Supporting the multistakeholder process for the future course of the Internet and contribute to shaping it – that was DENIC's motivation when we took over the management of the Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum Germany (IGF-D) just over a year ago. You need a strong community to fulfil this mission, and we have made consistent efforts in 2023 to promote it.
Internet Governance from Different Perspectives: The Jimmy Schulz Dinner
The year started right away with a novelty, the so-called Jimmy Schulz Dinner. The politician Jimmy Schulz was a driving force behind the IGF in Germany. Having a say in the future course of Internet governance also is the desire of the dinner guests. Around 40 representatives of all stakeholder groups come together at the event. The inaugural Jimmy Schulz Dinner in February featured UN Tech Envoy Amandeep Singh Gill as keynote speaker on the issue of the Global Digital Compact. The essence of the dinner, however, is the discourse among the attending guests after the speech. Learning about completely new perspectives and aspects that may have previously gone unnoticed creates mutual understanding and fosters a convergence of diverse viewpoints.
Each Jimmy Schulz dinner focuses on a current topic of Internet governance. At the second of the two dinners this year, which was held in October just before the ICANN78 conference in Hamburg, Christopher Mondini explained the role of ICANN in today's geopolitical context.
The IGF-D-Event: Messages for the Global Discussion of Internet Governance
The Jimmy Schulz Dinner is just one example of how the IGF-D Secretariat provides organisational support to the community and the Steering Committee in shaping the forum as a multistakeholder platform. Another highlight this year was the IGF-D event on 13 September in Berlin. Focusing on artificial intelligence, cyber security, sustainability and the Global Digital Compact, it yielded as one substantial result three messages that were included in the global IGF discussion in Kyoto in October. One notable plea of the IGF-D: The AI Act of the European Union should not be too specific in order to maintain sufficient flexibility, as is necessary for proper evaluation of AI and various AI applications.
The IGF-D at the Digital Summit: Exchanging Information via Speed Geeking
Beyond hosting our own events to promote Internet governance, we also represent the views and intentions of the IGF-D at the events of others, like, for instance, this year's Digital Summit in Jena. For the first time ever, we had the opportunity to present ourselves at a speed geeking session. The representatives of the IGF-D Steering Committee had a full 20 minutes to discuss topics relating to Internet governance with interested parties at four different themed tables. The discussion issues comprised the historical and cultural background, i.e. the "roots" of German Internet governance activities and the IGF-D, as well as global topics such as the Global Digital Compact under the keyword "Worldwide". The "Wanderschaft" (on the move) and "Weichenstellung" (setting course) tables ventured a look into the future discussing the goals and methodology of the IGF-D and landmark decisions on Internet governance.
And last but not least, we also offered webinars, where we explained the IGF-D and gave an insight into its structure and its activities – yet another platform to enter into a dialogue with representatives of civil society, academia, the technical community and the private sector.
Getting in Touch with the IGF-D
We look back proudly on our first year as managers of the IDF-D Secretariat. Outreaching was our mission. Establishing contacts and increasing visibility. We have successfully accomplished our goal. The journey will continue next year, driven by the belief that a strong community is one of the most important prerequisites for a thriving multistakeholder platform.