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IGF Youth Ambassadors Program

Starting from this year, the Internet Society is combining the IGF Ambassadors and Youth@IGF into a single program called IGF Youth Ambassadors.

Our Past IGF Fellowship Programs

Until the end of 2018, we have been running two different IGF-related fellowship programs: Youth@IGF Program and IGF Ambassadors.

Youth@IGF Program

Early in 2015, the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) identified the increased participation of youth from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region in Internet Governance processes and the Internet Governance Forum as a desired outcome of the IGF meeting.

Both, CGI.br and the Internet Society have extensive experience in providing capacity building on Internet Governance through online courses and fellowships to previous IGFs. Therefore, the two organizations combined efforts to create the Youth@IGF Fellowship program to empower the next generation of leaders and increase the participation of young voices (ages 18-25) from LAC in the debates about Internet Governance.

Since then, and with our partners – NIC.MX, the Government of Mexico, Google, Microsoft and Verizon – the Youth@IGF program has brought around 200 youth from around the world to IGF 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, as part of our commitment to ensure the next generation of Internet leaders are primed to advance an Internet of opportunity for all.

The Youth@IGF Program provided an opportunity for leadership capacity building among the participants, and they concretely used their interests and synergies to build projects through their own efforts. Some of the projects include:

  • A Youth Declaration was read in many opportunities during the IGF.
  • An Internet Society Youth Special Interest Group (SIG)/Youth Observatory was created to use the power of the Internet to develop abilities in young adults and encourage them to participate in the development of the Internet environment and its governance.
  • Youth contribution to regional meeting, such as the African Internet Summit, EuroDIG, and others, increased.
  • Many Youth@IGF Fellows become Internet Society’s Chapter Leaders.
  • New civil society organizations were created. One of them is Digital Grassroots, an initiative that aims at increasing digital literacy amongst the young population (14 – 29 years) globally in order to promote their activity as stakeholders in the Internet ecosystem at the most basic levels.

IGF Ambassadors

The program started in 2007 with the aim to increase participation to the Internet Governance Forum of high potential young professionals (ages 20-40) with a strong interest in Internet Governance that can provide subject matter expertise and facilitate the exchange of information and best practices with key stakeholders by participating in the meetings. In the lead up to the Forum itself, each ambassador was paired with a mentor – an experienced IGF participant, often a former recipient of this award or Internet Society staff member – who helped them prepare and familiarize themselves with the relevant IGF materials, as well as acting as a point of contact at the meeting itself.

The IGF Ambassadors represented the Internet Society by promoting the organization’s positions on public policy issues related to the discussions happening at the IGF. They also contributed by providing local and regional perspectives and opinions to enhance the quality of the various sessions and workshops.

With the help of 187 ambassadorships, we have now a large pipeline of highly qualified individuals (156) who have gained valuable insights and experience through their exposure to a range of stakeholders from numerous disciplines across the Internet ecosystem and who have benefited from the high visibility of their engagement. Many of these persons have gone on deliver measurable contributions locally, regionally and internationally.

About the IGF Youth Ambassadors Program

Starting from this year, the Internet Society will combine the IGF Ambassadors and Youth@IGF into a single program called IGF Youth Ambassadors.

The goal of this program is to empower young adults aged 18 through 30 from all around the world by:

  • Building their capacity through training
  • Fostering a new cadre of young Internet leaders who are motivated to learn, engage, and act within their region and beyond
  • Partnering with organizations to broaden the depth and breadth of the program
  • Reinforcing the importance of multi-disciplinary leaders in fostering the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet
  • Promoting youth citizenship, diplomacy, volunteerism and community service as key aspects of next generation leadership
  • Broadening their experience and enabling their participation in public policy debates
  • Providing them with opportunities to participate in the global Internet ecosystem and to interact and engage with the broader Internet Governance community
  • Increasing their visibility and preparing them to deliver more meaningful impacts at the local, regional and global levels
  • Mobilizing youth beyond Internet Governance specific topics

Program Components

A. 3-phase Selection Process

The selection process will be conducted in three phases:

1. Online Applications

The first phase of the selection process is based on Online Applications.

All applicants must be:

  • Internet Society Members
  • Between 18-30 at the date of the IGF
  • Able to present a strong motivation for Internet Governance
  • Able to demonstrate interest and expertise in issues on the IGF agenda
  • Comfortable with public speaking and communicating positions
  • Able to demonstrate interest and experience in key Internet governance related issues
  • Capable of appropriately representing the Internet Society and its views and policies as an Ambassador during the IGF
  • Capable of continuing to work with the Internet Society locally after the IGF
  • Fluent in English
  • Able to spend a minimum of 8 hours each week during the eLearning Phase
  • Ready to take part in the meetings and webinars
  • Not been selected as Youth@IGF Fellow or IGF Ambassador before

The selection committee also attempts to achieve professional, geographical, and gender diversity in the overall selections.

2. 4-week Online Internet Governance Course

The applicants selected in phase 1 (up to 150 individuals) take a 4-week online course. The topics include: Internet Governance, Internet Policy Principles, Actors and Stakeholder Groups, and Regulatory Frameworks.

All participants are grouped into classes, each with a dedicated expert moderator to facilitate the learning process. The top ones (up to 50) will proceed to the next phase.

3. Paper Writing

The top performers during the online course phase will be required to write a paper on an existing or emerging area in Internet Governance, leveraging the learnings from the course. The individuals who submit the best papers will be selected as IGF Youth Ambassadors (up to 30).

After being selected

B. Webinar Series

The individuals who are selected as IGF Youth Ambassadors (up to 30) participate at Webinar Series led by global Internet Governance experts to deepen their knowledge, present their projects/ideas and be prepared for the IGF.

C. Attending the IGF

IGF Youth Ambassadors receive support to attend the Global Internet Governance Forum, taking place in Berlin, Germany, from 25 to 29 November 2019.

D. Collaborative Leadership Exchange

IGF Youth Ambassadors will attend an onsite, dynamic leadership session with Internet Society community members, youth representatives from other programs, Internet Society staff and other IGF attendees. This session takes the form of an unconference, with the agenda being crowdsourced by attendees, and breakout groups facilitated to create pockets of common interest and interaction. The goal is to build/deepen relationships and foster community around youth engagement.