At-Large Summit – an Overview

19 February 2009

Nick Ashton-Hart

The Mexico City meeting is a landmark for At-Large. For the first time, the whole At-Large community will be meeting together face-to-face in the ‘At-Large Summit’. About 90 representatives of the At-Large membership of organisations (called “At-Large Structures”) are already confirmed. Mexico City meeting attendees will be able to spot them easily, as each will have a ribbon indicating their status as a Summit delegate attached to their ICANN meeting badges.

It is being held 28 February through 5 March, at the Sheraton and also at the nearby Melia Mexio Reforma hotel.

All ICANN staff, board members, and community members are invited and encouraged to attend the sessions, all of which are open to everyone.

As proposed by At-Large Community, the Summit has the following objectives:

  • Develop the Community’s capacity for engagement in ICANN by increasing its knowledge and understanding of the key issues confronting ICANN and ICANN’s roles and responsibilities;
  • Provide an opportunity for the community to finalise and present its advice on some of the most important issues facing the ICANN community today, and last but not least,
  • Highlight the successes of the community in recent years and build upon them to ensure that the interests of the world’s more than 1 billion individual Internet users are well represented in the development of Internet name and number policy.

Summit activities include:

  • An opening and closing General Session of all participants (Saturday the 28th),
  • Five working groups on key policy issues confronting ICANN,
  • Thematic Sessions (workshops on topics submitted by community members for inclusion in the Summit programme)

and much more!

The structure, format, and content of the Summit have been developed through a completely bottom-up process. For example, the five policy working group topics were chosen by surveying the entire At-Large community. Members were asked to rank in order of preference their priorities for policy work during the Summit, and the top five choices were then automatically selected as the subjects for the five working groups to tackle. The subjects are:

  • At-Large Community Engagement in ICANN
  • The Future Structure and Governance of ICANN
  • New gTLDs including IDN gTLDs
  • ICANN Transparency and Accountability
  • DNS Security Issues within ICANN’s Remit

The Thematic Session subjects are all community driven, too. Community members were asked to propose topics and the format for these sessions and the Summit working group is then taking the proposals and scheduling them. Details of these sessions will shortly be posted to the main meeting schedule at http://mex.icann.org/full-sched.

These sessions are designed to provide Summit delegates with a greater understanding of At-Large and ICANN mandates, structures, and processes and supply the tools needed by At-Large to better involve and engage their members in ICANN activities and policy development processes. Many of them delve into specific policy subjects in more detail and with an At-Large-specific viewpoint.

The opening General Session on Saturday will consist of a full schedule of briefings and panel discussions on current work in ICANN, many led by community members with expertise in the subjects concerned, such as DNSSec, IDNs, and the IPv4-IPv6 transition.

The Closing General Session on Thursday will provide a wrap up of key outcomes and deliverables and identify next steps for the At-Large Community. Expect the unexpected on Thursday morning – it will be a tour-de-force summary of the Summit using a very audiovisual format that should keep everyone engaged.

Last but not least, the public workshop on Wednesday entitled “eCrime and Abuse of the DNS Forum” which is sure to be one of the most popular workshops of the entire ICANN meeting is being organised in cooperation with the Summit and will have various experts from At-Large participating in it.

For those who are interested in learning more, visit the Summit microsite at http://www.atlarge.icann.org/summit. We hope to see you in Mexico City!

Nick Ashton-Hart