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The Middle East

A happy muslim woman © iStockPhoto / Internet Society

Regional Context

The Internet Society has long been interested in efforts in the Middle East to support and preserve a global, open, robust and accessible Internet. We have watched the numbers of ISOC Chapters and Members in the region grow quickly, particularly in recent years, and have heard from ISOC Chapter meetings, discussions with members, and representatives from academic institutions and governments that there is a strong interest in having a stronger ISOC presence in the Middle East.  

We conducted a survey during 2013 to seek advice on a range of key questions, including the level of presence and the geographic scope for a Bureau in the Region, and the critical issues that stakeholder wished to see addressed.    

As a consequence of these consultations, we are seeking to build through the appointment of a Regional Director and his or her engagement with local stakeholders, an active and supportive presence in the region.

Our objective is that within 3-5 years, a majority of countries in the region will have embraced the Internet Model, with governments and policy makers engaged alongside ISOC staff, chapters and members to promote an open, resilient and sustainable Internet throughout the region.

How We Work

A physical ISOC presence within the Middle East region is important in order to further enhance understanding and engagement between ISOC and chapters, members and others in the region and to strengthen the support, programs and partnerships within the region. 

The mission is to build an active and supportive presence that supports access and affordability, policy and technology initiatives, and capacity building in the areas of ITE, local content and Internet governance; supports growth and engagement of ISOC with Chapters local companies, academia and governments; and builds organization and individual membership as well as support for other ISOC activities, particularly in the region.  

We Focus On

In establishing our regional presence, our main focus over the first 3-5 years will be:

  1. Policy - spearhead advocacy for the fundamental principles of the Internet Model and Internet Ecosystem, including the promotion of the multi stakeholder model and key messaging to illustrate the importance of the Internet to further economic and social development.
  2. Technology - in particular relating to accelerating the deployment of key Internet technologies and IETF standards; advancing solutions that enhance privacy and identity while safeguarding user choice and global Internet interoperability; and, advancing the implementation of solutions that enhance Internet infrastructure and data security, while working to preserve the open, global Internet.
  3. Capacity Building - we not only want to benefit from existing initiatives to reach policy makers, technology fellows and leaders, but also want to scope our impact and reach out to the future leaders and influencers.
  4. Access and Affordability - this incorporates our ITE work as well as other development work aiming to promote access and affordability to reach the next billion and empower communities - the latter being through our community grants for example.
  5. Partnership and Funding – identifying and packaging fundable projects in the region, mapping funding resources and reaching out to potential partners,
  6. Chapter support and tools, in particular to work with chapters, members and local stakeholders and working with ISOC’s global thought leadership to contribute significantly to the sustainability of the open global Internet.

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