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Bringing Youth to the Internet Governance Discussions

Many young people age 18-25 are the first generation of adults to grow up not knowing the world without the Internet. For those that do not have access, they are some of the people that are pushing hardest for it.

Young people are shaping online culture in so many ways. They use the Internet to meet people around the world, create the videos that go viral, they create art that moves us and start and stand behind online social movements that make us think.

They are building their dream Internet.

And yet when it comes to policy discussions, most of them are not at the table.

We want to change that.

Last year, we partnered with the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI Brasil) to launch a pilot program called “Youth@IGF.”

It saw 120 young people — aged 18-25 — from around Latin America and the Caribbean, go through a series of online courses about privacy, security and Internet governance. They came from a wide variety of backgrounds, ranging from programming and engineering to law and activism. More than 70 went on to attend one of the world’s most influential meetings in Internet policy, the Internet Governance Forum.

Many of the Youth@IGF participants went on to form the ISOC Youth SIG; our first special interest group focused on how governance issues affect young people.

This year, we’re expanding Youth@IGF to include young people from around the world with NIC México and the Government of México as proud partners. Together, we’ll put 200 young people through online coursework, and send the top performers to the IGF in Guadalajara.

“These young people are among the next generation of Internet leaders. They are the ones who will take up the mantle to help figure out how to preserve the privacy of Internet users, how to make a more secure Internet, and how to connect the next billion users. It’s crucial we get them involved now” says Toral Cowieson Senior Director of Leadership Porgrammes at the Internet Society.” The Youth SIG is already helping start many of these discussions among both their peers and the generation of teenagers coming up behind them.

When it comes to Internet governance, we don’t need young people to be the future. We need them to be part of the present. Youth@IGF is one of the ways we’re making that happen.

If you qualify, we urge you to apply now and build your #dreamInternet.

For more information and application, please visit Youth @IGF Programme pages: