Testimonial of Souphavady Praseuth, an APTLD Fellow to APIGA 2019

It has been a wonderful experience being part of the APIGA 2019 program under APTLD Fellowship. APIGA is a 5-day program on Internet Governance that is very comprehensive and fun learning experience for youth. From the day of arrival to Korea until the day I finished off the training, I feel that was learning and getting new experience everyday even in the group discussion with my peers were very interesting.

Prior to the actual training, this program had provided many online courses for the participants to complete. It has introduction materials on every sessions of the training which provide us with backgrounds and internet governance history. I feel that this is a very important step to prepare ourselves for a fruitful discussion during discussion.

The first day of the training was the opening ceremony, APIGA, KISA and ICANN gave opening speech to welcome the participants from various countries. In the afternoon and evening sessions, the speakers had presented the History of Internet Governance, after that they have divided the classroom into small groups for brain storming and presentation about today’s internet governance issues and how to resolve them in our view. At the end of the first day, the facilitator presented on the preparation of mock ICANN conference, that we will be doing for the last day. We were also divided into 3 groups for group-work and better communication.

The second day, the first session was reviewing yesterday’s discussion. The second session, the speaker introduced the definition and process of multi-stakeholder. They also encouraging everyone to get involve and participate in ICANN community to understand more about policy process. I remember the 3 main keywords in the development of policy that I will never forget which are: 1) Open, 2) Transparent and 3) Bottom-Up. The last session for the second day is continue to prepare the mock ICANN conference. After dinner, we all got together for a group meeting to prepare for the next day presentation. I feel that all of us take the program very seriously and we put our best effort in it. Our group finished meeting at almost midnight.

The third day, the facilitator presented the topic on Local Internet Governance and Internet trends. After that each group had been preparing for last night divided into 3 groups to present about Internet Governance issue that they were working on and how to solve those issue. During the group discussion we can see a lot of interesting ideas especially the youth ideas in this issue. We had also discussed about the solutions these problems exchanged views in the Q&A session. In my group, we had chosen the topic on “A safe Internet”. The cyber-security in the society in my opinion is very important because young people and general users don’t have enough awareness and knowledge on the use of Internet safely. The Internet should protect the privacy, personal data (sensitive data) of the users, but this only possible if users have knowledge and providers have high accountability for their services. Our group feels that each country, should have a committee to supervise and there is a need of sharing experiences among the countries for learning from each other. We end the day by another workshop of preparation for tomorrow mock ICANN conference.

The fourth day was that last day of the training session, we had a mock ICANN conference which was very interesting. We talked about should Domain Name Abuse be regulated and should Whois database be regulated by GDPR. We were divided into 3 groups representing 3 Stakeholder groups which are GAC, GNSO, and ALAC, my group was GNSO. Each group had to discuss and brain stormed on the issue. There were also real life experts Skype in so we can discuss the issue and ask them questions. This was very helpful in my opinion because we get to hear real-life expert’s opinion on the issue. After that we selected a leader to present our stand.  This was the first time I participated in a round table discussion, it had a lot of meaning for me because it was a brand new experience and helped me imagine how ICANN conference are organised, how different groups of stakeholders have different views, how multi-stakeholder groups meetings are like and most importantly, what are the processes to arrive with consensus.

The fifth day, everyone received the certificate of the training and the organizer gave the closing ceremony. In the afternoon, we had field trip, they were organized for us to visit KISA (Korea Internet and Security Agency) it was very interesting and special learning experience. In the evening we had opportunity to have dinner in E-land Cruise and view with Han River by night. I enjoyed it very much because we get to finally relax after 4 days of intense training. We listen to music, chatting on general topics with our peers, I had a lot of laughter and fun memorable moments together with the peers.

After the APIGA 2019 training, personally, I have gained a lot of new knowledge and experience that is an important step for me to learn and growth in my future career and also, I have created a great network with the participants from other countries, as well as mentors, experts and everyone at the program. This is a valuable and lifelong experience that I can hold on to for both personal and professional purposes. I can also apply a lot of knowledge that I learn from here in my work because I am working for ccTLD for my country already. I would like to express my appreciation to Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) and ICANN for organizing this program and especially big thanks to APTLD for giving a great opportunity for me to access to the new knowledge and technics of the program and lastly to the Secretariat of APIGA 2019 to support and prepared everything for my travel to Korea until I returned back to my country safely.

Vientiane, 23 August 2019

Souphavady PRASEUTH