IGF 2023 Open Forum #140 Building Diplomatic Networks for a Safe, Secure Cyberspace

Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (00:45 UTC) - Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (01:45 UTC)
WS 8 – Room C-1

Cyberattacks, Cyberconflicts and International Security

Debate - 60 Min


Cyberspace and digital policy issues have become central features in foreign policy, impacting national security interests, economic prosperity, and democratic values. Diplomacy relies on international networks of policy experts and policymakers to support and strengthen an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet and a stable cyberspace for future generations.  In 2023, the U.S. State Department launched the Global Emerging Leaders in Cyberspace International Security (GEL-ICS) fellowship to equip leaders from like-minded foreign partners and governments to be effective advocates of the UN General Assembly-affirmed framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace. This year-long program will foster a greater understanding of the multistakeholder community, public-private partnerships, a whole-of-government approach, and international cooperation. This session will examine the impact of building capacities and international coalitions among diplomats to support the framework as a key component of promoting a safe, secure cyberspace. The 2023 IGF is the culminating event for the fellows’ year-long program which also included: a two-week visit to the United States to understand how the United States Government, the private sector, academia, and the UN are promoting stability and security in cyberspace; and a series of virtual deep dives on key international cyberspace security topics with global experts.  The 2023 cohort includes 23 officials (50 percent women) from the following countries: Albania, Bangladesh, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Georgia, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, North Macedonia, Nigeria, Panama, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, and Thailand.

The moderator will introduce the fellows and the subject matter experts and explain the discussion topic before engaging all discussants in the room in a roundtable conversation with prepared questions.  To ensure wide participation, each participant will be limited to a 2-minute intervention. Walk-in participants will be encouraged to participate in the discussion; upon joining, the moderator will ask a series of questions regarding the fellowship, including, for example: Do diplomatic networks augment cybersecurity? If yes, how? If no, why not? How did the fellowship increase your understanding of cybersecurity and international security in cyberspace? What does this fellowship network mean for you? The moderator will engage the virtual audience by asking for responses and identifying expertise of select online participants and directing questions accordingly. Following the discussion, the moderator will open for general Q&A from the room and online audience.


🔒U.S. Department of State
Kathryn Fitrell, U.S. Department of State (organizer, moderator); WEOG Linda Maizels, U.S. Department of State (rapporteur) Liesyl Franz, U.S. Department of State, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Cyberspace Security


(Mr.) Nathaniel Fick, Ambassador at Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy, U.S. Department of State (WEOG) Representatives from 2023 (GEL-ICS) fellows representing 20 countries from every geographic region (and with gender diversity) (All regional groups) (Mr.) Hideo Ishizuki, Ambassador for Cyber Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan (Ms.) Amb. Regine Grienberger, Ambassador for Cyber Foreign Policy and Cyber Security, Germany

Onsite Moderator

Liesyl Franz

Online Moderator

Kathryn Fitrell


Linda Maizels


5. Gender Equality
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: This discussion will illustrate how the GEL-ICS fellowship (composed of 50 percent women and representing all geographic regions) will enhance diverse representation for developing countries to participate more fully in global forums, including in the UN and on policy issues and decisions affecting Internet-related public policy and Internet governance.