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Rafael Lito Ibarra

ICANN Board Member

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Better known as Lito, Rafael Ibarra was born in San Salvador, El Salvador, in 1957. He holds professional degrees in Electrical Engineering and Business Administration, as well as a graduate degree in New Information and Communication Technologies.

Lito's work and expertise in the field of Information and Communication Technologies, more particularly the Internet, include private, academic and government companies and institutions, both in El Salvador as well as in the region of Central and Latin America.

Since 1993, a time when Central America was starting its journey towards the new connectivity, Lito has been actively involved in the process of developing, disseminating and appropriatiing the new forms of communication with the aim of using them as a means for human development and differentiation. He managed and administrates the .SV domain name delegation (received from Jon Postel), as well as an IPv4 address block equivalent to a class B.

Lito participates in organizations and initiatives related to domain names, IP addresses, widespread access to technology, educational computing, Internet exchange points, e-government, e-commerce, Internet governance and other issues relating to the Information Society in general.

In addition to serving as Founding President and Executive Director for SVNet (Top Level Domain Registry for El Salvador), he participates in various socio-technological ventures and cooperates with private technology and telecommunications companies, government institutions, academic institutions, and NGOs.

At the international level, Lito is a founding member of LACTLD and RedCLARA; at the national level in El Salvador, he is a member of SVNet, Infocentros, RAICES, Asociación Conexión, Club TIC, and CasaTIC. He is also director of the Salvadoran ICT Cluster, President of the Advisory Council on Innovation, Science and Technology and involved with other private organizations and companies having to do with the industry. He regularly contributes to print and digital publications, and frequently gives lectures and conferences aimed at disseminating and promoting the proper use of new technologies. His blog can be found at

Lito served on the boards of LACTLD, RedCLARA and LACNIC, and was the first person to be part of these boards concurrently. He also serves on the boards of non-profit organizations, government entities and private companies in El Salvador. He contributes to LACNIC as a Board Member, serving since 2010. Starting in October 2015, he serves ICANN as a Board Member.

Lito has conducted research and directed graduation theses and projects on related topics. He is considered an authority on Knowledge Society issues in El Salvador and other countries around the region, which is the reason he is frequently interviewed by the media and invited to be a part of government, international cooperation and multilateral agency initiatives. He is known as the "father of the Internet" in El Salvador because of his role in its initial management and his subsequent contributions. He has served on judging panels at national and international events and has been honored with several awards for his work.

He is married, and has three children and two grandchildren, from whom he is able to learn firsthand the sociology and psychology of the new digital society in which we live and the evolution of which we must define.

He was appointed to serve as an ICANN Board Director. His term will expire at the Annual General Meeting 2018.

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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."