Brief session description:
Thursday, July 14, 2016 – Daniel Sepulveda, U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the Department of State, spoke about the United States and the global Internet. View some video highlights on this page or watch the full archived video on this page, starting at 13:30.
Details of the session:
In his closing plenary keynote, Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda highlighted the importance of the Internet as a tool for human development and commended the possibility for dialogue and change at the national IGF in Guadalajara, Mexico, in December.
“Strengthening national conferences like these will only further strengthen the communication about a range of issues globally,” Sepulveda said.
While the future of the Internet is uncertain, Sepulveda said he is proud of the Internet Governance Forum’s achievements in helping it remain free of government takeover.
“The Internet community found ways to work together and influence change,” he said.
As part of the outcome of recent WCIT and WSIS+10, meetings recently, the United Nations General Assembly extended the mandate of the IGF for a second 10-year span. Sepulveda encouraged all Internet stakeholders in the room to take full advantage of the successful renewal, noting that the organization will continue to support the global effort to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Working to extend international conversations
He noted that over the course of the existence of IGF the transparency within each workshop and discussion has grown, resulting in more tangible results, including its current work to identify concrete ways to connect the next billion, a topic of importance at both the 2015 and 2016 Global IGF meetings.
Looking ahead, Sepulveda said he would like to see an expanded and enriched worldwide dialogue feeding discussions in global conversations. He added that closing the digital divide is “not only an economic but a moral imperative.”
“We must reduce inequality and spread opportunity,” he said.
To achieve this end, Sepulveda said it is increasingly important to make Internet policy discussions more inclusive, engaging diverse voices and increasing participation, particularly in the developing world. He stressed identifying and engaging young people, entrepreneurs and Internet lovers to assist in decision making globally.
Sepulveda: People deserve to enjoy the same rights online and off
Sepulveda said he believes that the same rights that apply to people offline should apply online as well.
“The key for preservation of the Internet as a force for good is our ability to retain its cultural and technological openness as a platform and its interoperability across network technologies and devices across the world,” he urged. “These qualities help extend to the world many of the freedoms and values and opportunities that the United States hold as central beliefs.”
Essentially, he added, the goal is to avoid fragmentation and embrace openness, continue national conversations and expand global ones.
“Conversations like these are crucial for our future,” Sepulveda said confidently. “We will succeed. I am sure of it.”
– By Mackenzie Dunn
The multimedia reporting team for Imagining the Internet at IGF-USA 2016 included the following Elon University School of Communications students, staff and faculty:
Bryan Anderson, Janna Anderson, Bryan Baker, Elizabeth Bilka, Ashley Bohle, Courtney Campbell, Colin Donohue, Melissa Douglas, Mackenzie Dunn, Maya Eaglin, Christina Elias, Rachel Ellis, Caroline Hartshorn, Paul LeBlanc, Emmanuel Morgan, Joey Nappa, Diego Pineda Davila, Alyssa Potter, Kailey Tracy, Andrew Steinitz, Anna Zwingelberg