EU policy/Visiting Volunteers

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BXL Public Policy Fellowship

Programme Goal[edit]

Wikimedia is present in Brussels to shape public policy on key issues, namely: copyright, intermediary liability, net neutrality, access to knowledge, privacy and freedom of speech. In advancing these policies we seek support of activists, scholars, and policy experts from all over Europe that are or would like to become a part of Wikimedia community.

By involving volunteers in our policy and advocacy work, we create a more inclusive representation of the European community in Brussels. We also provide hands-on approach to refining advocacy skills and guidance to get more confidence in approaching decision-makers with engaging narratives. We aim at creating a community of skilled advocates that can increase impact on policies in their own communities as well as network across Europe to create synergies.

Who are we looking for?[edit]

We are looking for activists, academics or policy people with national-level experience in the area of law or policy that we prioritise, who are planning to step up their policy and advocacy activities. Previous experience in advocating for various causes, building working relationships with a national government or parliament and public speaking are all good assets, but not as essential as working knowledge of the issues in question.

We are looking for committed individuals of all genders, backgrounds, and experiences who are able to demonstrate that their participation is a natural step on the way to achieve their professional goals. We would like to create a network of activists that stay in touch, work with us on new challenges and are essential in shaping and carrying out our messages to their communities.

Priorities of the program[edit]

Since we can only have up to 4 participants each year, we need to prioritize issues we want to jointly work on. We also encourage applications from regions or countries we are committed to maintain greater outreach in. It does not mean that candidates from other parts of the European Union would not be considered, but we encourage participation from the regions mentioned below in particular.

Our thematic priorities are:

  1. Intermediary liability
  2. Copyright in the Digital Single Market
  3. AI and automated tools for content moderation
  4. Data and Database Rights

A weeklong stay in Brussels[edit]

The program is based on a weeklong stay in Brussels and some additional preparatory (or concluding) work before and after the visit. Funding covers round trip, accommodation, and per diem. Each visit is a tailored experience that we plan together with the participant based on our needs and their particular expertise and interests. The activities include:

  • hands-on approach on advocacy for a better regulatory framework in a hot period of Parliamentary debate on the issue in question
  • active participation in our meetings with partners, Members of the European Parliament, also in events that take place during the stay
  • exchange of knowledge and experience - we hope to learn from our guests as well as put his or her experience in good use at Wikimedia
  • a possibility to create ties with the unique community of Wikimedians across Europe
  • a great experience exploring Brussels' cultural scene after hours

How to participate?[edit]

We want this experience to be as fruitful as possible for both us and the participants, so we often invite people to stay with us based on their specific set of skills for a given policy discussion. Generally we are looking for people that have no such opportunities at hand, resulting for example from frequent work-related trips to Brussels. But we also realise that we don’t know everybody in the field and would like to open this opportunity to anyone that is up to the challenge.

If you are interested in participating, please drop us an email briefly presenting who you are and stating what motivates you to become a part of the program.

Visiting fellows and their experience[edit]

"My experience at Wikimedia sensitized me to dedicating more time at writing pieces connecting the dots of legal modern issues for a wider audience. Stepping out the academic bubble is the most important lesson that fellows can learn from spending time contributing to policy work. The discussions I had while doing the fellowship helped me a lot to solidify my legal arguments on the copyright reform and to proof them against multiple misconceptions that are used by different actors." Alexandra Giannopoulou

"The fellowship is a great way to learn the reality of how EU institutions actually function and that there are no hard rules on what works and what doesn’t in public policy. If you want to understand the dynamics, there’s no one like Wikimedia that can help you navigate through all the intricacies while providing excellent support and knowledge sharing." Valentina Pavel