ICANN Fellowship Program turns 10

By on 7 Aug 2017

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This year marks the 10th anniversary of the ICANN Fellowship Program.

Since ICANN 29, more than 600 alumni, including myself, have participated in the ICANN Fellowship Program, a feat that has made the program ICANN’s single largest capacity-building activity — according to the ICANN Fellowship Program 10 Year Survey, over 62% of alumni still engage as members/observers in the ICANN community.

I recently returned from ICANN 59 Policy Forum, held in Johannesburg, South Africa — my third fellowship opportunity — having participated as an Alumni Fellow. More than 1,300 people, including 410 newcomers, attended the four-day event, which covered a multitude of different topics, including: contractual issues with the retail and wholesale arms of the DNS; ways to respond to illegal or abusive use of the Internet’s naming systems; internal restructuring, bylaws amendment and budgeting; new initiatives for increasing competition on the Internet; the stability and security of the DNS; updates on the upcoming Key Signing Key (KSK) rollover; creating new TLDs; and geographical TLDs.

Below are some of my highlights from the meeting.

GNSO activities at ICANN 59

Of the 40 sessions organized by the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) at ICANN 59, I was most captivated by the series of meetings held by the GNSO Working Groups on Policy Development Processes (PDPs) related to generic top-level domains (gTLDs), including new gTLD subsequent procedures, next-generation Registration Directory Services (RDS) to replace whois, and a review of all rights-protection mechanisms for gTLDs.

I enjoyed most of the cross-community discussions that informed the policy development activities, including the use of geographic names at the top level and on key concepts related to the purposes of gTLD registration data and directory services, data elements required by those purposes, related data protection and privacy requirements, and access requirements. I also became a member of the Auction, Anti-Abuse and ISPCP mailing lists to further engage in the PDPs.

Other than these activities, I also kept my eyes on the following GNSO Council discussions:

  1. GNSO Standing Selection Committee (SSC) and their selection of candidates for the ICANN structures for review teams and those related to Empowered Community.
  2. The status and next steps related to two Cross-Community Working Groups (CCWGs): the CCWG on Use of Country and Territory Names, and the CCWG on Internet Governance.
  3. Joint session with ccNSO focusing on Empowered Community Administration processes, procedures, and timelines; next steps in relation to the review of the Customer Standing Committee charter; and planning for the FY19 Public Technical Identifiers (PTI) budget.
  4. Meeting with the Government Advisory Committee (GAC).
  5. Next steps and ICANN 60 targets.

Empowered Community holds first Forum

This was the first time that the Empowered Community (EC) Administration held a Community Forum in accordance with the revised ICANN Bylaws.

The EC is the mechanism through which ICANN’s Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) can organize, under California law, to legally enforce community powers. The community powers and rules that govern the EC are defined in the ICANN Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.

The representatives of the EC’s five decisional participants shared their perspectives on the ICANN Board Governance Committee’s (BGC) proposal to move its responsibilities for ICANN’s reconsideration request process to a new Board committee that could also handle ICANN’s other accountability mechanisms. This proposal, which involves a change in ICANN’s Fundamental Bylaws, need to be approved by both the ICANN Board and the EC.

ASO Review: Draft Final Report

I attended a very-high-level presentation on the Draft Final Report of the Address Supporting Organization (ASO) Independent Review. The objective of the review is to determine whether the ASO has a continuing purpose in the ICANN structure, and, if so, whether any change in the structure or operations of the ASO is needed to improve its effectiveness in the ICANN structure, and additionally, whether the ASO is accountable to the Internet numbering community when carrying out its responsibilities.

The report recommended that the ASO should continue to be supported in its current form: as an accountability measure for the ICANN community. The final report is due in the second half of 2017.

ISP and Connectivity Providers Constituency

For the past 20 years, ISPs in Bangladesh have been giving me my bread and butter. And so, I attended one session of the Internet Service Providers and Connectivity Providers (ISPCP) constituency at ICANN 59, where policies affecting the future operational environment of the Internet, including network neutrality, name collisions and Internet addressing, were discussed, along with outreach activities that need to be carried out at ICANN 60.

I got a chance to talk to the Chair of the ISPCP and GNSO Councillor, Wolf-Ulrich Knoben, who was encouraged by my current activities and offered his and his team’s support to further develop outreach activities in my arena. I plan to carry out my ISPCP mission with members of SANOG, bdNOG, npNOG, BhutanNOG, pkNOG, and soon INOG.

Tech Day: DNS and Root Server advancements

The Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) organize a Tech Day at every ICANN meeting. These days always provide something that I can take home to try to implement in order to improve service to our end users. This year’s Tech Day did not disappoint, with practical discussions on the DNS and Root Server advancements happening around the world.

2017 Multistakeholder Ethos Award

Long-time members of the ICANN community Hiro Hotta and Patricio Poblete were awarded  the 2017 Multistakeholder Ethos Award during a special ceremony.

These two outstanding achievers were selected from a list of 14 nominees who best demonstrate the spirit of collaboration, strongly promoting consensus through decades of active participation and dedication towards the multistakeholder model of ICANN.

Japan’s Hiro Hotta, our pride in Asia, was recognized for his unwavering commitment to volunteering his time to serve in ICANN’s community for over 18 years. Hiro San started his ICANN endeavour as a member of the Names Council of the ICANN DNSO. He is the longest-standing member of ccNSO and played a pivotal role in developing and deploying Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), including IDN country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).

Read our Q&A with Hiro Hotta following the award

Chile’s Patricio Poblete was recognized for his participation in the ICANN process before the incorporation of ICANN itself. Like Hiro, he was also a member of the DNSO. Patricio was instrumental in moving this diverse community forward to create what is today are called the ccNSO, Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), Business Constituency, and Intellectual Property Constituency.

Fellowship Sessions

Fellowship sessions always make you feel like you are playing an important part in the ICANN community. They provide Fellows, even new ones, with opportunities to meet and ask questions of some of ICANN’s leaders, including Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO; Robert Hoggarth, Policy Development and Community Services Vice President, who gave us a real break on the PDP and associated issues; Pierre Dandjinou, head of the AFRICAN Global Stakeholder Engagement Team, who spoke about understanding the power of working together; and the ICANN Board.

Finally, I like to thank two special people. First, Siranush Vardanyan: as always, you made the sessions so meaningful for us fellows. You are a magnificent mentor and inspiration, Siranush. I’d also like to thank Janice Douma Lange and her aura, which was felt in all sessions and celebrations — you made all the Alumni feel like they were home again in the ICANN space. We all love you, Mama J.

Gazi Zehadul Kabir is General Manager and HoD SI at BDCOM ONLINE LTD, Bangladesh.

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

One Comment

  1. Janice

    Such a well thought out and written testimonial about the ICANN experience Kabir and thanks go to YOU for taking advantage of the entire experience not just for your own knowledge and efforts but for so many in your home community and region where your work and volunteerism has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated..you are a true reflection of how important ICANN’s investment in the Fellowship program can be for better and focused outreach..You’re the BEST!


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