One of the big success stories for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in recent years has been the scope and reach of our technical engagement activities, allowing us to make a difference in a material way. Most recently, ICANN teamed up with the North American Network Operators' Group (NANOG), the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), and the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) to take part in the Information and Communications Technology Week (ICTWeek). The event occurred on the island of Grenada from Monday, 27 February to Friday, 3 March 2023.
The Honorable Dickon Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, gave an address on the first day of ICTWeek. During his speech, the Prime Minister argued for the digital transformation of the Grenada economy. He called for citizens of Grenada to engage with experts from regional and international technology companies to use digital technologies to create more jobs and accelerate economic growth. The next day, the Honorable Lennox Andrews, the Grenada Minister of ICT, echoed the Prime Minister's call for greater ICT integration and for the digital transformation of the economy.
To this end, ICTWeek sessions were dedicated to finding concrete solutions to help Grenada and the greater eastern Caribbean region to achieve technology-driven development. The sessions featured talks from business leaders that highlighted case studies of how they had leveraged digital transformation to grow their businesses. We also heard talks from policy leaders in Internet governance about how the years of engagement in the eastern Caribbean have positively impacted the region.
ICANN then participated in the 25th meeting of CaribNOG. We had a day of technical knowledge sharing, as well as reports from the Internet Society (ISOC), ARIN, the Universal Acceptance Steering Group, and a keynote address from Mr. Stephen Lee, the Chief Executive Officer for ArkiTechs, and a co-founder of CaribNOG. He spoke about the power of local exchange points.
A highlight of the week happened on the last day when staff from ICANN organization's (org) Office of the Chief Technology Officer's Technical Engagement team held a session on how to build an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Aaron Atac representing NANOG also participated in the session. More than200 Grenada secondary school students and young professionals (130 in-person and more than 70 online) attended.
Students began the morning staring at a blank command prompt. By the end of the afternoon, they were each running an ISP in a virtual lab environment, with packets passing across the real Internet. In addition to being exposed to how Internet infrastructure is built and run, and how routers are configured to be a part of that infrastructure, students also learned about the Domain Name System (DNS), resource public key Infrastructure (RPKI), exchange points, peering, and transit. During the day-long training, they also were taught practical job search and career development skills by many of the Internet infrastructure professionals in attendance.
This was the second capacity development event ICANN and NANOG have jointly conducted under a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding to build technical skills in underserved communities. The first event was held in Montgomery, Alabama, USA, for a group representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). We helped host students from area HBCUs for two days of educational programming on various technical topics and gave advice on how to pursue a career in technology.
ICANN org has proven adept at, and is committed to, real hands-on capacity development efforts. Leveraging our internally-developed teaching platform, we are able to transfer useful and relevant technical skills like configuring DNS and Domain Name Security Extensions (DNSSEC) to stakeholders around the globe.
This is the capacity development that ICANN org encourages and wants to be a part of where possible. Our efforts in Grenada were productive and enjoyable. They represent an important new effort in knowledge sharing, skills development, and technical engagement in the region.
These types of activities demonstrate the commitment and collaboration of many organizations in the Internet ecosystem. When we work together, we can have a positive impact locally and regionally. As they say in CaribNOG, "We are CaribNOG." ICANN is, indeed, CaribNOG!