Achieving the Right Formula for Youth Engagement
As the Internet continues to expand, it’s becoming more and more important that we involve younger generations, who are digital natives, in Internet governance discussions. They are the future leaders, and we want to encourage them to take an active role in shaping Internet policies. But how do we do that?
The recent Asia Pacific Internet Governance Academy (APIGA) 2017, which was co-organized by ICANN and the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA), appears to have found the right formula. Now in its second year, the five-day academy was targeted at young people between the ages of 18 to 35 that have expressed an interest in Internet governance.
The selection process was key to ensuring a successful meeting. Applicants were screened by a strict selection committee, who chose them based on their interests, experience and passion for Internet governance. Only 42 out of the 200 applicants were selected to participate in the academy.
The chosen applicants were required to take a 25-hour online course on Internet governance and ICANN before the academy started. The course was designed specifically to prepare them for the intense discussions that would take place during the academy.
The curriculum was rigorous, but not boring. We want to thank the organizers and regional partners for putting together interactive and fun ways, such as roleplaying exercises and card games, to teach participants about the domain name system (DNS), Internet infrastructure, and the ICANN community’s various stakeholder groups. The course also ensured participants were prepared for the mock ICANN conference, where the students had to put themselves into the shoes of the stakeholder group they were appointed to and defend their positions on their assigned ICANN topic.
The participation and mentorship of alumnus this year played an important role as well.
For Hojung Do, APIGA 2016 alumni and master’s student in Political Science, the mock ICANN conference was an eye-opener, stating “The multistakeholder model was an abstract concept when I was studying it in school. After experiencing the mock conference, the concept became a lot clearer.”
APIGA 2016 alumni, Rohan Wadhwa, felt that the close relationship that he built with speakers and fellow students at APIGA 2016 helped him in his Internet governance journey. “After APIGA 2016, I was invited to attend the 2016 Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Development Dialogue (APRIDD) in Bangkok, Thailand as a youth-fellow,” said Wadhwa. “I want to extend a big thanks to the Internet Society Asia-Pacific Bureau, who recognized my involvement at APIGA.”
Do and Wadhwa were two of the many participants who have benefitted from APIGA. In fact, 12 out of the 48 participants from APIGA 2016 participated in other Internet governance-related events, including ICANN meetings, Internet Governance Forums (IGF), and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meetings. This is an excellent validation of the program, which is aimed at successfully identifying and nurturing young leaders to participate in the Internet ecosystem.
We hope to see even more APIGA 2017 alumni participating in Internet governance events. The network and connections that you have built at the academy will help you find your path. Continue to follow your passion, and help forge the future of Internet governance!