On the Global Dialogue on the Future of Iran
On May 10th, 2013, the Munk School launched a new kind of digital public square for Iran. Experts and members of the Iranian diaspora in Toronto opened a live two-day session discussing a range of topics relevant to Iran’s upcoming presidential election. Using Psiphon’s circumvention technology (a free access to information tool originally developed at the Munk School) participants from directly inside Iran could join using a whole portfolio of social media and meeting platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Google Moderator. Those tools allowed Iranians anywhere to contribute to the discussion in live time, and vote on questions on any topic – anonymously, if they wished.
The results after the event were staggering: within two weeks, more than 360,000 unique users had connected with the Global Dialogue from inside Iran, and had visited the site over 1,490,000 times.
With the Iranian presidential election fast approaching, and election monitors barred from Iran, the Munk School used its newly created digital platform as an Elections Monitoring Centre (EMC). The aim was to gather data from inside the country, analyze everything available with researchers who have expertise in both access issues and elections monitoring. A 24-hour research team aggregated news, social media reports on the election, and provided constant analysis of the events as they unfolded. Those whose connections were too slow for video or audio were able to follow our analysis on twitter and through blog posts on our website. All of the work was broadcast via the Global Dialogue hub into Iran during and after the election itself.
After Hassan Rouhani’s election, the Munk School set out to research President Rouhani’s campaign promises. In the spirit of the renowned Morsi Meter, on August 3rd, 2013, the Global Dialogue launched Rouhani Meter (http://rouhanimeter.com). Its goal has been to measure the performance of Iranian President Rouhani by monitoring the status of promises he made during his campaign. Experts and researchers have collected data from media outlets, government releases, government proceedings, and social media posts. Iranians inside the country participate via a Community Watch platform where they can monitor progress and help validate President Rouhani’s promises. Since its launch, over one million users have visited Rouhani Meter from inside Iran and it has been showcased across popular Iranian media outlets both inside and outside of the country.