Stand up for youth from the Asia Pacific at IGF – Jenna Fung

It has been a year since I have joined NetMission.Asia as a youth ambassador. After one year of being the NetMission ambassador, I could finally say that I can make our Internet a better place even if I can only make a small influence. NetMission is a good starting point for me, and IGF 2018 is a good chapter to wrap up my journey in NetMission Ambassador Program 2017/18. Throughout this one year, I have been providing lots of opportunities to learn more about Internet governance and more importantly, to engage in the Internet governance discourse.

Without attending the series of workshops from the NetMission Program, I will never be aware that “sexting” can relate to “child pornography” and “human rights online”. Without the opportunity of organizing the yIGF 2018 and attending APrIGF 2018 in Vanuatu, I will never realize how different our concerns towards Internet issues could be and never realize how complicated and challenging that the Internet issues we are facing in the Asia-Pacific could be. Without attending the IGF 2018, I will never be able to realize the urgency of bringing Asia-Pacific-specific topics and issues to IGF, especially from the youth perspective.

In the three-day IGF 2018, I attended workshops that related to hate speech, Blockchain and etc., which I have gained fruitful experiences and interesting insights by exchanging opinions with people I met there. Other than that, I have tried my best to attend as many workshops related to youth as possible. As a youth ambassador, it is my mission to bring youth influence to IGF and to Internet governance discourse.

Apparently, there is still a long way to go that youth could have a robust network and influence in such a setting, but I believe, with the hard work of youth from different parts of the world, we will soon be able to find our position in IGF. It is also time for us to think about what we should work on in our regions in the situation that youth from Asia-Pacific is under-represented.

Youth may not have 20 years of experiences working in the Internet governance field, but we have 20 years of living in the digital world with the influence of the Internet. It does not matter if our voice is not strong or persuasive enough yet. All we need to do is to keep advocating and never stop contributing. With the power of the Internet, our voice will never be able to be eliminated or limited by our experiences, because we are the digital native who is born to be a digital citizen.

Internet governance may sound vague to most of us, but with the efforts of some of us, we will make it everything to all of us. I, with my own power, can only make a small step, but with you, we can make a big step together. I regret that I joined NetMission too late, but it is never too late for joining the Internet governance discourse. Our opinions are meant to be heard because we are the future of Internet governance.

IGF 2018 comes to an end, but our passion for Internet Governance will never end.

To be continued in Berlin. See you at IGF 2019.

About the writer

Jenna Fung, NetMission Ambassador of Class 2017/2018
Year 4, BBA (Hons) in Business Management, The Open University of Hong Kong
Co-organizer of 078Kobe x NetMission.Asia Internet Governance Boost Camp 2018
Co-organizer of youth IGF 2018 Vanuatu