Last month (September 2015), it looked like there was an Internet Governance fiesta week in Yerevan, Armenia. Two important events were held there: the First Armenian Internet Governance Forum, and the 8th International conference for ccTLD registries and registrars of CIS, Central and Eastern Europe ("TLDCON-2015"). Both events were great successes, and received a great deal of interest from the Eastern European and Central Asian region. I would be remiss not to mention the festive and congenial mood that surrounded them both.
This year saw the first Armenian IGF take place, organized by the local ISOC chapter and supported by different agencies of the Armenian Government, as well as ICANN. The event was definitely a milestone for the multistakeholder process in Armenia, with promises to build upon its findings and lessons learnt for the next one. The Armenia IGF saw over 200 participants, mostly from Armenia, as well as international experts and officials from ICANN, ISOC, RIPE NCC and other global and regional institutions.
Fadi Chehade, President & CEO of ICANN, who couldn’t make it in person, greeted participants remotely, and congratulated them on the launch of the IDN .hye. During the event, questions regarding the development of the Internet in Armenia were discussed, with special attention paid to the launch of the հայ (.hye) Armenian IDN. An assortment of materials related to the event can be downloaded here: http://armef.com/hy/news/menq/internet-karavarman-arajin-hamajoxovy. If you don’t speak Armenian, https://translate.google.com may be of real help!
The second big event of the week was TLDCON-2015, organized by the Russian ccTLD .ru. Attendance exceeded 130 representatives from different Internet-related organizations, such as .RU/RF/SU, .BY/BEL, .UKR, .MD, .AM/HAI, .GE, .KZ/KA3, .KG, .LT, .LV and .RS. The conference resulted in constructive discussions about some of the region's most important Internet-related topics, such as the new gTLD program, IDNs, lessons learned and much more.
I left Armenia with positive takeaways and thoughts. The Republic of Armenia is an excellent example of how the multistakeholder model of Internet Governance may be regionally implemented.
The community seems dedicated and focused the development of the IDN հայ (.hye). The TLDCON conference continues to be a 'gravity center' for the regional stakeholders and for cross-regional cooperation. It is an excellent platform for sharing best practices and finding synergies on possible joint projects. We look forward to a repeat of this successful experience during the next IGF in Armenia, and the 9th TLDCON, scheduled for next year in Tbilisi, Georgia.