Layal Jebran

Author Archives: Layal Jebran

6th Middle East School on Internet Governance: Making the Internet Community Stronger in the Middle East

The 6th Middle East School on Internet Governance (MEAC-SIG) took place this year in Rabat, Morocco, from 8-12 July. First held in 2014 in Kuwait, the school is an annual five days of intensive workshops that aims to inform and strengthen the regional Internet community and ensure active participation in national, local, and global Internet Governance fora. This year, it was hosted by The National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT) of Morocco, and jointly organized by the Arab World Internet Institute, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Governance Project at Georgia Tech, the Internet Society, and RIPE NCC.

The MEAC-SIG faculty includes experts from academia, civil society, business, the technical community, and government stakeholder groups.

This year’s speakers included Milton Mueller of IGP, Internet Governance expert Hanane Boujemi, Miriam Khuene of RIPE NCC, Fahd Batayneh of ICANN, and many other notables. They covered topics such as the IETF’s standardization, GNSO processes, Regional Registries, IGFs in all their capacities, and the inception and a historical view of Internet Governance.

The discussions were carried out in an open environment where everyone contributed their ideas together with multiple stakeholder groups. These groups mentioned how they started their journey in Continue reading

Middle East Chapters Advocacy Meeting

Last month, the Chapters Advocacy Workshop for the Middle East, took place in Beirut Lebanon. The two-day event hosted Chapter leaders and representatives from  Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Palestine, Somalia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. While the focus was on MANRS (Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security), it also included representatives from the Blockchain SIG (Special Interest Group).

During the two days, we discussed many issues related to the Middle East Chapters and their concerns, the 2019 plan of the Middle East Bureau, the strategic vision for the Internet Society, and the 2020 planning process. We acquired feedback from the delegates on our plans and community facing processes. We had ample staff representation that contributed immensely to the workshop, including, Sally Wentworth, Salam Yamout, Konstantinos Komaitis, Sally Harvey, Nermine El Saadany, and Aftab Siddiqui.

Aftab initiated the workshop with an introductory session on MANRS. He gave a technical breakdown on what MANRS is about before moving onto a hands-on workshop. The second day opened with an introduction to the 2020 Strategic Plan, followed by a PEST analysis led by Sally. Participants gave feedback on what’s important to their Chapters and to themselves as members Continue reading

Envisioning the Future in the Middle East

How can the brightest minds help transform the Middle East for the better? The MIT SciTech Conference hoped to find answers. The annual three-day conference, which took place 19-21 April in Boston, Massachusetts, brought together students and professionals from across North America and the MENA Region. This year’s theme was “Envisioning the Future: Cities of MENA,” and included an IDEAthon on Energy, Innovation, and Infrastructure.

Many people from all over the globe attended the conference, mainly Arabs who were also successful tech entrepreneurs, leveraging the Internet to reach communities across the world. They also spoke about their innovations and inspired the young participants, who included MIT students, through panels, keynotes, ideation processes, and SciTech talks.

The first day started with a tour of MIT Labs and the launch of the IDEAthon. After initial sessions and introductions, participants were left for the night to work on their ideas. Those ended up being presented at the end of the third day to judges, with cash prizes awarded to winners so that they could turn them into reality by implementing them throughout the Arab world.

Infrastructure is a challenge in the MENA region, especially with a rapidly growing population, and the conference Continue reading

Learning About Blockchain, Internet Governance, and Cryptocurrency

My first task as the Internet Society’s Regional Community Manager for the Middle East was to organize three events in a span of a week in three different cities around the Middle East about Blockchain with Dr. Walid Al Saqaf, Internet Society Board of Trustees, as the keynote speaker.

Amman, Beirut, and Dubai

July 8th was D-Day for Amman at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in partnership with [email protected] Jordan and Tank by Omnia. July 19th was Beirut, Lebanon, at the Movenpick Beirut, co-organized with the Internet Society Lebanon Chapter. July 12th was Dubai, UAE, at DTEC Silicon Oasis Authority, co-organized with the ISOC UAE Chapter. All three cities differed in the type of attendees, but the subjects were the same: Blockchain, Internet Governance, and Cryptocurrency.

Dr. Walid Al Saqaf, along with Waheed Al Barghouti, a cryptocurrency expert, conducted a four-hour morning workshop with a live mining demo, “create your blockchain” exercise, and smart contract creation, rules, and regulations. Moreover, there was an open forum in the afternoon that included high-level government representatives as well as private and public sector attendees.

Blockchain had been ambiguous to me, yet after the first workshop I found myself knowing more and more about Continue reading