Capacity building programmes at ICANN and elsewhere

15 Jun 2017 09:00h - 10:45h

Event report

[Read more session reports from WSIS Forum 2017]

The moderator, Dr William J Drake (International Fellow & Lecturer, University of Zurich, Switzerland), started by saying that capacity development does not substitute good policy but it can be a requisite to building bottom-up programmes. He reminded the audience that people calibrate their level of involvement in ICANN processes, and that participation in the organisation, including in the decision-making process, can effectively be carried out remotely.

Dr Stephanie Borg Psaila (DiploFoundation) highlighted 3 important aspects concerning capacity building programmes, based on Diplo’s experience. The first is the need to constantly adapt training programmes in order to respond to the needs of the communities. This requires an agile approach. The second is that capacity development is more than training; it is also about community building, interaction with facilitators, and policy immersion, which helps to solidify the knowledge gained. Finally, online learning – which allows participants to remain on the job – bridges the gap between theory and practice, as it allows them to immediately put into practice that which they would have learned online.

Ms Lori Schulman (Senior Director, International Trademark Association (INTA), USA) detailed that INTA provides capacity building for internal meetings within the organisation, for the external public when they meet with institutional representatives and government officials, and also youth-oriented training, reaching out to students in classrooms to build awareness regarding the importance of trademarks, understanding counterfeiting, and trust. She mentioned that these learning initiatives should not be a one-time experience, but a long-term sustainable process.

Mr Olivier Crepin-LeBlond (ICANN, ALAC, France) explained that different constituencies within ICANN have their own capacity development programmes. He mentioned that At-Large has open working groups on capacity development, and on outreach and engagement, that are reaching parts of the world that are still outside ICANN’s range. He said that webinars focus on topics decided by the working groups, and that regional organisations also have their own webinars in local regions, both on demand and before global meetings, where sessions also take place.

Ms Anriette Esterhuysen (Association for Progressive Communications) brought her experience with the African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG). She explained it is a residential course, which includes social media training. She said that the practical aspect is reported as one of the most empowering experience for participants, who engage in role playing exercises – assuming the position of another stakeholder group, during night activities, to get a sense of what it is like to negotiate when you are sleep-deprived.

Dr Tatiana Tropina (NCUC, ICANN, Russia) highlighted that policy-making requires knowledge of how domain systems work and that for specific issues, it is hard to get people to work. She highlighted the need for diversity among participants. She also stressed the different challenges in what she called ‘inreach’, as in coming to the organisation, and in outreach, as in effectively engaging and contributing. She mentioned that the NCUC has a budget to support members and that additional support comes from ICANN’s global stakeholder team.

Prof. Wolfgang Kleinwaechter (EuroSSIG Founder, Germany) said that Internet governance is a multidisciplinary phenomenon, and that this is the way EuroSSIG tackles it. He mentioned that learning in a multistakeholder environment and teaching the Internet government leaders of tomorrow are the main concerns of the course. Kleinwaechter mentioned the formation of a Dynamic Coalition on the IGF Guadalajara that will meet at the IGF in Geneva to discuss Summer Schools.

Ms Jennifer Chung (Director of Corporate Knowledge, Dot Asia, China) mentioned NetMission, an ambassador programme that selects and supports young people to help provide sustainable development globally and locally through training, projects and participation in meetings. She stressed that the Youth@IGF and NextGen@ICANN programmes stemmed out of NetMission and that models and toolkits for Internet governance have been developed by participants. Chung also said that DotAsia keeps a robust network of alumni to identify and share opportunities.

Mr Adam Peake (ICANN Senior Manager for Civil Society Engagement) stressed that the essential thing for these schools is collaboration. He summarised ICANN’s capacity building programmes, mentioning a Fellowship Program that brings people into the process for the three global annual meetings, the NextGen@ICANN which has an educational approach, bringing students from the region where the meeting is being held, and the ICANN Learn platform, a series of online training courses that are useful for Internet governance learning initiatives to ensure participants attain a basic level of understanding of relevant concepts prior to the training.


by Claudio Lucena