We are delighted to welcome Osaro Odemwingie and Roberto Verzola as the first two civil society practitioners from the global south to spend time as academic visitors at the Oxford Internet Institute (University of Oxford) in 2008. Their stays have been made possible through seed funding from the media policy portfolio in the Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom Program of the Ford Foundation.

Osaro Odemwingie has been a full-time human rights and development worker since 1997. As Coordinator of the Freedom of Information Coalition in Nigeria, he initiated and coordinated civil society lobbying of Legislative and Executive officers of government to pass a Freedom of Information Act. He visits the OII in June 2008 to undertake research on the impact of ICTs on advocacy for transparency and accountability in governance, undertaking a case study of the Campaign For Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria.

Roberto Verzola is an electrical engineer by training: his senior year project was the design and assembly of a microcomputer, considered a first in the Philippines. His detailed analysis of the 2004 Philippine presidential elections and the 2007 senatorial elections called attention to the chronic cheating that afflicted Philippine elections. He visits the OII in April 2008 to undertake research on technologies for ensuring honest elections.

About the programme

This visitor programme is aimed at Civil Society Practitioners in or from the global South who wish to visit the Oxford Internet Institute to undertake research concerning the social impact of the Internet and related ICTs, particularly as it relates to the areas of freedom of expression, media reform, media justice, and communications and information policy in the globalized context of the Internet.

The 2008 Visitors will receive a subsistence allowance of 3800 GBP (7500 USD) to cover research expenses and living costs during their stay, and a travel grant of up to 1000 GBP (2000 USD) for travel to and from the UK.

We would like to thank our advisory panel for their help in establishing this programme. It is currently in pilot phase: we hope to continue it beyond 2008, subject to funding.


Laura Taylor
Academic and Student Affairs Officer
Oxford Internet Institute
University of Oxford
1 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3JS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1865 287222
Fax: +44 (0)1865 287211
Email: recruit@oii.ox.ac.uk