We want to take International Youth Day 2019 as an opportunity to acknowledge the work, dedication, and expertise many young people contribute to Internet Governance, as well as countless other fields.
The Internet is a somewhat special case, in that young people are the biggest demographic of Internet users, and are those who are the most active. Across the globe. The Internet can be a tool for democratic expression, fruitful collaboration, and almost limitless knowledge gain. However, we are aware that the flipside is also true – the Internet gives undesirable, ill-intentioned, or oppressive tendencies a bigger momentum, and a higher reach than any other technology ever before.
This is why the next generation of decision-makers in all fields, those who shape the Internet already, have the opportunity to keep it healthy, to innovate, to recognize its complexities, and to work with them. Youth participation is as much about rights, as it is about responsibilities, and ultimately, it is about demanding and using both in order to effectively contribute to the Internet of tomorrow.
We want to celebrate all those who work for the inclusion of young people on different levels. All those who organize and engage youth to work towards a more inclusive, more balanced, more democratic society offline and online.
The Internet Governance Forum is the manifestation of many different processes, and stakeholders working year-round. The International Youth Day is an opportunity to point to the fact that the same is true in youth participation - tireless work of many people worldwide. We are happy to contribute our bit this year by making youth more visible at the Internet Governance Forum in Berlin.