#Democracy on Fire: Twitter, Social Movements, and the Future of Dissent

David Eaves
Friday, October 27, 2017 - 4:00pm
Digital HKS, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

Marshall Ganz
Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Wael Ghonim
Entrepreneurship Fellow, Shorenstein Center, Harvard Kennedy School
Computer engineer, internet activists, and social entrepreneur
Author, Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People is Greater than the People in Power
Zeynep Tufekci
Associate Professor, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina
Author, Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protests
David Eaves (moderator)
Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School      

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Panelists Biographies

Marshall Ganz grew up in Bakersfield, California, where his father was a Rabbi and his mother, a teacher. He entered Harvard College in the fall of 1960. He left a year before graduating to volunteer with the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. He found a “calling” as an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and, in the fall of 1965, joined Cesar Chavez in his effort to unionize California farm workers. During 16 years with the United Farm Workers he gained experience in union, political, and community organizing, became Director of Organizing, and was elected to the national executive board on which he served for 8 years. During the 1980s, he worked with grassroots groups to develop new organizing programs and designed innovative voter mobilization strategies for local, state, and national electoral campaigns. In 1991, in order to deepen his intellectual understanding of his work, he returned to Harvard College and, after a 28-year "leave of absence," completed his undergraduate degree in history and government. He was awarded an MPA by the Kennedy School in 1993 and completed his PhD in sociology in 2000. As senior lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government, he teaches, researches, and writes on leadership, organization, and strategy in social movements, civic associations, and politics. He has published in the American Journal of Sociology, American Political Science Review, American Prospect, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and elsewhere. His newest book, Why David Sometimes Wins: leadership, organization and strategy in the California farm worker movement was published in 2009, earning the Michael J. Harrington Book Award of the American Political Science Association. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in divinity by the Episcopal Divinity School in 2010.

Marshall Ganz also teaches "Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change" an online program designed to help leaders of civic associations, advocacy groups and social movements learn how to organize communities that can mobilize power to make change.

Wael Ghonim is a computer engineer, internet activist, and social entrepreneur. He is best known for his role in the Egyptian revolution in 2011, and he is the author of Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People is Greater than the People in Power. Ghonim worked for Google, heading their marketing and product operations in the Middle East. In 2015, he co-founded the online community Parlio, which was acquired by Quora. Ghonim was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2011, and received the 2011 Profile in Courage Award from the Kennedy Library Foundation. While at the Shorenstein Center, Ghonim will research the impact of social media algorithms on political and social discourse, and meet with students.

Zeynep Tufekci is an associate professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an affiliate appointment at the Department of Sociology. She is also a faculty associate at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and was previously a fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy at the Princeton University. Tufekci’s research interests revolve around the intersection of technology and society. Her academic work focuses on social movements and civics, privacy and surveillance, and social interaction. She is also increasingly known for her work on "big data" and algorithmic decision making. Originally from Turkey, and formerly a computer programmer, Tufekci became interested in the social impacts of technology and began to focus on how digital and computational technology interact with social, political and cultural dynamics. Her work has appeared in a wide range of outlets, from peer-reviewed journals to traditional media and blogging platforms. Her forthcoming book Beautiful Teargas: The Ecstatic, Fragile Politics of Networked Protest in the 21st Century, to be published by Yale University Press, will examine the dynamics, strengths and weaknesses of 21st century social movements.

David Eaves is a public policy entrepreneur and expert in information technology and government.

In 2009, as an adviser to the Office of the Mayor of Vancouver, David proposed and helped draft the Open Motion which created one of the first open data portals in Canada and the world. He subsequently advised the Canadian government on its open data strategy where his parliamentary committee testimony laid out the core policy structure that has guided multiple governments approach to the issue. He has gone on to work with numerous local, state, and national governments advising on technology and policy issues, including sitting on Ontario's Open Government Engagement Team in 2014–2015.

In addition to working with government officials, David served as the first Director of Education for Code for America — training each cohort of fellows for their work with cities. David has also worked with 18F and the Presidential Innovation Fellows at the White House providing training and support.

With a background in negotiation, David also advises non-profits and advocacy groups on critical negotiations. He developed and helped implement collaborative strategies for open source communities such as Drupal and Mozilla. He served as a negotiation adviser to a coalition of Canadian environmental government organizations during two years of negotiations with the Forestry Products Association of Canada (FPAC) which helped cement the ground-breaking Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. David subsequently served as a mediator and facilitator on critical implementation committees for the agreement.