The 12th Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum
Asia-Pacific, Assistive Technology, Europe, December 21 2017
Geneva, Switzerland: The 2nd Vice President of GAATES, Mr. Vashkar Bhattacharjee attended the twelfth annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), representing the Global Alliance of Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), Young Power in Social Action, a2i, and also as one of the Internet Society (ISoc) Ambassadors 2017. As an IGF ISoc Ambassador, he joined a diverse cast of individuals from various stakeholder groups to discuss public policy issues related to the Internet.
The IGF is the annual and primary worldwide forum for discussions on Internet-related issues and public policies. The Forum aims to bring together diverse stakeholders from civil society, the technical community, governments and other groups to discuss and exchange experiences, case studies, practices and knowledge that can influence policy and decision making. The 12th IGF took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from December 18th-21st 2017, on the theme, ‘Shape Your Digital Future’.
Mr. Bhattacharjee’s participation in the IGF was very relevant not only for his community, but also for creating awareness about the importance of including people with visual disabilities in the conversation concerning Internet Governance solutions. The IGF provided a useful platform for discussion, exchange and collaboration at a global level and further enhanced the possibilities for potential projects in Internet Governance Development within the Asia Pacific region.
The forum addressed how global Internet promotes freedom, inclusion, and diversity. As he has done for many years, Mr. Bhattacharjee played a critical role in raising awareness of the challenges that people with disabilities face, the opportunities that the Internet can provide, and the importance of including people with disabilities in the discussions to ensure inclusion within the policy and decision making. Moreover, his specialization and background on Web Accessibility allowed him to provide meaningful new insights on issues including a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities. In line with this, many representatives also raised the need to establish an inclusive society for people living with disabilities.
After his participation in the 12th IGF, Mr. Bhattacharjee has returned home and will be sharing his knowledge both locally and nationally; and will be actively promoting and communicating the message on the need to provide an accessible Internet for everyone. Furthermore, he is planning a Digital Inclusion Workshop in Bangladesh which is also in line with the Sustainable Development Goal’s agenda – where no one is left behind.
‘We need full collaboration from everyone to make an inclusive, digital, Bangladesh.’