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My experience after the event in Brisbane– yIGF & APrIGF 2023

One of the amazing events I’ve been to was the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) 2023, which took place in Brisbane, Australia. The APrIGF 2023 Overarching Theme is ” Emerging Technologies – Is Asia Pacific Ready for the Next Phase of the Internet?”. Young people and multi-stakeholders from various parts of Asia-Pacific have been invited to the table to discuss Internet governance. As a member of the CamyIGF 2023 organizing committee, I had the chance to interact and converse with a variety of stakeholders and young people from diverse regions.

I’ve never been this far away from home before, so I’m truly amazed by Brisbane, Australia’s beauty. From day 0 of the yIGF and APAC until the closing ceremony, I have learned immensely the primary role of youth in Internet governance, how we as young people are prepared to pursue these opportunities, and how we can contribute to the advancement of technology in our own society. The conference was hosted by the.au Domain Administration (auDA) sponsored by Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), APNIC Foundation, NETTHING 2023, Australian Government and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The IGF basically aims to inform young people about Internet governance. It also encourages the younger generation to engage in more deliberation and decision-making process.

The program agenda for yIGF 2023 and APrIGF includes the APAC Youth Leader dialogue on Youth Power Building Collaborative Partnership for Youth Inclusion Internet Governance, a panel discussion on algorithmic decision-making and the future of the Internet, a round table discussion on cyberspace’s impact on youth digital wellbeing, and a meeting with industry experts. After each speaker’s presentation, there was an open floor dialogue followed by a panel discussion, where the speakers recap the discussion and receive follow-up questions from the participants. Participants can also ask their own questions to gain a deeper knowledge, and this is also one of the memorable moments when I see many enthusiastic young people and numerous stakeholders actively voicing their concerns!

One of the highlights for me was getting to practice public speaking and boosting my confidence in expressing my concerns to the general public by presenting our Youth policy statement. The statement was the result of our discussion during the conference when we were divided into four groups made up of representatives from the Civil Society, the Technical Community, the Government, and the Private Sector.

Everyone can participate in voicing their concerns about issues relating to Internet governance by doing so through the Youth Policy Statement in the APrIGF Synthesis Document 2023. If you’re a Cambodian and are interested in learning more about Internet governance, join our Cambodia Youth Internet Governance Forum on September 23–24, 2023, at CADT!

Finally, I want to express my deepest gratitude to NetMission and the DotAsia Organization for giving me the chance to learn about Internet governance and develop my active participation, networking, and cooperation skills. Moreover, a special thanks to the organizing committee, who made sure that everyone is on the same page while continuing to provide us with all the essential materials from the day before the event to the last day of the conference. They put in a lot of effort, and I’ve learned a lot from it, which has made me aspire to be like them. As a member of the yIGF 2023 Cambodia, I also want to offer my sincere gratitude to Open Development Cambodia for covering the cost of my roundtrip flight and visa.

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4 reasons behind successful Cambodia’s first Youth Internet Governance Forum

The first-ever Cambodia Youth Internet Governance Forum (yIGF) was successfully conducted on 23rd-24th September 2023. This 2-days event took place at the Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology (CADT) in Phnom Penh, the heart of the kingdom with the amount of attendees up to 200.Following the description on its website yIGF has aimed to raise awareness of youth on Internet governance-related topics and to encourage the young generation to have more active engagement in policy discussion and the decision-making process to understand their role in the future society, as well as to use the Internet in a safe way.This is one of the most successful tech events in Cambodia due to a number of reasons.1. Strong commitment from the whole teamThe credit for this success goes to the teams, Advisory Committees (AC), Organizing Committees (OC), and Volunteers.The AC plays a crucial role in navigating the course toward the right path. They brought the event to the country and recruited the OC. The AC also sought sponsorships, communicated with the policymakers, and guided the whole team to complete their tasks effectively in a timely manner.The OC consists of young and vibrant members who I believe will be the future leaders of this country. (I’m not joking 😉.) The team comprises many skillful people on a variety of topics. They worked as a team and produced a tremendous amount of high-quality work to ensure the event went smoothly and professionally.The website teamCredit also goes to the volunteer team who also worked so hard to contribute to the success of the event.Before the event, both OC and Volunteers worked days and nights to accomplish their jobs. Some would work with just a few hours of sleep for a number of consecutive days. You may have seen their work right at the event, if you’ve attended, or viewed the website and the social media engagement they have accomplished so far.2. InclusivenessAs stated on the website, yIGF is a dynamic and inclusive event that brings together youth, policymakers, industry experts, and civil society. People from various backgrounds came together to discuss Internet Governance, sharing experiences, networking, and learning from one another.Joining were students, social workers, government officials and policymakers, ethnic groups, people from provinces, NGOs, startups, etc. Besides joining as participants, some of them were volunteers, speakers, speaker coordinators, tech helpers, and MCs.On top of that, there were speakers from varied institutions as well, including the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Dot Asia, and more. Speakers were from Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, South Korea and many other countries.3. The themeThis year’s yIGF proposed a theme of “Digital Empowerment: Ensuring Access, Safety, and Opportunities for All” with three other sub-themes, such as the Introduction to AI, Digital Rights and Online Responsibility, and Cybersecurity and Data Privacy. Every topic proposed by the speaker must match these sub-themes.AI-related topics, digital rights and online responsibility-related topics, and cybersecurity-related topics are trending in today’s Cambodian society. People from all backgrounds are interested in AI and how it works, while individuals and NGOs are way more concerned about peoples’ ‘digital footprint’ and privacy leaks online, especially those who are working in areas of Child Protection.I presented \"The foundation of Web Security\"I helped Dixon with Khmer TranlsationAttendees were interested in securing themselves on the internet by learning new tips from experts like Chumrum Digital and other cyber security experts.Besides the breakout sessions, there were ‘Phum yIGF’ and ‘Multi-Stakeholder Conference’ roleplays where all participants were required to attend and learn something.Phum yIGF happened on the first day of the event where all people were encouraged to find out about digital currency–in this case Crypto Currency, the NFTs, and how the market fluctuates according to other side effects such as Hacking and Internet/Electricity interruptions. This session helped participants understand the risk of their investment in the market.Srymanit and I were the Crypto currency sellers (role play)Busy selling cryto currency (role play)The Multi-Stakeholder conference roleplay took place on the second day where some groups of participants were assigned a role to debate amongst each other. There were so-called ‘The Government Group’, the ‘Private Sector Group’, and the ‘Netizen Group’.Each group was given enough time to meet and prepare their questions and responses to other groups’ questions. The debate went well and the result from it was encouraging. The session was concluded by Mr. Thy Try, the executive director of Open Development Cambodia (ODC) who noted he had learned new tips from that debate and promised to bring them into the policy-making process with other stakeholders.The team representing the government meeting before the Multi-Stakeholder conferenceDuring the Multi-Stakeholder conference4. Engagement from all partiesThe event would not have been successful without the AC, OC, Volunteers, Speakers, and Participants. People were vibrantly communicating with one another during the session, the break, and even after the event.In my observations, people have made new friends, gained new knowledge, and raised new awareness of the current challenges in the digital sphere. Students may have good jobs through their extended network after graduation. Companies may gain more projects from potential stakeholders they met at the event.Another takeaway point is the Personal Data Protection law that is still under discussion amongst all stakeholders. I strongly believe that after the discussion, the law will gain more input and will be issued pretty soon. Since I will attend the Annual Meeting of the 18th Internet Government Forum in Kyoto, Japan next week, I’m more than happy to share my own input with what I will learn from the event via any means possible.All participants after the closing ceremonyTo conclude, I believe Cambodia’s yIGF 2023 would bring hope to every Cambodian citizen that they’d live in a safer world in the Industrial Revolution 4.0. It means they will be more cautious of what data they will share online and how much they should share, what links on the Internet are harmful and they will learn to use means that protect themselves from any cyber-attack. Furthermore, they will be aware of the trending AI technologies around them and they will learn to adapt. This will enable them to always be up-to-date with the job market.Without the help from ODC, I don’t think this kind of fruitful event can take place. I strongly hope ODC as well as other stakeholders will consider having yIGF repeat next year and every year.

Cambodia YIGF’s First Debate Brings Spotlight On Internet Governance

The Cambodia YIGF’s friendly debate debut brings the spotlight on ‘Internet Governance’ by bringing the internet aspects to be heard among youths and the public since internet governance is still a new topic in Cambodia.On July 28, the Cambodia Youth Internet Governance Forum (Cambodia YIGF) committees initiated the first friendly debate regarding internet governance topics to engage youths in the internet discussion. The very first debate program was joined by four main teams from two different universities: the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL) of the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) and Paragon International University, with three members each.  The Fancy Cookies team, Miyoshi Yumilinda, and Soun Ratana Somany, from IFL represented the government side, and the InExp team, Lovely Long, Elite Ek, and Chamroeun Chakri Chhoeung, from Paragon University, represented the opposition side. They debated the first motion, “This house believes youths should have a greater role in Internet Governance”.And for the second motion, “This house advocates for the inclusion of digital literacy programs in school curricula to promote online responsibility and empower individuals to navigate the digital landscape safely and ethically,” the e-Ninjas team, Nin Sreyleap, Kem Bunheang and Tith Mayana Khieu, from Paragon University, characterized the government-side debate between the opposition side from the Teletubbies team, Sros Sreyneang, Vong Daly, and Prom Menglong from IFL. The Cambodia YIGF Advisory Chhit Kanika remarked about how significant it is to understand more about Internet Governance in the digital age, and by initiating the first debate related to internet governance among youths, we will help foster youth engagement and awareness as well as the public’s through debating platforms. “In this era, where the internet basically involves our lives like ordering food, shopping, and dating, it is very important for everybody to understand the internet governance and also internet security in order to seize the opportunity and also identify the endangerment of the internet in the technology world.” Kanika said. She believed that throughout the debate session, participants would be able to learn more about internet governance from the debaters and be encouraged to engage with both oppositional and supportive arguments in order to get to know more about what internet governance is, especially for those who had never heard about it before.  “And I hope that by the end of this first friendly debate, we will at least find some solutions to our problems and our misunderstandings related to these topics,” She added.  At the end of the debate, the judges brought up some good advice for youth debaters and motivated them to keep learning and expanding their skills like researching, critical thinking, and body language. However, the judges all admired their debating skills. As they can come up with many impressive ideas regarding internet matters with data and dive deep into the solutions while debating on stage confidently, even internet governance is a new topic for them. The winner of the first motion went to the opposition side, the InExp team from Paragon University, and the winner of the second motion went to the opposition side, the Teletubbies team from IFL.

My APrIGF 2023 Fellow Experience

I am honored to be selected as one of the fellows for the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) held in Brisbane, Australia from 29th to 31st August 2023. The conference brings together a diverse group of people sharing different backgrounds, including youths, researchers, policymakers, and others, to collaborate and discuss Internet issues happening in the Asia Pacific region. This highlights the importance of multistakeholder approach to shape our digital space and Internet world.This year, it\'s noteworthy that the APrIGF, NetThing, Pacific IGF, and yIGF events were hosted concurrently at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. The overarching theme for this year’s conference is “Emerging Technologies – Is Asia Pacific Ready for the Next Phase of the Internet?” with an emphasis on three main themes, access & inclusion, sustainability, and trust. In a world where technology is evolving rapidly, this forum pushed us to question our readiness, our strategies, and our ethical frameworks. Various interesting topics were discussed, such as data privacy and protection, AI ethics, cybersecurity, human rights, online child protection, digital inclusion and connectivity, policies and regulations, and many others.Day 0: Capacity building for fellows and newcomersBefore the official kick-off of the event, fellows and newcomers were invited to a capacity-building session. We were introduced to Internet governance and the multi-stakeholder model. The orientation helps to ensure that all attendees are welcomed, informed, and equipped with the knowledge necessary to actively participate in the forthcoming discussions in the following days, and everyone is open to raising their voices to shape the future of the Internet during the conference.We had an opportunity to stand up, introduce ourselves, and share our interests in Internet issues. It was enlightening to hear from such a diverse group, each bringing their unique perspective about Internet governance to the room. I also had the enriching experience of attending the APAC Youth Leaders Dialogue hosted by yIGF, which provided insights into how can the youth meaningfully contribute to Internet governance discussions and initiate local Internet governance in their home country. I also had the opportunity to discuss with the IGF secretariat. The discussion was not just about gaining knowledge but also about seeking advice, sharing concerns, and envisioning pathways for youth participation in the development of Internet policy.Day 1“Policy development on generative AI based on Biometrics & Weaponizing Information Bubbles” is one of the sessions I attended on the first day.The session is about the challenges we\'re facing with new AI technologies, especially the ones that create super realistic, yet fake content. The concerns around advanced AI technologies include voice synthesis that can mimic anyone\'s voice, deepfakes which can produce convincing videos of individuals doing or saying things they haven\'t, and even the ability to replicate unique identifiers such as fingerprints, and many more. Such advancements, powered by AI tools, blur the lines between reality and deceit. The session highlighted the importance of reflecting on why we use these technologies and what we hope to achieve with them. With AI\'s ability to generate almost real content, distinguishing genuine from fake is becoming a challenge.A significant concern raised was about AI\'s potential to disseminate false information widely and rapidly. But what\'s even more challenging is that our laws and regulations aren\'t adapted quickly enough to these technological advancements. This session raises our awareness of the need to exploit new technologies, understanding, and an emphasis on ethical use.Day 2In addition to the insightful sessions on Internet-related issues happening simultaneously on day 2, all the fellows had the opportunity to present their selected topics related to Internet issues within their buddy groups. It was an enriching learning experience to listen to the diverse perspectives everyone brought to the stage on Internet governance.I had a unique and new experience working with my buddy, Eshaq. Collaborating with someone who has a disability gives me insight into the challenges he is facing in relation to Internet governance. His perspective taught me that as technology is advancing, there is often a concerning oversight - the lack of prioritization and inclusion for underprivileged groups. Therefore, we decided to give a talk centered around the theme of “Inclusion.” Our primary goal was to emphasize the importance of inclusivity in today\'s digital world, ensuring that no one gets left behind as technology continues to evolve.Day 3On day 3, I had a chance to step up to the microphone during the Town Hall session to share my insights and to contribute to the Synthesis Document input – a collection of views and concerns about Internet governance in the Asia Pacific region. This document will be presented for further discussion at the Global IGF this October in Kyoto. The questions related to the three main themes are open for both online and onsite participants to share their thoughts.Access and InclusionDo emerging technologies bridge or widen the pre-existing digital divide in the Asia Pacific?How do they impact human rights, and how should policies respond?How can we ensure their affordability and equitable benefits?TrustHow can trust in the Internet, its infrastructure, and governance be strengthened?How can we balance trust and privacy? How can we ensure transparency, accountability and fairness in emerging technologies?How do we promote trust in complex, unfamiliar technologies?SustainabilityHow can new technologies support a sustainable Internet?How do we encourage sustainable development with these technologies?How do they contribute to an equitable future?Social EventsAttending the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) was not just a learning experience, but a golden opportunity to network with like-minded individuals passionate about Internet governance. We discussed the challenges and best practices related to Internet issues in our respective countries and region. Our fruitful and informal discussions led to further collaboration to work on Internet governance activities in our country.Photo by APNICTo everyone I had the pleasure of interacting with during APrIGF 2023, I extend my heartfelt gratitude. Your insights and experiences help me learn a lot, and come back with many new ideas. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my mentor, Dr. Shabbir, as well as DotAsia and sponsors for granting me the opportunity to participate in this insightful conference and make significant impacts and success in the region. I am looking forward to further collaboration for a better and sustainable Internet world. Please mark your calendars for two upcoming Internet governance events:Cambodia Youth Internet Governance Forum: Scheduled for 23rd to 24th October 2023 at the Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology.18th Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum: Scheduled for 8th to 12th October 2023 at Kyoto.