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About the Fellowship

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is the world’s premier Internet standards setting organization. It operates as a large, open international community of network designers, operators, vendor experts, researchers, and other interested technologists. While much of the IETF’s work takes through correspondence, actually attending an event promotes a stronger understanding of the standards process, encourages active involvement in IETF work, and facilitates personal networking with others that have similar technical interests.

Attendance by technologists from emerging and developing economies is currently limited.

However, there are many talented individuals in those regions who are interested and follow IETF work, and would benefit from the opportunities that attending an IETF meeting presents.

As such, the IETF Fellowship programme is part of the Next Generation Leaders programme.

Its main purposes are to:

  • Raise global awareness about the IETF and its work.
  • Foster greater understanding of, and participation in, the work of the IETF by technologists from emerging and developing economies.
  • Provide an opportunity for networking with individuals from around the world with similar technical interests.
  • Identify and foster potential future leaders from emerging and developing economies, and
  • Demonstrate the Internet community’s commitment to fostering greater global participation in Internet Forums such as the IETF.

Early Success

The Internet Society successfully piloted the Fellowship programme at the 66th IETF meeting in Montreal in June 2006. Alain Aina and Michuki Mwangi, Internet leaders in Togo and Kenya respectively, participated in the first pilot and wrote the following about their experience:

To most Internet engineers, the IETF is a revered organization and involvement is regarded as a career high. We felt that our participation at the IETF meeting in Montreal was both a personal achievement and a motivational experience. It gave life to a process that we had experienced only on mailing lists. Having had the opportunity to be at the meeting, we were able to appreciate the passion and the energy that are put into the IETF for the good of the Internet.”

Alain Aina and Michuki Mwangi from their article Impressions of Two IETF Newcomers about their experience as ISOC Fellows. IETF Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2.

Three individuals from the Pacific and Latin America participated in a second pilot phase at the 67th IETF meeting in San Diego in November 2006. All found the experience highly beneficial. Based on the success of the pilots, the Internet Society formalised the programme in 2007.
Success stories from Fellows are plentiful and highlight the benefits of attending the meeting in person, for both the fellow and the IETF. Please read one fellow's candid thoughts on attending the meeting (PDF: 15KB and visit our Fellowship alumni page for more testimonials.