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Geneva

IGF 2017

18-21 December 2017
Geneva, Switzerland

Theme: Shape Your Digital Future!

The Internet Governance Forum

Best Practices Built By You

The Internet’s influence has touched people all over the globe.

In 2003 and 2005, the United Nations organized the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). One of the most critical outcomes from this landmark summit was the creation of the Internet Governance Forum, or the “IGF”.

Each year there are global, national, and regional IGFs events happening around the world.

Every IGF offers a unique space for a an amazing range of people to share information and develop solutions on key Internet issues. It was purposefully designed not to be a decision-making body, which allows people to speak freely, on an equal footing, without limitations linked to the negotiations of formal outcomes. What comes out of the IGF, however, plays an essential role in shaping decisions taken by other groups that helps the Internet run.

How The IGF Changed Things

After almost a decade, the IGF remains a cornerstone of international Internet and local governance with participation from over 140 countries.

The approach of the IGF is simple:

Anyone who has a stake in the future of the Internet can go and be heard. It was founded and operates on the principles of being bottom-up, transparent, and inclusive.

Without it, there would be no common ground where people who have a stake in the future of the Internet could develop local solutions with a global impact, addressing issues such as:

Best Practice Forums

One of the benefits of the IGF is you can go there to share ideas and find out what’s working and what’s not in other parts of the world when it comes to challenges facing the Internet where you live. In 2016 the IGF held Best Practice sessions on things like IPv6 adoption, IXPs, gender, cybersecurity and more. Get the detailed reports from the 2016 IGF Best Practice Forums.

The Internet Governance Forum Where You Live

Local IGFs focus on issues that face a city, town or country and help people to bring solutions forward to a global level.

National and regional IGFs have become so popular they’ve started happening all across the globe, generating conversation among everyone who wants a voice in the future of the Internet where they live.

You can join too!

Find out if a national or regional IGF is happening near you.

Top Things to Know About IGF

Two hundred sessions. As many as 2500 attendees. There’s a lot to absorb at an Internet Governance Forum. While it’s an exciting event for a newcomer, the volume of activity can also make for a challenging experience.

So how can you get the most out of your first IGF? Here’s a cheat sheet!

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Transcript of this video

Know your acronyms

IGF = Internet Governance Forum
You know that already, but we might as well start out on comfortable ground. The Internet Governance Forum is a neutral space where stakeholders concerned about the Internet and its future can share ideas about Internet policy and development issues.

DC = Dynamic Coalitions
This is a way of saying “a group of people with different interests”. There are about 15 of these groups, and you can ask to join the email list of any of them!

BPFs = Best Practices Forums
These are working groups created by the IGF to, predictably, produce Best Practice Outcome documents in their area of focus.

Those will get you started, but, you’ll need more than just those three acronyms to fully follow what is going on. Happily, you can look for a pocket acronym guide at the various booths!

Know what to attend

There are several types of sessions at the IGF, many happening at the same time. It’s best to make at least a tentative choice in advance.

Know what you don’t know

If you’re going into a session you are not an expert in, try to do your homework first. The IGF website will have everything from documents to videos to transcripts from previous meetings to help you get up to speed.

Know how to build lasting connections

Bring your business cards, because the IGF is a great place to expand your network. You can discover and join new organizations, communities, and interest groups. Don’t be shy—just introduce yourself and join or start a conversation. Ask to share notes from sessions you could not attend, and watch for invites to dinners or receptions.

Know when to listen and when to speak

During some IGF sessions, people line up to ask questions and to comment. Make sure you listen carefully and respectfully to those questions and comments.

Make sure not to speak unless you have a different perspective or a solution-oriented observation. If you do want to step up to the mic, make sure you share a local experience, and speak with confidence.

Know what to expect

Walking down a hallway, you may encounter discussions between government policymakers working on legislation, engineers developing tomorrow’s Internet standards, representatives from your favorite social network, or civil society activists who risk their lives at home for online freedoms. Everyone exchanges information and viewpoints, and builds (human) networks to help them address the issues that are important to them.

Know where to focus

To get the most out of your first IGF experience, focus on one or two topics where you have expertise, or that concern your country or region. Focusing on a limited number of topics will prevent overload and help you organize your time.

Know how to get ahead of the game

Start by identifying relevant Internet governance initiatives on the IGF website. Then look for upcoming country or regional meetings and points of contact. If there is a meeting in your area before the global IGF, try to attend, whether in person or remotely. That way you will be walking into the room having already met some of your fellow attendees.

Know when to catch your breath

Like any conference, so much of the great parts of IGF happen in informal conversations outside of scheduled sessions. Make sure you give yourself space in your schedule to catch your breath and interact with other participants.

Know how to keep the momentum

Think of the IGF as a process rather than a single event. You keep the process going by following up with people you’ve met, and staying involved through national and regional Internet governance initiatives, as well as through other Internet-related organizations. Share your experience through social media, write blog posts or an article, or connect with local Internet organizations.

Know what to do next

If you’re ready for more, you can plan a workshop for a local or regional IGF, or propose a session at the next global IGF with some of your new colleagues. Or organize a remote participation hub in your city for a local or regional IGF, inviting people to join discussions through video / audio feed. Whatever you do, know that your work is helping to strengthen the openness and accessibility of the Internet.

Share this video

Everyone’s voice is needed at a Global IGF so please share this video and post to make sure everyone who wants a voice in the future of the Internet can have a chance to be heard.

Support the IGF

By helping the IGF, you’re contributing to all the positive opportunities the Internet can bring people when they have access and know how to make the most of it.

However you choose to support the IGF, we are deeply grateful.

Make A Donation

The IGF functions through support from its participants and friends. To continue its growth and progression, it needs to have a robust and sustainable income stream. The Internet Governance Forum Support Association (IGFSA) is a channel for additional funding from individuals, companies and foundations to keep the IGF the go-to event for everyone who is interested in the Internet and its governance.

You can become a member of the IGFSA. Donations are also welcomed.

Attend the IGF

You can take part in the next IGF and help bring solutions to some of the most critical issues facing the open Internet.

Talk About Internet Issues in Your Area

Got a blog? On Twitter? Facebook? Tumblr? G+? Let the world know what they are and what you think the solution is and how the IGF can help.

Become an Internet Society Volunteer and Join a Chapter

The Internet Society is made up of members and Chapters around the world – each one working to make a difference in where they live. By becoming a member, you gain access to a network of people who can help you reach out to local policy and decision makers to and encourage them to develop solutions to Internet issues that matter to you.

Apply to Become An IGF Ambassador

Our Ambassadors are concerned young citizens who are interested in bringing solutions to some of the toughest problems facing the Internet where they live. Find out how to apply.

Apply for Youth@IGF Programme

Youth@IGF Programme is a part of the Internet Society and partners’ commitment to ensure that the next generation of Internet leaders are primed to advance an Internet of opportunity for all. As a result of these efforts, many young people are now contributing to the Youth Special Interest Group and to regional meetings, such as the African Internet Summit, EuroDIG, and others. Find out more about the programme.

Previous events

The first global IGF was held in 2006 in Athens. Since then, global IGFs have been held in Brazil, India, Egypt, Lithuania, Kenya, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico. In 2017, the IGF will be held in Geneva, Switzerland.