The Middle East is a vast region with an estimated population of 825 million people. Over the past few years, some countries in the region have undergone unprecedented political turbulence, especially Yemen. The current civil war and political crisis in the country has created multiple obstacles for ICANN engagement from Internet disconnections to poor telecom lines. Yet despite the difficulties, we have been able to engage remotely in Yemen, and this is an example of that success.
One of the key facets of ICANN's mission to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems is promoting participation, representation, and engagement from people all around the world. As part of the Global Stakeholder Engagement (GSE) strategy, we are committed to engaging with diverse groups of stakeholders from different parts of the Middle East, resources permitting.
This global commitment drove us to search for engagement opportunities in Yemen despite the inherent difficulties. Recently, we embarked on a project with the Yemeni Organization for Development and Exchange Technologies (YODET), which helps Yemeni individuals, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and cause-driven groups access various global information resources safely. As part of the project, we have worked closely with two YODET staff members, Hilmi Ghalib, Executive Director, and Amer Alsubai, Program Manager, to develop their capacities about ICANN and its work on the unique identifiers systems. We faced communication difficulties due to the poor Internet connectivity in Yemen, but we managed to train both staff members. The training used materials available on the ICANN website and ICANN Learn, as well as email exchanges and phone calls.
On 26 July, YODET held an open-house during which the newly trained YODET members presented on what they had learned. I joined via Skype and enjoyed their demonstration and the lively discussion that took place. I also had the chance to interact with the audience and answer questions, most of which revolved around the ICANN Fellowship Program, the Yemeni ccTLD .YE, and the New gTLD Program.
I want to thank the entire team at YODET for their persevering efforts in realizing this project. We look forward to continuing our engagements in Yemen while initiating new efforts in the region.
If you are interested in the Middle East GSE activities or wish to contact us, please send an email to email@example.com.