The 5th Pakistan School on Internet Governance (pkSIG 2019) was successfully held last month in Quetta, Pakistan. This represents a significant achievement for the Internet Society Pakistan Islamabad Chapter as it played an instrumental role in bringing the first-ever Internet Governance event to the provincial capital of Balochistan.
For those who may not know, Balochistan has the largest land area among the four provinces of Pakistan, yet it is the least populated and least developed. Only 27% of its population lives in urban areas and Internet penetration is low. Finding adequate sponsors, and more importantly, diversity among the students to participate was a critical concern. But, pkSIG 2019 in Quetta proved to be one of the best editions of this school.
Over 60 people (one-third of them female) registered for the event, including students, professionals, startup founders, speakers, and some guests who showed keen interest in the program. Following a four-week long process of registration and shortlisting, 35 students were selected for pkSIG 2019 and five were awarded fellowships. Since all the sessions were livestreamed, a sizeable audience participated online as well. (The sessions and presentations are available online.)
“It’s our fifth consecutive year conducting pkSIG – each year in a different city. But the experience this year in Quetta has been remarkable, due to extraordinary participation by university-level students and young professionals – in particular women. Such vibrant participation has not been seen in any other city of Pakistan.” — Parvez Iftikhar, ICT Consultant
pkSIG is an annual professional course that aims to strengthen the capacity of leaders from various sectors in Pakistan to engage in Internet Governance issues at national, regional, and global levels. It has become the premier capacity building event on Internet Governance in Pakistan. In previous years, pkSIG was conducted in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, and Peshawar.
One of the highlights of the school this year was the fact that nearly all the faculty members were from Pakistan – signifying the strength of Pakistan’s Internet Governance community.
pkSIG 2019 was supported by the Internet Society and other partners, including Facebook, National Incubation Center in Quetta, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Stormfiber, Multinet, APASA, and Ecommerce Gateway Pakistan Pvt. Ltd.
Next year, the challenge will be even greater as we aim to conduct the school at one of the highest terrains on the planet in Gilgit, which is home to more than 20 peaks of over 20,000 feet, including K2 – the second highest mountain on Earth. You are cordially invited.
Photo Credit: The Dayspring