These days Vlada
have received a lot of emails of people asking how to apply for fellowships to go to IGF Sharm El Sheikh.
As you know, there is much difficulty to ensure the right participation of people from developing countries to international conferences.
Because of that, I decided to help and interview some people who had received support in the past from different institutions. I hope that you can read these stories and get some inspiration and ideas of how to do it as well!
Today I made an interview with Marsha Guthrie
, my colleague from Diplo IGCBP 2005 and a great friend.
Marsha in IGF Athens, 2006
Since the capacity building programme with Diplo, Marsha attended the following events:
• The Third WSIS Prepcom Meeting in September 2005, Geneva, Switzerland;
• Internet Governance: The Way Forward in February 2006, Malta and
• the First Internet Governance Forum in October 2006, Athens, Greece.
Because of this experience, and also tutoring and being in touch with people from all over the world, I invited Marsha to share some thoughts in a blog post for those of you interested in the policy side of Internet governance.
SEIITI: Marsha, can you share with us the story of how you got involved with Internet governance policy?
MARSHA: I responded to a call for applicants in early 2005 for this new programme in Internet Governance.
After I was accepted, I became more and more fascinated with IG and, upon successfully completing the course as one of the top students I was offered a fellowship to attend the Third PrepCom Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
It was an absolutely rewarding time as it exposed us fellows to the whole diplomatic process involved and a first hand view of the approaches of various governments and other stakeholders to Internet Governance.
I also had the opportunity to meet our Director, Dr. Jovan Kurbalija
and the head of the IGF Secretariat, Mr. Markus Kummer along with other members of the Diplo team and IG stakeholders.
After successfully completing the Foundation Phase of the IGCBP in 2005 I applied for and was accepted to the Research Phase of the Programme, which is quite different from how it is now.
We had to create portals with relevant information on specific topics and prepare a research paper. My group consisted of persons some of you may already know (Jean Philémon Kissangou
, Mwende Njiraini
, and myself).
We worked hard and were rewarded with a fellowship to attend the Meeting in Malta February 2006. This meeting was also very informative as we were able to hear from others who had prepared papers and network with those who were seeking to help shape policy with regards to Internet Governance. The composition and organisation of the Internet Governance Forum was discussed among other issues. It was also the beginning of some great friendships for me.
The first Internet Governance Forum in Athens was simply an extraordinary experience as this was my first time at such a large, international conference. This was also my first time as a tutor in the IGCBP.
I was approached by Diplo and asked if I would be available to attend. Going to the IGF was a growing and learning experience in so many ways as I got to meet Vint Cerf, participate in so many different and interesting sessions, even one on diplomacy coordinated by Diplo and was interviewed by the Pew Internet Project Team on the Future of the Internet
. I was also able to promote the work of Diplo by helping out at the display. I came away with a wealth of experience and it something I will never forget.
The Diplo team with Vint Cerf, 2006
SEIITI: Marsha, what are your recommendations for those who are willing to start on Internet governance policy?
MARSHA: First, always do your best as you never know who is observing your work and possibly making recommendations to others about your potential.
I would also advise those interested in obtaining a fellowship to continue to network with those you have met during the IGCBP, become involved in groups that are focused on Internet Governance issues, whether regional or international.
There is nothing wrong with preparing a proposal and "promoting" yourself to others. Just always ensure that your proposal is one that shows how the organisation can benefit from assisting you so that in the end the organisation benefits from your assistance and you benefit from your time working with the organisation by improving your skills. Who knows, you may end up working permanently with that particular organisation!