WASHINGTON, DC, October 07, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Tavaana: E-learning Institute for Iranian Civil Society
is proud to announce the successful completion of two pilot e-courses and the graduation of several dozen students from Iran.
Prominent Iranian women's rights activists, student leaders, election campaign volunteers, labor organizers and citizen journalists recently completed Tavaana's live instruction Cybersecurity for Activists
and Leadership Development
courses. Communicating with their instructors safely and securely from Iran, Tavaana students utilized cutting edge electronic classroom technology to pave the way for hundreds more Iranians who will soon be taking classes on a wide range of civil society development topics.
"It's heartening to see the commitment and resilience of Iranian civic leaders as they join Tavaana e-classrooms from locations throughout the country," said Tavaana Founder and Director Mariam Memarsadeghi. "We will remain steadfast in our dedication to providing Iranians safe access
to the knowledge and know how necessary to advance democracy and human rights in their country," she added.
Tavaana's pilot Leadership Development Course, taught in partnership with The George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management
helps students tap into their unique attributes as civic leaders and build their skills in teamwork and strategic planning. Best graduates from this course are being selected for an intensive Leadership Mentoring program with George Washington University Professor and political leadership coach Kathleen Schafer.
Tavaana's pilot Cybersecurity for Activists course, led by Iranian political analyst and technology expert Nima Rashedan, equips cyberactivists with the most up to date information and procedures to protect themselves online. Tavaana's Cybersecurity for Activists Handbook
has also been widely disseminated in Iran over Tavaana's social networks and via email and blogs.
"Despite the crackdown on Iranian civic life since the June 2009 election, Iranians remain eager to press for an open, democratic society. Our team at CLIME is proud to help them in their brave struggle," said Eleana Gordon, Executive Director of the Center for Liberty in the Middle East.
Students have remarked that the safe, anonymous peer to peer exchange of ideas and experiences in Tavaana classrooms has fostered trust and allowed freedom of expression about issues central to the development of a strong civil society. Others have praised Tavaana's case studies of civic movements as sources of insight into how people from all parts of the globe have fought political repression and social injustice by overcoming challenges remarkably similar to those the Iranian people face today.
Beginning in November, civic leaders from various parts of Iranian civil society will participate in Tavaana's Democracy Web
course. A civic education course originally developed by Freedom House and the Albert Shanker Institute, Democracy Web has been translated to Persian by Ramin Parham and will be adapted and taught for the Iranian context by acclaimed Iranian political scientist Mohammad Reza Nikfar. Democracy Web provides an overview of the architecture of democracy, gives historical background information on democratic transitions, and provides a framework for comparing the state of political rights and civil liberties in different countries around the world.
Other Tavaana students will be enrolled in Ms. Mehrangiz Kar's course on Protecting Women's Rights in Iran or developing their activism strategies and tactics through a network-oriented course developed and taught by the New Tactics in Human Rights Advocacy Project. Additional courses are also being developed.
In addition to its live e-courses, Tavaana offers easily downloadable self-learning
lesson modules, instructional video lectures, case studies
on civic movements worldwide, interviews
with Iranian and international activists, translations
of democracy classics, an annotated resource library
and more. Since its May 17, 2010 launch, Tavaana's learning assets have been retweeted to over 300,000 people and its Facebook
network has grown to include over 4,000 people. Every day, thousands of Iranians are circumventing government filtering of the Tavaana website to access its civic education offerings.
Tavaana was launched with a seed grant from the US Department of State, Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
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