Last July 23, 2016 at 8:00 AM, Dean Aris Ignacio and 21 students of Southville International School and Colleges – College of Information Technology took flight for Taipei, Taiwan to represent the Philippines in the 2016 Youth for Internet Governance Forum (YIGF).
Jozeff Perez, Margareth Cailing Arvin Reyes, Ardonuel Bautista, Jamaela Fae Chua, Ana Patricia Dagdag, Dominique Frogoso, Rafael Lagrisola, Adrian Linsangan, Aaron Paul Macabebe, Alexander Bagorio, James Montes, Jan Myckel Perez, Mico Salvador, Winnie Mae Silva, Marflorence Siton, Nathaniel Tapar, Miguel Efraim Virtusio, Ian Patrick Ylagan, Peter Neill Soriano and Patricia Dawn San Diegoparticipated in the seminars and workshop on Internet usage, policy awareness, and internet governance.
Organized by NetMission.Asia, YIGF is a 4-day 3-night camp that provides “an open platform for young generation to express and interchange their ideas and own thoughts on Internet governance freely.”
YIGF shares the same multi-stakeholder approach of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum, wherein all the participants are treated with equal opportunities to express their views and opinions, in regards to the event’s theme “Cultivating Digital Citizenship: Rights and Responsibilities”. The YIGF runs in parallel with the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) providing YIGF participants active participation in the discussion of key Internet issues tackled in APrIGF.
In the YIGF camp, the Philippine delegation spent time with the delegates from Taiwan, Malaysia, Africa, Thailand and Indonesia and wasted no time learning their cultures, sharing knowledge and making friends.
Each day in the YIGF camp was loaded with activities that got the mind working. One of the activities done was role playing. Each group was assigned a different sector tasks to solve a certain issue in the viewpoint of the sector the group was representing. These sectors were Government, Academia, NGO, Internet Service Provider, and Business. Some of the issues given to contemplate on were Search Engine Optimization (SEO), internet commerce and cyber bullying.
The participants were given a chance to choose which APrIGF workshop they wished to attend. There were several workshops, all different and significant. Majority of the participants chose workshops involving Security, Human Rights and Cyber Connectivity.
Though the workshops and role play may be difficult and challenging due to the weight of the topics, the YGIF camp was a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience, both to the participants and organizers. NetMission.Asia’s organizing committee did a great job of making fun activities and games that were still relevant to the youth and to Internet Governance.
Throughout the event, we met a lot of people who are doing their best to make the Internet a better place for everyone. We have listened to a lot of interesting people like Mr. Edmon Chung, CEO of DotAsia Organization and Head Secretariat of APrIGF, Mr. Paul Wilson, Director of APNIC, Ms. Susan Pointer, Senior Director at Google, Dr. Kenny Huang, Director and member of various internet organizations, Ms. Marie Laure Lemineur, Secretariat of ECPAT International, a leader of the global programme combating sexual exploitation of children online, Ms. Noelle de Guzman, Regional Programmes Coordinator for Asia Pacific at the Internet Society, Ms. Joyce Wu from World Conservation Union and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and Mr. Mike Baltzer, Leader of WWF’s Tigers Alive Initiative.
Ajitora, or Aji, is the first and only cyber tiger of his kind. He resides in Hong Kong and works with the awesome folks at DotAsia Organisation as the Stakeholder Engagement Manager. Like his colleagues, Aji works tirelessly to the promotion of “.Asia” domain names and its value for anyone from Asia, as well as businesses around the world looking for Asia. He is also the appointed by WWF, Global Tiger Forum and TRAFFIC.org as the ambassador of Tx2, the global initiative to double the population of tigers in the wild by 2022.
Aji joined us on July 29 to celebrate Global Tiger Day. The participants took part in the celebration by putting orange and black stripes to their thumbs, taking pictures and posting it to social media sites to raise awareness about #TX2, #GlobalTigerDay and #Ajitora.
And a tiger!
The students bade goodbye to their new found friends. The four-day camp gave them a lot of insights and learnings. But before setting off to go back to the country, we rewarded ourselves with a tour to the famous Taipei Zoo, one of the biggest zoos in Asia. We saw a lot of animals, from pandas, to koalas, bears, penguins, elephants, giraffes and a whole lot more. We also ticked off a lot in our Taiwan bucket list as we came and see the best sites in Taiwan like the Taipei 101, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Shilin Night Market, Guang Hua Digital Plaza, and many more! Truly, learning is more fun with IT!
It’s the little things that count. Change is not only a huge wave crashing in the ocean but also a tiny ripple spreading in all directions. As one of the biggest users of the Internet, we, the youth, can start making change by becoming more responsible in our words and actions, not just in the real world, but also in the cyber world.