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The Middle East Domain Name System (DNS) Forum Returns to Dubai

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ISTANBUL – 21 January 2019 – Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that the 2019 Middle East DNS Forum (MEDNSF) will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The event, hosted by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the UAE, will take place from 20-21 February. This will be the second time that Dubai has hosted the MEDNSF.

The sixth MEDNSF will feature international and regional field experts and industry stakeholders who will discuss the latest developments and issues in the global and regional domain marketplace. The forum will also have panel discussions and presentations on topics of interest to the regional community in an effort to strengthen the DNS industry in the Middle East.

Some of the key topics of this year's program are:

  • Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) and Universal Acceptance (UA) with a focus on domain names and email addresses in Arabic script.
  • The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • New generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and future expansion.
  • DNS operations and security.
  • Case studies on emerging trends in the DNS.

Cherine Chalaby, ICANN Board Chair, will be in attendance along with leading regional and global experts from the technical, policy, and legal fields of the DNS industry.

For the first time, the MEDNSF will be held in conjunction with another regional event – the 75th Meeting of the Asia Pacific Top-Level Domain Association (APTLD75). The collaboration will allow participants to attend sessions from both events including joint sessions. This initiative was developed from the Middle East DNS Forum Assessment Survey that was distributed to the regional ICANN community in May 2018. Among the survey results was the suggestion to organize the forum in conjunction with similar events in the region to help maximize attendance and value.

Information and Registration

  • Event information including the program, speakers, and logistics is available at the forum's website.
  • Registration is available here, and is open to everyone.
  • Remote participation will be made available here.
  • For more information or inquiries, please email


The Middle East DNS Forum (MEDNSF) was created to help support the regional domain name industry. This initiative was part of ICANN's Engagement Strategy in the Middle East for 2013-2016 [PDF, 983 KB], which was released by the regional community in 2013. The forum is aimed at increasing regional stakeholders' knowledge of the Domain Name System. Since its inception in 2014, the Middle East DNS Forum has been held in the UAE (2014), Jordan (2015), Tunisia (2016), Egypt (2017), and Turkey (2018).

Media Contacts:

Luna Madi
Communications Director, EMEA
Istanbul, Turkey
Tel: +90 533 0313505

Buket Coskuner
Global Communications Coordinator
Istanbul, Turkey
Tel: +90 533 4876254


ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address into your computer or other device – a name or a number. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation and a community with participants from all over the world.

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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."