NED Spotlights Tech and Youth at Third Summit for Democracy

National Endowment for Democracy staff and partners joined the high-level discussions at the Summit for Democracy in Seoul, South Korea.

Washington D.C.—This week, the Republic of Korea stepped up to host the third Summit for Democracy, bringing together over 300 diverse participants from democratic governments, civil society, and the private sector to focus on the most pressing issues facing democracy. Building on the momentum from previous summits, the third Summit for Democracy focused on challenges from emerging technologies and fostering democracy for future generations. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its partners participated in multi-stakeholder roundtables and organized panel discussions about youth, emerging technologies, and digital governance.  

“We’re all here at this summit because we’re united around a common vision—a digital eco-system that is open, secure, rights-respecting, that enables democracy to flourish,” said NED President and CEO Damon Wilson, when moderating a session, “Digital Technologies and Internet Governance: The Role of Democratic Societies in Upholding Online Freedom,” which addressed how democratic nations can shape digital policies that reflect and promote the values of open societies.. “How can we work together? How can we harness innovation? How can we anchor this in our commitment to democratic societies?”  [Read an op-ed by Damon Wilson and Lynn Lee, director of East Asia and regional programs, about how the Summit demonstrates South Korea’s commitment to democratic solidarity.]

Damon Wilson joined a panel on democracy and online freedom.

In addition to the high-level panel discussions, such as Nobel Prize Laureate, CEO and Co-Founder of Rappler, and Chair of the World Movement for Democracy’s Steering Committee Maria Ressa on the role of democratic states in navigating the complex landscape of AI and other emerging technologies, the Summit for Democracy also focused on getting the next generation of activists involved in decision-making on key issues.  

“From Hong Kong to Iran, Venezuela, and Peru, youth are diverse and increasingly campaigning for action,” said youth digital activist Paola Gálvez-Callirgos during her keynote address on the importance of including youth in conversations about digital governance. “Seats for youth are limited and when they are available, in most cases, it’s a youth session or youth board where youth talk to youth. At this summit, we are trying a different formula.” 

NED hosted a panel discussion focusing on youth inclusion in digital governance.

On day two of the Summit, Nicholas Benequista, senior director of NED’s Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), moderated a diverse conversation among experts to discuss the importance of prioritizing youth engagement in digital governance, highlighting findings and recommendations from an upcoming NED report. The panel, “From Tokenistic to Transformative: Youth Inclusion in the Democratic Governance of Technology,” included Nadia Tjahja, PhD fellow and co-coordinator at United Nations University, and YOUthDIG coordinator; Camilo Alfredo Arratia Toledo, Open Internet for Democracy Leader and Project Analyst at Internet Bolivia; Elonnai Hickok, managing director, Global Network Initiative; and Mia Møhring Larsen, Senior Tech Advisor to Denmark’s Tech Ambassador, Human Rights & Global Engagement.   

NED also hosted an interactive workshop to offer participantsincluding youth activists, civil society groups, international NGOs, governments, and the private sector—the opportunity to engage in creative problem solving to improve youth inclusion in multistakeholder digital governance. 

Learn more about the Third Summit for Democracy.