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Elections and the Digital Transformation

How can democratic actors mitigate digital threats and help ensure technology works to advance the integrity of elections and political processes? The complexity of information disorder and the ways that digital communication have altered the information environments that surround democratic processes necessitates coordinated and multifaceted action. There is increasing recognition that multistakeholder approaches that leverage and coordinate the contributions of different actors are needed to ensure responses are agile and impactful. This panel will explore the dynamics – the challenges and opportunities – that come from coordinating action among democratic actors — election authorities, civil society, and tech watchdogs — as they seek to deploy collaborative approaches while navigating the tensions of political pressure, corporate calculus and public urgency.


Moderator: Moira Whelan, CEPPS/NDI


  • Justice Barroso, TSE-Brazil
  • Idayat Hassan, Director of the Center for Democracy and Development (Nigeria) 
  • Suzanne Nossel, Oversight Board (CEO of PEN America) 


Justice Barroso

Justice Luis Roberto Barrosso is a Brazilian law professor, jurist, Justice of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil, having been nominated to the position by President Dilma Rousseff in 2013, and, since 25 May 2020, Barroso has also served as President of the Superior Electoral Court. Barroso graduated in law from the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), has a Master’s Degree in law by Yale University, and a PhD from UERJ, being a Professor of Constitutional Law in the university, while also doing post-doctoral studies in the Harvard Law School.

Idayat Hassan

Idayat Hassan is Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), an Abuja-based Think-Tank with focus on deepening democracy and development in West Africa. Hassan was formerly the Principal Program Officer and Team Leader for Democratic Governance unit at the organization. Prior to joining the CDD, Hassan was a Deputy Regional Coordinator with the Movement Against Corruption, a movement that seeks to eradicate corruption and poverty in Nigeria. A lawyer by profession, and a Development Expert, she has held Fellowships in several universities across Europe and America. Her core interest in Development work spans Democracy, Accountability, Peace and Security, and transitional justice in West Africa.

Suzanne Nossel

Suzanne Nossel currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of PEN America, the leading human rights and free expression organization, and she is author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All. Since joining in 2013, she has doubled the organization’s staff, budget, and membership, spearheaded the unification with PEN Center USA in Los Angeles and the establishment of a Washington, D.C. office, and overseen groundbreaking work on free expression in Hong Kong and China, Myanmar, Eurasia, and the United States. She is a leading voice on free expression issues in the United States and globally, writing and being interviewed frequently for national and international media outlets. Her prior career spanned government service and leadership roles in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. She has served as the Chief Operating Officer of Human Rights Watch and as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. During the first term of the Obama Administration, Nossel served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, where she led U.S. engagement in the United Nations and multilateral institutions, on human rights and humanitarian issues. During the Clinton Administration, Nossel was Deputy to the U.S. Ambassador for UN Management and Reform at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, where she was the lead negotiator in settling U.S. arrears to the world body. During her corporate career, Nossel served as Vice President of U.S. Business Development for Bertelsmann and as Vice President for Strategy and Operations for the Wall Street Journal. In 2021, Nossel was selected as a member of the Oversight Board, an independent body using human rights principles to adjudicate decisions on Facebook and Instagram.

Moira Whelan

Moira Whelan has more than 20 years of experience at the forefront of international engagement and technology. Before joining NDI she was a founding partner in BlueDot Strategies, a consulting firm based in Washington, DC that specialized in assisting technology companies engage governments. She regularly engaged non-profits in training government and civil society leaders on using digital tools and developing strategies for integrating new technologies into practice for citizen engagement. She has also served as the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Digital Strategy at the US Department of State where spearheaded digital diplomacy efforts and counseled governments around the world in integrating digital tools into their outreach efforts. Prior to this, she served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs at the US Agency for International Development where she oversaw the global communications team and integrated digital tools into development outreach. Before joining USAID, Moira worked at the Department of Homeland Security where she directed the National Joint Information Center and also served as Chief of Staff in the Office of Gulf Coast Rebuilding.