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Increasing Stakeholder Engagement in Beirut

From 5-6 November 2014, my colleagues Dave Piscitello, Patrick Jones and I travelled to Beirut to engage with local stakeholders. Our first stop was the American University of Science and Technology (AUST), where we conducted a workshop for Lebanese Law Enforcement Agencies on DNS abuse. The participants included the students of AUST along with senior officials from the Cyber Crime Bureau of the Lebanese Armed Forces, Internal Security Forces, and the Lebanese Police Academy.

Over the course of the two-day workshop, participants learned about DNS abuse through real-world examples. The content we presented generated lively interactions, which contributed to an increased understanding and awareness of this very important topic.

Dave Piscitello of ICANN speaking at the LEA Workshop at the American University of Science and Technology in Beirut

Dave Piscitello during the LEA Workshop

Our second stop was the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for Beirut and Mount Lebanon for a meeting with the Lebanese Internet Center (LINC). LINC is the first multistakeholder body to develop Internet-related policies in the Arab world. The goal of this meeting was to provide participants with updates on the IANA Functions Stewardship Transition, the ICANN Accountability processes and the gTLD program. It also allowed us the opportunity to touch on topics concerning digital resilience and cybersecurity.

We received positive feedback, which led to a constructive dialogue on how we can help build awareness in the country and region. Significantly, Nabil Bukhalid, CEO of LINC, stressed that the Lebanese community needs to closely monitor and be engaged with ICANN. We also learned that there was great interest in having ICANN deliver more training programs in the future.

Attendees at the meeting of LINC on Beirut

Attendees during the Meeting at LINC Headquarters

At the end of the 2-day event, we were approached by the AUST to sign a MoU for further such training at their facilities. A follow-up request was made later on during the Arab IGF in Beirut.

Given the positive feedback we received from both the workshop and the meeting, and the interest in further training, we look forward to many more opportunities to engage in the MENA region.


    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."