Running a cybersecurity workshop – Insights from a Youth Ambassador

  • Youth
  • 09/10/2018
  • João Pedro Martins, Youth Ambassador

Youth Ambassador João Pedro Martins tells us about his experience as a workshop facilitator at the Portuguese Multicert II Security Summer School. 

"Cybersecurity is, more than ever, a multidisciplinary environment with many challenges. Engineers and those responsible for maintaining assets securely, from online services and infrastructure to our sensitive data, must not only be highly technically skilled, but they also should be aware of - and contribute to - internet governance as a whole, since they are well represented at discussion tables.

"If the above is already a necessity, it should be promoted as a key competence for the next generation of cyber experts. Multicert, a leading Portuguese company in digital certification, asked me to facilitate a workshop on internet governance at their II Security Summer School, where the target audience was university students with an IT background. This three-day event covered several hot cybersecurity topics, in three categories: "Be Prepared", "Brace for Impact" and "Aftermath". I was happy to contribute to the last one, providing an overview of where to actively stand in the internet governance ecosystem.

"Presenting a new concept can be complicated for several reasons. There can be a lack of motivation to learn it, which is fair, considering the broad information era we live in, or it can be the specificity and complexity of the concept, which is also reasonable, since we are keen to explore more extensively things that we are interested in. Yet, I believe these issues allow for an interesting introduction of the theme, debating and discussing the differences in linguistics and scope of the concept, which are vast and tricky. Given that the definition of internet governance itself is a work in progress, subject to changes and contextualisation, the idea of the workshop was to provide those university students with a peer overview of substantial knowledge and tools to develop further interest and engagement in the internet governance environment.

"Preparing a talk is usually self-rewarding, as I ended up finding details that, at first glance, seemed trivial but need further investigation in order to be explained to an audience of eager colleagues. During the presentation, my attention was split between what I had to say and the points being raised by the audience. That last part is an essential element that I take back from these sessions. The testimonies I collect allow me to build strong arguments as a youth advocate in high-level meetings. From this workshop, I gathered interesting points about the digital roles of the young people of tomorrow as potential multiarea experts of the internet world; a topic I will be speaking about in the ICANN63 meeting in October 2018 in Barcelona."

About the author:

Photo of João Pedro Martins, Youth Ambassador

João is a 20-year-old Computer Engineering student at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He has been a Youth Ambassador for six years.

Born in Portugal, he was one of the first members from outside Lisbon to join the youth panel of his national Safer Internet Centre (SIC). After attending a Safer Internet Forum (SIF) in Luxembourg in 2011 representing his country, he was invited to be a Youth Ambassador. Since then he has attended in Paris and Cachan, as well as the European Parliament for the launch of the WebWeWant handbook. He has also participated in two more editions of SIF. Throughout the years, he has had the opportunity to raise awareness among his peers, learn about online safety issues and met many interesting people from all around the world.

Young people's opinions are very important for João and he believes that they should be taken into account by both politicians and industry. That is why he is involved in projects connected to youth participation in debates and decision-making processes. More recently, he has worked alongside his national SIC to organise lectures in local schools and regional events, and has been involved in internet governance events, both at national (Incode2030 and Portuguese IGF – 2016/17) and international (Global IGF – Mexico 2016) levels.

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