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ICANN's Middle East and Africa Regional Office in Istanbul: Five Years and Counting

2018 was an important year for ICANN as it celebrated its 20th anniversary and successfully completed the first Key Signing Key (KSK) rollover. For our Middle East and Africa regional office in Istanbul, 2018 marked the celebration of its fifth-year anniversary. Since its establishment in 2013, the Istanbul office has served as the focal point for stakeholders in this region and globally; providing consistent and cohesive tailored services to our stakeholders.

During these five years,

  • We grew from just a few staff members in the region to twenty-five;
  • The number of countries we engaged with grew from twenty to over sixty,
  • The number of services provided via the Istanbul office grew from two to eleven, helping us deliver increasingly efficient ICANN services and expertise at the local level.

The "Five Years in Focus" report will provide you with an overview of our growth in numbers and introduce you to the ICANN organization's team in the Middle East and Africa.

Please take a look at our report and join me in thanking all those who have made the Istanbul office a base for ICANN presence in this part of the world.

To many more years of growing together!

ICANN functions represented in the Istanbul regional office, and breakdown between the number of ICANN Staff members and interns
Middle East Engagement Map (participating countries since April 2013)
Africa Engagement Map (participating countries since April 2013)


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    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."