The Importance of Diversity

Here we are, some three weeks away from the Stockholm Internet Forum – (from my admittedly subjective perspective) the event of the year.

A lot of information about the forum and its participants can be found on the SIF website, where hopefully those of you we couldn’t fit into the Münchenbryggeriet will watch the live webcasting and interact with the conference through our digital curators.

So who did we manage to physically include in the conference? With a venue of some four hundred spots and an idea of bringing together representatives from all interest groups (governments, companies, civil society, technical community, academia) from all parts of the world, regardless of gender or age, and with no less than half of them from the global south we had our work cut out for us. We used the Swedish embassies’ country-specific knowledge; we used cooperation partners and in-house expertise from the three organizers; and for this year’s SIF we also opened up for anyone to recommend participants through our website. With more than thousand names and only four hundred spots, we are painfully aware of that there are many individuals that could have contributed important knowledge and insights to the discussions that we unfortunately failed to invite.

What we did succeed in however, is diversity.  The Stockholm Internet Forum will be a conference that includes participants from more than 90 countries from all parts of the world with a fairly good balance between all interest groups not only in the participants list but also in the panels of each session.  And yes, more than 50 percent of which are from low- or middle-income countries.

Why was this important? When debating on the way forward in governing, facilitating and using Internet and other ICTs, the global transboundary nature of these technologies must be reflected in the participants of the discussion. A global, inclusive, open and transparent debate is the only way forward. I hope that this is what we together will be able to bring to the table on 22-23 May here in Stockholm.


Current status participants to SIF13

  • Countries represented: 93
  • Low- or middle-income countries: 52%
  • Gender: women 35%
  • Interest groups: academia 8%, company 13%, government 17%, journalist or blogger 15%,  civil society 31%,  techie organization or other 16 %

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