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How ICANN Strengthened its Technical Engagement Around the World

23 April 2021

Since the beginning of 2020, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and its Technical Engagement (TE) team have started a transformation with the objective of reinforcing the ICANN organization's engagement on technical topics globally. In a blog, I highlighted the series of papers that we are publishing under the OCTO documents series to promote best practices and technical research to further understand new trends related to the unique identifier system that ICANN helps coordinate. In parallel to these publications, we have also started restructuring our team to increase the focus on how we engage on technical topics with the community. One of our first realizations was that the type of engagement and level of resources needed are not uniform across the globe; hence a need for a more regional approach.

Although the need is vivid everywhere, the level of maturity is not the same across the board. The Asia Pacific (APAC) region for instance, was privileged over the past few years to have a talented, well-respected, and dedicated trainer and advocate, whom we have been using often for other regions. Early in 2020, ICANN's CEO, Göran Marby, in line with that observation, approved to further regionalize the Technical Engagement function in support of the already active regional Stakeholder Engagement teams. As a result, three specialists have joined the TE team to extend our coverage to the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC), and Africa and the Middle East (MEA) regions.

A world map and five pictures of each member of ICANN’s Technical Engagement team linked to the regions they are covering.
Members of the Technical Engagement team from left to right: David Huberman, Europe and North America; Nicolás Antoniello, Latin America and the Caribbean; Yazid Akanho and Paul Muchene, Africa and the Middle East; Champika Wijayatunga, Asia Pacific.

We were gearing up to hit the road and start addressing the enormous demands for engagement or capacity building requests when the pandemic hit. We had to revisit our plans and adjust our physical engagement plan to an all-virtual one. We started with a series of webinars on various technical topics while working on revisiting the inventory of competencies and training courses that we can cover on the Domain Name System (DNS) and ICANN's technical mission. The first challenge of these virtual training courses was to continue to ensure that training sessions remained hands-on: How to quickly move our hands-on labs to a platform that can be easily deployed for online training in which participants can practice and test what they are learning.

Our first course catalogue published with a dozen different courses, from 101 introductory to advanced courses that provided opportunities for the hands-on experience, is now published and forms the foundation of our capacity development program. The content of the catalogues is meant to evolve; it will be revised every year to adjust to the evolution of the unique identifier technologies and our tools. The catalogues will also address the needs expressed by the community in relation to ICANN's technical mission and key strategic goals. Over the past 12 months since this journey started, the team delivered 160 technical training courses and webinars.

We are doing this while continuing to strengthen our cooperation with ICANN's long-term partners, such as the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC), so that we may add more diverse content to the catalogue and work on developing more in-depth courses for our ICANN Learn platform. We are also working with Bangalore's Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) in India with whom we are experimenting with a "Train the Trainer" (TtT) program that we expect to extend to other regions.

Announcements of upcoming courses and relevant information will be published on our Twitter feed @ICANNTech. If you are interested in having the Technical Engagement team present any of the courses listed in the catalogue, or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Adiel Akplogan

Adiel Akplogan

VP, Technical Engagement