The 18th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was an incredible experience, and here I am sharing some of the highlights of my participation. This annual event took place in the beautiful city of Kyoto, Japan, from 8 to 12 October 2023. Hosted by the Japanese Government, it brought together stakeholders worldwide to delve into the intricate issues surrounding the Internet. The central theme of this year's event was "Empowering all people - shaping the desired internet".
As an advocate for youth participation in Internet Governance, I had the privilege of contributing to several sessions and events. Co-moderating two discussions: "Youth participation: co-creating the Insafe network" and "YCIG advancing youth participation in IG: results from case study." These sessions emphasised the critical role of youth voices and the importance of youth involvement in shaping the digital future.
Additionally, I had the opportunity to speak at "European Parliament Delegation to the IGF & the Youth IGF" and "Youth-Driven Tech: Empowering Next-Gen Innovators". These platforms allowed me to underline the global importance of youth engagement in influencing the internet's trajectory.
I was also one of the organisers of the "IGF Youth Summit", which provided a unique opportunity for young individuals to share ideas and foster a sense of community. As a side event to the IGF, I coordinated the "Youth Social event to the IGF", which connected approximately 100 young participants, reinforcing the power of our collective voice.
In a bid to reach a wider audience, I participated in a podcast episode for the Youth IGF Movement, spreading the message of youth involvement in internet governance, and at the IGF booth village, I spent most of my time at the Insafe, Internet Society, and EURid booth.
In summary, my contribution to the event aimed at advancing youth participation, fostering innovation, and creating a more inclusive, secure, and interconnected digital landscape. It was an inspiring and enriching experience, and I'm eager to continue this journey toward a better Internet for all.
About the authors:
João holds a Master’s in Informatics Engineering from the University of Coimbra, specialising in Intelligent Systems. He has an active role in online safety, digital literacy discussions, and best practices, being a Better Internet for Kids Youth Ambassador since 2012. João collaborates at the national and international levels to roll out initiatives and resources that contribute to a better internet. He is an active member of several youth groups in the Internet Governance field, like the Youth IGF Movement and EURid Youth Committee and participates in youth programs of CoE, ICANN, and ITU.