CELEBRATE! Profile: Leena Dahal '17
A strategic communications and international studies major conducted research on global internet leaders' plans to reach everyone, everywhere.
Name: Leena Dahal
Major: Strategic Communications and International Studies
Minor: Religious Studies
Faculty mentor: Janna Anderson, professor of communications
The first billion was reached in 2005, the second in 2010, the third in 2014, yet 4 billion people across the globe still have no access to the Internet. How can they connect? Nearly 100 ethnographic video interviews were conducted by a six-student research Team from Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center with experts in November 2015 at the United Nations-facilitated Global Internet Governance Forum in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, where more than 2,000 stakeholders from 116 nations represented government, technology, business, academia and civil society. Leveraging these responses, this study assesses the global discussion surrounding "connecting the next billion" by identifying intersecting themes between various stakeholder groups." Results reveal stakeholders hold common views and conflicting opinions as to which challenges are key to the positive diffusion of information and communication technologies and how they should be met.
In Other Words:
Dahal collected information about how to connect people to the internet.
What made this research interesting to you? How did you get started?:
Growing up in developing countries including Nepal, Laos and Bangladesh, I became acutely aware of the ways in which the lack of access to the internet can hinder the growth of marginalized communities. Because the process of "connecting the next billion" is heavily rooted in global discussion across stakeholder groups, I was personally very interested in how voices from marginalized communities were or were not being represented in this conversation and in gauging the value policy-makers placed on community-based development. When policies are passed and initiatives are implemented, we often focus on the final results rather than the impactful discussions that took place prior to them. Being able to immerse myself in the conversation — rather than just reading about it on the news — was truly an incredible experience.