yIGF 2018 Vanuatu

With the Asia Pacific regional Internet Governance Forum being held in the Pacific for the first time, we are proud to have organised the first Youth Internet Governance Forum in the Pacific. The mission shared by NetMission Ambassadors was brought to Vanuatu, a beautiful Pacific island nation. With regional participants from Australia and Taiwan, we were warmly welcomed by local youth participants from Vanuatu, mostly students at the University of South Pacific. This year we had an even balance of male and female representation. This year APrIGF resolved to output a “synthesis document”, a document which would capture the sentiment on issues on Internet Governance of the Asia Pacific. The highlight of yIGF this year was to “Formulate the youth input into the synthesis document”. In accord with the important mission of making young voices heard, the program was developed with the aim of working with participants to allow them to effectively contribute to the APrIGF synthesis document.

Our regular activities included an Idea Wall session, where participants put down their ideas about Internet Governance; a role-play session where participants took on various roles such as local ISPs and government to discuss a topic, which this year was “How to improve gender diversity”. It was interesting for us as outsiders to hear from our local participants as to how they used the Internet and their challenges. For example, for many people, their usage of the Internet was largely limited to social media and content platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. There were also some concerns about the Internet eroding cultural values and norms. We also heard how a lot of the education at the University of South Pacific was conducted through the Internet, including remote lectures and submission of assignments, and how crippling poor Internet access was in these applications.

Our sessions were further brought to life by the appearance of special guests. As a veteran of the Internet Governance community and chair of the APrIGF MAG, Rajnesh Singh of the Internet Society shared his experience in a frank and heartfelt conversation with our participants. As a Pacific Islander himself, Raj’s sharing resonated with many of us, and highlighted not only the challenges faced, but also how it was sometimes difficult to strike a balance with some of the possible solutions. Similarly a morning lightning session with Vint Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the Internet, escalated into the first open consultation session with the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, a unique experience for our participants. Our youth sessions were capped off with our mini town-hall sessions, before joining the main town hall sessions at the APrIGF main hall.

We are very grateful to our hosts for this opportunity to organise this exciting event. We hope our participants enjoyed it as much as we did. With Vanuatu potentially hosting their own national IGF, we hope our activities can help ignite further interest in Internet Governance for youth.

NetMission Ambassador

NET (Networking Opportunity, Empowering Youth, Talent Development) is a model to achieve the mission of youth empowerment in internet governance, ambassadors who have received year round training and gained oversee conference experience will form a working group to work on community projects like HKyIGF ,yIGF, APIGA. We hope these kind of community works can raise public awareness of what is internet governance.

If you are interested in youth engagement in Internet Governance, please kindly visit our training materials.For more event photos and video, please visit NetMission Facebook page and NetMission Instagram profile.