In an era where digital connectivity and technology play a paramount role in shaping the world’s future, the Caribbean Youth Internet Governance Forum (CYIGF) has emerged as a vital platform for young voices in the region. This unique forum serves as a bridge between the dynamic youth population of the Caribbean and the realm of internet governance, providing a space for discussion, collaboration, and empowerment.
The 2nd Caribbean Youth Internet Governance Forum which took place on August 22nd, 2023 at the Caribbean Telecommunications Union’s Head Quarters, Trinidad and Tobago, is an annual regional, multi-stakeholder event, and operates as a component of the broader Caribbean Internet Governance Forum (CIGF), established by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). Notably, this forum is uniquely crafted by young individuals and caters to the interests and perspectives of the youth demographic. It brings together young persons from across the Caribbean to engage in discussions about the Internet, its impact on society, and the policies that govern its use. With the Internet being an integral part of modern life, it is crucial that the youth have a say in shaping its future. The CYIGF offers a platform for young individuals to voice their perspectives, concerns, and aspirations related to internet governance and the future of ICT.
The Ministry of Digital Transformation (MDT), by leveraging the participation of its External Relations Unit, engaged the valuable contributions of:
- Gabrielle Johnson, External Relations Analyst
- Steffon Lewis, Digital Transformation Analyst
- Caron David, Digital Transformation Analyst
- Jael Goddard, External Relations Associate
Together, this collaborative effort played a central and influential role in both the planning and execution of the CYIGF. This underscores MDT’s dedication to promoting a digitally empowered future for the region, as demonstrated by its proactive engagement across all aspects of the forum’s organization and execution.
Participation in the CYIGF offers a multitude of benefits to both the participants and the region including:
- Equipping young individuals with a comprehensive understanding of how internet policies and regulations impact their lives. Through interactive workshops, discussions, and presentations, participants gain valuable insights into the complex world of internet governance.
- Cultivating and nurturing leadership skills among youth. CYIGF serves as encouragement to step into roles as advocates and ambassadors for responsible and inclusive internet use.
- Fostering regional and international connections and collaborations. It brings together young minds from diverse backgrounds, enabling the exchange of ideas, experiences, and best practices. These connections lay the groundwork for future collaborations that can drive positive change and innovation within the Caribbean tech landscape. CYIGF aims to achieve formal registration as a National and Regional Initiative (NRI), a step that would grant official recognition to the forum as a UN-affiliated regional youth entity.
In conclusion, the CYIGF stands as a testament to the commitment of the region’s youth and the MDT’s drive to ensure that young persons are at the forefront of discussion on the future of ICT. By providing a platform for young voices to shape the future of internet governance, the CYIGF paves the way for a more inclusive, informed, and responsible digital era in the Caribbean.