Skip to main content

The ICANN History Project Explores Global Engagement

Through the voices of the Internet pioneers and ICANN community leaders, the newest collection in The ICANN History Project explores how our international engagement has grown. In this new Global Expansion track of video interviews we explore how ICANN has expanded internationally, with robust and constantly broadening community participation from all corners of the world.

"ICANN has evolved tremendously in the last 10 years and become far more globalized," said Bruce Tonkin, a former ICANN Board member and active ICANN community member. "Using China as an example, I've seen them evolve dramatically in the last 10 years between having virtually no one attend ICANN meetings to now having quite a few people from both public and private sector in China participating."

Tonkin made those comments during a video interview that is part of the new Global Expansion track.

Nii Quaynor, the man often referred to as the "father of the Internet in Africa," highlighted the efforts that have gone into international outreach, "When ICANN started around '98, it did not have many Africans participating. And so, we took it upon ourselves to actually try to increase the African participation."

Quaynor notes in his History Project interview that ICANN's continued international expansion is vital, "ICANN has to communicate that it is genuinely reaching out to governments, to different geographies, and also to different communities."

When the U.S. government cut the last thread of control over ICANN during the IANA Stewardship Transition, it facilitated even greater global participation, according to Vanda Scartezini.

"People in Latin American had a feeling that ICANN was dependent of the decisions of the U.S. government," Scartezini, another former ICANN Board member and active community member, said in her History Project interview.

We hope you will explore these interviews in the Global Expansion track, and learn more about this important part of ICANN's evolution.


    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."