From 23rd-29th October we met in Amsterdam to initiate our first ever round of European Youth Delegates for Internet Governance. It was time to bring the team together and lay out the plans for the upcoming two years. Arriving five young people that didn’t know each other we set out to forge a group that would carry young people’s voices on internet policy to the European and international level and make sure the future of the internet is something young people can agree with.
But first: Amsterdam. One might say Amsterdam is not the ideal city to start serious work and forge lasting road maps but despite many possible distractions the group managed well. We lived on house boats near the NDSM harbour station. Most participants fell from the bed, into the airplane and upon landing were picked up by boat to get to know Amsterdam and our facilitator Ludo. Ludo is not only a seasoned facilitator, houseboat enthusiast and autodidact bike mechanic; he also is, at least in spirit, a much bearded pirate. Together we set ourselves up and took first steps to our journey.
Ludo guided us through a programme of self-actualisation, reflection and team building. By starting to map out our experiences in life so far we learned to understand our motivation and what drives us. Sharing the experiences in group helped to get to know each other better. We discussed further how we interact in groups, how to develop as a team and the roles we like to take in teams.
After focussing on the group structures we also picked up some knowledge on Internet Governance. We did research on the topics closest to the hearts of the youth delegates. Tackling privacy, human rights, security, net neutrality and entrepreneurship the group got to know relevant stakeholders, identify main conflicts in the field and their particular motivation to tackle these issues.
This all led up to the final day, where we created action plans for the upcoming years. We started the day with an inspirational talk by Eibert Draisma. Eibert is an artist/inventor and explained how inspiration comes to him and how important passion is for his work. The we proceeded to set aims for the political, educational and personal goals and each created their own plan how to reach their individual goal. We finished off with a Dragons Den style event. All delegates presented their plans and received feedback from professionals in the Internet Governance field.
All in all it was a great start into the project and made the group ready to head out to Brazil and claim the conference by storm.