Two short years ago, I was googling my way to google, skeptical about what some were calling the open revolution. That day in September 2011, when the Open Government Partnership was launched changed my mind.
Today, another September day in New York with the world gathering again at the United Nations General Assembly, I’m proud to see the White House touting the contribution that my team and I at USAID — together with DFID, SIDA, and Omidyar Network– have made to that revolution. Today Making All Voices Count: A Grand Challenge for Development is open for business and calling for proposals. And today the Open Society Foundations have joined our effort.
Some say that when you join government you spend down your intellectual capital. Not so in the 21st century! In the last few years, I’ve been witness to and learned from this open revolution. Citizens all around the world are getting more information and demanding more from their governments and technology is helping to close the gaps between citizens and governments.
But many of us in government need help listening and responding to how we can do better. This is where Making All Voices Count comes in: we expect to see proposals for innovative ideas to close that feedback loop, proposals to scale up important efforts that already exist, and proposals that will help the world understand how transparency and accountability are critical in helping new democracies deliver to their citizens.
So today, the President has called on all of us to double down on the open revolution and think in creative ways about how to support innovations for civil society. I’m excited to work with my team to respond to that call. We’ve got some great ideas and we will be working with partners around the world to make them real. I predict whether two years from now or in twenty, it will be increasingly hard to remain a closed society while the rest of the world opens up.
Join us by making all voices count! The first call for proposals is open now. Applications close November 8, 2013.
Learn more about this year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and its focus on the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and inclusive development goals for persons with disabilities.
Follow @USAID and @RajShah for ongoing updates during the week and join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtags #UNGA and #UNGA2013.