The Path Designed by LACNIC to Bring Together the Technical Community and Internet Governance


The Path Designed by LACNIC to Bring Together the Technical Community and Internet Governance

By Paula Oteguy, Multistakeholder Engagement Coordinator

Líderes is a LACNIC program that provides funding and mentorship for research on selected Internet Governance (IG) topics with an impact in the LAC region, from the point of view of local and underrepresented communities. It has four years of history, and a new edition that has just begun.

To support researchers’ contributions and their impact on their local communities’ digital agendas, the program involves a bottom-up approach and multistakeholder participation. Year after year, the program continues to consolidate its platform, amplifying the reach of the selected researchers’ voices: the program has already supported more than 60 research proposals.

The program supports research in various thematic areas, some of which are maintained year after year because of their relevance for the community (e.g., cybersecurity, online rights, among others). However, each year new topics are added based on regional trends. For instance, in 2023 we added artificial intelligence and emerging technologies, which we believed were important to include in the agenda despite being in their very early stages in the region.

For the 2024 edition, candidates interested in applying will need to distinguish themselves through their detailed description of the problem to be researched and their proposed approach. Please note that research should focus on a local issue, as the program’s value lies precisely in sharing local perspectives that impact micro or disadvantaged communities, even if they may later be of value at the regional level. I would also like to stress that when selecting projects, we value not only the researcher’s proposal but also their plan for its execution, considering that the program has a duration of only three months.

To ensure researchers can make the most of this opportunity, we offer a careful mentoring process and the valuable support of four prestigious mentors from the region with extensive experience in Internet Governance who I would like to mention: Raquel Gatto (Brazil), Claire Craig (Trinidad and Tobago), Alejandra Erramuspe (Uruguay), and Julián Casasbuenas (Colombia).

The role of the mentors is an essential part of Líderes, as they will each guide their four assigned researchers to help them achieve their objectives.

Líderes aims to support emerging talent in the field of ecosystem research and Internet Governance, with the ambition to serve as the seed for something greater. For example, in an effort to expand their findings, some researchers have submitted an extension of their project to the FRIDA Program, which has more than 20 years of experience in the region and allowed them to receive greater support to continue to further and scale their research.

At LACNIC, our objective is for the technical community to come into contact with the knowledge and information generated by Líderes: five years after the program’s inception, the corpus of research made available by LACNIC to the region is truly robust and valuable.

After participating in Líderes, researchers have the option to apply to Policy Shapers, another LACNIC program created in 2022. If Líderes serves as a seed for capturing these researchers, Policy Shapers provides these candidates with the opportunity to further their development, while allowing the community to become acquainted with them.The emergence of talent is of great value and potential for our ecosystem, and we are convinced that they have valuable insights to share and contribute thanks to their fresh perspectives and excellent credentials.

It should be noted that the Policy Shapers program is not open to all researchers who participate in the Líderes program. After completing the research process, only 8 of them will be selected to continue along this path.

The Policy Shapers path includes three formal stages. The first involves participating in the LACNIC event to become familiar with the role of LACNIC while bridging the gap and generating synergies between the technical community and individuals with such diverse backgrounds.

In the second stage, participants choose one of the courses adapted to the various profiles offered by both the Diplo Foundation and the IIDH through their “Inter-American Diploma Course: The Human Right to Privacy and Protection of Personal Data.” The final stage requires completing the “Diploma in Internet Governance,” a benchmark program in the LAC region led by Carolina Aguerre.

From LACNIC’s perspective, connecting the technical point of view and the contribution of these talents is key. We strongly believe that it is essential to understand the technical issues that affect and condition public policy design and management to be able to exert their influence. Likewise, in addition to supporting technical initiatives, LACNIC also seeks to delve deeper into issues related to Internet Governance. Our ultimate goal is to build a valuable network that keeps these professionals close to LACNIC and its work on Internet development.

Finally, I would like to invite you to apply for the new edition of the Líderes Program. Proposals will be accepted from 15 April to 13 May 2024. To submit your proposal, please complete the following form here       

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