Nnenna Nwakanma - Chief Web Advocate, World Wide Web Foundation

Ep 69: Creating a Free & Open Internet for All – Nnenna Nwakanma (Chief Web Advocate & former Interim Director, World Wide Web Foundation)

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Welcome to Episode 69!

Our guest for STIMY Episode 69 is Nnenna Nwakanma.

Nnenna Nwakanma is the Chief Web Advocate at the World Wide Web Foundation. 

She is also a Nigerian FOSS activist, community organiser, co-founder of the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa. In 2018, she was chosen as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in the field of digital government and has over 15 years of experience working with the UN in areas such as the information society, gender and digital equality.

In this episode, we learn about what it was like growing up in Nigeria – and why she wasn’t even given a name for the first 3 months of her life because of her gender! – how she became one of the very first to use the internet in Africa, why she views the internet as a tool for social justice, how she has learned to walk with her adversaries (as Mandela used to say), and what drives her to create an internet that is free and open to all. 

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    So This Is My Why podcast

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    Who is Nnenna Nwakanma?

    Nnenna Nwakanma shares what it was like growing up in Nigeria, why she wasn’t initially deemed a “human” and her first experience with the Internet.

    • 2:40 Why Nnenna was born & not given a name for the first 3 months of her life
    • 4:43 Being human is enough
    • 7:21 “Nnenna from the Internet”
    • 8:57 Being one of the first Africans to be exposed to the internet
    • 12:08 Use of the internet in African villages
    The thing is that women generally are of less value than men. And so the male child is considered of more value to a female child.
    Nnenna Nwakanma - Chief Web Advocate, World Wide Web Foundation
    Nnenna Nwakanma
    Chief Web Advocate, World Wide Web Foundation

    The World Wide Web Foundation

    Nnenna shares how she got more involved in the online space, became a FOSS activist and now, the Chief Web Advocate for the World Wide Web Foundation. 

    • 16:44 Being a FOSS activist & walking with your adversaries
    • 18:31 Attitudes are like ass holes
    • 22:39 The mission of the World Wide Web Foundation
    • 25:01 Running the global coalition, the Web We Want
    • 28:39 Backstory to Brazil’s Internet Bill of Rights (first in the world)
    • 32:56 How close are we to an open and free internet for all?
    Nnenna Nwakanma - Chief Web Advocate, World Wide Web Foundation

    If you’re looking for more inspirational stories, check out:

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    • Austen Allred: Founder, Lambda School (now rebranded as Bloom Institute of Technology) – on building a FREE coding educational platform for all using the Income Sharing Agreement 
    • Ansgar Koene: Global AI Ethics & Regulatory Leader, EY – on how AI is manipulating our behaviour & how we should regulate it
    • Karl Mak: Co-Founder, Hepmil Media Group – building Southeast Asia’s largest meme-based company 
    • Azran Osman-Rani: CEO of AirAsia X, iFlix & Naluri Hidup – on what it takes to be one of Malaysia’s most prominent founder & CEO
    • Neal Freyman: Managing Editor, Morning Brew – one of the most prominent business newsletters with over 3 million subscribers

    If you enjoyed this episode with Nnenna Nwakanma, you can: 

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    STIMY Ep 69: Nnenna Nwakanma - Chief Web Advocate, World Wide Web Foundation

    Nnenna Nwakanma: Hello everyone. My name is Nnenna. I come from the internet. I was born on a Wednesday morning, in the month of March in the middle of 1970. I came out as a girl. I'm still a girl. I'm still a 'she', till today. But when I was born in the Eastern part of Nigeria in the early seventies, many people culturally did not consider the girl as a full human being.

    Many people still do not, even in this year. The thing is that women generally are of less value than men. And so the male child is considered of more value to a female child. And so when I was born, because my father was not around at the time they were not sure because my mother had had two girls already and I came out the third and a girl.

    And so they had to wait to know whether I will be considered human. I'll be considered human enough to get an identity and I'll be considered human enough to be accepted as a child and given a chance to be the best of myself.

    That's why I prefer to go by my first name, which is Nnenna. It means the mother to the father.

    So my father came, he said, oh, ah yes, I want my girl. And I'll call her Nnenna. And that's a very beautiful name. I don't want any other name. That's just all I have. That's just part of me. And I'm happy being me.

    Ling Yah: Hey everyone!

    Welcome to episode 69 of the So This Is My Why podcast. I'm your host and produce Ling Yah and today's guest is

    Now who is Nnenna?

    Well, she's a Nigerian FOSS activist community organizer co-founder of the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa, former interim director and now Chief Web Advocate at the World Wide Web Foundation. She was chosen as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, in the field of digital government in 2018.

    And has over 15 years of experience working with the UN in areas, such as the information society, gender, and digital equality. In this episode, we learn about what it was like growing up in Nigeria and why she wasn't even given a name for the first three months of her life because of her gender, how she became one of the very first in Africa to use the internet, why she views the internet as a tool for social justice. And what drives her to create an internet that is free and open to all.

    Before we begin, if you have been enjoying this podcast, I would love it if you could share it with a friend or two. Every share really does have this podcast to grow.

    Now you're ready?

    Let's go.

    During my research, I found that when you were born, for the first three months, you weren't given a name.

    Was it because you were born as a female?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: That's correct, my lady. Hello everyone. My name is Nnenna. I come from the internet. Yes, I was born on a Wednesday morning, in the month of March in the middle of 1970. I came out as a girl. I'm still a girl. I'm still a 'she', till today. But where I was born in the Eastern part of Nigeria in the early seventies, many people culturally did not consider the girl as a full human being.

    Many people still do not, even in this year. The thing that women generally are of less value than men. And so the male child is considered of more value to a female child. And so when I was born, because my father was not around at the time they were not sure because my mother had had two girls already and I came out the third and a girl.

    And so they had to wait to know whether I will be considered human. I'll be considered human enough to get an identity and I'll be considered human enough to be accepted as a child and given a chance to be the best of myself.

    That's why I prefer to go by my first name, which is Nnenna. It means the mother to the father.

    So my father came, he said, oh, ah yes, I want my girl. And I'll call her Nnenna. And that's a very beautiful name. I don't want any other name. That's just all I have. That's just part of me. And I'm happy being me.

    Ling Yah: I read that your father told you that you can be anyone that you want to be. He sounds like he really supported you.

    Nnenna Nwakanma: Yes. So if there's anything I learned from my father when this story was told to me about my birth. So after three months of being baby, I became Nnenna. And my father said you are not worth less than a boy. And anyone who is listening to this, if there is any message I want to give you, if there is anything you need for your own self, you are enough for being who you are.

    Being human is enough.

    And so being myself there's enough. I don't need to be anyone else. I don't need to be another gender. I don't need to be another nationality. I don't need to be anybody else apart from myself. So the first great lesson that my father gave me in giving me that name is that I am equal to any other person anywhere on earth.

    So my being human is all that I need to be. And there's enough. Satisfactorily enough. The other thing I've learned from my father, is to be the best of myself. So when you accept who you are, it is easier to work on yourself. Not because you want to be in competition with any other person, with any other agenda, with any other race or with any other nationality, but because you want to be the best of yourself.

    And so I learned to be myself, the very best of myself.

    The other thing I learned i s that when finally they got around to accepting that I could be a human being, they're like, well, she's a woman. She will probably end up in the kitchen, making food for her husband and making food and making kids. And my parents said, no, you could be more than that.

    You could actually go farther and realize your own dreams. And I'm like, Hey. Yeah, they said my father said, I am going to send you to a high school where they send gifted children. People who have high IQs. So I went to the very best of high schools. It was a girls only school.

    And so when you get to a girls school, you play soccer, you do races. I picked javelin. I love soccer. I did everything that e verybody could do. I didn't have those limits set to me, and that helped me.

    As much. I said, it's still the very most to individual in nation. I can invest in education. To go to school, I still learn new things. I'll keep learning because education is very important.

    Ling Yah: You say that your Nnenna and I come from the internet. What's the story behind that?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: I'm originally born in Nigeria. My doula is the most populous country in Africa and the place where you have most black people in the world.

    So I was lucky. I was fortunate to have been one of the very few Africans who got online and active earlier than many Africans. So it was very important for me. I brought the things I've learned from my father once again, to be useful, to be the best of my self.

    Educate myself. And so these are the things I brought in, in those days, Africa was just getting connected and it was very important. We were looking for people who could bring in information that you patient communication ideas like in the digital world, like we say, content is king. So I went on and tried to be as useful as I can to myself, to the people around me and many people say, oh, that internet girl, that internet woman, that woman from the internet, because everywhere I went, I love to speak to people about the potential of internet for their development.

    So for me, the internet rallying point of social justice. It is the rallying point for identity. It is the rallying point for education, it is the rallying point for human rights. So it only became natural that I love to be from the internet because the internet personifies the kind of person I am and want to be.

    Ling Yah: I wanted to go about to what you said earlier about how it was a place for you to find your identity, social justice.

    I mean do you remember what it was like first discovering the internet and how you were using it? Cause I remember when I first used it, I was writing your own little thing, even though you don't know if anyone's ever gonna read it or anyone cares, but it's a way to connect with people from all over the world, even though you might never meet them again.

    So was that the same for you? Is that how you realized very quickly of the huge potential, even though it was just really early days?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: I grew up in the village and we did not have electricity. We did not have phones. And when I went to high school, I wish to write letters and send them by post. When I went to college I would call somewhere on a Sunday.

    They will send a message to my village. Then my father is going to come in next Sunday a nd I will speak with him. So it took two weeks to go around. But with the internet, I could send a message to my father and he will get it immediately. Now, once again, we live in the village.

    So one story, one particular story is that I helped my father open an email address in those days.

    It was Yahoo.

    And he went to a cyberspace area. this places, were call ed a communications point, or cyber cafe, depending on where you are. So he used to go there to access his emails. There was this time I didn't hear from him for two weeks. And when he came back and said, oh, when I came to the cyber cafe that we are closed.

    And I have to go back to the village. But like you could have gone to another site, but it said no, but that's where my password is. So if they are closed, my password won't walk anywhere else because my father is used to the old mailboxes. I mean, if the post office was closed, then you can go independent, withdraw your emails.

    We will tell you what bro, your mail. So he thought it was the same thing in the cyber world. He used to go to one place where his email will be on his password. We'll work on those computers and if it's closed, then it is closed. But then you see the liberty. The freedom that comes with the internet. Those are the things that made me buy into the internet.

    It gives you freedom. It gives you identity. It makes you equal to anyone else. So the very first thing I did, when you asked me online, please don't laugh. I love football. I love soccer. So the best thing I did was to begin the soccer team online and compete against nobody will know that I'm a girl.

    And then as a girl, I love wearing dresses, colorful, brightest, and most of us in Africa. We have tailors make our dresses. So we'll buy the material and then you take it to the seamstress or your tailor, a stylist, and they will make them. And most often they don't get it right, because you're explaining and they don't understand.

    So the, internet allowed me to draw interactively and I could draw, I could use my computer to make drawings, add the colors, print it out and take it to them, and then my clothes would come up. I know it's stupid, but these are the things I did. Of course there was messaging and all of that and work. Yeah.

    Ling Yah: I mean, the fact that you're using it in sounds like pretty much every part of your life, it's incredible.

    Was that normal or were people still trying to go, oh, what is this internet? I'm not sure we should even use it because I was reading that apparently even in some villages, they will assign certain people to have emails and not everyone was allowed to have emails. Is that correct?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: When I was growing up, my parents had the mailbox.

    And my father used to be the letter writer for the village. So people will come, he will write their letter and then he will take it to the post office. And when people reply, he will also go to the post office and gets their mails and bring it back to the village. So he was not their mail money, he was a middle communication person.

    So when the internet came and we could email back and forth, he knows that when I trained him, he now went to the village to train other people. You don't no longer need to write all your messages on paper. I can actually send it quickly and your son would get it same day and will reply same day. So the people who used to wait, who used to write mail.

    Wait and come back. My father now continued. He just migrated to online communications. Now that migration that my father did, many people have not done. There are still people who are, depending on other people, they may not be in content. It may be because of infrastructure. It may be because of the lack of infrastructure is one thing.

    It may be the cost of connectivity. So yes, there are still places where people are not connected. They are still places where they don't even have electricity, basic infrastructure. One of organizations, Alliance for affordable internet works on issues that hinder people from getting connected. There are even policies.

    There are places where governments still think that the internet calls social media. And because they cannot control social media platforms, they kind of cut it off for people that kind of trouble. They don't want people to get fully online. So there are plenty of number of places where people are not meaningfully connected.

    Ling Yah: This throttling of the internet.

    I wonder how early on did you realize this was happening and that this was an issue.

    Nnenna Nwakanma: I think as long as the internet has existed as a tool for digital economy, as a tool for expressing voices, I recall that when I was doing some trainings. I had educated myself on some things, and I was talking about the potential of internet connectivity to connect people from all over the places, the potential of connectivity to give louder voices to people whose voices were not heard before then the potential of the internet connectivity to give citizens the power to challenge our power holders. I think that these pillars of social justice, and so those who have equality. We'll ultimately frightened those who hope, who benefit from inequality.

    I'll say that again.

    Some people benefit from injustice. The reason injustice and inequality still exists is that some people are benefiting from this. The reason racism and institutional racism still exists is because there are people who benefit from it. And if we were going to be walking on justice on social justice everyday, if you're going to be working on making people really equal and giving them equal access to things.

    Some people will lose their privileges.

    So people whose privileges are threatened by others, getting a voice by good governance by democracy. Everyone whose interest is threatened, would try to stop it. as soon as the internet started threatening people's authorities, people's privileges, people's incomes, they will try and stop it.

    So as long as some people's interests have been threatened by the internet, that will always be a counterpart.

    Ling Yah: I mean, it's hard to think that I'm a victim and I shouldn't act like a victim because there is so much threats to life. To family. You sound like you really were just going to forge ahead because this was something you truly believed in.

    I read that while you were doing your postgrad, you were also an activist. You did your thesis on promotion of women and children's rights. What was it that was p ushing you to do all this. Cause it doesn't sound like it's a conventional path.

    Nnenna Nwakanma: It is not conventional, but there is something about doing what is right.

    You get energy for it. You get the energy. You get strength i n knowing that you are following the right path, you don't get energy from applause. Your drive does not come from appreciation. Your strength is not found in the number of followers you have. You get strength and energy in the conviction that you are the right person doing the right thing.

    At the right time. So that personal conviction of doing rights motivates you more than anything else. And so I've been blacklisted by some countries because of what I've said. I have been threatened physically and in my work. And some of those who have threatened me have come around to become my friends today.

    And I remember that experience recounted by Mandela when he said, walk with your adversaries to the point that there'll become friends, right? So it is possible that those people's interests were threatened. It is possible. That is just difference in opinion, it is possible that t hey just did not agree with me.

    Difference in opinion is not necessarily wrong. So we also continue to discuss, we continue to collaborate and by, and by either they convinced me or I convince them, or we just agree to disagree and we forge ahead But we only have one humanity. And I believe in being useful as long as I'm able to be useful to humanity, I will continue to be.

    Ling Yah: I wanted to bring up one point that you said about your adversaries becoming your friends. I think that's something that's very hard for most people. Do you have any advice for those out there who want to make these people their friends?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: So everyone has an attitude. And they said attitudes are like a ssholes. We've all got them and you may appear nice to someone else, but you go somewhere, someone's like, who is this? Now I think that in most cases, being Christian has been helpful to me. The very first article of the Declaration of human rights says that all humans are born free and equal in rights and indignity.

    If we accept that, then when you see someone, you will respect that. Being a human is enough for someone to be respected. So my way of dealing with people is to give them respect. It's their due. They don't need to merit it, being human is enough for people to be respected. Then after respect comes interest. Human beings need interest or value.

    I don't know whatever you want to call it. So when I'm dealing with someone, I want to be useful to that person. I want to be positively influential in that person's life. The thing that I actually do is something called counting my days. I ask myself, if I'm meeting this person today, a nd I don't have the opportunity to meet the specific again in life, how do I use that time that I have with that person?

    Interfaces with development and they said, oh, Nina, would you like to offer? Yes. So I wrote the book, I think it was 2012 or there about, I don't remember the date, but I noticed it was been sponsored by the Web foundation. Now, remember Web Foundation. World Wide Web. I remember? So I wrote that book. I still have a copy, but then in 20 12 now in 2012, I am in Stockholm and they were planning the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. Of course I wouldn't be at it's my passion. I want to be useful and the CEO was consulting people about what their vision of the World Wide Web is, like, Hey, I want to be part of that consultation.

    I'm offering I'm volunteering. And I give all the crazy ideas about what the web should be, how the web is that. Okay. We would love to talk to you, so they came to talk to me now that happened in Europe in Stockholm. And then I go, I went somewhere in South Africa and the CEO comes to see me and says, hey, you know what? We're trying to hire one person.

    Do you know that professor? Of course, I know anyone working in the internet in Africa. I knew because I've been around. What do you think? I told them what I think. And then they called me back again. I left South Africa. That was in Cape town, if I recall.

    Work with you on what? Oh, we're looking for a policy person. Okay. Do you have a terms of reference? Do you have a job descriptijon? Given the work you do, given all of it studying the job, how about you help us draft a terms of reference for the policy person? Like, okay. Will that be all? I'll help you do them. They said, oh, sure.

    And so I put together what I thought would be a good policy person for a foundation. And they interviewed me. And then I traveled some months after that. Now I'm in Durban. In South Africa, I was teaching on the internet. There's something called internet governance school. So I was teaching the course.

    We've hired someone else. But we still want you to come and walk with us. I'm like, what is this organization looking for?

    So I was invited to be part of a family and then I put two and two together. Oh, so what foundation is Tim? Berners-Lee. It is HTML. It is all the things I did. 10, 15 years ago.

    It came together for me. So I'm Nnenna from the internet I'm paid to do what I love. I wake up in the morning. I can work 20 hours for what foundation I can work 25 hours. If that was possible because it's me. It's what I do. It's what I love. And then

    Ling Yah: For those who don't know, what does the world wide web foundation do? What is their mission?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: One word or two for everyone, the worldwide web for everyone. If you forget every other thing that the word foundation does, it is to ensure that everyone can access the web and use the web, can contributes to the web and can benefit from it. So as a foundation for the past 12 years, we've been working to ensure that everyone gets connected.

    We've been working to ensure that when you get connected, you are safe and secure online. We've been working that everyone who gets online will be able to utilize it. So each full potential when courage and we work so that everyone would benefit from, and it is important as the vision of the web that you also contribute to it.

    Finally, it is also important that you be a responsible web citizen. That is what the word foundation does. If you want the keywords, the keywords would be connect, access, secure, online security. I mean, want to talk about co-creativity. I want to talk about being beneficiary. We want to talk about contributing.

    We want to talk about being responsible. You recall? I talked about equality? Don't forget that thing that drives me. The worldwide web is a tool for social justice. It is a tool for equality and equity, and that is why when more men are connected than women we are threatened. We think it is not yet for everyone. When people in the cities are more connected than those in the rural areas.

    We don't want that when the cost of connectivity is making it prohibitive for other people to connect, then we work day and night to make it accessible when it is not meaningful enough. That means when people don't have the right d evice. They don't have the right speed. They don't have the right enough connectivity, then we work.

    So in one word, we want to make it for everyone, for everyone to connect, to access to use to co-create to be nefit and to be responsible.

    Ling Yah: So I was on the foundation website to see what kind of work that has been done previously. And I learned that you will behind Web We Want, and I wonder, what was it like to bring that global coalition together?

    What's the story behind that?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: When you said I was, I still. So it's not finished. The one we want is the vision of the worldwide web foundation. You wake me up tomorrow. It's still the web. There's something called a contract for the web. After 30 years of the web being being around and people using, we have seen that division is being challenged.

    And so Sir Berners-Lee and the web foundation have launched the contract for the web. To empower, to bring to us the web we want? What does this mean? The web. We want the policy to what? For governments, for citizens, for industry, for international organizations, to understand the vision that we have

    This means basically that everybody should get connected to the world. So when you walking, connecting populations, you are part of the web we want, that everyone should be secure and safe online. So if you're working for men, women, grand old people, or people who have handicaps to be connected, You are part of the web we want.

    If you're working so that internet going to be shut down at any point you are part of the web we want. If you walk into defense human rights on the way you are part of the web we want. I f you're working to ensure that men and women are equally connected, rural and urban and equally connected. That is the web we want. When you work to ensure that our data is respected, that our privacy is secure, that is the web we want.

    Now there is misbehavior online. Everyone is talking about fake news and misinformation. When you walk to reduce this information, that is the responsibility of every web user. So we want people to be responsible. When you, as a blogger, when you as a citizen, when you as an individual user, you are engaged in being a responsible citizen online, that is the web we want.

    So I'm not done with the web we want. We are not done with it. In fact, we are moving into something called digital cooperation because we've now realized the countries alone, industry alone and civil society and users, academia, and not enough, we need a global kind of control.

    When you wake me up every morning, I'm going to tell you that I believe that the wa the access to the worldwide web and internet should be a human rights, but it hasn't come to that at the UN, but we are moving towards that. So the UN we work with the UN secretary general, we work with the internet governance forum.

    Secretary we'll work with the office of the UN. We'll walk with them in something called digital corporation, because we know for the past two years, that would be living on the dependent. Pause for a second. Ask yourself what will humanity have become if we did not have internet connection in the past two years, where would we be as humanity on this pandemic if we did not have infinite connection. If the web did not exist. That's the reason why we should all work for the web we want.

    Ling Yah: There were some stories that came up as I was researching what we want. I wonder if you could talk about it. There's one that I have found, which was 2014 in Brazil, they passed the world's first internet bill of rights or mark of civil.

    And it sounds like there was fierce opposition from the telecom companies as well, who wanted to charge higher rates for access to content where that needs higher bandwidth. What's the story behind that. And how did you know the foundation step in to help them?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: It's a long story, but it's the story of bill Morosa. It is a story of myself. It is the story of Vince. It's the story of millions, of other people who felt that the internet. It's no longer just a Fang for commerce and for industry. It is for everyone. When the whole world realized that we needed to begin to walk together as a wall, Brazil took the lead and said, we are going to put it.

    We're going to adopt a law.

    The law is

    So it is a civil law that grant rights to be a citizens. That ensures that the rights of the citizens offline will be maintained online. And so it was in 2014 in April, 2014. You know why I remember because it was the same year that Brazil was hosting the World Cup. And so we went early because I wanted to enjoy the country and come back for the World Cup, but we didn't negotiate the texts.

    The conference were called Net Mundial. We didn't never ship the texts that stood out in principles. There is a final text of Net Mundial. Anybody can find it online, but there is also the spirit of network. Now the spirit of Net Mundial, I don't know, that's a religious way of putting things, it is called multi-stakeholder policymaking.

    What this means is a At first, the call that is part of the negotiation. My post-graduate degree is in international relations before the internets international relations and issue relationships between countries, but with be internet, which was not spattered by countries. We now have. All the entities that also wait a lot. They were politically, they were economic.

    Today, the power of Facebook, the power of Google, Amazon, Tik Tok, these can be countries of themselves and they'll hold and wield power.

    And so most of the stakeholders, policy engagement means that users, civil society, academia, technical society, they, you were intergovernmental organizations, multi-lateral organizations and industry or company. And UN member states or countries as government come together, sit together, discuss together and that together because the very nature of the World Wide Web.

    The very nature of the Internet.

    It's distributed cooperative decision and building. So it is very important that 24th of April, that we were in Sao Paulo, not just that we are president Dela Rosa was signing Marco Civil into law, not just because I spoke a nd make people cry because they felt that I captured their view, not just that it was one of the hybrid meetings, where people were onsite and people were following online, but because it was something groundbreaking for humanity, it was us saying we want as humanity to be part of the digital world in a peaceful way. We want to walk together. We want to grow together. We want to cooperate and we want to move on together.

    And that for me, It's still the vision of the worldwide web. Don't. Remember those two words for everyone, including people like myself who had knowledge for everyone, including me.

    Ling Yah: Do you feel like the foundation's mission has advanced over time? I mean, now the fact that there are personal data leaks, there's a huge uproar. They are being held accountable. You have the whistleblowers at Facebook. Do you feel that we are edging much close to that vision of the Internet being for everyone?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: There's something great about a vision. The more people share it, the greater it grows. So the vision of the web, the phone, we can talk about the fundamental vision, the fundamental vision.

    When Tim Berners-Lee published the protocol for everyone to be able to use HTML to connect. His wildest dream was that maybe 10,000, 15,000 a hundred thousand people would get online. But what do we have today? The vision has grown. It has grown beyond the founding fathers of the internet. It has gone beyond the founding father of the worldwide web.

    It is growing by the day. There is an article that I remember it says the internet is a fad, it will soon go away. No, it has not gone away. And so when we teach at the internet school of governance, we'll remind our students that the internet you knew 30 years ago is not the internet of 10 years ago, and it's not the internet of today.

    So while we are speaking about the Mattix today, while we're speaking about different challenges to be, you can be sure when in the next 10 years, we will have new challenges. So as long as we add creative human beings, the vision will keep growing, but please let's keep it basic for everyone. We could make 10, 15, 30, 100 principles, but as human beings we keep it basic for everyone so everyone can access can utilize, can co-create can benefit in a safe and secure, a responsible manner. That is still the vision we've not got there yet. We cannot hide the fact that there is fake news, this information, cyber terrorism, cyber crime, they exist. The dark web. All of that exists, but we're also counting on all of us.

    It is for everyone to build and for everyone to defend.

    Ling Yah: Well Nnenna, thank you so much for this wonderful interview. I'd love to wrap up with the questions I ask all of my guests. The first one is this. Do you feel like you have found your, why?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: Oh, come on girl. I Nnenna from the internet.

    This is who I am. This is who I want to be. This is who I will be. This is me. And I'm happy being me. This is a definite yes. Final answer.

    Ling Yah: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: Connectivity and integrity? Those are the two words. I'd like people to get connected and better themselves. I like people to get connected and have a voice.

    I like people to get connected and make a living for themselves. I like people to get connected and learn and be the best of themselves. I like people to get connected so they can sell and buy. I like people to get connected so they can tell their own stories. I like people to get connected so they can travel the world connected.

    I like people to get connected so they can be part of the humanity. Of seven, 8 billion. I like people to get connected so they can meet other people and know how wonderful it is to be alive and be part of a connected world. And I like people to meet people. I like to have more people be like myself, happy and Christian.

    Ling Yah: And what do you think the most important qualities of a successful person.

    Nnenna Nwakanma: Happiness. Being happy with yourself. Being happy to be happy. Gratitude. I think it's something that I see in successful people. I don't know how anyone who's miserable can be successful. Those two don't go together. So happiness for me is the metrics for success? It's not something you quantify with money.

    It is not something you start up in a bank. It's not something someone can give you. So it begins with accepting who you are being the best of who you are. And if you see happy people, they may not have the best of conditions, but they make the very best of what they have and happy people for me as successful people.

    And that's why I don't make new year resolutions for myself. My resolutions are already made I'm Christian and I'm happy. If you go to my online platforms, that's what you will see there.

    Ling Yah: And where can people go to find out more about what you're doing connect with you, reach out to you, support your work, where do they go?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: I am on Twitter with Nnenna. Double NN E double N. A That's all. That's my Twitter account. I'm on Facebook, Nnenna75. It's a verified Facebook account. I'm also Nnenna75 on LinkedIn. I have a bit of a online presence on Instagram. I'm not buoyant enough to be on Tik Tok. I'm sorry, but I do some videos. And with my organization, and pleased go to web foundation.org to learn more about what we do.

    And if you want to tweet at us, please use the hashtag WebWeWant. If you're doing something, if you see something that is worth noting, hashtag Webwewant. And please remember it is for everyone. If you're listening to this, if you're watching this, if you connected, it means people are working.

    Do your part.

    Be responsible. Hashtag WebWeWant

    Ling Yah: And I'll add all that in the show notes so people can find the links easily. Is there anything else you'd like to share that we haven't covered so far?

    Nnenna Nwakanma: Be happy for yourself.

    Today I'm speaking from west Africa, I'm cognizant of the fact that many families are working from home. I'm cognizant of the fact that many of us have lost loved ones. It is a difficult time out there in the world, but Hey, if you're alive, hang in there. Breathe. Take it one day at a time.

    Do your best to be a happy person. And if there's any way, connectivity can help you be happy, please connect. And hey, I want to see you online. Keep online, keep responsible, voila.

    Ling Yah: And that was the end of episode 69. The show notes and transcript from this episode can be found at www.sothisismywhy.com/69.

    If you've enjoyed this podcast and want to learn more about the other things I'm learning, you can also sign up for the free weekly newsletter at the show notes, link.

    And stay tuned for next Sunday, because we will be meeting the managing director of London's most iconic Jewish beigel shop along Brick Lane.

    To learn more about the tradition of beigel making, what it's like to run the shop 24/7 with his family, the ups and downs of life particularly during the pandemic and so much.

    So don't forget to subscribe and see you next Sunday.

    Do you want exclusive, weekly updates on new STIMY episodes & a chance to submit your questions for upcoming guests? Sign up now!

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