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Chairman’s Blog: A Look at the Abu Dhabi Workshop

As I mentioned in my last blogs on Montevideo, at the beginning of each ICANN meeting, the ICANN Board meets in a workshop format. During these workshops, the Board and ICANN’s executive team come together for in-depth consideration on a range of important and timely ICANN issues. You can read about our most recent workshop here.

Starting on Friday, through Sunday 29 October 2017, the ICANN Board of Directors are meeting in Abu Dhabi ahead of ICANN60 for our final Board workshop of the year, and my final Board workshop as Chair. I want to give you a brief overview of what we expect to be covering and discussing.

On Friday, the Board Committees and Working groups met to cover their regular business. The Board Technical Committee held a public session on strategic & forward thinking, where they discussed the Blockchain naming systems impact, design for a tamperproof root zone update system, David Conrad gave an update, and they discussed next steps of the KSK rollover.

Much of our day on Saturday is spent preparing for the meeting. We began the day with a dialogue session with ICANN CEO Göran Marby, which we do at most workshops, where he shares his current priorities and efforts and we discuss them together. Most of the day, we prepared for Constituency Days, by receiving a briefing from David Olive and the Policy Development team on the key developments in each SO/AC. Theresa Swinehart and Akram Atallah led us in a conversation around the Strategic Outlook for ICANN, which will be used to kick off the annual Budget process. We held another public session on Saturday, a review of the FY 17 Audited Financial statements with the Board, led by Xavier Calvez.

On Sunday, we will hold a webcast Board meeting, which I hope you can join and listen to. The remainder of the day will be focused on long term financial planning, a public session around our engagement in Internet Governance, and thoughts and advice from our other departing Board members, Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Asha Hemrajani, Markus Kummer and Thomas Schneider.  Please join me in thanking and congratulating Rinalia, Asha, Markus and Thomas for their hard work and dedication to ICANN.

We will have a public Board meeting on the last day of ICANN60, as well, and that is when we will formally seat new Board members León Sanchez, Matthew Shears, Avri Doria and Sarah Deutsch, and elect our new Board Chair and Vice Chair. In Montevideo, all continuing and incoming members of the Board had an opportunity to participate in the discussion of the Board's future leadership, and have chosen Cherine Chalaby as the next Chair of the ICANN Board, and Chris Disspain as the next Vice-Chair. You may have seen Cherine’s blog post about Board priorities here; I encourage you to read it. I’ve also written a blog related to the operation, structure and future challenges about the Board that I hope you will read. I look forward to seeing what’s next for ICANN, and wish you all the best.

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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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."