Center for Global IT Cooperation is the main organiser of the first Youth Internet Governance Forum (Youth RIGF). Director of the Centre Vadim Glushchenko told us about the process of preparation for the Forum. - Why there is a need to conduct a dialogue with young people on the matter of Internet governance, especially now?
- Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has been held all over the world under the auspices of the UN since 2005. Not so long ago, national and regional IGFs have developed a youth format, which reflects the desire of young people to become equal participants in the discussion about the present and future of the Internet. This year we are holding such an event for the first time in Russia.
Our young people have an active civic position, they realise that it is in their power to influence how comfortable and safe the online environment is today and will be tomorrow. We believe that the launch of this initiative at the global level and in our country will allow to take into account views, concerns and hopes of the younger generation. - Does Internet governance actually concern every person who uses the Internet?
- Certainly. The image of the Internet of the future is being formed here and now and directly depends on each of us. It also depends on how seriously and responsibly we approach our online behaviour, how carefully we adhere to "digital hygiene" and how cautiously we store our data. In essence, we ourselves shape our relations with those who provide us with online content and services. Relations of our children with the Internet are of great importance as well.
In a global sense, for us, as residents of the "planet of the Internet", it is extremely important who is entrusted with the management of this complex system, who establishes order and rules of its functioning. - What is the most difficult in organising a project of this scale?
- We are trying very hard to have a dialogue with young people at this Forum not in a way an ordinary scientific conference would do it but as something rather more agile. Therefore, Forum will host many activities – such as fun zones with educational masterclasses, VR zones and demonstration of the "gadgets" of the "good old days", workshops with popular bloggers and much more. In addition, promising young IT experts will have a chance to become a laureate of the Forum awards. - The main document of the forum is the Youth Communique. But what is the final destination of it? Who is this Communique for?
- Indeed, we believe that the Youth Communique on the vision for the development of the global network will be the main outcome of the Forum. Each Forum participant can contribute to it already at the registration stage and speak up on the governance of the Internet, data protection, digital literacy, online security, equitable access to information, etc. All ideas and initiatives expressed on the Forum will be summarised and then presented at the RIGF.
It is important that the message of young people is heard by the expert community, politicians and other RIGF participants and taken into account in the process of building a strategy for the development of the Internet in our country. Youth Communique will be presented at the international level, so that the peers of the Russian youth will know how similar they are to each other in their aspirations and interests. - Should those who have just decided to embark on the path of "Internet governance" go to the forum? Would not it be "too difficult" for them?
- I would not underestimate our youth. As we can see, now a young age is not an obstacle at all. Our idea is for participants, speakers and experts to be on the same level of discussion, so it is interesting for them to communicate with each other, share experience and gain knowledge. We also decided to learn a little about the organiser itself, the Centre for Global IT Cooperation. What aims it has and what tasks it sets? - Is Internet governance a priority for the Centre?
- The task of our Center is to give impetus to the efforts of the Russian expert community in the development of IT and to create favourable conditions for promotion of Russian initiatives at the international scale. We are a think tank, called upon to develop ideas for the creation of a positive image of Russia as one of the world leaders in IT, as well as to generalise the world's best practices in this area for the needs of the Russian expert community. - What difficulties can you face when trying to promote Russian initiatives in Internet governance at the international level?
- As on any other international track, in matters of Internet governance, we have like-minded people as well as those who do not share our views. Therefore, our task is to be as open as possible for dialogue and to explain our position patiently and reasonably to all participants of the global discussion. In this regard, we are confident that the UN Internet Governance Forum is the right platform to develop a common view of network problems and their solutions.
Youth RIGF will take place on 6 April in Skoltech University. Preliminary program and registration form on the website: http://youth.rigf.ru/en