Our Founding Premise

Keseb | ከሰብ | Keh-seb means “of the people” in Geëz, an ancient South Semitic language, originating in Ethiopia and Eritrea, in East Africa.

Both American and global democracy are at an inflection point. And the bifurcation of U.S. domestic and international pro-democracy efforts has hindered effective transference of knowledge and tactics.

Meanwhile transnational illiberal forces have developed and perfected the “authoritarian playbook’’ that has been leveraged across multiple countries including the U.S.

This is a moment for humility and global solidarity as we cannot build and sustain free societies through old frames and tactics. We need to become adept at addressing short-term crises while reimagining and building the democracy of the 21st century. Trends over the last two decades have taught us that in order to counter the drivers of democratic regression, pro-democracy efforts must:

1. Engage both offensively and defensively;

2. Develop robust national and cross-national ecosystems; and

3. Promote and accelerate learning and innovation.

On the frontlines of the pro-democracy movement, along with values-based politicians and public servants, are visionary democracy entrepreneurs who are leading strategic and innovative civil society efforts. Despite these leaders and their efforts consistently demonstrating impact, our field research and interviews show that they are underinvested in, fragmented, and lacking peer and support networks that facilitate learning, growth, and solidarity building within their countries and especially across borders.

The pro-democracy field needs strategic, innovative, and collaborative civil society efforts, not just a proliferation of activities, that optimize our success in defending and strengthening democracy, both in the short and long-term.

Keseb exists to address these urgent needs and opportunities in the pro-democracy landscape with a particular focus on large, multiethnic, multiracial, and multi-religious developed democracies. Launched in May 2022, Keseb is designed to support, connect, and amplify existing efforts, contributing to reinvigorating an innovative and effective 21st century pro-democracy movement.

Along with our team, advisors, and partners, I invite you to learn more and join us in advancing inclusive and resilient democracies.

Yordanos Eyoel
— Founder and CEO