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Over 120 Events: ICANN’s North American Engagement Team Closes 2023 Strong

22 November 2023

As we approach the end of 2023, our North American Global Stakeholder Engagement (NA GSE) team is beginning to evaluate the year's accomplishments, lessons learned, and is preparing for 2024. In many ways, what made this year unique was our team's return to its frenetic normalcy, following the COVID-19 pandemic.

We had a remarkably productive year with more than 120 private meetings and public events hosted or attended in the North America region. We engaged with stakeholders from across all sectors, business, government, civil society, academic, technical, and end-user communities. Three key themes emerged in 2023: capacity development with historically underserved communities, strengthening technical engagement activities, and building broad engagements and partnerships in Canada.

Our team's efforts at ICANN77 in June were notable and stood out. The Washington, D.C. metro area continues to serve as a major hub of Internet activity in the tech policy space. There is a strong ICANN community presence here, which provides incredible opportunities for partnership and collaboration. At ICANN77, we convened a discussion around Universal Acceptance and its importance for digital inclusivity. Representatives participated from the ICANN organization (org), the ICANN Board, and the private sector. More than 50 people participated in person and online in what was the most highly attended NA Space since the series began in 2018.

In January, the NA GSE team represented ICANN at the Gila River Tribal Broadband Boot Camp in Arizona. ICANN org staff participated with tribal community stakeholders over two days in hands-on technical activities. We strove to raise awareness around the ICANN ecosystem and the address space.

In late February and early March, we supported a larger ICANN org delegation to deliver hands-on technical training to communities in Grenada. This event was made possible in partnership with local organizations and ICANN org staff in Latin America and the Caribbean region.

On the technical engagement front, our team worked closely with the Internet Society (ISOC) to deliver a virtual event focused on security best practices related to network routing and mitigating Domain Name System (DNS) abuse. Both ICANN and ISOC run initiatives that complement each other in improving Internet security. ICANN's Knowledge-Sharing and Instantiating Norms for DNS and Naming Security (KINDNS) promotes operational DNS security best practices. ISOC's Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security provides crucial remediations to reduce the most common routing threats. Experts gave a detailed overview of the initiatives and explained why operators should consider adopting both of them.

In Canada, we participated in a week of engagement activities, highlighted by ICANN Board Chair Tripti Sinha delivering the keynote address at the Canadian Internet Governance Forum (IGF). ICANN's Vice President of Technical Engagement, Adiel Akplogan, spoke on a panel at the Quebec IGF; and our team also supported a booth at the Canadian Internet Registration Authority's Canadians Connected membership event where we discussed the KINDNS initiative.

Looking to 2024, we plan to build on the momentum generated this year with key meetings scheduled with the community, including the ICANN79 Community Forum in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Prior to this public meeting, we will collaborate with the partners in Puerto Rico to hold a technical training targeted at youth participants, and we are supporting the sixth session of the North American School of Internet Governance (NASIG 2024). We anticipate a lively ICANN Public Meeting, as engagement and community discussion continues around pressing issues such as the World Summit on the Information Society+20, and the next round of new generic top-level domains.

I wish to extend a warm thank you to my teammates for all the work they accomplished this year: Joe Catapano (Stakeholder Engagement Director – North America and Global Academia), Giose McGinty (Stakeholder Engagement Regional Specialist, the Americas), and David Huberman (Regional Technical Engagement Manager).

Please join us, and subscribe to our regional mailing list to learn more about our engagement activities in the NA region, and help keep the global Internet a vital resource for us all.


Naela Sarras

Naela Sarras

VP, Stakeholder Engagement - North America