Purpose: The Development and Public Responsibility Department has embarked on a full review of the ICANN Fellowship Program to ensure that the program continues its original purpose of strengthening the Multistakeholder Model through capacity building. This 45-day Public Comment period has been undertaken in order to gain community insight and recommendations on the Projected FY17 Improvements to the ICANN Fellowship Program as it relates to Fellowship application criteria and assessment process.
Current Status: Stakeholder feedback is requested on documents in Section III only, concerning the Projected FY17 Improvements. Section IV documents are for your information; updates to the Terms of the Program and Selection Committee have remained intact as far as content with only wording and layout changes.
Next Steps: At the close of the Public Comment Period, ICANN staff will assess and analyze the feedback provided in order to finalize and implement the improvements in the Fiscal Year 2017.
Section I: Description and Explanation
Leading up to the ten-year anniversary of ICANN's Fellowship program, the organization has evaluated this successful initiative in order to address the needs of the global community and provide appropriate enhancements to ensure that the program will continue to thrive while addressing today's ICANN's capacity-building needs. In this regard, the ICANN staff have identified areas of improvement, mainly to the language used to describe Applicant Selection Criteria and the application assessment process. In doing so, ICANN staff is looking to ensure that the Fellowship selection process remains accountable, transparent, and independent while continuing to strengthen the ICANN Multistakeholder Model.
ICANN's community makeup has evolved over the past 9 years, with the advent of new TLDs, including IDN gTLD's and ccTLDs, as well as expansion of the communities participating in the Multistakeholder Model. The ICANN Fellowship Program is expected/has to listen to the needs of today's ICANN community in order to build capacity that matches the needs of each community. This all-encompassing approach to review the existing program will ensure that the Fellowship application and assessment process remains accountable, transparent, and independent while continuing to strengthen the ICANN Multistakeholder Model.
Key Changes Made:
- The Fellowship applicant selection criteria has been updated to become more inclusive by opening the application process to all countries with priority given to applicants from underserved and under-represented communities who express financial need. Additionally, the emphasis on diversity (in terms of gender, sector, region, and experience), has become more pronounced in the program description and selection criteria.
- The information pertaining to the ICANN Fellowship Selection Committee has been updated to reflect the role in assessing each application based on updated Applicant Selection Criteria.
- The overall description of the Fellowship program has been updated to better communicate the program's objectives, process, and impact.
Section II: Background
The Development and Public Responsibility Department (DPRD) administers and strengthens the ICANN Fellowship program among other similar initiatives to respond to community and regional needs. These efforts are designed to strengthen the Multistakeholder Model by addressing participation needs. The Fellowship program is one example of how ICANN, through DPRD, is supporting the next generation of community members. The core value of ICANN is our commitment to the bottom-up decision-making approach. This commitment is embodied and broadened by the DPRD to build global inclusivity as it seeks out and incorporates community input on its activities and programs.
Participation in the Fellowship Program at an ICANN Meeting is a "fast track" experience of engagement into that community model, with presentations designed to facilitate understanding of the many pieces and parts of ICANN while providing opportunities to network and promoting interaction with staff and community leaders. Former ICANN President and CEO, Fadi Chehadé, has referred to the Fellowship program as a "crown jewel for ICANN" which truly enhances the Multistakeholder Model by supporting, educating, and training Fellows from diverse backgrounds from all around the world to become part of the future leaders of the Internet governing body. Over the past decade, ICANN has witnessed many success stories of members who joined their first meeting as a fellow and now hold positions at ICANN Board of Directors, Chair and Vice Chair of APRALO, former Chair of AFRALO and LACRALO, current LACRALO and NPOC Secretariats, GNSO and ccNSO Council Members, including several NomCom appointed over the past 9 years, NomCom Committee members, GAC Vice Chair and representatives, ccNSO representatives, members of SSAC and RSSAC Caucus as well as valuable Working Groups members. They not only bring their unique voice and experience to the leadership table, but also serve as a valuable resource and guide for the rest of the community to rely on. Additionally, many members of the Fellowship alumni now play a more impactful role in their respective countries to help in the development of the Internet for the future.
Almost a decade after its launch, the DPRD team decided to revisit this successful initiative to ensure that the Fellowship Program still reflects the capacity building needs of an evolving ICANN Community and continues to strengthen the Multistakeholder Model. In this regard, the ICANN Staff reviewed the program's application itself, assessment process, and Applicant Selection Criteria to see if all components have stood the test of time or if elements need to evolve to meet ICANN's current needs, standards, and objectives. In this review, the team also looked to ensure that it addressed specific concerns that relate to the use of economically-determined country lists.
The report of the research conducted by the ICANN staff, Background Research Report, is uploaded to this page for the community to review. Based on the finding of this research, the ICANN staff has come up with a plan to strengthen the Fellowship Applicant Selection Criteria and the overall application assessment process. The document titled, Projected FY17 Improvements, reflects on the improvements. Additionally, other documents are made available below to assist the community to navigate between current and updated Fellowship Process and Terms.
Section III: Relevant Resources
- Projected FY17 Improvements [PDF, 317 KB]
Section IV: Additional Information
- Background Research Report [PDF, 547 KB]
- ICANN Fellowship Process and Terms-Updated Version pending [PDF, 65 KB]
- Fellowship Committee-Updated Version pending [PDF, 68 KB]