Join the Atlantic Council’s Democracy + Tech Initiative for a conversation on the recent efforts at the United Nations to remake the global and multistakeholder internet, and what it means for democracy and the world. We’re excited to be joined by two of the foremost experts on the intersection of geopolitics, technology, and diplomacy to make sense of a crowded year of internet governance and AI-related negotiations and events.  

On May 21, at 9:00 a.m. ET, 3:00 p.m. CET, the United States Special Envoy for Digital Freedom, Eileen Donahoe, and Denmark’s Tech Ambassador, Anne Marie Engtoft Meldgaard, will sit down with the Atlantic Council’s Rose Jackson to discuss what is at stake and what to watch over the next six months. Whether you’ve never heard of the Global Digital Compact or are a close follower of the Internet Governance Forum and World Summit on the Information Society, this event is for you.  

As countries around the world look to incentivize a technological future accessible to more people, governments are debating who should get to govern those innovations and systems. For two decades, the world collaborated through a distributed system of governance to keep the internet free, open, secure, and interoperable. No single country or company could control it or exert its will upon it. That system led to a shared global resource that has become essential infrastructure for innovation, commerce, communication, and democracy itself. At the same time, global populations have grown frustrated with the lack of connectivity for many, and the centralization of technical and regulatory power within the United States and Europe.  

As the UN launches an ambitious reform agenda (the Pact for the Future), authoritarian states are looking to leverage the opportunity presented by the Secretary General’s Global Digital Compact (GDC) to argue that the Internet should be managed by states alone. The convergence of many countries’ genuine frustrations, with this proactive push by authoritarian countries for an alternative digital sovereignty model, makes the negotiations taking place in New York highly consequential and potentially risky. Whether the GDC is used to make genuine progress on a more equitable and innovative global reality or to strengthen the power of states to control this public good will be determined in the next few months.  

Join us on Tuesday, May 21, to learn more.

In conversation with

Eileen Donahoe
Special Envoy and Coordinator for Digital Freedom, Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy 
US Department of State 

Anne Marie Engtoft Meldgaard
Tech Ambassador
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark 

Opening remarks by

Graham Brookie

Graham Brookie
Vice President and Senior Director, Digital Forensic Research Lab
Atlantic Council 

Moderated by

Rose Jackson
Director, Democracy + Tech Initiative, Digital Forensic Research Lab
Atlantic Council 

Presented by

Democracy + Tech Initiative

The Initiative creates policy practices that align global stakeholders toward tech and governance that reinforces, rather than undermines, open societies. It builds on the DFRLab’s established track record and leadership in the open-source field, empowering global communities to promote transparency and accountability online and around the world.

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