The significant role of and impact that the Internet has on social, educational, cultural, legal, economic, and political aspects of society around the world are evident in the development of the Balkan countries in particular as well. Given the record participation at major Internet governance (IG) events in Europe and at the global level, there is a significant lack of the Balkan community’s participation. Disproportion representation between Balkan and other European countries is also evident, as the attendance statistics of the past 11 years of the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) demonstrate, for instance. This leads to significant consequences such as the lack of substantive participation in bottom-up IG processes and disengagement in building the program of major IG events (e.g. no or very few workshop proposal submissions, very low number of participants in situ or online, lack of good practice examples from the region, little sharing of challenges in the region, etc.).
This is due to several factors:
- Lack of awareness
- Lack of information
- Funding and access issues
The BSIG Fellowship is able to offer full funding for participation thanks to the financial support of the Institutional Partner, Council of Europe, and the support of ISOC, RIPE NCC, EURid, and DiploFoundation.
The BSIG programme aims to build and strengthen capacity among stakeholders involved in Internet policy-making, with individuals holding existing expertise or those individuals working in IG-related fields in their respective countries in order to provide them with the knowledge and skills needed for effective and quality participation in different Internet policy spaces as well as various IG events and processes at the national, regional, and global levels.
- Provide a supportive learning environment for target participants.
- Raise awareness on the most pressing issues pertaining to Internet governance today.
- Foster interactive training in order to raise participants’ interest on IG-related issues with a long-term goal of motivating the participants in IG fora and processes, and directly creating future experts on the subject matter.
- Provide a supportive, international setting for participants to engage with the experts from the area in order to facilitate research activities and collaboration on IG through a relevant region perspective.
- Enable and encourage individuals residing in the Balkans to participate in, engage with, and contribute to other regional and global IG-related discussion arenas (in situ and/or online) in order to amplify regional voices and perspectives, and foster more inclusive, open, and transparent Internet governance in the region and beyond.
Who should apply?
- Target beneficiaries/participants/stakeholder groups
The call is directed to any individual, from the target countries listed below, who are currently engaged and/or have an interest in Internet governance-related fields, and belong to any of the following communities:
- Academia (including graduate students)
- Business/private sector
- Civil society
- Media & journalism
- Technical community
- Target countries
The BSIG funding is open for countries that belong to the geographically determined Balkan region (in alphabetical order):
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Kosovo *
- Macedonia, FYR
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence
What do we expect from you after being selected?
- Attend online informational and preparatory meetings.
- Dedicate time to quick, informative research around IG-related issues in your respective country, aimed at preparing for the week-long BSIG program.
- Active participation before and during the fellowship, and to show willingness to stay engaged in IG spaces and processes.
- Be able to dedicate a full week (which includes travel days) to attend the full program.
- Be proficient in both oral and written English (the working language will be English, with no interpretation in other languages).
- Active engagement (discussions, comments, questions, good practices, and knowledge sharing) during the week-long program.
- Be responsive in due time to all of the organiser’s emails, including but not limited to, those related to the travel, accommodation, visa, and other BSIG-related issues
- Purchase travel and health insurance and send a scanned copy to the organisers within the deadline
- Show dedication to engage with country-based inputs during the post-BSIG mapping document development
The fellows will be selected among those who submit an application of interest in English, respecting the deadline for submission in the application form, and meet the following criteria:
- Belong to one of the target stakeholder groups (see above).
- Is originally from and works or is active in any of the target countries (see above) in IG-related fields.
- Show clear interest in Internet governance and policy related issues.
- Have good command of both oral and written English.
All applications that meet the deadline for submissions will be reviewed, and qualified applicants will be selected by the Selection Committee comprised of the organisers, institutional partner, and supporting organisations, and will take into account different stakeholders, countries, and gender balance with selection, giving equal opportunity to all individuals who applied.
The number of participants is limited due to the available funding resources.
Thanks to institutional support provided by the Council of Europe, fellows, once selected, will benefit from full funding for participation, which includes:
- Travel arrangements (roundtrip ticket)
- Hotel accommodation with full board
- Local transportation to the venue
- BSIG social events
The funding does not include/cover:
- Per diems or stipend
- Local transportation in your respective country
- Potential visa fees, or any other additional costs
Please note that once selected, you will be responsible for covering the cost of your travel and health insurance, and required to send the scan of it to the organiser within the deadline.
We encourage you to apply, and are looking forward to receiving many applications.
Good luck to everyone!