Flashback: My Experience at ICANN60 Abu Dhabi

I am Mubashir Sargana, resident of a village in District Rajanpur and currently living in Islamabad. Driven by resilient passion and motivated by consistent appetite, I am always backpacked to explore new platforms and exploit opportunities for my personal growth and also for betterment of my community.

My experience at ICANN meetings has always been splendid and awesome in terms of their impact on my learning and exposure.

I am writing this blog post to share memorable experience of ICANN60 held in Abu Dhabi on 28th October to 3rd November 2017.


Coming from a so-called backward area of the country, where the country itself is going through a phase of digital evolution, I consider it a pride for myself to be a part of global community working on better and safe internet for the people around the world.

I used to attend remote hubs of ICANN meetings which were hosted by local chapter of Internet Society. I found all the discussions very interesting and intriguing. I started applying for different opportunities to attend ICANN meeting physically. And I was lucky when I got selected as NextGen fellow to attend ICANN 55 held at Marrakech. This very first experience was quite overwhelming. It was not so easy for me to follow my planned schedule to attend all those sessions in my list because I wanted to learn about so many interesting things. I got confused many times about many things but the interaction with the domain experts outside the meeting rooms, helped a lot to clear my head. Though I have been following the activities and discussions at ICANN meetings through remote hubs but it was my first experience to attend an ICANN meeting in person. That meeting and the experience over there actually strengthened my interest to increase my involvement in the discussions. Later I got opportunity to attend ICANN57 and ICANN59 as a Fellow.

Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep Going.Sam Levenson

ICANN60 & My Experience

Beside having experience of attending 3 ICANN meetings, on 26th July 2017 (the day when announcement of selected fellows for ICANN60 was expected) I was anxiously refreshing fellowship page on ICANN website just to have a look at the list.

Till my last meeting, ICANN 57 which I attended as a Fellow, I was not sure about so many things. Among them was most interestingly my confusion from where to start my participation in ICANN activities and also to decide the track that could actually help build my own capacity.

When I was applying for ICANN 59, there was only one purpose in my mind and that was to see and experience how this Policy Forum is conducted and what kind of discussions are there. When I came to know about the possible topics that were going to be discussed, one of them was about DNS Security, which is closely related to my professional background. I was lucky enough and got opportunity to join ICANN59 as a Fellow. It was really a very fruitful learned experience. Through my previous involvement in the discussions on matters related to Cyber Security and the Infrastructure (more specifically related to Root Servers) & its stability, I got lot of knowledge and insight and also about many other related aspects through my last meeting, ICANN57 held at Hyderabad.

Besides having more technical background I was also inclined towards the sessions focused more on policy stuff which actually brought me to ICANN 59. I have been working Internet Governance and its related issues from almost last two years. And the focus of ICANN & other leading organizations round the world and their active involvement in capacity building of people from least developed countries was an encouraging notion for me to work more actively in this domain. I wanted to learn more about the policy development and implementation process

During the meeting, I attended number of sessions directly or indirectly related to my field of interest. I can say that the sessions arranged specially for Fellows were really outstanding. Though it was my 3rd meeting but I came across and learned so many new things just through these sessions and opportunity to discuss some very serious concerns I had in my mind, helped me a lot to do it on that floor.

Most beneficial session for me was the one DNSSEC Workshop where I happened to learn a lot about so many things that encompass this very important domain under cybersecurity. It is pertinent to mention here that I attended some of GAC sessions very first time in an ICANN meeting. The sessions I attended were ’GAC Meeting to Discuss CCWG Accountability WS2 Matters’, ‘GAC Public Safety Working Group meeting’, ‘GAC Session on the Implementation of new Bylaws’ and ‘GAC Human Rights and International Law Working Group Session’. The discussion of GAC members on policy development process and decision making in ICANN was really awesome.

One more important aspect of this experience was the networking through this opportunity that I had benefited from it to my fullest. I had meetings with domain experts from different organizations and had very fruitful discussions with them about emerging issues related to Cyber Security, Privacy, Surveillance and many more. Before attending ICANN59, I was lucky enough to get some mentorship opportunity from Maureen Hilyard. She helped me a lot and we discussed not only some policy stuff but also some issues related to regional distribution.

Take away & Future Plans:

This meeting was really a great experience both in terms of learning and also in terms of networking with so many new people coming especially from African region. I discussed so many issues related to cybersecurity, privacy and surveillance. I also got very useful information how actually they are dealing with such issues.

Now I have planned to focus more on my professional grooming so that I should be able to serve not only my community in more effective manner but also to play my role in global community. The involvement and active participation of my community in such forums is very less. I always aim and try to gain more and more knowledge which could be ultimately shared with the local community. Other than knowledge, the connections through networking over there was worthy take away for me,

I am currently managing Secretariat of Pakistan School on Internet Governance (PKSIG). I took up this responsibility voluntarily for the capacity building of my local community about Internet Governance and its related issues and also to provide them understanding about necessary actions to be taken in the current Internet Governance environment. It will offer potential governance scenarios to analyze its international, regional, and national political, economic, and technical implications. I am expanding the scope of this initiative to other areas of the country. In our recent PKSIG 2016, we invited participants from all across the country and it came out to be a very productive event. Onward we are planning to organize more activities.


I would like to mention here my one of best experiences I had during ICANN59. I, at last met with Mama J. J I heard a lot about her and was anxious to see her in-person. It was really nice to meet her. The result of her passionate and sincere efforts can be seen within ICANN. She has done really a wonderful job in bringing Fellowship Program at this stage. And now I believe that Siranush has got that potential to take it forward.

I met with so many other fellows and from across the world I never met before and the time we spent together over there, is really a worthy takeaway for me. I learned a lot from my peers and their guidance to better make use of such opportunities became a valuable asset for me. I would like to thank them all, especially Dr Naveed, Ines, Renata and Wisdom.

And yeah how can I forget the adventures during and after the meeting with my dear friends like Adeel, Gaby, Soraya, Lianna and many others. Off course, the head of the gang, Siranush has been very nice to us and she has always helped us a lot not only in our professional grooming but also her company during excursions was really amazing.

I am thankful to ICANN for this wonderful learning experience and I really feel blessed to be a part of this Global Family.

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