Preparing New Voices to Shape Internet Governance in the Middle East

Participants, partners and organizers of the 2016 Middle East and Adjoining Countries School on Internet Governance in Beirut.

While the Internet has long been recognized as a space for learning, self-expression, innovation, commerce, and sharing, it’s less understood as a political and contested space, where stakeholders with diverse and sometimes conflicting interests are constantly negotiating varying degrees of regulation of the network, from absolute openness to tight control.

Understanding the components of the Internet—from obscure technical protocols like the domain name system (DNS) to the highly visible content layers—and how governments, corporations, civil society and others seek to shape them is as important in a networked world as being able to navigate the politics of our municipalities, parliaments, and the UN. This knowledge is not only essential for participation in dialogues and debate at global meetings like the World Summit on the Information Society and the Internet Governance Forum but also critical to advocating for human rights online, as we do at SMEX.

To bring new voices into these conversations, from August 8-12, SMEX hosted the third annual Middle East and Adjoining Countries School on Internet Governance, in collaboration with ICANN, ISOC, and RIPE-NCC at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. Thirty-one participants from Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Palestine, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen participated in the school. Watch the short video that follows to learn more about Internet governance and hear what they and the organizers had to say about the experience and how they hope to shape the future of the Internet:

Next year, SMEX is planning a second school on Internet governance and digital rights in Lebanon. Subscribe to our email newsletter to learn more or if you’d like to partner with us on the school, please email mohamad@smex.org.

Finally, if you want to start learning about Internet governance now, download An Introduction to Internet Governance by Johan Kurbalija or check out Global Partners Digital’s new video series on cyberpolicy and human rights.

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