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Young participants of RIGF 2021 speak at the forum

In conclusion of RIGF 2021, the organizers and participants of youth projects of the Coordination Center and the First Youth Russian Internet Governance Forum discussed ways to involve young people in the internet governance.

The Coordination Center’s Youth Projects Manager Ilona Stadnik gave an update on the center’s projects and activities such as Summer Internet Governance School, Digital Reality Discussion Club, special internet governance course for young people at RIGF and the Coordination Center Youth Council. The Summer Internet Governance School, organized by the Coordination Center together with the International Relations Faculty of the St. Petersburg State University, took place in August and September 2020. It became part of the global movement, Schools on Internet Governance (SIG).

Together with industry experts from the St. Petersburg State University, Higher School of Economics, regional ITU office, the Kaspersky Lab, ICANN and other organizations, participants of the Summer School discussed how the internet infrastructure functions, what approaches there are in the internet governance and what the national legislation’s role is in this process.

The school’s main task was to immerse students in the current issues related to digital cooperation at the global and local levels, as well as to form skills to fully participate in conferences. In order to express their views more confidently at Russian and also international platforms in the future, the course participants took part in debates and then worked on their own essays, in which they substantiated their vision of the problem based on the knowledge they had gained.

A lot of school graduates followed the section of the global IGF back in November and then discussed their results at the Digital Reality Discussion Club. Discussions continued: every two weeks the organizers invited interested participants and experts to their online meetings in order to see who is more successful in developing international cyber rules, what the current situation is around freedom of speech on the internet and whether separate services can be free for their users. The club welcomes everyone. Today experienced experts looking for a high-quality discussion platform also join it.

On the eve of RIGF 2021, young participants attended a special course on internet governance to learn more about the forum’s agenda. At the end of the special course, the students formed their own conclusions based on the lectures given by experts, which were included in the Youth Message at the First Russian Youth Internet Governance Forum, which was held in Skolkovo on April 6.

Ilona Stadnik also invited young people to take part in the activities of the Coordination Center’s Youth Council. This year, this initiative will be relaunched and now the Youth Council will become part of the Coordination Center’s structure and its members will work on a field of their choosing. In order to join the Youth Council fill out the candidate form. The deadline is May 1, 2021.

Taking part in the RIGF youth section were also the organizers of the first Youth RIGF forum: Roman Chukov, Alim Khapov, Daniil Mazurin and Irina Trapeznikova, representative of the new team of youth digital ombudsmen. The main ideas from the Youth RIGF Youth Message and the key results of the forum, which took place on April 6 at Skoltech, were presented.

Roman Chukov, Russia’s representative in the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group and the chair of the Center for Global IT Cooperation Competences, noted that the discussion at the youth forum on April 6 brought together key youth speakers, such as bloggers, tiktokers, and renowned experts on IT, as well as scientists and officials.

“We invited 200 to meet offline, with over 5,000 from all the Russian regions to participate online. The forum received greetings from President of Russia Vladimir Putin and UN Deputy Secretary- General Liu Zhenmin, who recorded a video for the young participants. Out of more than 100 applications submitted for participation in six forum categories, the winners received awards from First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs (Rosmolodezh) Alexander Bugayev, and experts from the forum’s jury. Adoption of the Forum Youth Message based on young people’s proposals received during the registration was the main result. Moreover, the team of the Youth Digital Ombudsman and the anthem of the forum were chosen at the event. It is planned that the youth forum will be annually held and that interested youth from the IT sector will meet there to discuss and develop specific and practical solutions and projects to develop internet and digital cooperation in Russia and all over the world,” Chukov said at the session.

Irina Trapeznikova noted that there was a lack of people both in Russia and all over the world who could serve as mediators between youth and government bodies, international organizations, and businesses.

“We need a person who will convey the youth’s thoughts to the superiors. And we, the youth ombudsmen, will be engaged in analyzing the existing youth initiatives and announcing them, including at the Youth Internet Governance Forum. I would like to see this initiative carried on and brought to an international level in order to cooperate with colleagues from foreign universities,” she said.

Coordination Center Director Andrey Vorobyev talked about the center’s educational projects: IP&IT Law and DOT Journalism contest and the Explore the Internet & Govern It! online championship among others. He thanked the young participants for their active work and expressed hope that with their help the center’s Youth Council will get a concept reboot.

Alexei Rogdev, General Director of the Technical Center of Internet, added: “It is necessary for us to involve young people in the internet governance in order to have a replacement in the future: young active users who understand what the internet is and know its rules.”

In conclusion, Andrey Vorobyev said: “The 11th Russian Internet Governance Forum has come to an end, and I would like to thank everyone who stayed with us during these three days. First of all, I would like to thank our partners: the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, ICANN, RIPE NCC, the Technical Center of Internet and the Kaspersky Lab, as well as information partners who cover everything that takes place at the forum. A big thanks to the Organizing Committee and the Program Committee: we have done everything to present different points of view at the forum. In the future, we will try to do everything in order to form the RIGF program within the multi- stakeholder approach. See you at other events on internet governance!”