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Internet Governance 23 June 2020

Open Call To The Next Generation of Internet Leaders – Apply for the IGF Youth Ambassadors Program

Paola Gálvez Callirgos
By Paola Gálvez CallirgosIGF Youth Ambassador 2019

We are living in unprecedented times. COVID-19 has disrupted our world and it’s a crucial time for the Internet. We are facing issues related to misinformation, online education and connectivity. Challenges have been posed to encryption. Debates around the trade-off between privacy and contact tracing apps take place around the globe.

The acceleration of digital transformation worldwide has created immense opportunities and at the same time, uncertainty and challenges. Under these circumstances, youth must be represented in these discussions.

Young people know the benefits of connection, sharing and openness. Young engineers and programmers create new tools for the Internet every day, and many proposals about governance of new technologies come from interested people below the age of 30.

We grew up in cyberspace, and it has become an intrinsic part of many of our lives. We care for it, we value its principles, invariants and characteristics. Most of all, we understand how important the Internet is and how much of a force for good (or for evil) it can be.

The voice of youth matters and the Internet Society plays a significant role to empower the next generation of Internet leaders and to provide them with the freedom to voice out.

The IGF Youth Ambassadors Program provides youth with training and opportunities to participate in the global Internet ecosystem and to interact and engage with the broader Internet Governance community.

I must say that the experience of being a fellow from the Internet Society Youth Ambassadors program is unique. Since the beginning, the ambassadors have the opportunity to share their views on how Internet policy shall be made and learn from each other. Youth from across multiple continents are part of vibrant discussions as part of the online course.

Likewise, Youth Ambassadors participate in one of the world’s largest forums dedicated to a free and open Internet. It is an incredible opportunity to get mentorship, build networking and become change makers.

What impressed me the most is that at the forum there are no experts, everyone’s perspective was respectfully considered. We even had the amazing opportunity to be in a round table with Vint Cerf and raise our voices.

The program inspired me to deliver meaningful impact at a local level. After the forum I became part of the organizing committee of the first Youth Internet Governance Forum in Peru in December, 2019. Currently, with some IGF Youth Ambassadors we are working towards the organization of the Youth Latin American and the Caribbean Internet Governance Forum to be held remotely on August 1st and 2nd.

I wholeheartedly recommend the program. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn and network with the Internet pioneers and innovators who made significant contributions to the development and advancement of the Internet.

As youth, we expect to play a part in shaping the future of the Internet. We have the commitment to refresh ideas and share our perspectives for a trustworthy and open Internet. The IGF Youth Ambassadors Program is a path to fulfill that commitment.

The application process is open until June 28, would you miss this open call to the next generation of Internet leaders?

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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