The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Eigth Meeting of the IGF, in Bali, Indonesia. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: I'm sorry, we're late. We are waiting for another panelist. We'll probably wait a couple more minutes.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: So good morning, everyone. I think we can start. We are still missing one Panelist but we can maybe start and he will join in.
So I would like to welcome you all this morning to our workshop. The workshop is, has the title "Is It Time for the Internet Spring in the Arab Region?"
And it is coordinated by ISOC, the League of Arab States, ESCWA and ICANN. I hope we are going to have an interactive discussion this morning between the floor and our distinguished discussing Panelists. We have a good representation from all stakeholders. So we have business, we have technical community. We have Civil Society. And we have representative of the Governments. So the session, we are planning to have it in two rounds. We hope the first round will look at initiatives that the different stakeholders embarking on in the Arab region and we have two strategists from ISOC and from ICANN that are on the goal right new for the Middle East and the Arab region and we have within the League of Arab States governmental initiatives which we want to hear of.
And then in the second part of the session we want to explore cooperation between the different stakeholders. What are the challenges we are facing and how is the development that is happening in the Internet in the region affecting those strategies and changing the Agendas.
So without further waiting, I will maybe start by introducing our first Panelists for this morning. He is to my left, Mr. Walid Khaled Foda. He has joined the League of Arab States in 1993 and since 2010 he has assumed the responsibility of the technical Secretariat of the Arab telecommunications information Council of ministers. He is also the League of Arab States representative to the ICANN GAC. So Khaled, the floor is yours. We would like to hear more maybe about initiatives that are happening within the League of Arab States specifically in relation to the Arab IGF maybe, to the Internet Governance arena in general, maybe the Arab domain. So Khaled?
>> KHALED FODA: Thank you very much, Christine and good morning, everybody. I think I will just brief you about the initiative for the Internet Governance which has been undertaken by the League of Arab States. Actually it started in 2010 when the League of Arab States joined forces with the UN ESCWA, the initiative for the Internet Governance in the Arab region. The initiative was aiming at setting a roadmap for Internet Governance within the region and it actually at the early stage it produced a call for Arab Governments to realise the importance of Internet Governance within the Arab region.
The initiative was also used as public consultation for the very important regional project which is the Arab top level dough pains project. And actually, here I would like just to briefly emphasize that we have passed the initial phase of the ICANN for the two domains, dot Arab and its Arabic discriminate equivalent, note Arab for top level domains to be assigned to the League of Arab States.
Also the initiative was aiming to study the need to launch a regional Internet Governance Forum within the Arab Region. Or study any equivalent or any alternative mechanisms for the Internet Governance within the region. And we called for a multi-stakeholder meeting in Beirut in February 2011 that was actually quite intense with representatives from all different stakeholders and that meeting produced a call for the Arab ministers for information telecommunications to adopt a regional Internet Governance Forum within the Arab Region.
In October 2012 we held our first IGF, Arab IGF in Kuwait with more than 300 participants and in October 2013 we held our second in Algeria with more than 800 participants, I think. Actually, the figures are quite impressive and very significant to how all different stakeholders realised the importance of Internet Governance within the region.
Also within the past few months actually, we have been also following up the what is going on around the world, what is going on at the international level with respect to enhanced cooperation and we have been realising that the importance of the Internet Governance and the importance of involving all multi-stakeholders in a parallel route that may emphasize the business model or hierarchy related to the production of policies and regulations within the region and specific to our area we realised also that there must be a need for a parallel route for enhanced cooperation within the Arab Region that is different than on the international level.
And we are actually taking several steps now to produce jointly with the Arab Governments, with the telecommunications information ministries to produce a model and suggest relevant output or required output and implementations for enhanced cooperation within the region that might be introduced to the coming Arab Internet Governance Forum in 2014.
We also actually showed our commitment to hold on to our commitment to promote and embrace and promote Internet Governance within the region and best practices through the Internet for development within the region.
Thank you very much, Christine.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: Thank you very much, Khaled. And maybe in the next round of questions you can reflect on how Arab Governments actually are reaching out to other stakeholders, or maybe working out with other stakeholders through the model of the Arab IGF.
Our next Panelist for today which I would like to have is Moez. Moez is Chairman and CEO of the Tunisian Internet agency. He started his career in 1998 in telecommunication research an he joined the INC in July 2005 and is now the CEO.
So Moez, tune's Sha Tunisia is an interesting country where there has been the Arab spring which is based on an Internet spring and it is also interesting that Tunisia is probably the only Arab country or first at least that has a national IGF.
So I would like maybe you to give us this morning your ideas on how are the different stakeholders in Tunisia coming together and what role is INC playing in mobilizing this community on Internet policy dialogue?
>> MOEZ CHAKCHOUK: Good morning. Thank you, Christine. I would like to highlight first that of course Tunisia has been the first country in the Arab spring to have the revolution. It is not an easy revolution, as you know. It is a revolution today for the Internet because we have a lot of changes happening after the revolution because of that. Because the society now is much more aware of the importance of Internet Governance, first. Second, we experienced a lot of changes that the society feels, how it is important to be involved in the IGF and the Internet Governance process.
Tunisia is the first country to join the freedom online coalition. When we joined the coalition we welcomed hosted to the conference last June. It was like a great opportunity, not just fortune Sha but for all countries in the Arab Region to be much more involved in this process and to highlight how freedom is important for any reforms in the. You know the conditions before the revolution, but the society during this conference showed a lot of engagement. This is something that I really want to highlight today because this is a symbol, because they tried to be involved in any logistics thing. They tried to be involved in all the panels, in all the organisation staffs and they showed a lot of involvement and a lot of how to say, a lot of being able to work together with the government officials, with ITI, with all the stakeholders including the businesses and so on to attend that conference. It was a start.
Of course, in parallel with that, we had our national IGF launching. It is not really the first meeting will be held after this global IGF. Unfortunately we had troubles during the summer. It was supposed to be held the first of September, but because of the situation they postponed it after the global IGF. So Tunisia is very, it is able unique. The first Arab countries to have a national IGF. We are really committed to the success of this national IGF in order to make the society much more aware of Internet Governance themes and this is also our commitment today because we know how we dealt with the Internet before. Let me highlight that, for example, the ITI, the company that I'm Chairing, that I'm in charge of today was charged with all Internet Governance steps. If you think about the Internet you go to the ITI before. Now we are really open to the society, open to any or all stakeholders including the businesses, the society. And we work together to make all kind of reforms.
The dialogue is on. The doors are open. We have a lot of critics but also a lot of hand applause, but we try to make things better. This is our commitment, I think. The Arab IGF was also an opportunity for all countries as I mentioned before because we are involved in this Arab IGF and we think we can work together because we share a lot of common objectives in the region.
So I think we can work together.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: Thank you, Moez. It is probably very interesting to watch the development in Tunisia since the WSIS and all the momentum that was done and now with the national IGF and maybe again in the next round we can explore the freedom online and maybe the youths in Tunisia and in that respect.
So I would like maybe to take now an international dimension and I would like to turn to Sofie. Sofie is the senior Director for global services at the Internet Society. She joined the Internet Society in August 2012. And ISOC has a long standing relation with Arab countries and in the region for bringing the Internet actually, developing in the region. So I know that, for example, Egypt back in 1992 and maybe before has partnered through ISOC to actually bring its first connection to the Internet.
So this year ISOC is coming back to the region, if I may say, with a Middle East strategy and I hope Sofie you can give us this morning some insight on why? Why is ISOC seeing this as a potential? What are the dimensions of this strategy? How do you think this is something that can actually develop the Internet in the region?
>> SOFIE MADDENS: Thank you very much, Christine. It is only last week that ISOC published our strategy for the Middle East, beginning in the fourth quarter of this year and continuing into our 2014-2016 business plan. This is the first opportunity that we have to present this strategy, to talk about the main points, the main pillars and in public. So thank you for giving us the opportunity to be on this panel and a very appropriate panel, I'm proud to be here, as you say, with some of the people who were very strategic within the region and being here with you today.
The objective of our strategy is within the next three to five years a majority of countries in the region will have embraced the Internet model. You talk about being pioneering and bringing the Internet to the region. I think we want to be there in having the majority of countries embrace the model, the multi-stakeholderism. And with policymaker engaged along ISOC chapter members or partners to promote what we all believe is essential which is the open, resilient and sustainable Internet throughout the region.
Before going on, I did want to thank all of you. As you know, we worked this year on a survey. We sent a survey around to the stakeholders in the region to see what the Key Issues were, what the geographic scope of the strategy should be, how we best work with our partners in the region. We sent it to over 3,000 Arab chapters and members. And all of you who otherwise have given us constructive advice, we thank you for that.
So we all know that decisions are being made today about the future of the Internet at local, regional and global levels, including in the Middle East.
So to be effective, it is important to be on the ground to listen to the voices, to hear what is going on on the ground and be aware of the issues in the region and integral to the positions and decision making, how can we increase the open resilient Internet by bringing the knowledge, by working with partners, working with partners like all the people here on the panel today in the region to ensure that we get the messages across.
And we have been very interested in the Middle East to support and promote that global, open, robust and accessible Internet. We've watched the numbers of ISOC chapters and members grow in the region, particularly in recent years. Your question was: Why today, do we want to enhance our presence, why are we coming back to the Middle East? Because we heard from ISOC chapter meetings, discussion with members, partner organisations and representatives from academic institutions and government that it is important to be present in the region.
So we talked with all of you on the panel today. We worked with you. Therefore, we are launching our strategy.
So we are seeking to build through the appointment of a bureau row Director, like we do in the other regions of the world, we have five bureau Directors around the world and his or her engagement with the local stakeholders to have an active and supportive presence in the region that can help advance key policy and technology initiatives as well as capacity can in areas such as interconnection and traffic exchange, local content Internet Governance. We're also, of course, looking to support the growth of chapters and strengthen the engagement with our chapters and members as well as with the local communities, companies, academia and Governments.
Of course, and I look at my Fellow Panelists, we will continue to focus on building strong alliances, strong partnerships in this region, like in others, including through the organisation and individual memberships and support for other ISOC activities and our support for some of your activities.
Our strategy is posted on the ISOC Web site and you can look at it today. I won't go into the Key Issues right now, Christine, because we'll go into that in the second part of our sessions. I just wanted to touch upon the background behind our strategy and to say why have we come back to the region. So thank you very much.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: Thank you very much, Sofie. I appreciate in the second part actually going into the strategy also maybe from the perspective of how can through the strategy the chapters be a catalyst for this multi-stakeholder model in the region, or actually there are a lot of developments that can be made in this multi-stakeholder model.
So maybe I would like to pause here an see if there are any reflexes or questions from the floor to our three speakers so far? So if you have anything, please just raise your hand and we can take questions.
Yes, please. I appreciate if you can introduce yourself and then?
>> AUDIENCE: John Laprise, Northwestern University, also on the ISOC Steering Committee in Doha, Qatar. I want to speak to the last speaker and the problem that we find in Qatar is just linking and public consciousness ISOC multi-stakeholderism and just getting people involved. Just drawing the connection that people do something to make the Internet better. And we struggle with this all the time, building engagement. Because when people think of the Internet they don't think of, many people don't think of governance. We represent a very sort of specific level of users here in this room. The vast majority of people don't think of this.
Trying to raise awareness among the rest of the people is really, really important. The conversations I have had in Doha and in the region, this is a persistent challenge and sort of the baseline challenge. Once you get the people engaged they are more willing to put in time, effort and it builds on itself.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: Yes, thank you very much. Maybe, Sofie, you can respond quickly?
>> SOFIE MADDENS: Yes, thank you very much. As you know, we believe very strongly in capacity building, in education and development. We work at the intersection between policy, technology, and development.
And, therefore, that capacity building is part and parcel of our vision of our strategy for the region. We believe in it strongly working with the chapters, working with the members so that we can promote the engagement. And engagement comes through knowledge as well. When one knows and understands about the Internet model, the multi-stakeholder model and also has the strong messages in terms of technology, in terms of access, in terms of some of the technical issues, that then promotes the engagement. That is very much part and parcel of our strategy.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: I have a second question before we continue?
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. I'm from Morocco, a University professor and ISOC Ambassador here in IGF. My question is to Sofie. I would like just to ask how the decision was made by ISOC to exclude North Africa from this strategy plan for the ...
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>> North African countries participate in the activities of the Middle East. As they see fit and as they see appropriate. So that is the.
That is the approach that was taken and if you look at the strategy part of the strategy is indeed the survey and the questions and the extracts from the responses to the survey, I obviously would be happy to give any of the other responses that came out.
Really, it is a question that we put to stakeholders and it is the response that came back from stakeholders. I see a number of people on the panel that want to pitch in that were actually part of the discussions. I would like to give the word to those people as well.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: I think other Panelists may also want to respond to that.
>> Actually, I was following up the survey that was done by the ISOC. They did it for the whole Arab Region. They included at that time North Africa. Most of the answers of most of the survey replies that came from North Africa expressed their interest to remain within the Africa region, but they don't mind participating in the supposedly up coming, let's say, ISOC Middle East.
That was responses based on the survey. And I think the ISOC, just based on the survey, being the one that followed.
>> Just to say a few words about the ISOC strategy and how we don't feel anyway excluded. That is for sure. Tunisia does not feel separated from the Region. We feel you are committed to work with ISOC in the Middle East strategy. You mentioned many of the same things, in the same region but we want to be part of the Africa an region. This is a way to feel involved in the continent and be part of the African countries where we share a lot of things also. So I think it is a choice made by the society. So we have to accept it. You know that the government might have other choices in terms of policy and in terms of politics, but this is the choice of society. If you are engaged to a multi-stakeholder approach we need to accept any decision made by the society and based on a survey like this. So for the second question is about how the Civil Society in Tunisia is engaged in the shift. Yes, you have to know about for example the censorship thing. You know that we paced a lot of challenges related to how to keep the Internet free after the revolution. You know that we don't have, we are still using the same laws as below. The censorship laws apply in my country and also a lot of people, some of my friends here can tell you about it.
But you know the way that we are safeguarding some of these freedom on the Internet is also related because of the society that is engaged. This is not accepting any kind of censorship on the Internet. So the society is not just engaged in making reforms and in debates but also in keeping, safeguarding some of the principles of the Internet. It is a matter of principles and the society is really engaged in this issue.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: Thank you. I would like maybe now to take our next Panelist and speaking about the society and the community, I would like maybe to have our next speaker, Qusai Al-Shati, he is the Chairman of the Arab IGF, AMAG. He has been the host of the first Arab IGF meeting in Kuwait last year and maybe Qusai can give us your insight about how the Arab IGF is mobilizing the community. What is being achieved? I mean, the Arab IGF is probably one of the last regional IGFs to come in. So it is pretty young. It only had two meetings, the second one being only a few weeks ago.
But it is seeing a tremendous growth from year-to-year. It is amazing how actually the discussions have evolved and as a matter of fact, all Panelists here have participated in their stakeholder groups and in their organisations to this meeting. So Qusai, if you can speak about this a bit?
>> QUSAI AL-SHATI: Thank you, Christine. Well, you are right that the Arab IGF ...
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>> QUSAI AL-SHATI: Since we have a diverse world stretching from the Atlantic ocean to the Persian Gulf or the Arab Gulf.
Yeah. We have many challenges. The Arab world is diverse. It has different concerns, different social or economics conditions. Even within the same society or within the same region, we have different perspectives about different issues.
There are issues that we have an agreement on or we have a consensus on. There are issues that we need to build our understanding or have a fair capacity building like, for example, the Internet ecosystem. We still need to absorb that. We still need to know that from a technical perspective, how reflect on an economical aspect or social aspect.
We have issues related, for example, to the domain name industry as an industry that can create opportunities for us in the Arab world. But also we have issues that we have different views about it. We disagree about this. Sometimes it is a deep, sharp disagreement. Sometimes it is a light disagreement. And some places this is, there is an acceptable conduct. This conduct is not acceptable in a different place.
But the Arab IGF proved to be a proper independent platform to discuss or tackle these issues. And this is where we need to focus. It is the issues that we have, different perspective, different opinions. The issues that we disagree on, it is these issues that we need to continue to discuss and explore in the Arab world until a common consensus or acceptable consensus is reached.
So far openness, access to information, security and privacy, the Internet ecosystem really were a major issues. The Arab IGF felt that there is a need to discuss in within the context of a multi-stakeholder model the issue of the youth is definitely a pressuring issue and one of the best sessions that we have in the first and second IGF is the youth session where the youth simply spelled out their concerns and what they want from such an Internet Governance model that needs to be, that they wanted to see on the ground in the Arab world.
One or let's say two initial outcomes that we have realised from the Arab IGF is first that we start to see a belief in the multi-stakeholder model and the multi-stakeholder engagement. This is from all stakeholders, whether it's Governments, private sector, Civil Society, academics, maybe this model varies from one stakeholder to another, but the start of such engagement and the belief in it has been materializing in our part of the world and the Arab IGF is a reflection of that.
The other thing is that we have noticed that there is a young generation and middle age generation that is well aware of the issues related to Internet Governance. They know what they want from issues like openness, youth, security, privacy. Maybe they are not well aware of a concept called Internet Governance, but what comes beneath it they know exactly what they want.
And this is a positive outcome. We need to continue to be a platform for this generation. Thank you.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: Thank you very much, Qusai and indeed you touched on so many important issues and I think the fact of actually having you representing Civil Society and being the Chair of the AMAG, which is an innovative way of actually -- I don't want to say discussing policies and taking decisions. It is actually very innovative in the region, let me say.
So in addition, of course, to the younger generations which are obviously the lead of the Internet spring in the region.
So speaking about the multi-stakeholder model and about yucker generations I would like to turn to Jovan. Jovan Kurbalija -- (pronouncing) -- is the Founding Director of the DiploFoundation. I have known him so long but don't pronounce his name too good. He's the Founding Director of DiploFoundation and he is the author of an introduction to Internet Governance which is an interesting study that has been also translated to Arabic, right? Yes, yes.
And it is amazing actually to have Jovan on this panel because DiploFoundation I think is built the role in capacity building especially when it comes to youngsters in the region. Too many young professionals that were introduced to Internet Governance through the DiploFoundation. And we believe that youngsters are the ones who are making the Internet spring and the Internet hype, I would like to hear your analysis of how capacity building is affecting that on one side and how is the hype evolving? How do you see this evolving in the Arab Region?
Jovan, the floor is injuries.
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Thank you, Christine an thank you for translating the work in Arabic. We now to prepare an updated version. It is great to be here today and to hear the comments and all presentations. When I was invited to address this session I was thinking about the overall context and the first thing, you can recognize the guarder hype line which is one of my favorite things, different hypes in different international relations from climate change to E-diplomacy. You name it and you have it.
I think we can apply to, well, the Arab and Internet spring. If you can recall just 2011, you couldn't find any newspaper without the title about the revolution, Twitter revolution and Facebook revolution, empowering the Internet and you can recall that time.
Now, it disappeared. You cannot find anything on the Internet in the Arab world for the reasons that we are aware of and the general developments, social, political, economic ones.
And what happened basically, you have this rise of the garden hype line. There was rise, rise to the hype. I would say in the disillusionment phase and the Internet in the Arab world is enabling tool disappeared from the at least global radar, which could be sometimes useful an good. Therefore, what I tried to reflect on in this quick presentation is what we can do in order to get from the downturn phase and see what could be the plate of activity. This always happens. You have hype and we discussed yesterday, it is almost like an algorithm. You have an article in Newsweek, International Herald Tribune and it comes to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the top of the hype cycle and you have the turn down and people said: Well, is it really that powerful as they are telling us in the media? They come back to their offices. Their local communities. And they realise that life is much more complex. And then they start trying to see what they can use out of it.
Now, what is my main point is that there is also hype about capacity development, about Internet Governance, about multi-stakeholderism. All of these concepts have some sort of powerful element, enabling elements. At the same time they are like any term used in politics. They are very often inflated. I live in Geneva. When I tell diplomats about capacity development, you know what is their answer? Aha! Then negotiation is in the deadlock and trouble because in diplomacy capacity development is used when you cannot solve the problem. You say okay, let us look at capacity development. In climate change, any area. They are very cynical. They tell me, are you serious about this capacity building? Yes, I'm serious. I'm trying to do it.
Anyhow, the key point now for the Internet spring in the Arab world is to see what can work, but based really on the down to earth practical steps and steps that take care of the local context. This is extremely important. I have to admit that I'm quite proud of that aspect of Diplo's activities. We always try to address our training, our teaching, our research to specific context, which could be challenging in Internet Governance because most of the Internet Governance in academic and research for this happening in the Euro Atlantic space, it is quite human just to continue the same story and I'm coming from the Balkans, somewhere between Arab world and Europe. I know that challenging translating concepts, challenging in addressing different communities. There is a lot, a lot which is lost in translation based on the famous movie.
Now, could we just ... this is my favorite drawing which reminds us that we haven't changed a lot for a long, long, long, time. The brain is hard wired in the same way that it was from our far predecessors which moves from the tree in Savannahs in Kenya and moved around trying to escape lions and other animals. We haven't biologically changed that much. I think we forget it very often because of the again, the hype. The idea that we can overcome this limitations.
When it comes to capacity building, there are distinct limitations. We still have 24 hours a day. Nobody has managed to succeed to extend it. We can keep eight pieces of information in our working memory. Eight to 12 depending on the IQ. I can keep six and with age, coming close to four. I just tested me, trying to remember the phone number and it was disaster.
Instead of thousands of Facebook friends we can maintain more or less, according to the numbers, 148 stable connections. This is reality. Now, if you try to do capacity building, training, you have to start from this. There is limited time. There is limited attention and this is the starting point. Everything else is, I would say, potential waste of time. And potential that people can get cynical, not motivated to participate in that.
Therefore, my suggestion for not only the Arab Region, I would say for all the regions in the world, I would say to large extent North America as well and Europe, in that space there is no digital divide. I think the key is that we anchor the training into the needs and reality of potential users. We can explain to them how the Internet works, TCP/IP, DNS, that sort of thing. That is not a problem. What are the needs of the users? Their physical limitations, our physical limitations. Their professional needs.
Here we get into very, very difficult waters in a lot of trouble. We in the Internet Governance community and when I say "we" I'm starting from myself. We have been for too long in this story. These people outside this community, they say: What is it all about? And even big problem is that we couldn't find good terminology. Multi-stakeholderism. You tell people, my God, couldn't you find some better name?
>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Internet Governance, what is it all about? We need to find better names but more than that we have to anchor it in the specific professional needs of the various communities. I will give you a quick anecdote. With this I will wrap up my presentation. One more statement.
A few years ago we were invited by Diplo to deliver training to the Commonwealth parliamentarian organisation that came to Malta. They said Jovan, this training is a bit of tourism, like many trainings. It is legitimate. Good people should socialize, this and that. I said, what does it mean? They said you will have them about half an hour. Then they will go ...
-- Jeff Joseph there are about 30 parliamentarians and ask them, okay, guys, you were elected the last three or four years into Parliament. Yes, okay.
Be sure you promise something on E-educational line, eCommerce. Yeah, I'm using -- it's my vacation. Okay, there was a guy from some specific island. Okay, if people from your constituency come and ask you, I have a problem with the Internet access. My DNS server doesn't work. There is a attack on my eCommerce server. What will you do? Oh, I will call the Minister of Telecommunications. The Minister of Telecommunications helps you with DNS? Not exactly.
We started to explain to them how to win the next election or how to answer the questions from the constituency.
After a few hours he saw the full room. What happened? We kept them the day. It was the maximum, but still after that for a long time we have been receiving questions from these people. We created community. They realise that had there is a place where they can relate their practical issue, how to be reelected in a few years time and answer some of the -- we couldn't provide them the formula but when it comes to E issues and some of them become champions, genuine champions of promoting the E-agenda. That is the message, to anchor into different eCommerce communities, trade ministries, security community. But in the right way. These people are concerned about security. They don't care about how the Internet works potentially. They want to have the security in their countries. That is the starting point. You start from that and then you bring the question of balances, human rights, context, international obligation and other things.
I think that is the crucial issue. My suggestion is contextual lies, high respect for the people who are in the room who are the students. They are not students. They are participants, experienced people, bringing the wealth of knowledge. You cannot just teach them in traditional way, which is sometimes done in all seminars and schools.
Engage them. It takes time. It takes energy. It takes creativity. But the value of such type of training is great.
It is not enough to have one training session, one summer school or whatever. It is a continuous process. Which in the end will make these people be ready to make a phone call to send Skype and write an e-mail and say by the way, I have this problem. Could you help me with this? Or this official in my ministry is selling me some story on Internet Governance. It doesn't look completely clear to me. Could you comment on that?
Now, the key is that the organisation that delivers that has to have complete professional integrity and neutrality. Because then if you lose the trust, if you sell one story to people, they realise everybody is in the ... what we do in Diplo, we always give the complete survey of the different views on the political issues. And this is the key.
Now, one very concrete example which I will advise here to the good colleagues, how things could be developing incrementally. Hisham is our former researcher and student. She joined in the key times and they started capacity building on Internet and human rights. And what they did, they approached us and said okay, guys, you have been doing it for a long time. We shouldn't reinvent the wheel. Why don't you just use what is available? Community tools, platform and the other things.
And we incrementally developed, I would say quite successful capacity building programme with all the challenges when it comes to this difficult interplay between two concepts of human rights an Internet Governance, but quite successful programme which is built again bottom-up on things that were already achieved. There is a risk in Internet Governance community that many people try to reinvent the wheel. It is very tempting. You can install the model server for online learning in three hours. You can start eLearning in three hours.
That is very easy, but you need three years to deliver good online learning course. Between three hours and three years you have didactics, support structures, awareness building.
This is one alert which is very important. I think we should specialize inners where we are good, as was said before. They are good in human rights, in understanding this context. We are good in the online learning and Internet Governance. That is probably one formula that we should use more of combining different expertise and comparative advantages in this field.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: Thank you, Jovan, it is always great to listen to you. Capacity building about how the Internet is used, not how it works. We keep discussing how it works an we forget how it is used. We remain in the circle. And not reinventing the wheel, that's good advice to remember in the region as we embark. Wait until you hear what is multi-stakeholderism in Arabic.
We have another half hour ahead of us so I would like, before taking the next two Panelists to turn to you for questions and I see many hands. Let me start by Hanane?
>> Good morning. My name is Hanane Boujemi, Humanist Institute, managing the projects for the Middle East and North Africa. I would like to reflect on the Arab IGF process and speak about capacity building and the work we are doing in the region. Obviously when we speak about the Arab Region and the IGF the technical community and the work ICANN is doing is very important but we have to look into the sociopolitical and socioeconomical impact of the Internet in the Arab Region. The Internet user per se is very important. Talking Internet Governance in the Arab Region is challenging and difficult because there is a huge misconception about what Internet Governance means. The governance word is associated with government. Policy is associated with politics. The translation, there isn't a word in Arabic that reflects policy as a concept.
Where we want to explore this kind of field in the Arab Region and build capacity, it comes as a huge challenge to make this field friendly for Internet users. People are not interested in Internet Governance and it is not a priority in the Arab Region at the moment which makes our task twice harder.
Now what we are trying to do in Igmina is to engage actors from the Arab Region, that includes journalists, bloggers and Civil Society entities to build capacity in the subject so they can be more involved in the Internet policy scene locally, regionally and probably globally.
So I mean, from my experience this year doing these projects, I can say that people need to establish a link between the importance of the Internet as kind of a medium where things happen. There is this huge interest in the Arab Region only because there was the Arab spring, let's be honest before that. Before that there was no interest from different parties in it. We have to take a little bit of advantage to complete the puzzle with all the initiatives already in place by ISOC and ICANN. They both represent very pivotal roles in the Internet Governance international scene. Engaging civic answers completes the puzzle and tries to make the process more kind of multi-stakeholder by engaging new blood in the whole process. And I think that will impact the participation locally, regionally and globally as well.
Obviously that comes with a challenge because at Davos we do not neglect the importance of the technical community and the background needed to understand Internet Governance. That is why we partnered with DiploFoundation. Obviously it is an organisation that has a very good tracking capacity building and they give an overview of all the stakeholders involved. You know, the holes, it explains clearly the roles of all the actors and issues. We try to top up the whole programme with human rights module and obviously customizing content according to the needs of the Arab Region is very, very important. We have to be able to illustrate case studies that are mostly relevant to the Arab people in the Arab Regions so they can relate to it and be interested in the whole topic. Otherwise, you know, it would be useless what we are doing. So the result now, what I deduce from our experience this year, that we do have to establish a link between let's say openness as a theme and economy. It is impossible, you know, to speak to these people just with broad kind of concepts like multi-stakeholderism and okay, a Civil Society. But what Civil Society role can be? How can we trigger the attention of this important kind of party to be involved in the discussion? We have to kind of switch a little bit from our traditional talk. We have been doing this for a very long time now, like almost ten years and what appeals to me as kind of a person involved in policy is not exactly what the Internet user wants from the Arab Region. I mean, we do have a lot of policy challenges in the region and we try to address that. Namely, you know, the policies of legislation is not compatible at all. Ambiguous, broad, there is lack of engagement of Civil Society in the policy making process. We don't understand what the user needs from the Arab Region.
All of these policy challenges, we have to pick on them to try to build content that appeals to this community to be more involved in the process. This is what we are trying to do in Igmina because we have specific work in southeast Asia and Africa, we do the same thing. But you know, I will leave the floor to other people to ask more questions. And thank you.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: Thank you, for that. Okay. Yeah.
First the floor and then the floor behind.
>> AUDIENCE: Hello, I'm Rena Mustry from Jordan and I work for a Web site called Hebra.com. It is disappointing for me. I would like to thank, first of all, all the speakers with respect to your participation. But it was very disappointing to me that until now the issue of human rights online was not addressed until --
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: It is coming in the next round.
>> AUDIENCE: Even from Mr. Foda, for example, when talking about the Arab league being part of the UN which is also an organisation that have the declaration of human rights, the declaration of human rights but still all the meetings that we have been doing and all the -- you mentioned there has been the Kuwait 2011 IGF, the Algeria 2013, there was a model produced on the Arab ICT listers on governing the Internet. But still we are seeing now a direction where all Arab Governments are actually trying to have more control on online content and until now this has not been mentioned in the panel.
This also reflects some kind of multi-stakeholder -- the term multi-stakeholderism. It is funny that we are talking about multi-stakeholderism for online participation when we really don't have it offline. It is not like Civil Society is used to take a role in any decisions that are made in government. And I have to disagree with Mr. Qusai about having our differences when it comes to governance in the countries. There are some universal rights that are agreed upon universally. So having differences and respecting the local context should not be at odds with these universal rights. They should be the priority when we govern the Internet. One of them is human rights online and offline, too.
My question goes to Mr. Foda, how does the Arab league try to consolidate between the universal human rights and freedom of speech online and the laws being produced right now, nowadays from the Gulf countries, from the Arab countries in general to control the user experience online? And especially, for example, a law like the media law in Jordan that tries to control the online media and put it under the publications of or under the definitions of publications offline. And this resulted in the censorship of 300 Web sites.
>> KHALED FODA: Thank you very much. I actually will be more general about answering your topic, not getting into details about any particular issue, but actually yes, Internet Governance is taken as multi-stakeholder environment within the Arab, the league of Arab states. That's for a fact. It has been adopted by the League of Arab States and the UN ESCWA to launch the Arab IGF and the actually organisational decisions are all taken by the multi-stakeholder advisory group which I think is a form of more social society, Civil Society and organisations rather than governmental representatives.
So it is definitely a multi-stakeholder environment. If you are talking about laws, and this was actually quite a new practice for the Council of ministers in the League of Arab States. We were more used to a governmental meetings, governmental initiatives and multi-stakeholder environment was actually newly introduced during that initiative. So again, but again let me tell you that if you are talking about human rights and about freedom of speech, okay, and freedom of speech actually, I believe that it is as in real life as each country is specific with its laws and regulations regarding particular issues then each country also has its, has the right for laws and regulations governing the virtual life that we are living over the Internet, but there are human rights at the international level. There are human rights that should be applied to Internet also, but there are specific laws.
>> AUDIENCE: There is no role for the Arab leagues then? Since we are already adapting all the -- we are just taking into consideration the local context of human rights then? Then I don't see a role for the Arab league. How is it trying to consolidate with the universal rights an have a system of accountability to these countries, too?
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: I'm sorry, I will ask you, Khaled, to give it in one second.
>> KHALED FODA: One second. I think that is one of the issues raised during the issue of Internet Governance and one of the topics that is more important than other topics within the Arab Internet Governance Forum.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: I would ask you to hold your questions. We have two Panelists. And we are actually going to discuss the issue of online openness and human rights through our colleague, but I would like to have Baher, he is the VP of Middle East multistakeholder engagement at ICANN and he recently worked on Middle East strategy. I think that if you can briefly give your insight on this. I am sorry that we are squeezed on this, but please go ahead.
>> BAHER ESMAT: Thank you, Christine. My name is Baher Esmat. I'm I work for ICANN and I come from Egypt. I am going to touch base on a couple of points.
One is more related to the region, to the Arab Region and the whole debate on Internet Governance. The other point is ICANN and ICANN's role in the region including the Middle East strategy. Very quickly, I realise that we are short of time here.
So I was pondering about the title of this session: Is It Time for the Internet Spring in the Arab Region, something like that. I thought perhaps the spring or the Internet spring has come a few years back. It is not related to the political part. It is more -- I mean, those who have been part of the Internet for a long time, they probably witness in the past decade the level and the amount of change in using the Internet, especially among the younger generation who, I call them like the Internet natives. Those are the people in their 20s and early 30s.
And they started to use, I mean for Egypt we, the Internet was introduced in Egypt 20 years ago. Those who are 25 years old today, they use the Internet when they were kids. So they are Internet natives. Those are the people who spend most of their time online doing whatever, tweeting, watching movies, games, whatever. We have a new generation of bloggers, et cetera an we realise that those people are going to to make a change. Again, not in necessarily in the political sense in business and social aspects and so forth.
So the spring has come. And the change is taking place whether we are witnessing it or admitting it or not. It is actually happening despite all the challenges with access, with content, with affordability and all of this.
This is about the title. And I think we are going to witness more change in the coming years with, again if you witness the growth in the Internet usage only in the last couple of years in the region, it has been tremendous. It's more than 20 percent growth in the number of users and probably more than that in the number of devices. If you count the mobile devices and the smart phones and all this.
So the revolution on the Internet is happening big time.
And this is good. I mean, this has a great and very positive impact on economic aspects as well. So talking about economics as Hanane was talking, it is very positive.
Now, on the ICANN part, so ICANN, we have been engaged in the Internet Governance sort of debate probably since the inception of ICANN 15 years ago and then the debate got more and more interesting during WSIS days between 2002 and 2005. And after that, ICANN started to pay more attention to the regions. And we created new department called global partnerships back in 2006, very early 2006. When I joined ICANN, this department was newly born. And we started to hire staff in the different regions around the world to work very closely with stakeholders from government, private sector and so forth.
You know, it took us some time to make progress in outreach and engaging with community and all this. And then like five, six years later in 2012 we realised that we've done a lot. But it is not enough. And people were asking for more. They were demanding ICANN to do much more.
And I remember that the very first discussion about doing more engagement in the Middle East or in the Arab Region actually took place at the first Arab IGF meeting in Kuwait last year when we had a workshop on a new GTLDs and people started to say: Well, we know nothing about all this. ICANN has done almost nothing in making people in the region aware of this programme. And you ought to do more.
We started discussion. Okay, what do we need to do and how to do it and how can we get people from the region to engage in all this? That was the first discussion in what has become later on the Middle East strategy. We continued discussions at the IGF meeting in Baku a year ago. We met with several people from the community in Baku discussing do we need a strategy for the Middle East? What do you want to see in this? How do we do this? The consensus is that it needs to a community based thing. It shouldn't be driven by ICANN. It has to be a group of people from the region who should take this forward and drive this forward.
This is what we did. We created, put a call for a Working Group. Twenty-two people responded saying okay, we are interested in this. And they got together. They worked together for like six months between January and June, this year, 2013, until they got the strategy finalized and then they got the action plan also finalized. Right now we are in the implementation phase. Again, I'm happy to talk to the details of the strategy if we have time. I can tell you the bottom line of the strategy is to engagement. Is simply a two-way engagement between ICANN and the community. There are discussion about what details and I'm happy to talk about all this if we have time.
Just one thing to conclude my intervention. Two pieces of good news. One, and this is only this morning. ICANN announced that four new GTLD strings are moving forward to the Delegation phase. This is the final phase before the strings get to the root. The first instances are IDM in Cyrillic, Chinese and one in Arabic. That is good news, Chabuka is very soon going to be in the root. The other thing, some mentioned -- you tell me about the Arab --
The other thing, there was a comment when Jovan was talking about Internet terminology and the translation of the terminology and all this. One of the projects at ICANN together with ISOC and union he is company and this project is led by union he is company is working on developing a glossary of terms for Internet Governance terms in Arabic. We are starting with the Arabic language and currently discussing the project document and there will be an announcement very soon, maybe very week in Bali about the project and then we are going to start the implementation right after that. Thank you.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: Thank you, Baher. Sorry to squeeze you on time. You should have had more time but I thank for staying with us. It is Walid Al-Saqaf. He is a journalist and and professor at Orebro University. He's an expert on freedom of expression on the Internet.
>> WALID AL-SAQAF: I explicitly asked to be the last panelist, to be fair, but maybe it was a bad idea.
>> WALID AL-SAQAF: I thought I would have the last word. It is going to be a short word.
I myself came very close to being arrested by the regime. I have been raised and activist. My father had been assassinated by the regime itself. I'm closely associated with activists and I know what you feel. But the moment I noticed that I had to do something about it, I could have just blogged. I could have just tried to appeal to certain governments or so forth to help out, but the only way one can do it is engagement. I would like to thank everyone here to raised the point. You would be surprised to know that I know everyone here from my affiliation. Firstly I'm an ICANN Fellow. I'm an AMAG member, IGF member. I'm Diplo alumnus and current student and also ISOC chapter curator. The only thing I don't have affiliation is the Arab league. Maybe you can appoint me as an advisor.
>> WALID AL-SAQAF: The thing is, if you don't get engaged as a social activist you will not go far. I mean, you have to try to change things from the inside. You can't remain an outsider and think okay, things will get better. I was delighted to see that each one of those organisations allowed me to step in and be a bit controversial. I remember the first time he was at the ICANN meeting and they were talking about the --. I was so vocal that they got agitated and it became a mailing list hot topic because of the intervention.
Similarly the Chair that I was moderating at the Arab IGF in Algeria didn't get a lot of praise from Governments, I must tell you that. The thing is, it's important to understand that if you were to create change, you need to begin persuasion and trying to change from the inside out.
I mean, the Arab Region is going through change. No one can deny that. Oppression has taken so long, it has taken its toll on people. It is the right condition to act. But doing it needs strategy. You need not just put up a post and expect things to change. You cannot simply go out and devise some demonstration. You have to think strategically, connect yourself. Know how mechanisms are being created and built.
I'm also a Cyber Steward Fellow. That's one way of change. You extend an arm to international organisations, which in this case is President University of Toronto. You have to engage yourself with local communities. I am surprisingly enough even Moez I have, he's a TED X-ter and I'm a TED Fellow. We have these connections. These connections help you change, drive momentum, draw orders between what -- borders between what you can do and can't do, what you can achieve an can't achieve and plan for the future. So without trying to, let's say depress anyone in the room about change in the Arab word I would like to point out if you have the will you will certainly have a way to find your inner connections and trying to build relations and strategies. I'm very happy to see that many of you have a vision because you have participated in IGF and that in itself is one way of creating change.
So that is my short talk. Thank you.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: Thank you very much, Walid. I have to commend you on the openness session of the Arab IGF it was one of the most interesting sessions in the last meeting.
If the Panelists would agree to drop their comments for the sake of having people from the floor speak, we had a question back at the end. Please go ahead.
Oh, we have two and then we will have the question here.
Please be short. We have only five to six minutes to go.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. My name is Bouzaine, university professional and part of the Delegation of the Freedom House. My comment and question is for the Arab IGF, Mr. Qusai. You outlined differences in Arab countries but there are many things in common. One of those is the use of repress I have laws that were designed for print to the Internet, the lack of p transparency, the lack of due process.
I mean, there are so many problems out there. It is like the elephant in the room and we are not addressing the elephant. We are talking maybe how we do activism or part of the last comment, but I mean, there is so much to be done in our region and this notion of multi-stakeholderism, I think we need to question that a little bit because using it sounds good, but are we including -- who are we excluding from these stakeholders? Thank you.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: I would like maybe to take the questions and revert back to the Panelists. I'm sorry, please go ahead.
I'll have the question at the back and then the question at the front. I'll have all three questions.
Yeah, yeah. Yes. I'm sorry.
Would you like to step forward?
>> AUDIENCE: I think I heard, it would be remiss if ... (Speaker away from microphone.)
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: Sorry. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE: I'm Nick Hyrka, the communications manager at the RIPE NCC and we the RIPE NCC were instrumental and big supporters of the Arab IGF that started last year in Kuwait. And if my colleague Paul ran Dick were here he would speak tomes about the work that we do in the Middle East region with many of you in the room.
One thing from my limited experience with the IGF and in particular the Arab IGF in particular, we were just in Algeria IGF. Listening to a lot of the discussions there. Following on what you just said, there is much more work to be done with the number of people who are yet to be connected to the Internet in the region especially, in the North Africa region where we were. So we have a huge population that yet needs to be represented in this discussion. I think that we will be hearing more in the years to come. And we will certainly be a part of this discussion. But before Governments get too much further involved in developing rules, regulations, et cetera, we need to be hearing more from the region. We need to be hearing more from these people who have yet to be heard from.
That's it that I wanted to add. But continue chatting.
>> AUDIENCE: I probably would like to double up on what has just been said. My question would go to Walid in particular. I'm all for engagement, but I mean, I'm so frustrated. We have been to panels like these for like the last five years and with all due respect to all the Panelists most of whom I know and respect very much, it's a bunch of political talk.
I mean, the Arab world is a disaster field with regard to freedom of expression.
Can I ask a question? Are there any Delegates from Morocco here? Officials? Governments?
(Speaker away from microphone.)
>> AUDIENCE: No, I mean officials from the government.
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: No, I don't think there are.
>> (Speaker away from microphone.)
>> AUDIENCE: All right. Morocco has just blocked a couple of Web sites. And they don't even feel compelled to come to this place. There are two Delegates here or supposed to be in here. If they don't feel interesting or necessary to be here, that tells you something about how these kind of Forums mean anything for them.
From where I can see, IGF has been captured by the industry and the government and we have a deep representation crisis in terms of the Civil Society organisations, most of whom at the end of the day they are masquerading as representatives of the Civil Society but actually they are representing private interests and/or Governments.
So my question to Walid, you want to engage? I mean, good luck. All the power to you. But do you feel that you can change anything from inside the IGF realistically?
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: I'll give then -- I'm sorry, I cannot take more questions. If you allow me? Can you maybe say it in very quickly? Yes?
>> AUDIENCE: I'm just wondering if anyone -- (Speaker away from microphone.)
Has anyone thought about new ways of ... (Speaker away from microphone.)
(Speaker too far from the microphone.)
>> CHRISTINE ARIDA: Thank you for this because it fits very well for the response that we are going to take quickly from the floor. I'll start by Qusai.
>> QUSAI AL-SHATI: Thank you. Well, let me start with yours. This is the ex-IGF the IGF is a platform that has no outcomes. It is a policy dialogue. If you want to see how the IGF impacted the Internet ecosystem since its association in 2006 until what we have, you will see that the impact was huge. Not because it is an outcome related event which it is not, but because it allowed all multi-stakeholders to be engaged in a direct dialogue with each other and know the concerns and understand the prospects and the priorities for each stakeholder group. This is what the trigger changed and this is what we expected from the Arab IGF. There are no outcomes but definitely there will be messages from the involvement of all multi-stakeholders hearing each other, engaging with even other. Disagreeing and agreeing. And we need to continue our dialogue and what we disagree with.
My dear colleague in the back, there are the pressures that we agree on. There is one multi-stakeholder that agrees on. Not the other. So the IGF is the platform where you voice your opinion and where other multi-stakeholders say I think this is an oppressive law. It should be changed and should not continue that way. It is your message, your right. This is an independent platform to express yourself. Be there and get engaged engaging within is always the starting point. We should not give up.
When I mentioned there are issues that we are deeply divided on, exactly. There are universal rights. We are all members of the universal rights, but these are general principles. When it gets implemented, that comes from the constitution. We have all different interpretations in this. There is no saints and devils.'S all how we view it. How it is implemented properly, according to what is acceptable and not acceptable to us, what are our differences? We need to have a platform and dialogue on that. Until we reach an acceptable consensus.
And I'll stop here.
>> Hisham, I thank you for raising this very crucial point. When I was like you, I was frustrated. The first thing I did was gather my colleagues when they closed my site in Yemen and protested it and put up a big banner on the Swedish media where I reside. That made things first at the beginning. Of course usual's relieved that you got this splash. Then I realised that you can change incrementally, cumulatively. You cannot change overnight.
The best thing to do it is strategize, put up a plan. Make sure that you understand what will come next. So the thing is that a good example is perhaps the open net initiative which tracks censorship. You know that Yemen used to sensor news Web sites. That was common. The particular software that was used to sensor was called Web sense. A colleague of mine, Helmi Norman demonstrated the hypocracy of western companies in helping authoritarian regimes block websites.
So he didn't really go out in a protest. He didn't create a big issue. He simply released a report. Guess what happened? Web sense blocked its updates to the Web site of the Yemen government. That led the government to not be able to use the software and resulting in huge success for the activists. Little things that you think are not effective end up making change possible. As time passes, you understand that the small things that you did at the beginning end up creating change.
So I would urge you to not give up. I want you to come to the next IGF, Arab IGF and agitate more Governments, bring in more crucial things. It's only through, working from the inside that you can create change. I do not like the way in which you say I cannot communicate with my enemy because he's -- I don't acknowledge that person. You need to engage even if you do not understand or do not let's say appreciate or agree with the person. But that's the only choice we have. I believe that through collaborative work especially on the universal values we'll come up with the change desired.
>> Yeah. I want to comment about the openness and the freedom online as mentioned by my colleagues. It is very frustrating when I heard the message from my friend Reem and Ephram. Freedom changed a lot in my time, but what is important with IGF today and we had a good panel in Algeria about freedom and about openness and freedom of expression. And it is to foster the debate, it is to encourage the government to listen to us, to listen to other experiences.
You know, Tunisia has been through more than 15 years censorship. We know very well how to do censorship and how to deal also with the software, what mentioned by my friend here. It is just a detail about what the technology capabilities to sensor and to survey.
So I think that the debate is so much important today in the Arab Region and the Arab IGF is an opportunity for this. But we don't need to get really frustrated to talk to the government officials today. We need to get them to go and explain ourselves and to say we don't agree with this. This is the wrong approach. Look to the others, but what they have experienced. Tunisia is an example. We have been through long history with censorship. Today we are a completely open. I agree with the thing that is for sure laws is a really, really an element for us. Today we have bloggers still in prison because of those laws. We have an open Internet, but if you publish something you could be followed with, according to those laws. This is much more important. If you look to the ranking, you find ...
(Please stand by while we attempt to restore the audio connection.)
>> -- might be a floor for more engagement of multi-stakeholders in policies governing Internet within the region. Thank you very much.
(The session concluded at 9:40 p.m. CDT.)
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