Rohan Daswani, an Island School student and 18-year-old Shannon Hui from South Island School were selected to attend the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (December 16-21) in Switzerland after submitting a proposal for the pre-event training programme organised by the English Schools Foundation in November. Young Post spoke to one of the students.
Rohan, 16, won his slot at the internet Governance Forum by writing a 25-page proposal in which he focused on internet literacy, openness, and security.
“I wanted to address the [different concerns] between privacy and security, and come up with solutions,” Rohan said. “That’s a really controversial issue, what with all that’s happening with the United States, [US President Donald] Trump, and [ex-NSA employee and whistle-blower] Edward Snowden.”
Delegates at the forum included politicians, and corporate and non-governmental organisation representatives. They covered public policy issues surrounding the internet, like artificial intelligence, cybercrimes, gender and youth rights, and online harassment.
Rohan said that the whole experience – getting to speak to people who make and implement policy – was amazing, but surreal. One stand-out moment was getting to speak to Johann Schneider-Ammann, the President of the Swiss Confederation.
“She’s inspired me to get more people [on board] with my cause – to make the internet and the world a safer place,” he said.
“I feel that more people my age [are getting] involved with internet governance,” he added, and reminded Young Post that the future of the internet is the same as the future of young people.
This was not Rohan’s first speech he has had in front of a crowd – he has, since taking part in the 2014 Model United Nation, travelled overseas for many different conferences.