On 27-28 January 2016, I represented the International Environment Forum at Geneva Engage, a two-day conference about e-participation in Geneva, Switzerland. It was part of a process of research and innovation aimed at increasing the engagement of International Geneva with communities worldwide. For more about the project see: http://genevaengage.diplomacy.edu/
The conference was cosponsored by the Swiss and Geneva governments, the
Geneva Internet Platform, and ICANN, and involved experts from
governments, UN organizations, academia and civil society organizations
interested in involving larger participation than is possible in
traditional meetings. It explored and demonstrated the many techniques for
combining a physical meeting and e-participation from around the world, a
topic of great interest to IEF as a virtual organization.
I shared IEF experience over nearly two decades in functioning and involving a world-wide membership in its activities using the Internet.
Various formats were used combining local and remote participants and
workshop leaders, one even taking part through a robot presence who not
only contributed to a session but shuttled around to join in the
conversations during the coffee break. There were even games and riddles
with hints tweeted so everyone around the world could participate.
Participant in Belgrade speaking through a robot; game matching organizations, capacities and SDGs
Most of the demonstrations were successful, with the help of a
significant technical staff, but it was clear that even the experts who
design and run the Internet can have the same technical difficulties as
the rest of us, and always have back-up plans in case something goes
wrong. A summary document from the conference - "A Menu for Innovative
E-participation" - that illustrates the many techniques used, is available
Last updated 23 February 2016