The initial idea for the IETF Outreach initiative came to me during my first IETF, when I noticed that there were very few people attending/participating in the IETF meeting who were from Asia-Pacific outside of Japan, China and India.
Yes, the Asia-Pacific is a region of great contrast - but in today’s age, what binds the countries together is the Internet and the value it provides on many dimensions. All are interested in furthering the use of online technologies, a secure Internet and maximizing the opportunities the Internet provides.
Seeing the limited participation from many parts of Asia-Pacific, I got to thinking of what we could do to change that. After discussing with my colleagues and many well-wishers from the Internet community, I started putting together a plan of action on how this initiative could take shape.
With the very kind support of the APRICOT-APAN 2015 Executive Committee and the Internet Society Asia-Pacific Bureau who provided funding and programmatic support, I was able to see my initiative come to life with the IETF Outreach programme being implemented in Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines through the first half of 2016.
Our outreach has been to students and professionals through technical community meetings, ICT community-operated workspaces, tertiary institutions, technical/professional associations, private companies and network operator groups.
We reached out not only in the capital cities but other cities too e.g. Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia with a population of 2.8 million and an extended metropolitan area of 9 million inhabitants and, Cebu City, one of the most densely populated urban centres in the Philippines where the population is less than 23 years old.
Yes, we had some challenges – and a tight timeline – but with the support of the Internet Society Asia-Pacific Team, and our partners in the three countries, we were able to deliver localized programmes that generated much interest and helped with spreading greater awareness of what the IETF does and how one could get involved in the Internet standards-making process.
I would like to acknowledge the assistance and commitment of our country mentors and partners – Yudho and Garin in Indonesia, Harish and Olivia in Singapore, Nestor and Benjz in the Philippines – who helped us achieve our goals.
Through their efforts, we were able to reach nearly 800 people over 13 events in the three countries – and we are not done yet - with more to come! We already expect at least 2 Internet Drafts to come out of this exercise, which is really promising and an early endorsement of our efforts!