Beth Simone Noveck, Network Chair and Executive Director of the GovLab, discussed the honor of receiving an Internet and Society Award from the Oxford Internet Institute on the GovLab Blog:
"More years ago than I care to recall, I studied at Christ Church College. At that point, I came to the University of Oxford to study allied cultural policy after World War II. I was interested in the ways that each of the different post-war powers used the media of their day, ranging from film to photography, in an effort to democratize and de-nazify post-war German society. It was out of this interest in how to use communications media and technology to forge stronger and more robust democratic culture that gave rise to a personal fascination — not with how to avoid regulation of technology — but how to use technology affirmatively to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions.
It was therefore especially moving to be awarded the Internet and Society Award by the Oxford Internet Institute last night for the GovLab’s and my work on using technology to strengthen democratic institutions and to return to Oxford for the occasion. The OII is one of the preeminent academic departments studying the societal implications of life online. Founded in 2001 at the University of Oxford, the Institute undertakes multidisciplinary research and educates the next generation of social science scholars focusing on the Internet. From its inception, the Institute has focused as much on the impact of the Internet on government and democracy as on society more broadly. It has been pathbreaking in its work and, above all, in its efforts to train new generations of people with a greater understanding of the positive potential of technology for democracy in our own day."