Youth Coalition on Internet Governance


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[Read more session reports and live updates from the 12th Internet Governance Forum]

This session started with Mr Micheal Oghia, Independent Consultant and YCIG Election Committee lead, giving a recap of the latest developments in the YCIG, including the formation of the Election Committee to elect a new steering committee, the recently elected steering committee. He underlined the lack of nominees from Eastern European region and called for increased participation.

 Ms Su Sonia Herring, Youth IGF Turkey Coordinator, then presented the South East European Dialogue on Internet Governance’s capacity building programs. She explained the SEEDIG Youth School and Fellowship programme and encouraged youth from the region to apply. She also mentioned the third Youth IGF Turkey and its upcoming ‘European IGFs Good Practice Guide’ to be published in January 2018.

Oghia invited attendees to become members of the YCIG, by signing up for the mailing list, noting the newly set age limit (13-35) and the difference between member and observing member status.

Mr Lua Fergus, from the Youth Observatory, Brazil, spoke of the Youth Observatory’s collaboration with ISOC as a Special Interest group, which has been very active in the LAC region during the last three years, highlighting the publishing of a new book available on their website.

Oghia then dissolved the Interim Steering Committee and presented the newly-elected members. Ms Nadia Tjahja, who recently completed her MA in European interdisciplinary studies at the College of Europe, and Mr Israel Rosas, who currently works in on international digital strategy at the Office of the President of Mexico, introduced themselves, thanking the interim steering end election committee.

Enhancing cooperation and increasing the representation of youth were underlined as the goals of the new Steering Committee. A third new member who was not present, Mr Krishna Kumar, active in ISOC and Internet governance, and the African representative, James Propa Kaliisa, from Uganda and was introduced to the audience.The session continued with an explanation of the open and transparent practices of the coalition, including an open mailing list, open membership, and an open archive. Other aims were stated as youth representation at the IGF, on the IGF MAG, and in the IGF Secretariat.

During an open discussion, participants introduced themselves and their work and priority concerns. One of the participants suggested initiating mentoring programs within the YCIG and other national, regional youth initiatives. Others noted that establishing a formal mentoring program could prove burdensome and time-consuming for the volunteer-driven community and an informal buddy program could be introduced. It was agreed to vote on the matter on the mailing list. The need for more youth panellists and releasing youth statements on core topics were among other suggestions. The youth group Copyfighters was mentioned as a youth initiative present at the IGF 2017, and interested youth were invited to join. The vitality of sustainable leadership within YCIG and the mandate of the coalition were underlined and received support from Steering Committee members. Helping write position and other papers and actively participating in best practice forums were mentioned as ways to engage. A member of the Council of Europe’s advisory group called upon youth to engage and reach out to international bodies for possible collaboration. Better communication about the existence of the YCIG and the positive effects of the age inclusiveness of the group were also mentioned.

The lack of local reach of Internet governance-related events was underlined and calls to include not only international youth who are already involved, but to local youth clubs, universities, and similar institutions were mentioned. The need to encouraging young girls to get involved from an early age and higher visibility and representation of the African region were also raised.

The session closed with an agreement to share these points on the YCIG mailing list for further discussion.

By Su Sonia Herring 

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