How refreshing it is to “meet” Mary Joyce, the latest “Person of the Week” from Politics Online.

Mary's short career began in 1999 as a high school volunteer for the Bill Bradley presidential campaign. But her true love — using digital technology to empower citizen activism in developing world countries — seems to have been triggered by a Fulbright scholarship year in Morocco, where she was inspired by civil society advocates.

Since then, she has (among other notable activities):

    • Launched to experiment with using digital technology as a tool for social change in developing countries;
    • Co-founded, Morocco's first citizen journalism website; and,
    • Organized the Free Alaa blog campaign to free jailed Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fatah.

Now she's planning to try her e-advocacy stuff in Chile.

One of my greatest thrills over the years has been working around individuals who bring this kind of energy, passion and commitment to their endeavors. While I've met them in both for-profit and nonprofit settings, without question those toiling for the public good get my highest admiration.

Many — perhaps even most — people, even in the cause world, get to a point where they “just show up.” They lose their edge, their zeal, even their optimism. Maybe that's to be expected in a comfortable society like America where, for any number of reasons, progressive change seems assumed to be achievable incrementally at best.

I hope that doesn't happen to Mary. Judging from her track record so far, it probably won't. Mary Joyce, you deserve a raise!

PS: If you'd like to nominate someone for an Agitator raise, please email us at

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