This workshop considered a range of capacity building efforts, with the goal of identifying common issues and strategies that can be employed to develop more effective training, education and capacity building programs around the world. The workshop brought together organizations, experts and regional representatives from different Internet stakeholders groups and sectors that have developed innovative projects, forums and strategies.
Christine Arida, of the Egyptian Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and Arab IGF Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group, moderated the session. In her introduction she noted that capacity building emerged as a cross-cutting priority at the recent Arab IGF.
Olga Cavalli, Director of the South School on Internet Governance, stressed the importance of raising awareness about relevant courses or activities. Working with government, as they did in their recent summer school in Colombia, has been effective in attracting a wider range of participants, as has the primary use of Spanish language in the course.
Paul Rendek, of the RIPE NCC, discussed the IPv6 Roadshow events, which are jointly organised by RIPE NCC and The Middle East Network Operators Group (MENOG). He stressed that expanding the program beyond the Arab region will involve working with a range of other stakeholders - no organisations have the reach to do this kind of work alone. He noted though, the challenges of working across sectors, and the need to find new ways of working that can bring down barriers between private and public.
Salam Yamout, of the Lebanese government agreed with the need to think differently in planning projects, and noted the success of working with the technical community to bring in a broad range of private sector and business groups to Internet educational events in Lebanon.
Constance Bommelaer, of the Internet Society, discussed two ISOC projects, the INET Conferences, held regularly around the world, and the Next Generation Leaders program, which helps educate young people both technically and through exposure to forums like the IGF, the OECD and the World Bank, helping to build diplomatic skills. She stressed the blended approach, combining skills sets from different sectors to more effectively engage across those divisions.
Sylvia Cadena spoke about the ISIF Asia Grants Program, which encourages innovation through small grants, both in terms of funding and connecting grant recipients to networks of mentors and other experts. She stressed the importance of building capacity in developing countries that will actually remain in that country and help build local industry. She also noted that ISIF Asia and its sister projects around the world try to listen to what their applicants are looking for, and let them drive the project in new directions.
The group discussion touched on several other topics. This included the importance of engaging youth, and particularly in facilitating activities driven by youth. Paul Rendek noted the strength of youth participation in events like the Arab IGF and EuroDIG, and the opportunity for providing high-level assistance and coordination of such activities. Several speakers also noted the importance of maintaining linked with graduates and capitalise on their experience and expertise in mentoring new participants.
The group discussed how the success of capacity building efforts can be measured. Olga Cavalli suggested that such measurement is difficult, but that success can be seen in the spreading networks that many of these projects have created of past students, teachers and others.