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A Story of Perseverance: Engagement in Yemen

Yodet 1005x426 07aug18 en


The Middle East is a vast region with an estimated population of 825 million people. Over the past few years, some countries in the region have undergone unprecedented political turbulence, especially Yemen. The current civil war and political crisis in the country has created multiple obstacles for ICANN engagement from Internet disconnections to poor telecom lines. Yet despite the difficulties, we have been able to engage remotely in Yemen, and this is an example of that success.

One of the key facets of ICANN's mission to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems is promoting participation, representation, and engagement from people all around the world. As part of the Global Stakeholder Engagement (GSE) strategy, we are committed to engaging with diverse groups of stakeholders from different parts of the Middle East, resources permitting.

This global commitment drove us to search for engagement opportunities in Yemen despite the inherent difficulties. Recently, we embarked on a project with the Yemeni Organization for Development and Exchange Technologies (YODET), which helps Yemeni individuals, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and cause-driven groups access various global information resources safely. As part of the project, we have worked closely with two YODET staff members, Hilmi Ghalib, Executive Director, and Amer Alsubai, Program Manager, to develop their capacities about ICANN and its work on the unique identifiers systems. We faced communication difficulties due to the poor Internet connectivity in Yemen, but we managed to train both staff members. The training used materials available on the ICANN website and ICANN Learn, as well as email exchanges and phone calls.

On 26 July, YODET held an open-house during which the newly trained YODET members presented on what they had learned. I joined via Skype and enjoyed their demonstration and the lively discussion that took place. I also had the chance to interact with the audience and answer questions, most of which revolved around the ICANN Fellowship Program, the Yemeni ccTLD .YE, and the New gTLD Program.

I want to thank the entire team at YODET for their persevering efforts in realizing this project. We look forward to continuing our engagements in Yemen while initiating new efforts in the region.

If you are interested in the Middle East GSE activities or wish to contact us, please send an email to


    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."