Journey of a Young Soul Wandering to Find Herself
From being a participant at the Asia Pacific Internet Governance Academy (APIGA) in 2022 to organizing the Youth Internet Governance Forum Cambodia 2023, my journey has been a transformative experience. Before APIGA, I had no idea about the vast and inclusive internet community and its role in policy development. As a third-year student majoring in Management of Information Systems at Paragon International University, self-learning and exploration are crucial for me. They’ve helped me discover opportunities aligned with my interests and passions.
Today, I’m actively engaged in the internet community, keeping pace with technological trends in our digital transformation era. This journey has left me feeling inspired and energized.
Feeling Inspired and Energetic
After participating in APIGA, I returned to Cambodia with a burning question: How can I raise awareness about internet governance in my country? I firmly believe in its importance for our nation’s rapid digital development and the preservation of an open, secure, and inclusive internet for all. Fortunately, I found the answer—a remarkable opportunity to bring internet governance awareness to Cambodian youth through the Cambodia Youth Internet Governance Forum.
When I learned that Open Development Cambodia (ODC) was bringing this forum model to Cambodia and seeking an organizing committee, I wasted no time in applying. Among many candidates who underwent interviews, I was honored to be selected as a member of the organizing committee for the Cambodia Youth Internet Governance Forum 2023. It’s a meaningful position that aligns perfectly with my goals and initiatives.
The Process of Organizing YIGF Cambodia
Organizing an event as significant as the Youth Internet Governance Forum Cambodia is no easy feat. As an organizing committee member, I juggled various roles and responsibilities, driving the team to achieve our objectives. My contributions ranged from being in the program committee, drafting our YIGF Cambodia concept note, theme, and sub-themes, to spearheading activities such as a role-play on multistakeholder internet governance.
I took pride in designing our beautiful website, yigfkh.org, and providing support in the communication committee, which included creating posters and materials. Beyond these roles, I believe my role in uniting the team, offering encouragement, and inspiring them to persevere until we achieved our forum’s goals was invaluable.
After YIGF Cambodia 2023 Came to an End
Our journey with YIGF Cambodia 2023 recently concluded on a high note, leaving me immensely grateful. I’m proud of my own contributions and equally proud of my fellow organizing committee members. Our collective hard work, dedication, and countless sleepless nights were instrumental in making YIGF Cambodia a resounding success.
What’s Next for Me? Where Does This Journey Lead?
I am deeply honored to have been selected by Open Development Cambodia as one of the organizing committee members for the 18th annual United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2023 in Kyoto, Japan, scheduled from October 8th to 12th, 2023. The forum’s overarching theme, “The Internet We Want – Empowering All People,” is complemented by sub-themes including AI & Emerging Technologies, Avoiding Internet Fragmentation, Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety, Data Governance & Trust, Digital Divides & Inclusion, Global Digital Governance & Cooperation, Human Rights & Freedoms, and Sustainability & Environment.
The IGF serves as a platform where diverse stakeholders come together as equals to exchange information and share best practices related to the internet and technologies. While the IGF may not possess decision-making authority, it informs and inspires those who do. It fosters common understandings and knowledge exchange to maximize internet opportunities and address risks and challenges. One aspect of IGF that particularly excites me is multistakeholder internet governance meetings. These sessions enable stakeholders from all corners, including developing countries, to engage in internet governance debates, contributing to capacity building and facilitating their participation in existing internet governance institutions and arrangements.
Among the many sessions at IGF 2023, I am particularly passionate about the Multistakeholder Discussion on issues related to Generative AI and the High-Level Session, which brings together speakers from diverse stakeholder groups. This session, like the rest of the program, embodies the IGF’s commitment to multistakeholder discourse, knowledge exchange, and the belief that such exchanges among decision-makers can lead to optimal policy outcomes. At IGF 2023, the focus will revolve around pressing public interest questions related to several subthemes, including AI & Emerging Technologies, Avoiding Internet Fragmentation, Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety, Data Governance & Trust, Digital Divides & Inclusion, Global Digital Governance & Cooperation, Human Rights & Freedoms, and Sustainability & Environment.
Lastly, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Open Development Cambodia (ODC) for their financial support, which allows me to participate in the Internet Governance Forum 2023 in Kyoto, Japan. I also appreciate my own dedication and hard work, as it was driven by my desire to raise awareness about internet governance among Cambodian youth and contribute to Cambodia’s digital technology transformation. Hard work pays off, but my motivation extends beyond personal gain. I work hard because I want to bring internet governance awareness to Cambodian youth and contribute to the digital development of Cambodia.