Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet)

A global network for scholars of internet governance

GigaNet members have a longstanding tradition of putting on regional events at their local universities while drawing upon the broader international network of scholars in GigaNet’s Steering Committee and membership. Another one of these collaborations led to a May 17-18 workshop in Geneva, on The Global Governance of the Internet: Intergovernmentalism, Multistakeholderism and Networks.  The event was organized by the Programme for the Study of International Governance at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. It was led by GigaNet members Roxana Radu of the Graduate Institute and Jean-Marie Chenou of the University of Lausanne. The event was strategically timed to occur between the ITU’s World Telecommunication Policy Forum meeting and the UN Internet Governance Forum consultation, allowing a broader set of people drawn from business, government and civil society to participate as well as academics.

The program combined longer, academic keynote lectures and policy-oriented ‘multistakeholder roundtables.’ Thomas J. Biersteker, Director of the Programme, welcomed the 50+ attendees. The first roundtable, led by Professor Wolfgang Kleinwachter, convened an expert panel to discuss the distinction between intergovernmental organizations and multistakeholder organizations, and the recent trend for intergovernmental organization to encourage nonstate actors to participate or to describe themselves as ‘multistakeholder.’ The panel included Ian Brown of the Oxford Internet Institute; William J. Drake of the University of Zürich; independent consultant and former ITU staff Richard Hill; Xianhong Hu, UNESCO; James Lawson of the Council of Europe; Eliot Lear of Cisco Systems; Jeremy Malcolm of Consumers International; and Thomas Schneider, Swiss Federal Office of Communication.

Next, a keynote by Dr. Milton L. Mueller, Professor at Syracuse University School of Information Studies, addressed the topic ‘The Cold War metaphor and Internet governance: Use it, avoid it, learn from it?’ Mueller concluded that “a direct comparison with the Cold War underscores the profound differences in the type of conflict we were facing then and the type we are facing now. The comparison does, however call attention to some of the undesirable political dynamics in an environment dominated by geopolitical conflict.”

A multistakeholder roundtable chaired by Professor Rolf H. Weber, University of Zürich (pictured above), addressed the future of the multistakeholder model in Internet governance. Panelists included Constance Bommelaer of the Internet Society; Xianhong Hu; Jovan Kurbalija of the DiploFoundation; Wolf Ludwig of Digital Allmend, EURALO and EURODIG; Meryem Marzouki, CNRS & UPMC Sorbonne Universités; YJ Park, SUNYKorea; and Werner Staub, CORE.

The next day David Sylvan, Professor of International Relations and Political Science at the Graduate Institute, spoke on ‘Governance without Governors: The Internet as Pointer to the Future?’ Sylvan called attention to the way governance occurred through micro-level behaviors, practices and habits and how higher-level governance institutions had to be articulated with these forms of social structuring if they are to work effectively.

A later keynote by Dr. Ian Brown, Associate Director of Oxford’s new Cyber Security Centre spoke about ‘Intergovernmentalism and Internet security.’

The remainder of the program consisted of short papers:

Richard Hill, Hill & Associates: WCIT: failure or success, impasse or way forward?
Michèle Rioux, UQAM & CEIM: Competing Institutional Trajectories of Global Regulation – Internet in a Fragmented World
Andreas Kuehn, Syracuse University: Extending Cybersecurity: Securing Private Internet Infrastructure – The U.S. Einstein Program and its Implications for Internet Governance

Rolf H. Weber, University of Zürich: The visions of political power: treaty making and multistakeholder understanding
Ewan Sutherland, LINK Centre: Corruption in Internet governance
Anne-Claire Jamart, Cornell Law School: Internet freedom in the making and the future of Internet governance

Gianluigi Negro, Università della Svizzera Italiana: Chinese Internet governance - some domestic and foreign issues
Andreas Schmidt, Delft University of Technology: The Internet security community – its current and future role for Internet security
Xianhong Hu, UNESCO: Internet Universality: A Means towards Building Knowledge Society?

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Comment by John Laprise on May 22, 2013 at 2:08pm



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