more importantly, the World Democracy Museum includes actual citizen involvement in its governance.
GDR will design and coordinate the Museum. We will work to attract members and organizational partners, who may participate democratically. We are seeking a combination of experience and contacts of mature institutions and motivated focus of smaller, newer organizations.
Our Target Audience
The World Democracy Museum’s primary audience will be democracy activists and organizations, researchers and teachers. The material will also be enjoyable and useful for the general public as a secondary audience. In full development, we will provide useful resources to citizen activists worldwide to be used for democratization efforts.
There will be introductions to concepts of freedom and democracy; themselves often in conflict and debatable. It is important to note the World Democracy Museum is non-partisan and non-sectarian—perhaps more accurately pan-partisan and pan-sectarian. We will let visitors and members take an active part in the debate, and make their own conclusions.
Summary of Main Activities
The main projects of the World Democracy Museum will be the first exhaustive online library dedicated to a full range of democracy issues. This will be multimedia communications portal allowing visitors to download (and upload) written, audio, and visual material. We will also feature the history of democracy and its future developments projects. This will contain an interactive map and timeline to facilitate learning. There will be an ever expanding number of special projects to outline interesting and useful themes related to democracy (democracy e-xhibits). In all projects, members and visitors will have an opportunity to upload and download material and to comment upon it, etc. as well as purchasing related material in an online store. There will be a dedicated user friendly website (and domains) for the Museum. When possible, all materials will be distributed free of charge.
“Decentered” and international with Netherlands coordination.
Organization of Material in the World Democracy Museum
In a short time, the Museum will gather materials covering a wide variety of times and places. For both internal and external purposes, materials will be organized into four general categories:
Theme e.g., e-democracy, direct democracy;
Time e.g., year, exact date, century, historical period;
Place UN members with accommodation for other groups and historical states;
People encyclopaedic summary of important men and women in the story of freedom.
There will also be special categories for the democracy e-xhibits.
Members and users of the World Democracy Museum will be able to categorize the material they upload by indicating (via pull-down menus) the themes and countries, etc. they believe are relevant to the material they are adding to the Museum. The quality of this process will be monitored by the Coordination Team.
An example: a user will be able to interface with the material via a timeline (time category) and map (place category), and to be able to post their own article about people power (theme category) in the Philippines (place category) in the 1980s (time category).
Grouping of material by categories will allow viewers exploring material in one category to easily access information in another. For example, someone viewing material for the above example will have the option to review pop-up entries regarding people power revolutions in Ukraine and democracy movements in the Philippines during the Nineteenth Century as well as an external links to Wikipedia articles on Corazon Aquino (people category). There also will be other external links to well known portals (e.g., YouTube, Gutenberg.org, and Freedom House, etc.).
Timeline and the Activities
This Workplan explains the start-up phase of the World Democracy Museum. It is envisioned that this will take one year. At the end of a year the Museum will not be finished, but the functionality described below will be established and the process of “filling the Museum” will have begun in earnest. The activities are classified as Objectives and Democracy e-xhibits. The Objectives are the basic and necessary functionalities, which will be established at the launching of the Museum. The Democracy e-xhibits below are meant to give a sample of the envisioned special focus projects. The Democracy e-xhibits in this Workplan can be commenced in course of the start-up of the Museum. The actual Democracy e-xhibts pursued will depend on funding and partners.
Potential Competitors and Problems
There are some projects dedicated to democracy in particular areas (e.g. Greece, South Korea, American campaign pins). It is more accurate to view these efforts as potential partners than competitors. None are exploring democracy throughout the world, and none are interactive. The market niche of the World Democracy Museum is unique. The designers of the Museum have intentionally planned an early and inexpensive commencement. This allows many to get involved as quickly, but it also means a similar project could be started elsewhere. The story of popular governance is a long and complex one, and it certainly can support many centers with different focus. We welcome that, and even hope to inspire such competition. There are countless museums dedicated to money or maritime history. An important area like democracy deserves as much if not more attention. The collaborative governance of the World Democracy Museum will allow Members to respond to new needs and variables as they develop.
2 description of PROGRAM OBJECTIVES AND activities
Objective 1 – The World Democracy Bibliography and Library
Develop comprehensive bibliography of democracy related materials and assemble or create digital versions of available materials to be hyperlinked to continuously updated online multimedia (written, audio, visual, etc.) library that can be freely accessed, downloaded, and printed.
Potential Initial Democracy e-xhibits
The Banned Books Project
Special feature assembling / analyzing forbidden political materials throughout the ages;
The Center for World Constitutions
A special feature presenting all constitutions in the world (national, sub-national, supra-national, and past and present) as well as summaries and searchable database broken down by various themes. This feature will allow visitors to rank and rate the various building blocks of constitutions and to reassemble them so as to “create their own constitution”.
Objective 2 – The Art of Democracy Project
Develop an online gallery of art related to freedom and democracy. This will include all media (written, video, music, etc.), and will be organized by the categories above.
Potential Initial Democracy e-xhibit
A House for All the People Project
A special feature focusing on democracy’s influence on architecture (particularly public buildings and spaces) and how this has evolved with democracy throughout the ages.
Objective 3 – The History of Democracy Project
We will create the first center dedicated to history of democracy. This will be a comprehensive, interactive multimedia service dedicated to self governance throughout the ages. Museum material will be presented via a dynamic map/timeline allowing visualization of democracy developments. As users move along the timeline, points will pop-up on map locations that were hotspots in democracy at the time indicated. The pop-ups will provide a brief explanation and can be clicked for a fuller explanation as well as relevant links to relevant material (internal and external). This will include democracy e-xhibits on interesting focal points of recurring and trans-national themes in history of freedom, such as world revolutions, democracy’s third wave, etc.. There will be a particular emphasis on ‘non-traditional’ areas of democratic development such as in the developing world and history of democracy in places other than the classical and Franco/Anglo worlds.
Potential Initial Democracy e-xhibit
On the Track of Freedom Project
A feature providing information regarding where and how to see and experience democratic history; a sort of first ever tourist guide for the evolving story of freedom.
Objective 4 – The New Frontiers in Democracy Project
We will fully present developments and emerging movements in the area of democracy (e.g., direct, economic, and electronic democracy, parliamentarianism, local assemblies, etc.).
Objective 5 – The World Town Square
We will create a feature allowing members and users to suggest or upload their own materials as well as comment on the materials and respond to others and to tag[i] the material according to categories they believe to be relevant.
Objective 6 – The Democracy Corner Store
We will subcontract an online service for the commercial provision of materials not yet in the public domain, and to sell related merchandise.
Objective 7 – The Members’ Corner
We will create a website area where members may post resolutions regarding governance and/or content of the World Democracy Museum and otherwise engage the World Democracy Museum itself and other members.
Future Objectives – World Democracy Museum Goals for Growth
During this start-up phase of the World Democracy Museum, the working language will be English. We intend to translate the material as soon as practically possible into all the other official U.N. languages and ultimately in the languages of the world spoken by more than one hundred million people. The first focus will be on Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, French, Japanese, and Urdu. Since the foreseeable workload and budget will not permit for this, we will rely on volunteer translators for the most important materials. A future fundraising program will be conducted to secure translation resources.
b. World Democracy Communications Platform Expansion
Our decentralized virtual education model can be expanded and applied to other democracy related topics. Another natural growth path the Coordination Team could follow is to design creative and interesting projects utilizing material gathered in the World Democracy Museum. For example, an online World Citizen Film Festival. New democracy e-xhibits will be added regularly. Prioritization of these can be done in cooperation with funders and partners. For example, we can work with certain cities or companies to raise necessary funds to examine and display the relevance of democracy in particular areas or sectors. Individuals and/or groups in our membership community can also contribute to creating democracy e-xhibits.
In the second year of operations, the Coordination Team would like to invite a variety of democracy scholars and political historians, etc. to assemble a board of experts for the World Democracy Museum. The most important task would be to monitor the Museum material for accuracy. It would also provide another forum to reflect a diversity of peoples and ideas.
To increase visibility of the World Democracy Museum, we intend to include an officer to create media outreach tools to more thoroughly promote the World Democracy Museum. This officer can be charged with the production of several useful and freely accessible democracy education tools such as e-study guides, course models, and (home) study packages. There are several professors in the global democracy movement who have shown interest in this and can provide an outlet. We envision a World Citizens’ Guide to World Governance as an early project.
c. World Power Watch Program
This is a natural and useful extension of the work of the Museum and part of logical and practical growth: We initially will assemble and disseminate existing (static) content. We will then focus on doing this with newly created (dynamic) material and ultimately will participate in creating new material. The World Democracy Museum can utilize skills it assembles during its first years to become a more active partner in the larger democracy movement. We can become a democracy social entrepreneur and catalyst for new projects. In addition to having social value unto themselves, participation in a wider variety of projects will provide an opportunity to reach a wider audience. The World Power Watch Program will be the substantial step in the World Democracy Museum becoming an active citizen of world civil society. This Program will provide interesting materials directly to visitors, but it will also serve as a center for activism. The members will be able to do as well as to learn.
We will select various concentrations of political power and shed light on them by researching and reporting. We envision a clearinghouse of learning and activism around threats to democracy. We will gather, analyze, and disseminate information on the state of governance and freedom in the world in a process similar to the ‘surveying, analyzing, reporting, training, and advocating’ done by Transparency International for transparency or Human Right Watch for human rights. Despite the success and value of such organizations, there are still large and basic gaps, which we will focus on filling. Potential activities could include creating a first ever comprehensive information center on the world’s various monarchs featuring a database comparing and contrasting their powers and privileges (“Monarchy Watch”), and applying the same watching, rating, and training methodology to the proliferating private militia companies (“Mercenary Watch”). Special focus could be placed on the varying legal status of such entities. We also could introduce open source map mash-up[ii] technology so citizens worldwide can blog, etc. about their varying experiences with these non-governmental armed organizations but also indicate where the experience occurred, which will be translated on a map for the viewers. Another example could be working with NGOs and parliaments, etc. worldwide to assemble the first exhaustive list of elected officials and other power players (the “Who Speaks for You?” Project). This would allow visitors to complete a short and basic form to generate a list of names and contact details of individuals and agencies representing the user at various government levels.
d. World Democracy Museum – Physical Institution
Research shows virtual visitors outnumber physical visitors at the world’s major museums[iii]. Starting with an online museum lowers start-up costs and allows a more physically dispersed audience to be reached nearly immediately. The electronic platform will allow for quicker and cheaper gathering materials, particularly those scattered throughout the world. Over time, if the amount of physical material and the needs of the member community demand a physical home for the World Democracy Museum, we will consider this option at that time.
3 OVERALL MONITORING and evaluation Methodology
• Self monitoring (by both the Coordination Team and Board of Directors) through continuous measurement of the goals versus results;
• Ongoing survey on the website for users as well as follow-up surveys of members;
• Monitor number of websites linking to the World Democracy Museum;
• Monitor level of users’ printing and downloading of material;
• Disaggregate socio-demographic data of users (also sector and organizational affiliation);
• Posted request on website for ongoing suggestions, corrections, and other feedback (and e-mail address and online form provided for ease of responsiveness) as well as a standard citation and request for users of materials to credit GDR as the source of materials and to inform us how they are using the materials.
• Hits, unique visits, and links to the website;
• Number of people directly and indirectly involved as well as gender and age diversity;
• Geographic diversity of users and the number being members of vulnerable groups;
• Quality and quantity of feedback gathered from participants;
• Amount of material processed and level of new material generated;
• Media exposure (both old and new media).
• Facilitated learning through worldwide distribution of easily accessible and free material;
• Nurtured notion of democracy as diverse set of beliefs and practices;
• Presented democracy as result of long and interesting history and philosophy;
• Demonstrated democracy is salient in different parts of the world and different cultural contexts;
• Provided visibility to large amount and diversity of democracy materials;
• Assembled largest possible amount and widest spectrum of materials in same place;
• Further encouraged more and more diverse works by providing an additional outlet for them;
• Provided additional exposure to and interest in democracy works;
• Further augmented the collection of the World Democracy Library with new work;
• Broadened and enriched the debate regarding governance reform;
• Strengthened ties in democratization community by provision of centralized free collaboration;
• Encouraged sharing of experiences and best practices;
• Generated new thinking about governance and new ideas about how it can be reformed;
• Increased number of visitors to the World Democracy Museum with each new activity;
• Provided place for newly interested parties to participate and get involved;
• Provided additional content to parties worldwide to use in their democracy related work;
• Brought new attention to old/out-of-print works and in doing so helped conserve patrimony.
• Website hits increase by 1,000 per month;
• 1 substantive contribution by visitor per month included in the bibliography;
• 1 work per week downloaded, printed, etc.;
• Hits, links, visitors, and members from 40 countries on 3 continents;
• 150 members by the end of the third year of operations;
• A reasonable amount of gender parity and age distribution after 2 years of activities;
• Apply to I.C.O.M. (and “.museum” domain) within 18 months of commencement;
• Museum covered in at least ten related civil society or other newsletters.
4 RESOURCES NEEDED
Initial Human Resource Requirements
a. Coordinating Officer
To act as permanent employee but may commence activities on a part time contract basis to minimize initial fixed costs:
Extensive knowledge and connections in law, governance, and global democracy movement;
Familiarity with (researching) democracy literature and other materials;
Experience in international organizations and law and finance to incorporate the trans-national structure and Board of Directors and to manage the books and operations of a small start-up Coordination Team;
Experience with civil society and other start-ups as well as familiarity with open source content management systems.
b. Web Development Specialist
A sub-contracted service or individual:
To develop the website (basic functionality and design themes);
To establish ongoing content management system (open source – Drupal).
Initial Marketing Requirements
The Museum will have a logo and trade dress (designed by volunteers) as well as some very basic printed marketing tools (e.g., business cards) to distribute at meetings, etc., but the vast majority of marketing will occur through new media and social networking channels. This is much more cost efficient, but it is also more effective at quickly gathering interest among younger populations. This is also important to appeal to this online audience, since the World Democracy Museum itself will commence activities as an electronic project and will position itself as a collaborative museum / museum 2.0.
The World Democracy Museum is designed to be a permanent enterprise of all citizens interested in freedom and good governance. The activities described above will be ongoing and will be commenced upon the securing of a minimum amount of funds. These are envisioned to be able to be started in one year, and to reach some fruition during that time. The potential initial democracy e-xhibits described above are an example of what is able to be done with the resources detailed herein. Initial focus will be on getting the Museum started and making it sustainable. More activities and democracy e-xhibits will be added as resources become available. The more fundable democracy e-xhibits will be prioritized.
5 financial requirements (Budget)
Please see Annex A
[i] “Tag” is a new term associated with Web 2.0 methodologies meaning a keyword associated with and assigned to information and/or data allowing this information to be classified together with other information similarly tagged and thus accessible together under certain search functions, et cetera.
[ii] “Mash-up” is a new term associated with Web 2.0 methodologies describing information and/or data assembled together with information from another source and media creating a new presentation. The most common example is GoogleMaps, which allow users to take textual or photographic information and situation on a related location on a map.
[iii] See for example, ECSITE Annual Conference Report (December 2004) by R. Hawkey at http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/publications_reports_articles/web_articles/Web_Article550 .
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