5th European Summer School on Internet Governance

Meissen / Germany July 24 – 30, 2011

The 5th edition of the European Summer School on Internet Governance (EuroSSIG) in Meissen / Germany completed after six days of intense lectures and discussion end of July 2011.

For its 2011 version, EuroSSIG received 133 applications from 54 countries all over the world. Out of this, 30 applicants were accepted representing 20 countries, from the Fiji Islands, Indonesia, Brazil and Paraguay to South Africa, Botswana, Ghana and China with a majority from Europe (Austria, Germany, Romania, France, Belgium, Norway, UK, Belarus and Russia). Half of the students in 2011 came from academia and civil society, nine from the private sector, five from governmental agencies. EuroSSIG brings together fellows with various backgrounds to promote a better understanding of the global Internet Governance controversy and to provide comprehensive and structured knowledge on the various aspects of Internet Governance.

The 28 members of the faculty are outstanding international experts from the world leading universities as well as experienced managers from the Internet community who have actively participated in WSIS, WGIG, IGF, EURODIG, ICANN and other Internet policy making bodies.

Its annual one-week program covers the political, legal, economic, socio-cultural and technological dimensions of the governance of the Internet as well as issues like human rights, cybercrime, privacy and intellectual property. The course includes also practical oriented lectures about the management of critical Internet resources (CIR) like domain names, IP addresses, root servers and Internet protocols. Speakers came, inter alia, from the ICANN board and staff, RIPE NCC, the Council of Europe, Afilias, Verisign, EURid, DENIC, SWITCH, nic.at, eco, SEDO, Telefonica, Nokia Siemens Networks, AT&T, Google and the Paris based International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

EuroSSIG is conducted in an old monastery – a place where the father of the German enlightenment Gotthold Ephraim Lessing went to school – and offers a unique environment and atmosphere for intense studies. Since 2007, more than 150 fellows from all over the world have enjoyed this combination of middle age architecture with 21st century ideas which creates the special “Spirit of Meissen”. “It is the best place in the world for such a course on Internet Governance”, said Milton Mueller from the University of Syracuse, author of the recently published book “Networks and States”.

“Internet governance is not yet an established academic discipline you can study at a university´s faculty”, Wolfgang Kleinwächter, founder and chair of the EuroSSIG faculty said. “It is a multidisciplinary issue which crosses law, business, history, political, social and cultural science, informatics and mathematics and it has a very practical component. This special kind of knowledge is needed by a broad range of various constituencies working in the Internet world”. And he added: “With EuroSSIG we provide a high level space for learning in a multistakeholder environment where we enable fellows to become leaders of Internet Governance of tomorrow.”

The establishment of the EuroSSIG goes back to discussions within the UN Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) which was established by the former UN Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, to prepare the 2nd phase of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis (2005). Meanwhile there is also a South Summer School on Internet Governance for Latin America and the Caribbean which had its 3rd edition in Mexico City in March 2011. The launching of an African SSIG is under discussion.

During a special workshop at the forthcoming 6th IGF in Nairobi, the SSIG concept will be presented and discussed. The 6th EuroSSIG will take place from 22 -28, July, 2012 in Meissen. The EuroSSIG is a private initiative, organized by Medienstadt Leipzig e.V., a recognized At Large Structure (ALS) under ICANN Bylaws, and is supported by a broad range of Internet businesses and service providers.

Background image by: Manfred Kloppert, Dresden