My name is Cat Ramsey, and I am excited to start promoting democracy at NDI as the new Temporary Project Assistant on the DemTech team!
Though I have always aimed to defend human rights, my passion for democracy was sparked by my experience with the Alliance for Securing Democracy, where I was a trainee during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting infodemic, as well as the 2020 US presidential election. Observing the sudden acceleration of dependence on technology at a time when the speed of innovation has far outpaced lagging regulations inspired me. I was horrified by the trend of democratic backsliding and the numerous examples of autocratic abuses of power around the world, but I was also fascinated by the complexities of the issue. While malicious actors sought to take advantage of the situation, marginalized peoples were hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic and weakening democratic institutions. Simultaneously, this information revolution brought unprecedented tools for democratic engagement.
Personally, I also relied on these tools after I became an unexpected remote student for the last three semesters of my master’s degree. Prior to studying peace, security, and strategy in graduate school, I was lucky enough to travel and live in a number of countries across Asia and Europe. These experiences shaped my understanding of people, politics, and progress. Comparing my experiences teaching English in South Korea and studying Arabic, Persian, and Russian in Scotland, I saw how culture shapes the use and regulation of emerging technologies.
My international background and intersectional anti-imperialist approach to human rights aligns well with NDI’s global outreach and strategy of supporting local actors. Most recently, I worked at Discovering Justice, a community-focused nonprofit which encourages democratic participation through civic education in Boston. Bringing together voices from all corners of the city generated groundbreaking ideas, demonstrating the danger of groupthink and elitism. I’m looking forward to contributing to similarly localized and intersectional approaches to emerging technology threats and opportunities at NDI.
I have also had the opportunity to conduct research for the Working Group on Children Recruited by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups (CRTG) on the exploitation of children by terrorist groups based largely in Africa. Such criminal organizations create more threats to technology rights both by exploiting inefficient regulations and policing online and by providing an excuse for governments to attack internet freedom.
In between working and making cat-related puns, I enjoy playing a wide variety of sports, ranging from MMA and ultimate frisbee to slacklining and rock climbing, as well as reading books and having adventures.
Let’s get started!