In early June, around 500 young people from more 100 countries descended on Kigali, Rwanda for the ITU’s first Generation Connect Global Youth Summit. I was lucky to represent NTIA and the United States as part of a delegation sponsored by USTTI.
The Summit sought to bring together “digital natives” – those of us who grew up in the age of the Internet – to interact directly with global business leaders, government officials, and policymakers. In his opening remarks, Rwandan Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente recognized young people as a major asset to the global community. At the same time, I—along with my fellow youth delegates—gained a new respect for our digital fluency and how it can bring about change.
The Summit was made up of intergenerational dialogues and small group sessions on core issues like the future of work, the gender digital divide, and digital solutions for climate action. I learned about other young people’s work to address policy challenges, like a group of young Nigerian entrepreneurs training children in digital literacy, a Ugandan engineer who aspires to become an astronaut, and an ICT analyst for the government of Trinidad and Tobago, among many others.