ICANN and the Schools on Internet Governance

Building capacity or providing training in Internet Governance (IG) is critical to enabling stakeholder groups to participate fully in all IG-related processes. Schools on Internet Governance (SIGs) were created specifically to support this objective.

The first SIG emerged in 2007, a couple of years after phase two of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), and just one year after the first Internet Governance Forum (IGF). SIGs continue to grow, and today there are close to 20 initiatives around the world, some global, some regional, and some national.

ICANN has played a key role in SIGs and related initiatives as a partner, sponsor, faculty member, and/or student. ICANN’s role as the coordinator of the Domain Name System (DNS) and facilitator of the multistakeholder approach, as well our position as a leading global IG institution, are important topics in many SIG’s curriculum. ICANN’s rationale for supporting these initiatives includes awareness-raising, capacity development, an obligation to explain how the DNS actually works, outreach and engagement, and internal training opportunities.

The ICANN community has devoted significant resources to developing ICANN’s Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2021-2025, which in part focuses on building capacity on the technical and operational objectives.  To ensure alignment with the goals in the Strategic Plan, ICANN has conducted a review of SIGs around the world and identified a set of good practices to guide our future support of these initiatives.

We will engage with our current SIG partners to share our thinking about how we can align our participation in individual schools that share our core objectives. We also plan to simplify how new school organizers can engage with us in the future.

We will be sharing updates as this effort progresses. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Domain Name SystemInternationalized 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””icann.org”” is not an IDN.”

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