There's a song that says, "The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas." After time spent in the U.S.'s second largest state (by land mass, Alaska is the first) at the 63rd meeting of the North America Network Operators Group (NANOG) in San Antonio, and engaging with students at The University of Texas at Austin (UT), I can attest to the lyrics' truth.
I can also attest to UT's students' eagerness to learn about ICANN and global Internet governance.
Around 30 students, of various academic levels, attended an hour-long discussion and Q&A on ICANN, global Internet governance, and current ICANN hot topics, including: the IANA Stewardship Transition and Enhancing ICANN Accountability processes; the ICANN 52 meeting in Singapore; and the new generic Top-level Domain program (gTLD) program.
Of course, part of the discussion touched on the multistakeholder model at ICANN and its diversity. The audience was equally diverse featuring Ph.D. candidates, masters students, and undergraduates, with interests as varied as: Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6); censorship online; the future of governments in Internet policy; and cybersecurity. Some were also there simply to learn more about ICANN, an organization they'd heard about, but weren't intimately familiar with.
Given the recent submission of proposals to the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) by both the Protocol Parameters and Numbering Resources communities, as well as the discussions within the Domain Names community at ICANN 52, many questions from students dug deeper into what exactly IANA is and where it currently sits, in addition to what might transpire after a successful transition.
The conversation at UT couldn't be timelier as the global ICANN community prepares to meet in Singapore, and as North America's network operators gathered a little more than an hour south of Austin for their meeting.
NANOG 63 offered its usual robust agenda of technical topics, including the session, "Stewardship and Accountability for Internet Identifiers." The session featured an update from the Numbering Resources community on the IANA Stewardship Transition. The entire session can be viewed here.
A big "thank you" from me to all the stars at UT and NANOG for a great start to 2015.
Joe Catapano is Project Manager, ICANN Global Stakeholder Engagement for North America