ARIN Fellowship Program Alumni Empower Next Generation Voices
If the Internet is for everyone, why is its fastest growing age group of users less likely to be involved in its governance? While young people’s participation in Internet governance has increased in recent years thanks to such initiatives as Youth Coalition on Internet Governance, Youth4IG and Youth Special Interest Group, it’s time to enhance youth engagement in the United States.
Both of us are early-career legal technologists interested in Internet governance, the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), and how to build a stronger, youth-led coalition fighting for a better Internet. An attorney from Armenia, Meri got involved in Internet governance through the Internet Society’s Youth@IGF Fellows program, and she stayed engaged due to the global community, her passion for digital rights, and the urge to collaborate on solutions for free speech, surveillance and privacy issues at the intersection of law and technology.
Jeremy got their start in Internet governance through work at Cloudflare in 2019 by learning about the technical standards bodies — like the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) — responsible for the Internet’s collective cohesion and overall functioning.
The two of us met as participants in the ARIN 48 Fellowship Program last fall. The ARIN Fellowship introduced us to a warm and passionate community of like-minded professionals that walked us through the ARIN policy development process, taught us a bunch of acronyms and gave us food for thought around the major issues RIRs currently face. The Fellowship experience was impactful for us both because of the network opportunities gained from being in the ARIN community.
We have used the Fellowship’s networking and learning opportunities to stay in touch with other Fellows and the industry, to organize, and to build capacity for the next generation of legal technologists. Our first undertaking is to organize the first Youth IGF-USA (Internet Governance Forum USA) event this July.
We created the Youth IGF-USA event to fill a regional gap in opportunities for next-generation Internet champions and establish a direct pathway into Internet governance for young people in the U.S. With the expertise gained from participation in and fellowships with other prominent Internet governance organizations like ARIN, we feel prepared to become responsible stewards of the U.S. region’s youth community.
The inaugural Youth IGF-USA will take place 20 July 2022 as a zero-day pre-event before the annual IGF-USA meeting. The Youth event will feature well-known guest speakers from various stakeholder groups, educational sessions about Internet governance and its origins, and opportunities to network with other global youth changemakers in the Internet governance ecosystem.
To register for the Youth IGF-USA event, click “Register” on the IGF-USA registration page and select the “Youth IGF-USA (July 20, Virtual Only)” free ticket option.
Youth IGF-USA is an important addition to the growing movement for broader, democratic Youth Internet Governance. Unlike traditional fellowship opportunities, this event aims to provide an inclusive alternative that will open newcomers up to all possibilities within the broader network. We hope this event will also act as a gateway for future ARIN Fellows!
Any views, positions, statements, or opinions of a guest blog post are those of the author alone and do not represent those of ARIN. ARIN does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or validity of any claims or statements, nor shall ARIN be liable for any representations, omissions, or errors contained in a guest blog post.
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