Training experts to represent Russia’s interests on the global stage

The university youth forum, Ethical, Cultural and Civilizational Aspects of Using the Internet, began on December 9. The forum was organized by the Russian Association of Networks and Services (RANS) and the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ with the support of Satellite Communications and InfoTecs.

The forum is aimed at promoting information security culture based on the knowledge and application of the law as well as organizational, procedural and technological practices and ethical and moral principles of cooperation in the digital environment.

“This year, 125 students from universities in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Stavropol Territory and Vladimir Region have registered for the Youth Forum. High school students from several schools have also joined in, and we are especially pleased about that because today we are discussing young people’s involvement in the development of the internet and creation of a safe internet environment,” noted Coordination Center Director Andrei Vorobyev in his opening remarks. Chair of the RANS Executive Committee Alexander Ivanyuk co-hosted the opening ceremony.

Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union Houlin Zhao also delivered welcoming remarks. He noted that modern technologies were developing very fast, and COVID-19 had accelerated the digital transformation that made it possible for people all over the world to work, study, care and stay in touch, “The ITU plays a significant role in the digital transformation, with 193 member countries and over 900 members from industry sectors and international and regional organizations united by a single goal: to make modern technology a source of welfare for all,” Houlin Zhao said. “Over 160 universities and research organizations are cooperating with the ITU on a permanent basis: independent and professional work of the scientific and engineering community helps us formulate and address the most challenging technological problems whereas young researchers inspire us with new, fresh ideas.”

The Secretary-General also invited young experts to publish their research in the ITU magazine and take part in the organization’s work on standardization.

ITU Regional Director for CIS Natalia Mochu spoke about ITU’s focus on working with young people. Recently, a strategy was adopted to significantly increase the role young people play in ITU activities. The strategy is expected to be launched next year, and right now work on its main areas is underway: expanding young people’s rights to demonstrate their talents and consequently increasing the human resource potential; cooperating with young people and establishing contacts with youth organizations and initiatives; developing internship and research programs and conferences; and organizing young experts’ participation in ITU events and working agencies.

“We call on state and industrial organizations to include young experts in delegations sent to international events so that they can learn how everything operates at the global level and try their hand at representing their country at an international platform. For example, the ITU Global Youth Summit will take place on November 6-7, 2021,” Natalia Mochu said.

Other participants in the section included Andrei Ivashko (Technical Service, Russian Federal Security Service), Yelena Petina (Public Services Department, Russian Pension Fund), Nataliya Babekina (International Cooperation Department of the Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media), and Dmitry Reutsky (Information Security Department of the Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media), who also agreed that the Russian ICT industry needs qualified experts with a high level of understanding of technological, organizational, procedural and legal aspects, who are able to act in nonstandard situations. They also said that it is necessary to systematically form human resource potential. The participants announced that it is possible to intern for their agencies and said they were ready to support universities in organizing internships in subordinate agencies.

Head of the Presidential Directorate for the Development of ICT and Communication Infrastructure Tatyana Matveyeva called on the Russian youth to take part in discussing the country’s digital future and to become involved in developing innovative solutions. “Today it is important to create career and social lifts for talented IT experts who will develop the digital economy inside the country and take an active part in IT cooperation at the global level,” Tatyana Matveyeva noted, adding that Russia has a wealth of experience in organizing national hackathons and professional contests in the IT sphere, such as Digital Breakthrough and RuCode and the MIPT nationwide educational festival on Artificial Intelligence and programming. Tatyana Matveyeva also invited young people to take part in preparing the UN Global Internet Governance Forum scheduled to take place in Russia in 2025. The second meeting on the Youth Forum focused on national interests and international cooperation in developing ICT infrastructure. Mikhail Anisimov, ICANN Head of Global Stakeholder Engagement for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, talked about the importance of global cooperation using the example of the Asclepius project, which is supported by ICANN. It is a system used to check domains during the coronavirus pandemic. “As it’s already been said, COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation, but at the same time created a number of new digital risks,” he said. “ICANN’s project is an attempt to identify the coronavirus-related domain registration at the global level to prevent mass phishing; this happens very quickly, over a few hours. The response speed is essential, because it helps users to avoid risks for a longer time,” Mikhail Anisimov said. The cooperation scheme inside the project is very simple: it is based on a model that has already proven its efficiency in many national registries, including the one used by the Coordination Center's Domain Patrol project. ICANN downloads domain lists from the partner registry and checks them for keywords; a shortlist of domains is sent to experts to check their behavior; if a violation is found, information on it is transmitted to the administrator, domain registrar or registry, depending on the regulatory practice adopted in the domain zone.

Mikhail Anisimov also spoke about ICANN’s grant programs, Fellowship and NextGen. Financial support is provided to young people interested in shaping the global internet policy and DNS, internet governance, security and stability as well as other areas of ICANN's activities, to participate in the international corporation’s events. Grant recipients can also learn about ICANN's work and receive training.

In conclusion of the forum session “Training experts to represent the country’s interests on the global stage,” the Coordination Center’s Youth Project Manager Ilona Stadnik delivered a speech. She talked about the center’s experience in implementing projects for students, graduates, young specialists and teachers, such as Summer Internet Governance School, the Inside and Around Internet Governance Discussion Club, informative lectures and seminars at universities, the youth track at the Russian Internet Governance Forum (RIGF) and, finally, information sources on the latest events on internet governance. “Our Summer School is part of the global movement Schools on Internet Governance (SIG). For the first time, it was held in August and September 2020. We received over 100 applications, and 38 students made it to the “graduation.” In addition to theory on the history, structure and legal regulation of the internet, there were debates and meetings with IT practical users and experts. The next school kicks off in the spring of 2021. By the way, the RIGF Youth Track will also have two sections: a short educational one to get down to the topic and a practical one where young people will prepare addresses on RIGF topics.”

RIGF 2021 will be held online on April 7-9. The agenda is currently being worked out. Everyone can suggest discussion topics by filling out the form at the conference’s website.

The video of the university youth forum, Ethical, Cultural and Civilizational Aspects of Using the Internet, is available on RANS’s official youtube channel.

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