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The Middle East Engagement Journey

As we embark on the new Fiscal Years (FY) 2021-2025 Middle East Regional Plan that came into effect on 1 July 2020, it is worth reviewing our regional undertakings and accomplishments over the past four years.

30 June 2020 marked the end of the FY 2017-2020 Middle East Regional Strategy, now referred to as regional plan. Its overarching goal was "to attract more active and engaged participants from the region to contribute to ICANN's policy development processes and to acquire leading roles within the ICANN community." To that end, our engagement efforts focused on building capacity around the technical and policy aspects of the Domain Name System (DNS). This included raising awareness of ICANN's role, encouraging participation in its work, and supporting efforts to further develop the domain name industry at the local and regional levels.

Covering the 26 countries in the region, we engaged with stakeholders on a range of activities from regional events and webinars, to technical workshops and deployments of root server instances and Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC).

The engagement snapshot below highlights some of the key achievements between FY 2017 and FY 2020, the time period covered in the strategy. Click the graphic below to explore the engagement snapshot. 

Middle East Engagement Snapshot FY2017-2020

Notably, we saw an increase in community members joining different Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs), in addition to many others leading and participating in various regional initiatives and groups. During this period, we had five community members from five different countries assuming leadership roles as chairs and vice-chairs of ICANN's Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees (SO/ACs); five community members from three different countries joining as members of SO/AC Councils; and another ten volunteers from six different countries joining as members of SO/ACs, the Nominating Committee (NomCom), and review teams. During the same period, one Universal Acceptance (UA) Ambassador from Egypt was appointed, and 58 volunteers from 15 countries joined the regional strategy working group that took lead on the development of the FY 2017-2020 regional strategy.

On the regional level, the Task Force on Arabic Internationalized Domain Names (TF-AIDN), consisting of over 30 members, completed the development of Label Generation Rules (LGRs) for Arabic language domain name labels at the second level. In addition, the introduction of the Middle East Space in 2017 has added value by providing an excellent avenue for community members to engage, both face-to face and virtually, deliberating on key ICANN issues and providing regional input.

We also saw the introduction of several targeted regional community member and participant surveys to assess the efficiency of our efforts in the region. The latest survey aimed at seeking feedback on ICANN's engagement in the Middle East during FY 2020. To see the survey results, click here.

I am very grateful for our community in the Middle East. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their tireless efforts and dedication in supporting ICANN org's engagement work in the region. The progress made to further engage the Middle East community in ICANN would not have been possible without the collaboration between ICANN org and the regional volunteers. Thank you.

Please contact us at for feedback or questions.


    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."