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The Fellowship Spirit

Part Two of a Four-Part Blog Series (Read Part One)

FY18 Budget and Fellowship … is that a weird way to start this second blog on the Fellowship spirit? As the ICANN community, organization and Board prepare to finalize the budget for the next fiscal year, the Fellowship Program stands out as a unique investment. All three parts of ICANN have grown to understand how the program has made a positive impact on ICANN over these past 10 years. But what exactly is the investment? Why is it important that we continue funding the program?

Within the next two months, the ICANN organization will share the results of a recent survey, coinciding with the ten-year anniversary of the Fellowship Program. Our goal is to provide real-time statistics and to better understand the program's impact. Where are these individuals today in the Internet ecosystem compared with where they were before the Fellowship Program? Are they engaged in regional or community work within ICANN? If not, how can we bring them back to volunteer today?

We're waiting for the survey results to be compiled. But we already know that over 600 individuals participated in the program – in its various stages of evolution and growth – since its inception in 2007 at ICANN29 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Then, 33 candidates were selected out of 125 applicants from developing nations around the world. Today, up to 60 individuals may be selected for each meeting. We are still committed to supporting those with financial challenges, but today's selection process also focuses on diversity and on bridging gaps in sector or community representation.

We'd like to highlight just a few of our alumni who have been contributing to the ICANN community since their Fellowship experience:

  • Gao Moseau, Botswana, ICANN29
    Member of Consumer Choice, Competition and Consumer Trust Review Team, Fellowship Selection Committee member
  • Tracy Hackshaw, Trinidad and Tobago, ICANN35
    Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) representative (later GAC Vice Chair), Community Onboarding Pilot member
  • Maureen Hilyard, Pacific Islands, ICANN39
    At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) member, ALAC liaison in Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO)
  • Alejandra Reynoso Barral, Guatemala, ICANN41
    ccNSO Secretariat/ccNSO Council member; Community Onboarding Pilot member
  • Amrita Choudhury, India, ICANN41
    Alumna of several Fellowships, civil society activist within the Internet Society (ISOC) India Chapter, supporter of ICANN's Global Stakeholder Engagement team (including partnering with Head of India at ICANN57 Hyderabad)
  • Beran Dondeh Gillen, Gambia, ICANN44
    Nominating Committee (NomCom) appointee to ALAC, Community Onboarding Pilot member
  • Lianna Galstyan, ICANN48
    ISOC Armenia member, At-Large Structure (ALS) representative in Asian, Australasian and Pacific Islands Regional At-Large Organization (APRALO), leader of Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) initiative in Armenia
  • Marilia Maciel, Brazil, ICANN48
    Member of Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC); Non Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG) representative in Generic Names Supporting Organization (gNSO) Council, currently at DIPLOFoundation and previous NetMundial
  • Dusan Popovic, Serbia, ICANN50
    Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) member; created yearly conference around Intellectual Property at University in Belgrade with ICANN speakers; Community Onboarding Pilot member, NextGen Selection Committee member
  • Nadira Al-Araj, Palestine, ICANN53
    Founder of the first ALS in Palestine, APRALO member, community member working with ICANN's regional team since ICANN53, active member of Arab IGF MAG

These Fellowship Alumni, now established ICANN community members, are proof that the program works. By investing resources and guidance during a newcomer's journey, the ICANN organization and community have benefited from the continued participation of these talented and committed individuals.

We invite you to be a part of the Fellowship Program. If you'd like information about how to apply or have any feedback or comments, please email us at


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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"""" is not an IDN."