With one-quarter of the world’s population under the age of 24 – a significant majority of whom are located in the Asia Pacific – it stands to reason that the youth in our region should have a prominent say in the future of the Internet. I’m not talking about what apps and services should be made available to, and popular by them; rather ‘grown-up’ governance issues that relate to their rights, culture and freedom.
This was one of the key reasons for why Youth4IG — APAC’s first and only youth fellows coalition to enhance Internet Governance (IG) engagement regionally — was established: to collaborate and participate in IG discussions at an Asia Pacific and global level, with the aim of cultivating the next generation of IG leaders.
Started by IG enthusiast Mili Semlani, Youth4IG is a community-driven, bottom-up network of youth across the Asia Pacific region. We use virtual meetings, mailing lists, and WhatsApp groups to facilitate discussion and further our engagement.
Our first Youth4IG session during #APrIGF2019! In collaboration with @netmission, some of our members and YIGF participants brainstormed and discussed how youth can keep involved in the IG space. They also contributed to our mentorship program guidelines. pic.twitter.com/ZEJvMF0Qz3— Youth4IG (@youth4ig) August 19, 2019
DotAsia and APNIC have been supporters of Youth4IG from the beginning. The latter recently allowed me and my fellow Youth4IG ambassador, Jaewon Son, to present at the APNIC 48 conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand during its inaugural NextGen Careers BoF.
It was a great opportunity to help raise awareness of our group among the numbers community, particularly the youth fellows and newcomers who were attending the conference.
We discussed the short history of the group and the two working groups that are currently being formed: the Future of Fellowship Working Group and the Mentorship Working Group.
The Future of Fellowship Working Group will produce feedback reports on various capacity-building fellowships from AP* organizations (these include APNIC, APIGA, APAN) and I* organizations (ICANN, IETF). These reports will include the experience of fellows, how to improve fellowship opportunities, the mission and vision of youth in the IG sphere, and how youth engagement can be further increased.
The Mentorship Working Group will pair people who are interested to learn and share their thoughts on IG (mentees) with experienced people involved in the IG sector (mentors). It is essentially a buddy program to keep Asian Youth in IG united and help them to navigate the IG space.
Mentorships will run for roughly two months and happen twice a year, and comprise online material and online webinars between mentors and mentees.
Anyone living in the Asia Pacific region aged between 15-32 can join APAC Youth4IG as a member. Our experienced peers older than 32 are also welcome to join as ‘Senior Advisors’. Join now and be sure to subscribe to our mailing lists and stay up to date via our website and Facebook and Twitter pages.