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Wow! 2009 was such an intense year! We are almost done with January and we cannot let go the opportunity to make a retrospective of significant events on Diplo Internet governance.

We asked some of our friends and here is what they replied:

Marília Maciel from Brazil:

"Diplo always succeeds to make a difference on all the thematic areas it chooses to take part. This year, Diplo's encouragement was fundamental for the Remote Participation Working Group to continue its activities towards the improvement of remote attendance in the IGF. Diplo´s experience in fostering fructuous online interactions among participants of the Internet Governance Capacity Building Program and its belief on the importance of the inclusion of a broader scope of people in the Internet Governance process has made it one of the great supporters of this initiative.

Diplo not only offered important insights and helped the RPWG to get in contact with key-people; it has also proposed a workshop about remote participation in the IGF. This debate has been very important to evaluate what has worked well and also the shortcomings of remote participation, pointing to a way forward. It has successfully brought a multistakeholder group of people and the IGF Secretariat together to discuss the role of remote participation and the ways to improve it."

The point on remote participation was also reinforced by Jean Paul Nkurunziza from Burundi:

"For me, the most special action within the Internet Governance area in 2009 was the IGF Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt and its remote participation hubs. The positive impact of remote participation hubs is that the local communities around get aware about what is happening in IGF.

I have just made a small research about the eleven remote participation hubs officially registered . It’s good to notice that almost 50% of the contact persons are Diplo community members. So, for me, DiploFoundation is playing a very important role in community awareness about the IG issues.

Adela Danciu, Romania, has chosen to highlight her takeaways from EuroDIG, and here are some of the reasons:

"First, because I was happy to meet in person the participants of Diplo's first IG Capacity Building Programme dedicated to Europeans, and most particular to Central and Eastern European countries.

And then because of the very presence of the Diplo fellows at this second EuroDIG meeting: their participation brought a fresh perspective to the debates, owed to their youth and enthusiasm and national experiences."

Mwende Njiraini, Kenya, chose the initiative of social reporting as a relevant one on the Sharm El Sheikh meeting:

"The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has become a significant event for ICT experts worldwide, that provides opportunities to share new knowledge and ideas through open multistakeholder dialogue. A significant highlight of the 4th IGF held in Sharm El Sheikh for me was the use of social media; flickr, twitter, blogs, for reporting of events.

I was part of a group of Diplo Foundation alumni that used social reporting to provide real time updates on various events expanding the scope of information and knowledge sharing beyond the physical location of the forum. I enthusiastically used ‘Twitter’ to share highlights of discussions at various workshops with national IGF counterparts who were unable to attend the Sharm El Sheikh meeting. Apart from being a comprehensive record of events the results of social reporting will for a long time continue to be used as reference in numerous features on websites and am extremely humbled to have been part of this initiative."

Hanane Boujemi highlighted how 2009 was a significant year for DiploFoundation since it gained a global recognition of its effort in spreading the culture of capacity development in IG. She says:

"The Arab region has a lack of expertise in this field and also needs more engagement and dedication from the government and civil society to finally raise the issues specific to the region.
Being a Diplo research associate I used the skills and expertise gained from my work with Diplo in highlighting the needs of the Arab region by decoding diversity issues in a publication of UNESCWA about the challenges and opportunities of Internet Governance (issues related to diversity), drafting a regional report about access to information in the MENA region for GisWatch and country report about Morocco

I also organized a workshop about the use of Internet in the Arab region for the IGF Sharm El Sheikh. Various stakeholders were invited to debate the importance of having online content originally in Arabic since the meaning could be lost in translation to encourage more access to the Web in the Arab region, launching initiatives that are compatible with the cultural backgrounds of Internet users in the region, highlighting initiatives which components include developing search engines, automatic translation, linguistic tools, a digital library, book translation, an open content project, an Arabic interactive dictionary, and an Arabic corpus, decoding why there is an increase in Arab users but significant increase is noticed as far online Arabic content is concerned and finally discussing the role of research and ICT capacity building in the region and its importance in bridging the knowledge gap and other issues. For more info, please refer to the following link.

Last, but not least, Marsha Guthrie, Jamaica, is enthused about many activities and the Diplo spirit:

"There were so many great things about 2009 and my continuing, deepening "love affair" with Diplo and Internet Governance but what always stands out for me is the way Diplo's team (past and current, alumni, tutors, etc.) came together and worked so well together at the fourth IGF in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

The launch of the booklet on

Identifying the Impact was so well received at the IGF along with Diplo's other publications and programmes. This may not be considered a random event but what was especially heartening for me was to be at the IGF and be so highly regarded when you identified yourself as being affiliated with Diplo, which shows that Diplo is definitely fulfilling its capacity building mandate. I do not know whether the role that Diplo has played in Internet Governance can even begin to be measured!
Note that I am saying we are perfect (but we are close!) and people do not and will not always agree. This is one of the things that make Diplo different. I do not think that I have had the opportunity to work with a more engaging, open, dedicated group with such great karma and camaraderie. A "can do" and non-defeatist attitude by all of Diplo's associates who were willing to be involved in any way that was necessary to help in Internet Governance capacity building made the year, all of the activities and the IGF memorable.

On a side note I still do not know where people like Jovan and Ginger get the energy! They're like my role models!"

What about you? Want to share your insights and memories of 2009 in this retrospective? Join the conversation!

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Comment by CRAVO, VANESSA on March 15, 2010 at 5:11pm
Even though is a little bit late (but better late, than never....), I want to share my Sharm experience...

First of all, it was incredible to meet several people that I had virtually met, talked and worked during the whole period of IGCBP09...

As my first IGF, I was amaze to be a part of this multistakeholder environment and to experience the diversity of people from different countries (even continents), ages, backgrounds and languages, all together to discuss one common idea of the future of Internet.

Chasing over my interests, I followed the activities regarding security, as well as workshops and meetings organized by Diplo. Cybersecurity has always been one of the main themes of IGF and will continue to be one of the hot topics, since it covers several key issues such as the balance between privacy and security online; the protection of children and youth; spam; cybercrimes; end-users awareness etc. One of the greatest things is the possibility of getting to know and learn with successful practices from all over the world, which were disseminated during the event.

I also participated in the Net Neutrality workshop, organized and coordinated by Diplo, one of the last activities of the IGF. Although it was one of the last activities and it had its time rescheduled, the workshop was a success! The quorum of participants was high as well as the interaction of the panelists with the audience, showing that net neutrality still a controversial matter.
Comment by Nino Gobronidze on January 21, 2010 at 12:49am
Hi everyone! A bit later, but still let me wish you a prosperous new year with full of success!
Secondly, the most important events for me in this field were the IG Capacity Building Program and of course, Eurodig 2009. The IG Capacity Building Program gave me a chance to start thinking about internet governance, to hear and learn experiences of different countries from people having various backgrounds. As for the Eurodig, it really was one of the remarkable events in terms of its topicality and also in terms of meeting those, who I already know virtually though the IG course. . It was really a great chance to meet a DIPLO team and colleagues from the program. I am really thankful for all of these.

:)
Nino
Comment by Subhodeep Kundu on January 19, 2010 at 9:01pm
The IGF09 has been the most remarkable experience for me as of now. It opened the window of wisdom in Internet Governance for me; the experience had been indispensible in terms of learning & enhancing capability by doing. The IGF09 had been instrumental to compare and contrast approaches and best practices of national and international regulatory issues; infrastructure; modes of access; regulatory challenges; multilingualism and access for people with disabilities which are always of immense importance and central to the access & diversity topic.
My participation in the debate on cloud computing in youth corner is always a cherished moment of knowledge sharing on an international forum.
Comment by Emmanuel Edet on January 19, 2010 at 8:56am
For me the most memorable event of 2009 was the Diplo Workshop on Net Neutrality. It was a personal milestone for me. I got the opportunity to sit beside some of the "titans" of the industry and to discuss issues which are dear to Diplo as far as Internet Governance is concerned. I had the opportunity to listen to proponents and opponents of regulating Internet traffic. One thing I learnt was that opposing views of the debate were not so distinct and far apart.

Ok why am I crazy about the debate? It was my first opportunity to sit on a Panel at an IGF Workshop. It was a milestone and I am sure there will be many more. But for now, thanks to Diplo it was a great outing.

Hey Marsha you are quite correct about the energy. And in terms of versatility I have not found a team better than Diplo. I love the working model and ethics. And Seiiti is up there in terms of resourceful persons.

I love the team.
Comment by Adela Danciu on January 18, 2010 at 6:51pm
Indeed Ginger, thanks for pointing out the learning factor. It slipped in my short insertion here, but it's certainly the constant factor of all the past years with Diplo. And of the years to come - I'm sure of that! :)
Comment by Virginia (Ginger) Paque on January 18, 2010 at 6:29pm
Thanks for the insights!! So very much happened during 2009, it is hard to pick one event: It was my first (exciting) year as Diplo IGCPB Coordinator, so you can imagine I had my hands full--not teaching--but learning! Closing out the year, of course, the Impact project took over my life :)--thanks everyone for your collaboration, and Marsha for remembering it.

I don't know if the IGF 2009 in Sharm's importance is magnified in my mind because it was the last big event of the year or not, and the Impact publication debuted there, but even more interestingly, I participated in the IGF 2009 by remote participation.

I attended the previous four IGFs in person, and this was a new experience. I was lucky enough to do two interventions by remote participation, one in the Main Session on Orientation and one--what better example--in the Remote Participation Workshop.

It was an interesting experience in many ways. Because of the time difference, I changed my daily schedule to fit the IGF routine--I had to be at my computer by 3:00 a.m and I was in bed by 7 p.m. so I could manage. I think that I got a lot more out of each session, because speakers had my undivided attention. I learned a lot, and the sessions themselves were more intense for me because there was no distraction of events, people, things going on... And no getting to network, no seeing people, no Diplo Booth, new foods and culture. No meeting the IGCBP08 colleagues... I really missed the people! And I really appreciated those who took the time to include us in Remote Participation and Skype conversations.

While there is nothing like going to the IGF in person, the IGF by remote participation is a valuable experience, and I recommend to everyone that you take advantage of remote tools whenever you cannot participate in person. I agree with Marilia, Jean-Paul and others: this year we must work even harder to reach more people with remote participation tools. The Remote Participation Working Group will be more active than ever... soon you will have full information at www.igfremote.info. Don't forget to check in once in a while!

May your dreams come true in 2010. Happiness and health to all of you.
Comment by Seiiti on January 18, 2010 at 5:20pm
Hey Rafik! You could share some info about the Youth Coalition - is there any news about it? How can people join?
Comment by Rafik on January 18, 2010 at 5:12pm
Good Job guys

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Elma Demir (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
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Deirdre Williams (St. Lucia)
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