With more than 3 billion users worldwide, the Internet is arguably the most important infrastructure in today’s age. This makes understanding global Internet Governance a skill that cannot be underestimated – but yet – one that for most, is not so easily acquired.
This is where the Summer School on Internet Governance (SSIG) plays a critical part. SSIG is pivotal in helping students, academics and interested individuals from a broad range of backgrounds to understand the complexities of standard setting, policy-making and the infrastructure maintenance of the Internet – fulfilling a role that no other international academic organization does, at a master level and in such a comprehensive way.
This innovative program has been deepening the understanding of fellows from around the world for nine years and this year has drawn participants – both fellows and faculty members – from around 20 different countries. Many SSIG graduates go on to become leaders and key contributors to shaping Internet Governance in a variety of stakeholder groups, making it an incredibly worthy curriculum.
I am pleased to say that for the third successive year, the Internet Society is a supporting partner of the SSIG.
This year ISOC will be sponsoring fellow Nadira Alaraj of the ISOC Palestine Chapter who first entered the world of Internet Governance after taking the Internet Governance Capacity Building Program through the Diplo Foundation. You can find more information about Nadira and some of the other SSIG fellows on the SSIG website.
In addition to ISOC sponsoring a fellow, I moderated two sessions focused on business perspectives on Internet Governance, involving ISOC Organization members from Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom, among others. All of this happened last week from July 26 – August 1, 2015.
From a personal perspective, I have had the privilege of teaching at SSIG for eight years now and I never cease to be amazed at what a nurturing environment this is for fostering learning and building relationships.
Set in Meissen, Germany in a 12th Century monastery, the peacefulness and simplicity of this place brings people together – both faculty members and fellows alike – to reflect on the importance of collaboration and the multistakeholder approach, and where substantive exchanges about key Internet policy and technical issues take place.
For ISOC, keeping the Internet open, resilient, secure and making it available to everyone around the world is who we are and what we stand for. SSIG is one small step in helping us to connect the world and work with others for the benefit of advocating for equal access, open development of standards, protocols and infrastructure and ultimately making the world a better place.
Programs like the SSIG are an excellent way for our members and Chapters to help build the expertise of both young and experienced people in our community. It also highlights our longstanding efforts in Internet Governance Capacity Building, also one of the key focus areas identified by the ISOC Internet Governance survey published in March.
The success and reputation of SSIG has catalyzed other summer school programs in other regions including Latin America and Africa to take off.
Meeting incredible people from around the world who care about the Internet, and its growth, and want to tackle the policy, legal and regulatory challenges and issues is an extremely rewarding experience. We are pleased as the Internet Society to help sponsor events such as this.
Photo credit: image of last year’s 2014 Euro-SSIG by Sandra Hoferichter, used with her permission.