Digital policy expert and former Internet Society VP Constance Bommelaer de Leusse joins McCourt Institute as executive director, will speak on behalf of Institute at UNESCO’s Earth University and Parliament of the Future event on November 26th in Paris
PARIS, Nov. 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Frank McCourt, founder of international nonprofit Project Liberty and its McCourt Institute, welcomed Constance Bommelaer de Leusse as the Institute’s new executive director. With more than 20 years of experience in digital policy and coalition building, de Leusse succeeds inaugural executive director Sheherazade Semsar-de Boisséson. She is based in Paris at the McCourt Institute’s European headquarters on Science Po’s campus.
“Constance is absolutely the right person for this role,” said Semsar-de Boisséson, who led the McCourt Institute’s launch and executive director search and will continue to support Project Liberty and the McCourt Institute through the end of 2022 as a consultant. “With Constance’s leadership and vision, the McCourt Institu te is poised to make a positive and lasting impact by ensuring that digital governance is prioritized in the development of tomorrow’s web.”
This leadership addition marks an important milestone for Project Liberty, which aims to construct a more equitable internet architecture, enable individuals to own and control their personal data and repair social media in ways that strengthen democracy, restore trust and empower people over platforms.
“I am delighted to lead the McCourt Institute and excited to support Project Liberty’s critical mission,” said de Leusse. “We have a finite window of opportunity to positively shape the next generation of the internet, and the McCourt Institute’s vital role is clear. The Institute, and the entire Project Liberty team, is committed to harnessing the power of breakthrough technology and research, effective governance principles and engaged citizens to put us on a better path.”
On November 26, in Paris, de Leusse will discuss her plans for the McCourt Institute at UNESCO’s Earth University and the Parliament of the Future event. Participating in a panel entitled, “Life at a Time of Great Transitions,” de Leusse will highlight the importance of digital governance in strengthening democracy, restoring trust and enabling problem-solving around our most pressing societal issues, including climate change.
Before joining Project Liberty’s McCourt Institute, de Leusse served in the French prime minister’s services and then as vice president of institutional relations and empowerment at The Internet Society, which she helped to grow significantly during her 16-year tenure with the organization. Throughout her career, de Leusse has made major contributions to numerous international organizations. She played key roles in founding the Internet Technical Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and in developing UNESCO’s internet governance strategy. She has also served on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Internet for All Steering Committee and the UN Secretary-General’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group of the Internet Governance Forum.
Under de Leusse’s leadership, the McCourt Institute will support Project Liberty’s mission to advance a more equitable digital architecture that strengthens democracy and empowers internet users. Last fall, Project Liberty released the groundbreaking decentralized DSNP protocol to serve as a foundation for the next generation of the web. Open-source and accessible to anyone, DSNP enables users to own, control, and financially benefit from their personal data. Since then, Project Liberty launched the McCourt Institute and distributed its first round of research grants to identify and advance effective digital governance solutions; announced a partnership with Polkadot showing the first implementation of DSNP, as well as collaborations with MeWe and Frances Haugen; and helped to convene more than 3,000 experts and engaged citizens at Unfinished Live 2022 to focus on creating a more equitable web and inclusive digital economy.
About Project Liberty
Project Liberty is an international nonprofit organization working to create a new civic architecture for the digital world that returns the ownership and control of personal data to individuals, embeds ethical values into technology, and expands economic opportunities for web users and developers alike. The initiative seeks to accelerate the world’s transition to an open, inclusive data economy that puts citizens in control—a future in which all people can benefit from their participation and contributions. Because the success of this effort depends on many people and organizations working together to shape a better future, Project Liberty is actively engaging diverse voices and equipping them to catalyze change. Project Liberty supports a groundbreaking open-source internet protocol called the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP) to serve as a new infrastructure for the next generation of the web. Project Liberty is also bringing together networks of organizations that seek change, including through the formation of McCourt Institute, to ensure that digital governance is embedded and prioritized in the development of new technology.
About The McCourt Institute
The McCourt Institute, established in 2021 with founding partners Sciences Po in Paris and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., aims to ensure that digital governance is prioritized in the development of new technology and embedded in the next generation of the web. The Institute works to enhance digital governance by supporting timely, actionable research on ethical technology and serving as a meeting ground for technologists, social scientists, policymakers and governance experts, and leaders from the public and private sector. The Institute is part of Project Liberty, an international nonprofit initiative that seeks to transform how the internet works, create a more equitable digital economy, and develop a new civic architecture for the digital world.
Read the original press release here.