Ruchika Hirna

Aalborg University, Denmark

I am a current Erasmus Mundus scholar pursuing my master’s degree in Digital Communication Leadership. I have been selected as the only Indian, and one amongst seventeen global candidates in my cohort to be fully funded for this master’s program. My academic mobility for the course spans across Austria and Denmark. My choice for this master’s program stems from my previous academic background as a Computer Science engineer and a liberal studies graduate. I have also been a scholarship recipient, and a participant, of the CoRE program offered by the Harvard Business School (Online), that builds competence on business essentials.


Fellow Report:

My experience with internet governance began with my academic journey during my undergraduate degree in Computer Sciences. With my current master’s program in Digital Technology, I got increasingly exposed to the technical and social aspects of internet governance with dedicated subjects on the topic. The EuroSSIG was an opportunity in this regard to build and further strengthen my understanding of internet governance. I was encouraged to apply for the program by a senior, who had been a participant of the summer school previously, and had highly encouraged me to participate for the same.

The course of the summer school itself was very interesting to me, and I was more than excited to be participating in it. My expectations were certainly exceeded during my time at the school. Both the academics and social events were extremely well organised for the participants to enable ease of learning from the program speakers, and also the fellow participants of the cohort. The sessions were very well curated, and systematically helped expose the nuances of the technical and social implications of internet governance. Leading practitioners from the around the globe shared their knowledge and expertise on the subject, that helped strengthen ones understanding of the subject more comprehensively. Moreover, the discussion on topics of current importance like internet diplomacy and online human rights was very interesting to get everyone’s views on, and the ways in which it can be tackled more comprehensively.

The summer school has particularly enhanced my understanding of the need to incorporate multiple stakeholders in active decision making regarding issues of internet governance. The approach towards multistakeholder participation in internet governance was discussed in great detail, and highlighted the importance of such discussions to ensure a comprehensive understanding of issues, while ensuring all voices are heard in the decision making process.

Particularly, the ideas on DNS abuse were very interesting for me to get some insights on. The topics of phishing, malware, pharming, botnets, was a nice refresher, but also an interesting point to get updated on the current developments in this domain. These topics gave me ideas to ponder upon, and further hone my knowledge in the domain. Moreover, the topics of green connectivity and digital technology are of special interest to me. I have acquired an interest in this field, given the realization of large amounts of CO2 emissions that occur with the use of digital tech. It was interesting to explore this field briefly, and understand how the use of digital technology can be explored from an environmental aspect.

The discussions with fellow participants during the social events and meals were very interesting too, and helped get together different perspectives of people on issues of internet governance. Moreover, the summer school was a very culturally rich experience to know more about the diverse backgrounds people came from, and how their backgrounds influence their ideas of the internet and hence internet governance. It was interesting to be a part of discussions on cultural diversity, and how the internet impacts communities across the globe. I believe I have learnt immensely from the cohort, and I am taking with me lessons that go well beyond the theoretical understanding of the issues related to internet governance.

Altogether, the EuroSSIG 2022 was a unique opportunity for me to engage in the theoretical and practical aspects of internet governance, while getting myself updated of the latest developments in this domain. It was also a chance opportunity for me to experience the beauty of Meißen, and know more about its history and culture. The porcelain manufactory in Meißen was certainly a delight to visit!