Global Citizen Dialogue on the Future of the Internet

The University of Fiji, in collaboration with Missions Publiques, hosted the Global Citizen Dialogue on the Future of the Internet with the theme “We, The Internet”.

Speaking at the workshop, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shaista Shameem, said that the dialogue could not have come at a more opportune time.

“Covid-19 has forced us all to go almost exclusively online for everything – work, study, communication, trade and exchange, and entertainment,” she said.

She noted that the heartening part of such a Dialogue was that it came with the oversight of the United Nations. The results of the workshop will be delivered to the United Nations Secretary General through the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation.

She also said that the internet had transformed from being a tool of efficiency to an indispensable vehicle of life in the 21st century.

“At this University, we are perfecting learning platforms daily by finding imaginative and creative ways of delivering lessons online. The most important aspect of this – and that creates transformation in education unprecedented in the past – is that we are not likely to go back to what used to be, because our teaching and learning has suddenly and unexpectedly improved and has created its own market and following among the staff and students,” she said.

Furthermore, she stated that with online teaching of a particular quality, the University was able to emulate actual physical classroom. This methodology is called “Face to Face Online”.

“We can now offer our programmes internationally without students having to leave their countries; and our working students are finding it easier to attend classes when they do not have to leave their desks and rush to physical lecture rooms, usually arriving late due to traffic,” she said.

Professor Anirudh Singh, Dean of the School of Science and Technology, said that more than 100 participants from all walks of life participated in the Dialogue.

“The Dialogue was to create awareness about the internet; what it is and what it is capable of doing. It is really important to have dialogues like this because it helps people learn about the true capabilities of the Internet,” he said.

Mr. Inoke Sarava, from Ba, said that he was glad to have attended the Dialogue.

“The whole concept about digital and online is an urban language for me. To come here and be enlightened, I see how far I have been left behind. I have experienced and gathered so much today, in a short amount of time and now I want to go deeper,” he said.

Ms. Sikiti Toga, from Lami, Suva, said that she learned the risks associated with data sharing and the pros and cons of using the internet and much more from the Dialogue.

The Global Citizen Dialogue on the Future of the Internet is part of a phase of global citizen deliberation and participatory democracy, the goal of which is to allow citizens to express their voices on the Internet’s future.

Citizens’ recommendations at the Dialogue will be presented to local and regional governments as well to the Internet Governance Forum 2020 under the theme “Internet United.”

Source: Fiji TV

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