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ICANN Middle East Strategy Fulfills Another Milestone

29 May 2014


Last week, I participated with my colleague Fahd Batayneh, and other volunteers from the Internet community in running the first edition of the Middle East and Adjoining Countries School on Internet Governance (MEAC-SIG). In fact, this was not the first time to have a School on Internet Governance held in the Middle East. There was one that took place in Cairo, Egypt in 2009 in the lead up to the 4th IGF meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh. While the 2009 program primarily targeted participants from Arab countries, the target this time was the broader Middle East region.

Over 25 participants took part in the 5-day program. Participants were a mixture of governments, private sector, civil society, academia, and technical community, hailing from Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen.

Over the course of five days, participants had the chance to learn about a range of Internet Governance topics, and to engage in open discussions with instructors around many issues in relation to those topics. The program covered topics such as history of Internet Governance; multi-stakeholderism in IG, and roles of stakeholders; the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and its regional and national editions; developments in the IG space from WSIS to Netmundial; ICANN and the domain name industry; IPv4 and IPv6; IG for development; cybercrime and cyber law; the state of the Internet in the MENA region when it comes to privacy, social media, and online activism.

The last day was designed to simulate a mini-IGF meeting. Students and instructors alike were encouraged to choose their stakeholder hat of interest and discuss how to approach the imitative MAG and mini-IGF gatherings. Smaller groups, each representing a stakeholder group sat together to discuss. Overall, a mini-IGF was demonstrated, and the various stakeholder groups, including those of the mimic MAG engaged in discussions of interest.

As one of the proposed actions by the Middle East Strategy Working Group (MESWG), MEAC-SIG is yet another milestone for ICANN in implementing the Middle East Strategy. MEAC-SIG's first edition was held in Kuwait during 25-29 May 2014, with the generous host of the Kuwait Information Technology Society (KITS), and was organized by ICANN in partnership with Afilias and RIPE NCC.

I'm very pleased to see MESC-SIG kick off successfully, and grateful to all school faculty who took the time despite their busy schedules, and came to lend their expertise to a group of professionals in the Middle East who is eager to acquire knowledge and become active in the IG field.


Baher Esmat

Baher Esmat

VP, Stakeholder Engagement - Middle East & Managing Director MEA