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Jessica Dheere wants activists, policymakers, journalists, human rights defenders, and researchers to be able to better observe, understand, and act on emerging legal trends in digital rights around the world.

As co-founder and executive director of the Beirut–based digital rights research and advocacy organization SMEX (, she has launched the CYRILLA Collaborative (, a global initiative that facilitates mapping and comparative analysis of the evolution and impact of legal frameworks in digital environments by aggregating, organizing, and visualizing distributed legal data through open research methodologies, data models, taxonomies, and databases.

Jessica has written and presented on a wide range of internet policy issues pertinent to the Middle East North Africa region, including “Misguiding Multistakeholderism: A Nongovernmental Perspective on the Arab IGF” in the 2017 edition of GISWatch on national and regional internet governance initiatives. She is a member of the inaugural Freedom Online Coalition Advisory Network, has served as a high-level facilitator at the WSIS Forum, and in 2014 was a Kathryn Davis Fellow for Peace, which enabled her study Arabic intensively through the Middlebury Language School at Mills College. She has a master’s degree in media studies from the New School in New York City and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University.