My name is Grace Chimezie, and I am delighted to be a recent addition to the NDITech team. I have been welcomed warmly by brilliant thinkers, invested in strengthening NDI’s core democratic principles.
During the next several months, I’ll be serving as a project assistant, collaborating on tasks related to DemTools, exploring how citizens engage with their governments through technology, promoting an open and democratic Internet, as well as strengthening NDItech’s digital outreach across relevant platforms.
Growing up Nigerian, in a country where democratic processes have been skewed, including corruption, conflicts, and lack of accountability in governance, picking a career path wasn’t difficult, as I was eager to raise awareness of these issues. So at the start of 2012, I became a journalist for ThisDay, a Nigerian national newspaper, where I believed could help bring about justice, and amplify the voices of the Nigerian people.
In February 2012, I became responsible for covering the conflict of the North-East region of Nigeria. In April of the same year, while reviewing newspapers at my desk for an upcoming editorial meeting, a deafening sound, with a shock, threw me and my newspaper to the floor of the newsroom. A bomb detonated by the terrorist group Boko Haram had exploded, destroying the building. The huge printing machine installed in the newsroom helped to minimize the impact, and prevented more casualties.
Several colleagues lost their lives to that terrorist attack, and others like me were left physically and emotionally scarred. Despite the situation, I stayed to accomplish my goal of justice and amplifying the voice of the unheard. However, the conflict in the North-East endured and has spanned over a decade, impacting negatively on the daily lives of Nigerians. Instinctively, to find sustainable solutions to the conflict, I decided to delve into comparative African drama research, focusing on African theatre and governance.
After two enjoyable years, lecturing on mass communication at my alum, Bingham University in Nigeria, I gathered momentum to embark on an academic sojourn to the United States to answer some of the burning research questions I still had in regard to governance. I chose to pursue an interdisciplinary program in Communications, Culture, and Technology at Georgetown University, and two-challenging research years later, I am now a proud alumnus.
Although my probing questions regarding the effect of new media, theatre, and linguistics in politics have not all been answered, I have accumulated the academic skills to offer solutions in environments not only about issues related to governance, but in the fields of technology, communication, and policy as well.
Skills that have led me to NDI and I am looking forward to future possibilities.
Also, shout out to my dad and mom for encouraging this girl to pursue her dreams without trepidation. (*inserts smiley face*)