In the last couple of years, the popularity of virtual meetings has hit new records in response to calls to reduce air travel and utilise climate-friendly conferencing. Moreover, as we discuss in further detail below, the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has shed light on alternative digital options, as opposed to ‘business as usual’ conference set-ups. However, these recent developments are far from being all there is to say about virtual conferencing.
Online conferencing allows individuals to attend events in case they are prevented from attending in person due to visa issues, travel costs, or other reasons. Put differently, such a format increases accessibility and inclusion by reducing barriers to participation.
This virus outbreak has already proven to be one of the largest teleworking experiments ever, but how can we effectively utilise online participation tools to continue global meetings uninterrupted? One way will be to move conferences to an online environment. The first organisation to do this was ICANN, the Internet’s governing authority, which announced that its 67th Public Meeting will be held online for the first time ever, following concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak.
Join us for the live online discussion on Tuesday, 17th March, from 13:00 UTC (14:00 CET), when we will address the new challenges and opportunities for interactive online events.
Jovan Kurbalija - Head, Geneva Internet Platform
Arvin Kamberi - DiploFoundation’s online participation team
Marilia Maciel - DiploFoundation
The event is being organised as an activity of Diplo’s Conference Tech LAB, which provides extensive research, training, and consultancy on the preparation and running of online meetings.
Dr Katharina Höne Senior lecturer, researcher, and project manager
Dr Katharina (Kat) E Höne researches, writes, and teaches on a number of issues in the area of diplomacy, global governance, and the impact of technology on international relations. Over the last years, she has focused on research at the intersection of diplomacy and technology. She was part of a research project on Data Diplomacy: Updating diplomacy to the big data eraand the lead researcher and author of Mapping the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence for the conduct of diplomacy report, both supported by the Ministry for Foreign of Affairs of Finland. In addition, she has more than 10 years of experience in teaching international relations at universities in the UK and Germany, and in delivering in-situ, blended, and online training to diplomatic practitioners. Kat holds an MA in Diplomatic Studies (University of Leicester, UK) and a PhD in International Politics (University of Aberystwyth, UK). In her work, she is driven by her aim to level the playing field at international negotiation tables through capacity development, and to provide out-of-the-box thinking and inspiration by drawing on her passion for science-fiction.
An expert in remote participation, Mr Arvin Kamberi heads up Diplo’s Webinar Team. Based in Belgrade, he has been working on webinars and other web-based remote participation since 2011. Arvin has been part of the remote participation team for many international forums, such as the IGF, EuroDIG, and local IGF events such as IGF Africa. From 2014 to 2015, he was a part of the IGF Working Group on Remote Participation (established in 2008), and involved in the elaboration of IGF remote participation guidelines.
Arvin has a keen interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain developments; first as an avid ‘miner’, then more in terms of regulation and consensus mechanisms surrounding the decentralised systems. His primary focus is on Bitcoin development, but he follows other cryptocurrency developments and the blockchain/distributed ledger technology, too. Vice President of Bitcoin Association of Serbia, Arvin writes extensively about Bitcoin and blockchains. He holds an MA in Film and Video Production from Belgrade University of Art.
Dr Jovan Kurbalija is the Executive Director of DiploFoundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP). He was a member of the UN Working Group on Internet Governance (2004‒2005), special advisor to the Chairman of the UN Internet Governance Forum (2006‒2010), and a member of the High Level Multistakeholder Committee for NETmundial (2013‒2014). In 2018-2019, he served as co-Executive Director of the Secretariat of the United Nations (UN) High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation.
A former diplomat, Jovan has a professional and academic background in international law, diplomacy, and information technology. He has been a pioneer in the field of cyber diplomacy since 1992 when he established the Unit for Information Technology and Diplomacy at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta, and later, DiploFoundation.
Since 1997, Jovan’s research and articles on cyber diplomacy have shaped research and policy discussion on the impact of the Internet on diplomacy and international relations. His book, An Introduction to Internet Governance, has been translated into 9 languages and is used as a textbook for academic courses worldwide. He lectures on e-diplomacy and Internet governance in academic and training institutions in many countries, including Austria (Diplomatic Academy of Vienna), Belgium (College of Europe), Switzerland (University of St Gallen), Malta (University of Malta), and the United States (University of Southern California).
Ms Marília Maciel Digital Policy Senior Researcher
Brazilian-born Ms Marília Maciel is currently based in Strasbourg, France. She is involved in several Internet- governance-related projects, notably on the fields of digital economy, e-commerce, and cybersecurity. She also curates the topics of e-commerce, Access and Digital Divide for the GIP Digital Watch Observatory and represents Diplo at various meetings.
Prior to joining Diplo, Ms Marília Maciel was a researcher and coordinator of the Center for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (CTS/FGV) in Rio de Janeiro. She served as a councillor at ICANN´s Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) representing the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG). Marília is a former member of the Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (2011–2012), created under the auspices of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UN CSTD). She was also a member of the Multistakeholder Executive Committee of NETmundial and represented CTS/FGV in meetings of the Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). She served in the Consultative Chamber on Internet Security and Rights of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br).
Marília is a PhD candidate at the University of Bordeaux Montaigne, on Information and Communication Sciences. She holds an MA in Latin American Integration from the Federal University of Santa Maria (2008) and a law degree from the Federal University of Pernambuco (2005), where she was awarded a research grant from the State of Pernambuco Research Foundation (FACEPE) to investigate issues related to taxation and electronic commerce.