APIGA 2019 | A week of Intense Learning, Emotional Bonds and Unforgettable Memories

My Experience in APIGA 2019 | APIGA (Asia Pacific Internet Governance Academy) | Ashwin Reddy

APIGA 2019

Who am I?

Every time you pick up the mic or get a chance to speak at APIGA, you had to say this so that everyone gets to know your name. “Hi, this is Ashwin Reddy from India.” Here’s an average undergraduate student, studying Electronics and Communication Engineering back in India. But the internet has been most of my life. I started commercial blogging at the age of 16 and continued to establish a successfully running startup in my home town. Now I work halftime as managing digital marketing in my startup and half time completing undergraduation.

I am writing this post to share my experience in how I got into Internet Governance and what made me apply for APIGA 2019, what did we do at APIGA as fellows and documenting my personal experience about the different things I have learned being part of it.

APIGA abbreviated, as an Asian Pacific Internet Governance Academy, is a workshop based on topics related to Internet Governance. We had more than 50 participants from 19 different countries who have come to be part of APIGA 2019 in Seoul, South Korea.

Where did it all start?

From the past six years, the Internet has been my life. Digital Marketing has been my passion. Most of my days and nights were on the Internet, working on different innovative ways to advertise products online. That made me more curious to learn more about digital marketing, which made me attend digital marketing events happening in New Delhi. I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Manmeet Pal Singh (Vice President of Internet Society, Delhi Chapter). My guiding light and have been my mentor in getting to know more about Internet Governance.

Internet Governance in itself made me very curious. It had many unanswered questions which I was unaware though I was working on the internet for many years.

What is the Internet, and how does Internet work? How do these so-called “Internet Governance” make Policies? What is the multistakeholder model? I only had questions, and I couldn’t understand the answers.

ICANN64 Japan Kobe

ICANN64 Kobe, Japan was my first ICANN meeting that I ever attended to get myself more aware of Internet Governance related Topics. Mr. Manmeet Pal Singh (Vice President of Internet Society Delhi Chapter) ICANN64 fellow and Mr. Samiran Gupta (Head of ICANN India) guided me to find those answers at difference sessions that were happening around the Conference.

I was not a fellow. I was not the NextGen. Then how did I end up being at ICANN64? I will answer this question in my next post, where I will write my ICANN64 experience.

APIGA 2019 Fellowship Application

After coming back from ICANN64, I wanted to know more about Internet Governance. My curiosity made a start learning through the ICANN Learn platform where you get all the courses related to Internet Governance. That was not it, and I wanted to part of more meetings and contribute to this Network of networks, which is also called the Internet.

I wanted to Apply for the ICANN66 NextGen Program. But unfortunately, you have to be a student in the region where the ICANN conference is going to happen. Me being part of the Asian Pacific was not able to apply for ICANN66 NextGen, which is going to occur in Montreal, Canada. And I was also not ready to apply for ICANN66 fellowship program as I felt still had so many questions unanswered.

As I was looking for more opportunities to contribute, Mr. Manmeet Pal Singh recommended to apply for APIGA 2019, and he guided me with the application process. The application had some interesting questions which I had answered them best in my knowledge. As I have completed filling my form and submitting it, I was very confident that I would not get selected. I was feeling to myself, out of so many applications, why would the selection committee choose me.

It was finally the day of results for APIGA 2019 fellowships, and I was refreshing my Gmail account to get an email from the selection committee. *2 Hrs Past* and I lost all my hopes of getting selected. That night I was going through my regular work mails, and I was so excited to find that my APIGA 2019 fellowship application got accepted.

APIGA 2019 Pre-Workshop

APIGA is an Internet Governance Academy which was supported and helped three prestigious organizations in Internet Governance ISOC, ICANN & KISA (Korean Internet Security Agency). We had to go through Pre-Requisite courses of ISOC APNIC & ICANN before we attend the Event. Mr. Zakir Syed was our course moderator for ISOC APIGA Course. I had so many questions answered from him, which made me learn more about topics related Internet. How the internet is globally connected and called the network of networks, what makes everyone get to use the internet from any part of the globe? How did ICANN IANA APNIC organizations form and policy decision-making process (from APNIC course) where some of the exciting things I got to know in these courses.

ISOC Course

I felt more confident and more than ready for attending APIGA. And there it all started…

APIGA 2019

Day 0[11th August 2019]

I started my Journey to South Korea from my home town, Hyderabad, India, on 11th August 2019. I had another Indian fellow Mrs. Praneet Kaur who was also attending APIGA from my home town. We had the same flight from Hyderabad to South Korea. I got to learn about IoT, Internet Governance, and many other things through endless talks while traveling.


We landed at Incheon international airport on 11th August, meeting the APIGA staff who were waiting for us at the Airport. They got us into a bus which took us to the Sejong Hotel, Seoul, South Korea.

After receiving the APIGA kit from KISA Staff, I checked into my room. I was in a double accommodation room with Mr. Jan Jacob Glenn, who was from the Philippines. Later that night, I had the privilege to meet and have dinner with Mr. Srinivas Sunny Chendi (APNIC’s Senior Internet Development Advisor) along with my Indian fellow on Myeong-dong street.

Day 1 [12th August 2019]

The day has finally come. APIGA, 2019, has started.


Card Game

The first thing we do is play a game of cards to learn how the Internet works. It included how different RIRs exchange IPs and how does root servers work to complete a user query.

Card Game
How the Internet Works

Opening Ceremony followed by talks from Mr. Myoung Sun NOH (KISA) and Mr. Jia-Rong Low (Vice President, Stakeholder Engagement & Managing Director – Asia Pacific ICANN).

We had a toast opening APIGA, had some great lunch with other APIGA fellows from different countries.

Sticky Notes

Everyone in the room was asked to write Internet Governance issues on a sticky notepad and stick to the walls in the conference room. The Internet had different problems from different parts of the world; this way, we found out what are the topics of internet governance. The next thing we do is make a paper presentation on a problem and present it with solutions and actors of that issue.

Internet Governance Issues

Internet Shutdown

We selected the topic Internet shutdown and presented it beautiful chart. Thanks to the fellows in my group. The presentation included the different Internet Shutdowns that happened, what were the reasons, and what can be the solutions to avoid it.

Internet Shutdown Presentation

Some intense learning about the history of Internet Governance from Edmon CHUNG (dotasia). Group presentations on Internet Governance issues and Preparation for Mock Conference.

That night we went to celebrate one of our fellow birthdays Kawai Satria from Indonesia with some other fellows from South Korea, Indonesia, Sri Lanka & Hong kong.

Day 2 [13th August 2019]

Day 2 of APIGA 2019 started with a discussion on Internet Governance and the effectiveness of the Multi-Stakeholder model. Followed by a panel on AI Governance, continued with sessions on Incident Response using Machine Learning, multistakeholder policymaking in APNIC. And fellows were being Prepared for the mock ICANN Conference. 

Day 2 APIGA | AI Governance
Day 2 APIGA 2019 Incident Response

As we had to present a group presentation on the topic related to Internet governance in our Economy, I was part of Group 3 presenting Universal Acceptance in our presentation.

Day 3 [14th August 2019]

Group Presentation

The last three days at APIGA 2019 had been a great learning experience, interactions, debates, and fun.

Day 3 of APIGA 2019 started with group presentations on “IG in your economy” divided into three groups.  Wide-ranging IG discussions at APIGA 2019 included the Multistakeholder model, local legislation, Cybersecurity, AI Governance, and IDNs & Universal Acceptance (Presented by Group 3). While group 1 and group 2 presented on topics like cybersecurity and AI Governance.

Universal Acceptance

We discussed various issues faced by not being UA-Ready. Presentation Included 2 case studies from India and South Korea. India being 7th largest country and 2nd most populated country in the world only 35% of the Indian population use the internet is a significant drawback to Indian digital economy. Korea still using Chinese characters in there IDNs, and different issues faced by Koreans and Japanese on using IDNs w. We also discussed some of the solutions we can come up for making all the websites UA-ready for future.

Distributing Universal Acceptance Stickers to Support UA-Ready

After the group presentations, we were made to select the most controversial gTLDs and debate around why they should or should not be sold to anyone. This was part of preparing us for the Mock conference. We learnt that .ICANN & .WWW is not for sale, and they are already reserved by ICANN not to sell them.

New gTLDs Debate

Day 4 [15th August 2019]

Day 4 of APIGA 2019 was about Mock Conference. It felt like a real ICANN Meeting. An Intense Mock Conference, after knowledge through Day 1 to Day 3 was the best way to end APIGA.

Mock Conference

Mock Conference

I was part of the ALAC (At-Large Advisory Committee) representing Internet User in the Universal States of America. We had an intense mock conference. We were divided into GAC, UCNC, GNSO, and ALAC committee to put each of their perspectives into the topics which were under debate. Some of the questions were, is auction best away to give gTLDs? Are registry and registrars are responsible for domain abuse? Should GDPR regulate whois data?

Day 5 [16th August 2019]

The past four days APIGA was all about learning, and on this day we got a chance to look back at everything. Those sweet memories, some, sweet friendship moments can never be forgotten.

We took some great photos with other fellows. And It was more like a goodbye to the conference hall where APIGA was held from the past four days, and we left for our group Lunch.

Closing ceremony

After lunch, we were taken to KISA (Korean Internet Security Agency) to show us how different hackers attack the Internet and how are they resolved at KISA or CERTs all around the globe.

Followed by KISA, we went to shopping and dinner cruise with other fellows. One last time we took some group photos before saying goodbye to everyone for those beautiful memories.

Dinner Cruise | APIGA 2019

Day 6 [17th August 2019]

And the day has finally come. APIGA has ended, and we travel to our home countries and give back to the community what we have learned here. I woke up, had a quick breakfast, packed my stuff, and started our journey way forward.

Before leaving the hotel, we got an opportunity to thank the staff who worked for APIGA. Thank you so much for such a fantastic experience at APIGA. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Thank you Note

Mr. Srinivas (Sunny) CHENDI [APNIC]

Thank you very much for your support during the Conference and answering my questions about GDPR and APNIC’s work. “ICANN is all about names and APNIC is all numbers” I will never forget this.

With APIGA 2019 Speakers [Mr. Srinivas CHENDI and Mr. Jia-Rong LOW] & Staff

Mr. Jia-Rong LOW [Vice President ICANN- Asia Pacific]

I loved your journey, how you became the Vice President of Asia Pacific ICANN from your working as International executive with Foreign Service. Your journey is inspiring.

Mr. Satish Babu [APRALO Chair]

Thank you so much for mentoring us during the Preparation of Mock Conference. As an ALAC member, I had so many questions answered from you about how we should think about particular issues. And thank you for some excellent guidance you have provided for my way forward in Internet Governance.

Mrs. Joyce CHEN [ICANN]

As a senior manager of ICANN, your guidance was helpful during the Conference. Thank you so much for your suggestions on me joining ALAC or NCUC or both. And your talk on the multistakeholder model personally with our group was constructive.

I am looking forward to joining their mailing lists and contribute as much as I can.


You have been a great mentor in teaching us how to write a flying workshop proposal. Breakfast talks with you are unending; I was honored to hear about your journey to different parts of the world and your experience at different places.

Mr. Edmon CHUNG [dotasia]

Your expertise on gTLDs helped me learn so much about domains and gTLDs. Thank you for answering my questions like what problems do the multistakeholder model face and how dotasia works.

Mr. Akinori MAEMURA [ICANN Board Director]

First of all, I want to thank you for the opportunity to attend ICANN64. It was because of you that I could attend ICANN64 without VISA delays from Japan to ICANN Event. And I also want to thank you for answering my questions related to whois and universal acceptance.

Mr. Adrian Wan [Outreach Manager, Asia-Pacific ISOC]

Thank you for your support during APIGA 2019. I learned a lot about ISOC chapters and would love to work with Hyderabad chapter to make it more active. I am looking forward to making mine most by contributing to my local chapter and national chapters, keeping you updated about the same.

Mrs. Jenna Fung [DotAsia]

It was great talking to you and got to know about Netmission Programme. I am Eagerly waiting for netmission Programme to start taking applications. As I remember the applications would open in September of this month and I will be checking my social media accounts regularly for any updates from netmission (haha’).


Though APIGA 2019 was a hectic week and I did not get much time to explore Korea. But I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my friends from APIGA 2019. It makes me feel emotional to leave APIGA with so many memories. I would like to mention special friend Kawai Satria from Indonesia, my brother from another mother. These bonds made at APIGA will be cherished forever.


Note: Many more sessions took place at the workshop. Sessions like mock working group call with Mr. Jia-Rong LOW as the moderator, APNIC Policymaking Mock Conference with Mr.Srinivas Sunny CHENDI, Mr. Pablo HINOJOSA’s closing speech about the Internet in a fascinating way and many more. Due to my vague memory, I was not able to recall everything.

Disclaimer: All the pictures used are copyright of APIGA 2019 official facebook page. To check out all the photos – click here

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