The NextGen@ICANN Program is now five years old. To mark the anniversary, we’ve launched a consultation to take stock of its results so far and lay the groundwork for future improvements. Our goal is to take a close look at NextGen@ICANN to ensure it continues to evolve and meet community needs, just as we did with the recent review of the Fellowship Program.
For those unfamiliar with the NextGen@ICANN Program, it aims to broaden participation in ICANN by providing opportunities for university students to better understand ICANN and the Internet ecosystem. The program runs in conjunction with ICANN Public Meetings and targets students aged 18-30 years who live in the region hosting the selected ICANN meeting.
I’m particularly proud of how the program has fostered regional and gender diversity among its participants. Over 207 students from 106 countries have participated, and half of the participants have been female. This inclusive approach helps us better reflect the global community we serve.
Alumni Survey Highlights
A recent survey survey [PDF, 556 KB] of program alumni provides additional insights. For example, the survey found that many NextGenners remain active in the Internet governance ecosystem and the ICANN community. Many are also involved in regional academic engagement. Specifically:
- Nearly all respondents shared their NextGen experiences with others and 80% said they did so at their local university. This highlights the program’s success in reaching and inspiring its target audience.
- Seven out of ten respondents said they are currently involved in or following ICANN’s activities or work, most commonly through affiliation with At-Large and the Generic Names Supporting Organization.
- Of those who are currently engaged in ICANN, three-quarters say they feel like their work is acknowledged and encouraged.
The survey has also identified potential areas for improvement, including enriching NextGenners’ post-meeting experience and facilitating greater engagement with ICANN and relevant regional groups.
The Community Consultation Process
The NextGen@ICANN consultation process will begin with a survey with the ICANN community to assess the community’s perceptions about several aspects of the program, including its purpose, goals, processes, and synergies with the ICANN academic community. Using that input, we’ll draft a proposal for program improvements that will be published for Public Comment. The final improvement plan and implementation progress reports will be available online at the NextGen@ICANN Community Consultation page.
We look forward to hearing your ideas on how to build on the program’s success.