ICANN Fellowship – Notes and Nodes

By: Sonny Zulhuda (an ICANN Fellow)

Twenty-three fellows, from twenty countries, of five continents, of diverse background and affiliations, met and gathered in one room called Morrison in Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore every 7-9 morning from 19th to 24th June 2011.

Under the mentoring of one passionate soul Janice, they intensively learned about a new world famously known for its administration and management of the world’s Internet, and infamously known for its excessive use of acronyms and abbreviations (wink) — ICANN (well.. the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, that’s it). Uuh.. about the excessive acronyms, thank God they created the portal, see it here. ^_^

The ICANN Fellowship is indeed more than just the dawn meeting routine. In fact, in every day in the whole week, there were approximately not less than a dozen meetings, briefings or discussions that may go parallel to ensure the fellows are kept busy. At few occasions some fellows (like me) tried to make use of the Remote Participation facility to grab two or more discussions at once — which ended un-impressively mainly due to our incapability to basically follows two things at one time.

But we are all certain that this Remote Participation facility is there not without a reason. There are times where one could not be there but is willing to follow the discussion, retrieve the materials or even ask questions. And that is what has happened, efficiently! Isn’t that awesome?

At the end of the Fellowship, I figured out few things why we all the 23 Fellows are entitled to feel lucky, here are some:

  • The network in the making was strategically great. We never know what each of us will end up being or making; this fellowship has built up the sense of togetherness that hopefully can be capitalized for the future of the Internet and the World;
  • The fellows were able to meet in person with those who’s who of ICANN who took turn to speak and take questions in the Fellow morning meetings. This is great because unless there is this occasion, we can only hear those people speak from distance on stage on any given forum — and most likely without similar chance for dialogue, questions or even post-talk chatting.
  • The timing of the Fellow meeting is just GRREAAT… Meeting at seven a.m. is unmatched in any professional programmes. And we just did it, attentively and passionately. Well the good news is that they provide good breakfast right before we start.
  • The fact that the Fellows are usually the Newcomers are another great factor why we felt lucky. We could have spent hundreds or thousand of hours trying to understand what ICANN is.. and this has been efficiently cut short by the Fellowship programmes. Well, I am not assuming that all the Fellows are now readily capable to explain what ICANN is……. (are you folks?). But at least, we felt that the light and guidance is there as to how to understand ICANN better and easier.
  • Among the last thing I could figure out here is that the Fellowship is full not only with professional and intellectual discourse, but ALSO with emotional encounters. As we had laughter and cries all along, especially at the last day of the program. Oops.. I’m not going to write here who cried, who sobbed or who wept (wink), but all of us really had an emotional day. And we will certainly take this emotion together with our passion to for the future’s Internet.
Group Photo (credit: Jorge Etges)

Before I finish my note, I wish to thank to everyone who had shared with me during the one-week Fellowship (and even the pre-fellowship days). I am proud that my friend Waqar is not the only one who can name everyone in the room (he forgot Chris actually;)). I could do it too! 🙂

With that, I wish to thank you: Sira, Waqar, Kasyif, Sang, Anandan, Terry, Andrew, Alejandra, Joy, Amrita, Natali, Fatima, Sorina, Wafa, Yousuf, Siva, Valery, Gustavo, Burma, Chris, Saso, Khoudia and Siva! (Phew..!). Let’s keep connecting; and let it be a good, broad, ubiquitous, wireless, secure, bottom up and virtually continuous networking!

BTW: those of you (fellows and others) interested in the next ICANN Global Meeting in Dakar, you can check it out here.

Last but not least, Thank You Janice! Thank you for your guidance, your sharing and caring, your spirit and passion, your smile and hug, your understanding and encouragement. Thank You! They called you teacher, guru, mentor, inspiration, instructor, manager.. but the best I like is… you ARE our Mama Bear! 🙂 —–>

Thank You for all the speakers and organizers, thank you ICANN!

More News on ICANN 41 Meeting:

  • The Straits Times, Singapore: “Internet body approves new web suffixes” (link).
  • The Guardian, UK: “Icann announces huge expansion of web domain names from 2012” (link).
  • The New York Times, USA: “An Explosion in Universe of Web Names” (link).
  • ZDNet: “ICANN to ramp domain name variations dramatically: Business headaches likely” (link).
  • The Associated PRess: “Coming soon to the Internet: The .whatever address” (link).


  1. Thank you Dr Sonny for giving a detailed note on ICANN Meeting in Singapore. Great. It is nice to see all newcomers in the photo. Of course, we all must thank Janice for her excellent guidance and support during our stay in Swissotel conference halls. Your blog spot is informative and continue to write more on the latest development and activities taken up by you. I have informed about you among our friends in Gandhigram Rural University, Tamilnadu.

    With kind regards,


    1. Thank You for dropping by. Hope to write more about ICANN in the future. Thanks for all those info that you’ve sent me, and hope we can meet again some other time. My best regards.

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