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Ramanou Biaou Honored with 2020 Dr. Tarek Kamel Award for Capacity Building

LOS ANGELES – 19 October 2020 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is honored to announce the first recipient of the 2020 Dr. Tarek Kamel Award for Capacity Building is Ramanou Biaou.

The ICANN Board recognizes Biaou's commitment to local and regional capacity-building programs in his home country of Benin as well as across Africa. He has worked to improve the technical skills of women in Africa and encouraged their participation in endeavors related to the Internet and Domain Name System (DNS). Through his efforts, the diversity and number of new ICANN community members increased.

Since 2018, Biaou has been the President of the Internet Society, Benin Chapter. He introduced a program to enable local community members' participation in meetings with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and ICANN. Biaou is active in the African Regional At-Large Organization (AFRALO) at ICANN and also serves as a member of the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) Caucus.

ICANN first introduced the Dr. Tarek Kamel Award for Capacity Building in January 2020 to honor members of the ICANN community who have contributed significantly to national, regional, or global capacity-development programs related to ICANN's mission. This award was established in honor of the late Dr. Tarek Kamel, an Internet pioneer known for his contributions to global Internet governance. At the time of his passing, Dr. Kamel was ICANN's Senior Advisor to the President and Senior Vice President for Government and Intergovernmental Organization Engagement.

You can watch an interview with Ramanou Biaou and learn more about the award here.


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 – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. This 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 with a community of 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."