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Program Revamp Keeps Recent ICANN Fellows Highly Engaged in the Community

17 February 2022

We are happy that many alumni continue to participate in the community beyond their first fellowship experience. Eighty-four percent of recent fellows remain involved with the ICANN community, according to a new three-year survey among fellowship participants from ICANN65 to ICANN71.

Importantly and encouragingly, in-person and virtual fellows stayed engaged at the same high level of 84% of respondents. This metric is particularly noteworthy since almost a third of respondents were only able to participate in the virtual meeting format. In addition, the first fellowship experience of some respondents was less than a year ago.

The positive development measured in the survey is a result of the comprehensive program review of the Fellowship Program and the resulting changes from the 2018 Community Consultation and Public Comment proceeding. These included new selection criteria, enhanced pre-meeting preparation, mentors and Selection Committee members appointed by the Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees (SO/ACs), and post-meeting reporting.

The survey was conducted in response to the community asking the ICANN organization (org) to implement the changes and to continually monitor and report the progress of key metrics. It captures key fellowship engagement and participation data since the implementation of the new program approach with the ICANN65 cohort in 2019. Eighty-six former fellows received the survey in October 2021. In total, 72 individuals participated in this survey, of which 61 completed the entire survey.  

In what amounts to a key sign of their continued engagement to ICANN, 45 recent fellows (70% of survey participants) are involved with their regional Global Stakeholder Engagement (GSE) team, 31 are involved in the At-Large community, and 13 are involved in the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO). Eight have been pen-holders or co-rapporteurs on policy reports and documents.

Some additional key findings follow.

84% currently involved in the ICANN community. 59% involved in working groups. 7 leaders of community groups. 9 chairs or co-chairs of community groups/sub-groups. 85% return for another ICANN Public Meeting. 95% continue to participate in global/regional ICANN events.

The survey also highlighted opportunities for improvements to the program. Program alumni provided a range of useful suggestions to improve communications, increase post-meeting follow-ups, leverage the alumni network, and increase the participation of fellows in ICANN.

As a result of these recommendations, ICANN org will enhance its overall communications by revamping the beginners page on ICANN.org to provide additional relevant resources and materials. We will also improve post-fellowship support by increasing virtual engagement opportunities for fellows and holding additional skill-building exercises in the areas identified by the fellows themselves.

We are encouraged by the positive findings of the survey and will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the program continues to evolve to meet the needs and wants of its participants and those of the ICANN community.

We would like to thank the fellows who participated in the survey, as well as the community groups who contributed to the program review, and the community members who continue to volunteer their time to onboard and prepare fellows for their journeys in ICANN.

A full report on the survey can be found here.



Ergys Ramaj

Ergys Ramaj

VP, Public Responsibility Support