17 Fellowship participants attended the 34th ICANN International Public Meeting held in Mexico City earlier this month. 23 candidates were chosen from a pool of 105 applications. 6 of the participating fellows were alumni of a previous fellowship program, 4 were first-time fellows who had attended at least 1 ICANN meeting previously, and 7 were first-time ICANN meeting attendees.
All of the ICANN regions were represented, though the emphasis for Mexico City was on the Latin America region. Fellows hailed from Argentina, Jordan, Egypt, Seychelles, Moldova, Dominican Republic, Jamaica (GAC member), Guyana, Honduras, Tunisia, Pakistan, Niie Island, Cook Islands, Belize, Uruguay and Montserrat (Denzil West, an alumni, was the force behind Montserrat becoming the 90th country to sign on as a member of the ccNSO at this meeting).
This group of participants included 5 ccNSO members, 8 from government including the mentioned GAC representative, representatives from business, academic and civil sectors, and 1 member of the gNSO.
Monica Abolo Laforgia of Argentina, who is also Chair of Argentina Chapter of ISOC (ISOC-Ar) said this about her first time experience: “Even when by my professional career, I’m involved daily in Internet Governance issues; I recognize the lack of knowledge in ICANN’s work. In this sense, this meeting allows me to enter into a fascinating process. I should call it “a one-way trip”. Attending sessions and, especially the fellowship meetings during the morning, helps me to understand and familiarize myself with ICANN’s vocabulary/acronyms and have an overview about the issues which are discussed in different SO or AC meetings and their functions.
However, this is just the beginning. I only see the “tip of the iceberg”. My duty now is to continue reading different documents about issues and topics in which I’m interested in and, of course, what interests I’ll represent to. Another important meeting I attended was LAC-RALO Assembly and the voting process. Lately ISOC-AR wasn´t involved in neither ALAC nor LAC-RALO activities, so it was important to me to share within the members what is going on.
From networking point of view, this meeting fully exceeds my expectations. I had the opportunity to meet with other members of ISOC Chapters from Latin-American countries. We spontaneously met to share experiences and focus on the way how to make the region strongest and how can we collaborate and help each other to grow and expand our chapters.”
The daily morning sessions are a mainstay of the program and mandatory for all participants. At this particular ICANN meeting, the agenda was themed to cover some basic functions and understanding of ICANN and IANA, as the majority of the participants had not been involved deeply in the community yet. The presentations included: ICANN staff Kim Davies and Rick Lamb regarding IANA functions, redelegation and DNSsec; Tim Cole, Craig Schwartz, Khalil Rasheed and William McKelligott provided overviews of Registry, Registrar and Compliance Services work; and another ICANN staff member, Maria Farrell, provided an update on the JPA and Improving Institutional Confidence and how that affects all of the ICANN community.
GAC chair Janis Karklins and ccNSO Senior Policy Advisor Bart Boswinkel spoke about the GAC and ccNSO respectively, and Nominating Committee chair Tricia Drakes spoke about the opportunity to volunteer and engage on many levels within the ICANN community. This especially affected a “graduating” alumni, Tatiana Chirev, who feels the need to give back to ICANN after participating in 4 meetings, so will be looking into the open positions and is considering responding to the EOI this year.
The week ended with 3 alumni presentations to the Mexico fellows, which is now a standard part of the morning program. Tatiana Chirev of Moldova, Denzil West from Montserrat and Fahd Batanyeh of Jordan all talked about the importance of being a fellowship alumni and how to continue participating in the ICANN community. Fahd, who was a first time attendee and fellow in Paris, is now an active member of the ccNSO and involved in 2 working groups: Geographic Regions and Strategic and Operating Plans.
3 of the fellows arrived early to Mexico City to attend the sponsored program on Attack & Contingency Response Planning for ccTLDs.
The fellows remained busy the entire week, representing their regions in the GAC, ccNSO, ALAC and gNSO meetings, as well as mandatory attendance at the Welcome ceremony, Public Forum and Board meeting. Several fellows stood up and spoke at these public meetings and participated in the public forum, and their contributions can be noted on the transcripts.
We look forward to seeing many of these names and faces at future ICANN meetings, contributing to the many decision-making processes in ICANN such as public forums, supporting organizations and advisory committees, and perhaps even as potential members of the ICANN board.
To learn more about the Fellowships Program, please visit http://www.icann.org/en/fellowships/