[On August 15th, the GPPW conducted its first workshop on Digital Developments and the Opportunities and Challenges in Cyber Space – here’s what happened.]
In today’s world, with national borders becoming (slightly) less important, a ubiquity of information and new technologies setting the pace for changes on all scales, the questions are many and answers are few. To discuss and potentially provide some answers to some of these questions is the aim of the annual Summer School by the Chair for Muslim Culture and Religious History of the University of Erfurt (Germany) in cooperation with Peshawar University, the University of Punjab and the Lahore College for Women University (all: Pakistan). After last year’s topic of Political Communication, this year students from the four universities are dealing with the topic of Cyber Culture throughout the 11 day event in Erfurt, Germany.
In the framework of this summer school, the Global Public Policy Watch, represented by Co-Director Moritz Borchardt, was invited to hold a workshop on the topic of “Opportunities and Challenges in Cyber Space”.
Given the comparatively broad topic, it was decided that the workshop would be split between an initial presentation and groupwork to be done by the participants. While the goupwork and discussion there-of was scheduled to make up the bulk of the workshop, the presentation was used to highlight some of the core issues in regard to digital developments these days and to set the stage for the groupwork. Among the digital developments highlighted was – besides the hard to be overestimated topic of net neutrality – the question whether today’s challenges posed in the digital realm can truly be solved by regulatory and technical sollutions, or if – at least over time – cultural sollutions of dealing with these issues need to be found and developed. One such issue is the right to be forgotten as granted by the European Court of Justice (and as covered by GPPW here). Moving more towards day to day practices and leading up to the groupwork later on, the chances and challenges of online branding for individuals and NGOs were discussed, followed by a brief introduction to the concept and possibilities of crowdfunding.
During the group work, the participants were then asked to create their own crowdfunding campaigns and briefly present them, coming up with projects ranging from working with and empowering orphans in rural Pakistan, to a campaign lobbying for green spaces in major cities in Pakistan, a pilot project for the use of solar panels in rural areas of Pakistan and a documentary film on religious co-existence. Each project was discussed and finally the project proposals were voted upon.
Here are some snapshots from the workshop:
The workshop was a lot of fun and we would like to thank the Chair for Muslim Culture and Religious History and specifically Hasnain Bokhari for the invitation and easy cooperation as well as the participants for their work and interesting projects developed during the workshop.