AfriNIC-14 Fellowship report
PUBLIC POLICY MEETING ATTENDANCE REPORT
(Submitted in partial fulfillment of AfriNIC's Fellowship Program)
Author: Walusungu Gondwe
Affiliation: Chancellor College, University of Malawi
Date: 10th June 2011
The African Network Information Center (AfriNIC) holds its public policy meeting twice every year to discuss policies that affect management of Internet resources in the African service region. To foster wide participation and awareness, AfriNIC offers fellowships to a number of individuals from diverse national and occupational backgrounds to attend the meetings and take part in the face-to-face policy discussion process. I was privileged to be one of the beneficiaries of the fellowship program for the 14th public policy meeting. The meeting took place from 8th June to 10th June 2011 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and brought together a large number of stakeholders; including technical experts, vendors, managers, government agencies and the academia. The exciting event included technical presentations, public discussions of several IPv4 policies and the filling up of several vacant positions in the organization through ballot.
The meeting was divided into two plenary sessions that covered the first and second days, both of which I fully attended. I actively contributed to the policy discussions by posing questions to presenters and taking part in consensus voting for several policies. In addition to these plenary sessions, AfriNIC organized a social event on the first day of the meeting at the Movenpick Hotel. I seized this opportunity to interact with other participants and fellows on an more informal setting.
The event was of great benefit to me as it gave me a chance to witness and actively participate in the process through which policies that affect the most critical Internet resources are arrived at. I also had the privilege of meeting in person most of AfriNIC staff members and also the people that I have only known through the Resource Policy Discussion (RPD) mailing list. This will greatly enhance my ability to participate and make contributions on the list. The technical presentations by leading industry presenters (Facebook, Packet Clearing House, AfriNIC and Gateway) were of great benefit as they highlighted the latest developments, policies and technologies in use on the Internet today.
The fellowship program is a very good initiative and it should be sustained. I should also commend the exceptional way the AfriNIC fellowship committee managed the fellow-up process from the day of the announcement of the fellowships to the arrival of selected fellows at the venue of the meeting. The communication was timely and comprehensive, which made my preparation for the meeting easy. However, I would like to suggest that AfriNIC should consider improving interaction between fellows. For instance, the newcomers meeting is very important as it presents a chance for all fellows to meet AfriNIC key staff and personally get to know each other. As such, I would suggest that the newcomers meeting should be scheduled at such a time to accommodate the arrival of all fellows whenever possible.
Summarily, the 14th AfriNIC Public Policy meeting was an enriching experience for me as a newcomer in the field of Internet resource management. This will serve to be a solid foundation upon which I plan to build a successful career in Internet governance and make positive contributions to future development of the Internet.