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The ‘Collaborative Leadership Exchange (CLX) on Shaping the Digital Future’ targetted the Youth@IGF Fellows and IGF Ambassadors who were selected by Internet Society (ISOC).
Mr Chris Michael, the session facilitator, asked ISOC Youth@IGF Fellows and IGF Ambassadors to mingle and start discussing two themes. First, what each participant is doing to bring more inclusion into their respective communities and second, the challenges they are facing.
Mr Toral Cowieson, Senior Director at ISOC’s Internet Leadership, stressed that the objective of the Collaborative Leadership Exchange (CLX), is to meet as peers and not as ‘talking heads’, and hold one-to-one dynamic conversations in order to form relationships. Cowieson, added that ISOC received more than 700 applications for the Youth@IGF Fellowship and around 300 applications for ISOC Ambassadors.
The session focused on small group discussions. All participants were invited to host 45-minute conversation circles with 5-15 other attendees. There were three rounds of conversation. Each group then reported back on their discussions. The topics were linked to:
On-boarding youth and new Internet users
Youth participation at the IGF
Cybersecurity – focus on youth, privacy, digital economies
Leadership skills – sharing experiences, tips, tactics
Accessing and using the Internet in politically oppressive and restrictive societies
Freedom of speech in an era of fake news, hate speech, etc.
The conversation circle on ‘Gender and Access’, suggested putting mechanisms in place for Women’s Empowerment, law enforcement, capacity building and literacy.
In the group discussing ‘Artificial Intelligence, participants talked about the effects of automation, such as machine tax, workers’ re-training, optimisation and efficiency, as well as social issues, loss of job opportunities, and moral obligations.
Another group discussed ‘E-commerce’ issues such as trust and universal policies, and the benefits related to cryptocurrency.
The ‘Fake News’ group insisted on community-based education and a multi-stakeholder approach in designing solutions, fact-checking and education to enhance people’s critical analysis skills.
The conversation circle on ‘Digital Inclusion’ shared their hopes for greater promotion of online rights for people with disabilities, through innovation and laws such as the ‘Marrakesh Treaty’.
In the group discussing the ‘Dark Net’, they mentioned its benefits, ranging from the freedom of speech to mobilising civil action and technology advancement. The challenges included a lack of awareness, stigma and a lack of accountability.
The ‘Net Neutrality’ group focused on Zero Rating regulations and ways to incentivise investment.
The ‘Human Rights’ conversation circle enumerated the rights linked to the Internet, such as: access, privacy, education, justice, inclusion and security.
In the ‘Online Education’ discussion circle, the participants shed light on its pros and cons, such as quality education and time-flexibility, but argued against its tendency to encourage social isolation, its high costs, and lack of scholarships.
The ‘Access to research’ circle encouraged the use of institutional repositories, government funding and improving quality of research data.
The session was attended by partners such as DotAsia, Youth@IGF, IEEE, APC and ISOC Ambassadors.
By Ines Hfaiedh