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A Conversation with Ali AlMeshal

Ali Almeshal has a background in IT, finance, and business. He has been involved in ICANN through the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC). ICANN60 is his 12th ICANN Public Meeting. He started his ICANN journey as a Fellow – at ICANN44 in Prague, ICANN45 in Toronto, and ICANN48 in Buenos Aires.

How did you first get involved with APRALO?

In 2012, I met Baher Esmat, ICANN’s VP of Stakeholder Engagement in the Middle East, when he was visiting Bahrain. I was introduced to him by a friend who was a member with me in the Bahrain Internet Society (ISOC). Baher briefed me about ICANN (think of an ICANN 101 course!). He encouraged me to apply for our ISOC chapter to become an At-Large Structure (ALS). We applied, were approved, then I attended my first ICANN Public Meeting in Prague.

What role does APRALO play in the Middle East?

APRALO is represented on ICANN’s Middle East Strategy Working Group, including on the steering committee. In the past, we were part of the Arab Internet Governance Forum (IGF). Local and regional activities are the best venues for APRALO to expand its outreach and to conduct awareness sessions. Capacity-building webinars are also effective channels for engaging with the community.

Are you satisfied with the level of participation from the Middle East community?

There is always room for more participation and engagement from the Middle East community in the Domain Name System industry. But I would can say that participation is getting better and better due to the increased focus from the APRALO leadership team and ICANN’s Middle East Global Stakeholder Engagement team.

What is your outreach to attract more people from your region?

Reaching out to civil societies, academia, technical communities, and business communities through regional and local workshops and online webinars. We also engage with experts in the region who can help spread the word about ICANN.

What are the main challenges you face and how do you deal with them?

In general, making the community aware of ICANN – what it is, what it does, and what is the benefit of participating. 

How can someone become a member of APRALO? Are you looking for any specific skills and experience?

Membership is open to anyone who is interested in At-Large activities. We accept both organizations and individuals as members, as long as they meet the criteria for membership. All types of skills and experience are valuable. And as you know, we are looking out for the interests of the end user, and that covers all aspects of the internet. Interested organizations or individuals can find the membership application on the At-Large website.

What is your call to action?

We need to maximize outreach – so we need more engagement in the region. I ‘d also like to see more visits from the ICANN Executive Team to the region, coupled with more ICANN-sponsored regional events.


    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."