A funny thing happened in Nairobi last week… I showed up for an Internet Governance Forum (IGF) panel discussion on the use of the Internet during times of political and social unrest, and a truly multi-stakeholder dialogue broke out. It turned out to be my favorite session during an incredible IGF week that, thanks to our Kenyan hosts, exceeded every expectation.
The session, formerly known as “The Internet in the Post-Revolution Phase — Challenges of Political Engagement and the Safety of Citizens” was cancelled for reasons unknown. Perhaps it was a conflict of schedules, or maybe the topic was deemed by the organizers or certain governments to be too sensitive for the official agenda. Fortunately, for whatever reason, only the panelists and moderator were told the session was no longer on the updated daily schedule, because more than 60 interested participants from a wide range of backgrounds showed up, eager to listen, learn, contribute, and participate in an emotional and timely exchange.