New Media Summer School and EuroDIG 2015 in Sofia
1st of June was the day when a really great event started. The New Media Summer School which is a pre-event to each EuroDIG. It’s for young people between the age of 18 and 30. In order to prepare for the EuroDIG with all the high-levelled stakeholders we had lots of time to discuss about the themes, because at events like the EuroDIG youth participation should and sometimes is a big issue. It’s obvious that we young people are the ones who build up the future and that’s why it is important for us to participate and speak out loud. I appreciate the chance for the preparation which was a reason for me to speak out because I knew what I was talking about. To be honest without the preparation and some important explanations about ISP, Zero Rating, IETF, ICANN, Multistakeholders, ICT, the Digital Single Market and so on I probably would have lost the red line in discussions. If you have no idea as well, have a look at the EuroDIG wiki it’s quiet a good thing: http://eurodigwiki.org/wiki/Main_Page
But not only the great workshops with amazing people like Tatiana Tropina (about Cybercrime and Cybersecurity) or Dan York about Net Neutrality have been awesome – and I think here I learned the most. As well the meetings with the other participants were wonderful. When do you get the chance to be in a group with young and smart people and discuss and learn from them? I think you don’t get this chance very often. So when this happens to you, you definitely should make use of it. It is so impressive to see how Internet Governance or Internet projects are handled in each country. For me, coming from Germany, it was one of the best things to learn from other people coming from counties which aren’t as developed as we are here.
But we didn’t only had strict sessions, it was more that we were the ones who created them. The chance to ask questions and get answers from lots of people or creating discussions about a theme is really amazing. We had so much input, that the task to give the message of the day about what we learned, was an impossible task. But I think that this is quite an awesome thing, because it shows how much we took from the days. A lot!
The day before EuroDIG started with another pre-event: The SEEDIG. As I’m not coming from the south eastern part of Europe, I did not take part in the actual event but after it there was a really nice “Cocktail party” (which means standing around and eat snacks and have talks). My mission was to make us (young people) visible and to show those people that we are here and that we will be there the next day as well. And what can I say? It was massive success. I made contact with lots of people who I saw at the next day as well, and it was kind of a warm- up for the next day.
So then Thursday the 4th EuroDIG arrived and at 9 in the morning we were there for the big welcome. Don’t judge me if I’m wrong but like I heard and saw, at EuroDIG there were around 300 people which is quite a number, don’t you think?
But of course at such events not everyone is happy at any time. That was what actually happened to me and the other young ambassadors at a very early point. The panel session about “Media in the Digital Age”. Don’t get me wrong, the people on the panel were experts and I really appreciate their thinking but my problem was: there was no young person on the panel. So my question was: how can you discuss without young people? So I started tweeting, which was a really successful way at the EuroDIG because there were 3 huge Twitter walls (amazing). So after being maybe a bit rude on twitter the youth was finally heard and we got the chance to add our opinion as well.
After this the whish of the people to hear our opinion continued and that was an amazing feeling for us (for me at least but I think for the others as well). But there weren’t only the big panel discussions there were some smaller sessions as well and honestly it was really hard to choose one of them because they all had so good themes and speakers!
One of the sessions was held by another youth ambassador from the Insafe-Network, Florian from Austria. And here is what he has to say about his session about Youth Empowerment:
Youth Empowerment is not an easy and simple topic. Keeping this in mind I wasn’t surprised to see just a few people attending the Youth Empowerment Session at EuroDIG 2015. Nevertheless I was really excited and happy to talk about how to empower youth. During the session I was using the Youth Manifesto as an example to show, that empowering youth will often lead to a great outcome. A lot of different questions were asked, but one was very interesting: How can we give youth the chance to make their contribution? In fact, we were not able to find a final solution! Nevertheless everybody in the room agreed, that schools are one of the most suitable places to talk with youth and give them the chance to learn about e.g. the Youth Manifesto.
Even though it seems difficult to empower youth, I am sure, that working together and giving everybody, who wants to, the chance to make his contribution are the key factors of a successful Youth Empowerment.
It’s like Florian said, empowering youth is hard, and listening to us, like the people at EuroDIG did, is the first step for doing this.
But EuroDIG was not only about sessions, held by one person or a panel. It was about including everyone and have discussions. A Multistakeholders thing, which by the way was a word which was part of the “Bullshit-Bingo” . As well it was about personal dialogs between small groups in the breaks. Imagine you are standing outside and having a talk with a random guy or women and it turns out he or she is a huge number in Google, or from the Council of Europe or whatever “big fish” you can imagine. And imagine those people want your business card to stay in contact and you don’t have one. I know I use the word a lot but everything was just amazing (and I am bad in finding synonyms) as well was something called “Lighting talk” by Stefan Greiner. It was about Cyborgs and if you have no idea what this is, I strongly recommend that you get some information. There was one really nice Twitter-question: aren’t we all already Cyborgs? I will let you think about that one.
With that I’m at the end of my story telling, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask me (twitter: @kathrinmorasch or look at www.eurodig.org ).
Written by Kathrin Morasch