Los Angeles, arguably the "birthplace of the Internet," will next month welcome thousands from around the world for ICANN51, our 51st Public Meeting (12-16 October).
If you've not yet registered for the meeting, booked your flights and reserved your hotel room, now is the time to do so, by going here – http://la51.icann.org/en/. If you are attending remotely, please calculate time zones and block your calendars (There's more news on remote participation for the Public Forum below).
L.A. will be a great opportunity to see old friends, make some new ones, and collaborate on the next phase of ICANN's development.
It's our hope that those who have never before participated in an ICANN meeting will make it a point to attend ICANN51. We're proud of the open, participatory model that defines ICANN and we welcome all, whether to learn more about what ICANN is all about, or to actively participate in developing policies that support the global, expanding and interoperable Internet.
From tech giants in Silicon Valley, to dynamic start-ups across L.A., to social entrepreneurs and advocates for Internet openness, to a vibrant entertainment industry, California boasts countless innovative people focused on how the Internet can make our lives better. ICANN's work supports these efforts and we expect many innovators from diverse stakeholder groups to join us next month.
The schedule of sessions for ICANN51 is still being finalized and will soon be posted to the meeting website, but there are a few highlights to point out even at this early stage.
On Monday, 13 October, following the welcoming ceremony, there will be a special session in which the leaders of ICANN's various advisory committees and supporting organizations will gather to explore the hot issues facing the ICANN community. We held an interactive session like this at ICANN48 in Buenos Aires, and received a lot of positive feedback.
Following that session, the Global Domains Division (GDD) will provide an update on the New generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) program and other related topics. ICANN51 will mark an important milestone, as it is almost exactly one year since the delegation of the first of the new gTLDs in the current round. Did you know there are a 395 more top level domains than at this time last year?
Monday afternoon's program will also include "All Things WHOIS: Now and in the Future," to raise awareness on the complex issue of how information on registrants — those who register for domain names — is maintained and made publicly available.
One change from past meetings is that there will not be an ICANN51 gala. Historically, the gala has been organized and supported by an outside sponsor. ICANN51 will not have such a sponsor, and therefore no gala. ICANN meetings have grown to around 3,000 attendees, and so have the challenges of finding a gala sponsor. Nevertheless, because of the accessibility of L.A. and the dynamism of the ICANN community, we are confident there will be a selection of evening events throughout the week from which to choose.
Thursday's program will cover some headline issues: On 16 October, community-led sessions on Enhancing ICANN Accountability and the IANA Stewardship Transition Process are on the morning agenda. As you likely know, the U.S. Government has announced its desire to transition the stewardship of the technical Internet functions known as the IANA to the global multistakeholder community; the community has risen to the occasion, and is working toward a proposal. Enhancing ICANN Accountability, a related developmental process, will be getting underway and we encourage you to participate.
Following these topics on Thursday, everyone is invited to the Public Forum. This is ICANN's "open microphone" session where the ICANN Board of Directors engages directly on questions or comments from anyone in the community, including many who will be joining the meeting via remote video hubs around the world. We'll post more about these hubs as the meeting draws nearer.
We tried these video hubs for the first time at our last meeting in London and they were very well received. By working with Internet Society (ISOC) chapters and ICANN's At-Large Structures, we hope to hear from people in regions who sometimes face challenges getting connected.
Inclusivity and Innovation are two words that capture the spirit of ICANN. ICANN51 will be an ideal demonstration of these characteristics. Whether it will be your first meeting, or your fifty-first, we look forward to seeing you in L.A.
Vice President, Stakeholder Engagement - North America