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Our Community member Naveed has been interviewed for this month's ICANN Newsletter! Here is the interview:

An ‘always on’ Experience

Naveed in IGF Sharm El Sheikh, during the DiploFoundation graduation ceremony (Photo: Seiiti Arata)

My name is Naveed Ul-Haq, and I am a two-time ICANN fellowship alumni, who, like others before me, would like to share my story of becoming a member of the ICANN community. I have been learning through Internet-related technologies since the start of my career; initially as a network engineer configuring, running and managing local DNS, e-mail and Internet services for my organization, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). More recently, over the last three years, I have been involved with research, policy and regulatory work on various information and
communication technologies (ICTs).

Though I did have some basic knowledge about IANA, ICANN and RIRs, the details about the Internet’s unique identifiers policy management were revealed to me during a presentation at “APT IPv6 workshop” Langkawi, Malaysia (Feb 2006). This workshop allowed me to develop a comprehensive wiki regarding ICANN and its functions while preparing an in-house presentation on ‘Internet’, which was delivered to PTA officers.

In order to explore more about ICANN policy issues, my best resource was the ICANN website. The most significant part for me was the public comments section, which really kick started my interest in reading ICANN documents and putting forth my thoughts on them. The way ICANN has provided various open platforms for anyone around the globe to contribute into the policy development process of these identifiers is commendable. I still remember that Improving Institutional Confidence, the Operating and Budget plan 2009 and IDN Fast track process were among the first ever ICANN policy documents that were read and commented on by me.

In 2007, I was placed as a member of PTA’s resource person group on the role of APNIC, ICANN, ISOC, IETF, etc …and their impact on national regulations. My first official assignment as a resource person was to act in response to an e-mail forwarded by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) regarding ICANN JPA. The information was to be circulated among the Internet stakeholders of Pakistan. While preparing the response, ICANN’s relevant documents really helped in my information gathering, and I submitted a response to the open consultation process undertaken by NTIA during February 2008.

My fellowship journey started with a click on the ‘fellowship office’ link on the ICANN website. While going through the fellowship details, I found myself eligible to apply and was impressed by ICANN’s support for citizens of developing countries to attend an ICANN meeting as it is almost impossible for us to acquire funding from our limited ICT training budgets. I still remember the excitement brought to me when I saw the fellowship selection results for the ICANN meeting in Cairo. My first ICANN meeting!

I'm an ICANN Fellow

The Cairo meeting was a lifetime experience, from the time I arrived at the Cairo Airport to the time I was at the departure lounge. I felt like I was in a family of diverse professionals from around the world: discussing, deliberating and sharing a bunch of words about Internet Nirvana. I learned and learned and learned! DNSSEC, Internet Governance, Cyber squatting, etc were a few of the terminologies that were heard for the first time by my ears.

Since my participation at Cairo and subsequently at the Sydney meeting, I have grown professionally on Internet issues, have made excellent global networking connections, contributed towards ICANN policy process through public comments, and most importantly, have had the opportunity to do something for my community.

With regards to opening new windows of learning for me, I have undertaken Diplo online Internet Governance Capacity building program 2009 (told to me by an ICANN fellow), and am presently enrolled in the research phase. I also earned an ISOC ambassadorship to the IGF meeting
at Sharm El Sheikh.

The fellowship assisted me in carrying out several official assignments, including the Establishment of Local Internet Peering points and transition of .pk ccTLD. Moreover, while gaining knowledge during ICANN meetings about IDNs and IPv6, I have been encouraged to initiate new projects like the creation of an IPv6 monitory group and development of a local version of my organization, PTA’s website.

I believe that IDNs will be an excellent platform for increasing Internet usage and growth in developing regions where language is rated as one of the barriers behind Internet proliferation. I think it is very important to develop local language versions of our websites in order to give a complete post-IDN experience to end-users.

I have also delivered presentations on ICANN to university students, wrote an article on IDNs and new gTLDs and in the near future, plan to hold a one-day workshop on ICANN, IGF and their issues. General awareness about ICANN is very limited in my part of the world and it is imperative to bridge the gap as much as possible. However, my journey has just started, and there is a long way to go!

I would like to encourage eligible citizens of the developing world to avail themselves of this amazing fellowship opportunity and be a part of the ICANN community. The future of the Internet is transforming and ICANN is a major stakeholder in this change. The door is open for you to come via public comments, blog, mailing lists, newsletters, etc to put your thoughts in it.

For those who are new to ICANN fellowship program, I would like to suggest that you try to collaborate with each other and of course the alumni. Speak out, ask questions and become involved with the ICANN community during the meeting. ICANN is an open organization so don’t hesitate to ask questions when you come across a Constituency member; they do embrace the fellows!. Whenever I close my eyes and try to visualize ICANN meetings, I feel an ‘Always On’ experience. Thank you ICANN for this!

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Comment by Siranush Vardanyan on March 1, 2010 at 11:10am
Excellent article, great development and thanks for sharing, Naveed!!!



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