Skip to main content

Building A Class of Informed and Engaged Young Internet Leaders in Asia Pacific

APIGA participants and trainers showing their love for the APIGA program. The hand sign is a Korean “heart.” (Photo Credits: KISA)

“Any questions?”

The usual question at the end of a lecture is also, quite often, the lecturer’s dreaded start to an uncomfortable spell of silence – at least in this part of the world. But not with this group. The attendees were eager to participate – hands shot up at every opportunity, and not just for questions, but to offer their own opinions.

Turns out, this was a group of 45 Asia Pacific youth leaders attending the inaugural Asia Pacific Internet Governance Academy (APIGA), a five-day capacity building program held in Seoul’s Yonsei University from 8–12 August.

The academy was organized jointly by the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA) and ICANN, in partnership with regional organizations such as the Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC), Internet Society (ISOC), DotAsia organization, and other members of the Asia Pacific Internet community. The program was aimed at nurturing the next generation of Internet leaders to be the region’s voice and preparing them to participate in the global multistakeholder Internet governance ecosystem.

We made sure that the APIGA program was rigorous by design, starting from the selection process. The selection committee sieved through more than 120 applications to identify the most qualified candidates. Before attending the academy, participants had to complete an intensive ISOC online course on Internet governance, as well as a specially customized ICANN Learn program that totaled 25 hours. This definitely paid off, as many participants were able to engage in in-depth discussions over the course of the academy.

The program covered topics ranging from the history of Internet governance, the Internet ecosystem and infrastructure, the state of Internet governance in Asia Pacific nations, the Internet of Things, online privacy and more.

In addition, a substantial portion of the program was dedicated to ICANN and ICANN-related topics, such as ICANN’s multistakeholder model, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Stewardship Transition and Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). The academy culminated in a mock-ICANN meeting. These sessions helped the attendees gain a better understanding of how to participate in ICANN policy work, as well as what it takes to achieve consensus in a bottom-up fashion. 

Breeding ground for Asia Pacific leaders

In the words of South Korean participant Lee Donggi, 23, the academy is “a great stepping stone” for youths to get acquainted with and be involved in the important work of the region’s Internet organizations. It also serves to fill a real capacity building gap in Asia Pacific – both in terms of a lack of understanding of key Internet Governance topics, as well as the confidence to speak up due to cultural inhibitions.

Our hope is that APIGA can be a conduit from which these promising future leaders can start participating in the work of ICANN and our region’s multistakeholder community. Already, the participants show great promise; expect to see some of their faces and hear their voices at upcoming meetings! Some of the participants also intend to conduct their own outreach about Internet governance using the materials they obtained from the academy. Indeed, they will be our best “ambassadors”.

While the event has ended, the work has barely started – continuity and follow-up will now be important to ensure that the APIGA class of 2016 stays engaged. To this end, we will be working with our regional partners to keep the participants informed about our work and find ways to involve them.

Indeed, the first APIGA is not only a KISA-ICANN event, but a regional capacity building initiative, and we hope that a 2nd APIGA can be held next year. As our next generation leaders continue to participate in the global multistakeholder Internet community, I hope that in the near future, Asia Pacific stakeholders will no longer be seen as reserved or quiet. Rather, they will be full of confidence and willing to speak up, just like the APIGA class of 2016!

                                                            APIGA participants in action

Read about the reflections and takeaways by Mariko Kobayashi, a Japanese computer science student who participated in APIGA here. Event summary and APNIC activities at APIGA can also be found in this blog by Robbie Mitchell.

Visit the APIGA website and APIGA Facebook page for more information and photos.


    Mohammad Abdul Awal  04:35 UTC on 30 August 2016

    It was a great event indeed. It helped me take a broader and deeper look into the Internet ecosystem. It was the learning from the Internet leaders. Thanks to ICANN, KISA, ISOC, DotAsia/NetMission, all the speakers, organizers, sponsors for such a wonderful event. I believe, this event will present us many future leaders in APAC region.

    Adeel Sadiq  09:35 UTC on 31 August 2016

    The best program so far.

    Kaecla Raedka  04:39 UTC on 08 September 2016

    That is a fantastic article Tim! Thanks very much for sharing!

    Marcin  03:33 UTC on 22 September 2016

    Youth leaders form Asia Pacific make this program very innovative so far. Must see this: Zespół Aspergera

    Jace Corso  23:32 UTC on 06 November 2016

    With a join classes like that from different countries you will here lots of different things which you haven’t heard it in yours. These types of classes should be held more often as it is alot beneficial for young grads. They can help with assignment on different topic with someone who knows about it better internet governance has lots of laws which should be bring out to people. Government is also breaching out the privacy these meeting will help them understand things in broad way and in future we will be seeing few of them as leading the internet market world with their creative thoughts.

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."