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IGF 2011: Gems from the New Delegates Briefing #IGF11 #O1

Not being able to attend the IGF in Kenya, I decided that I would spare no efforts to participate remotely. Unfortunately, I have tried unsuccessfully to log into the remote participation links. I think this may be due to the lack of international broadband connectivity in Liberia. However, thanks to Stephanie Borg Psaila, my instructor in the Internet Governance Foundation course, I was able to get links to transcripts of some of the sessions.  Of course, the first transcript I chose to read was the New Delegates Briefing provided by Chengetai Masango, Jovan Kurbalija, Olga Cavalli, Virginia ‘Ginger’ Paque, Nurani Nimpuno, and Tim Davies. This is a very star studded lineup and I can imagine that all new delegates were adequately impressed; especially those individuals that have participated in the DiploFoundation Internet Governance Capacity Building Program.

 

Chengetai’s statement encouraging participants to discuss with different stakeholders so that they would be able to bring back something that they learned saw or heard at the IGF to their home institutions and share the knowledge is very important for those of us unable to be physically present in Nairobi. Those delegates privileged to be at the IGF are urged to remember that they are custodians of the knowledge and experience acquired at the IGF which is expected to be transferred to their institutions and colleagues at home. Ginger is right when she says that “making the IGF work is about taking solutions home.” This is also being facilitated by the 42 hubs and the remote participation made possible during this IGF and for which the DiploFoundation must be congratulated.

 

Olga’s reminder that the IGF is not just about Internet policy but about communities, countries and people is buttressed by Nurani’s observation that the IGF is a forum that brings together all the different stakeholder groups: technical, academic, and business communities, civil societies and governments. This should set the stage for dialogue during the various meetings and underlines the necessity of allowing all divergent views to be heard over the next few days. This requires an open mind that is willing to try to see things from the other point of view and is willing to make compromises in the interest of the greater good. Jovan noted that it is only by remaining open to discovering new possibilities that we can begin to develop our individual skills and our understandings, understandings of other cultures and other professional cultures. This is the Internet’s crucible of “Jua Kali” which has facilitated the tremendous innovations of countless ordinary people, creatively interacting with each other to discover solutions to complex problems. These ongoing discussions and interactions at the IGF in Kenya must continue. They must be practical, and they must be genuine, because the possibilities are endless but the risks for all are great.

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