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APIGA: From Digital Native to Digital Citizen

Apiga 2018 group 1133x723 08aug18 en

“As young people, we shouldn’t see being young as a disadvantage, but as a strength because we are digital natives and can offer something fresh to the Internet community.”
 - Jianne Soriano, Internet Governance Forum
Multistakeholder Advisory Group Member

In its third year, the Asia Pacific Internet Governance Academy (APIGA) is now recognized as the region’s premier platform for youth engagement on Internet governance (IG) issues. Last month, we welcomed 32 participants, selected from a competitive pool of over 280 applicants, to South Korea’s Chonnam National University in Gwangju. The five-day academy was co-organized by ICANN and the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA). Our regional partners such as the Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC), DotAsia organization, and Internet Society (ISOC) provided support too.

Ushering the Next Generation

Through APIGA, we aim to guide today’s youth – characterized as digital natives – to contribute to the Internet community as digital citizens. To help participants identify their interests, we invited them to present their own digital native experiences and consider what is necessary to develop a culture of multistakeholderism in their local communities. Interestingly, conversations on developments such as Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) and Universal Acceptance sparked a deeper interest in issues related to digital access and inclusion in Asia Pacific.

This year, we improved APIGA with an immersive learning experience. Mentors facilitated discussions and were available throughout the week to guide our participant’s learning process. Participants heard from the Korean Internet Governance Alliance (KIGA) and various top-level domain (TLD) operators about how they work towards shaping local Internet policies. Those from non-technical background also benefited from interactive sessions such as the game “How the Internet Works”. A big thank you to our local and regional partners for their contributions toward making APIGA a continuous success.

APIGA Montage

“The game on ‘How the Internet Works’ really stands out the most to me. It's something new and helped me, as a non-technical person, to understand [the Internet] better. The group work on IG issues was also great because we can learn from each other about the issues we encountered from our countries.”
 - Mary Rose, APIGA Participant from The Philippines

The week-long discussions culminated into a mock ICANN meeting. This simulation, led by youth ambassadors from NetMission.Asia, started a heated debate amongst participants on the proposed criteria for string objections and closed generics in the New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program.

"The Mock Conference allowed me to experience the multistakeholder process first-hand and inspired my interest to participate in other regional forums. I like that our voices could be heard, even as youths.”
 - Daine Loh, APIGA Participant from Singapore and ICANN Intern

About 1 out of 5 APIGA alumni carry on to participate in ICANN and other regional Internet fora. We hope that more from this new batch of APIGA alumni will join their peers on these spaces — such as Sen Hiu Shek and Mohammad Abdul Awal Haolader — who continue to actively participate in the Internet community.

“You will draft the Internet [policies] in the future, not us. You will be driving the Internet decades from now.” - Akinori Maemura, ICANN Board Member

Join us for next year’s APIGA! Find out more about APIGA here:


    Domain Name System
    Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."