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Middle East

The Internet Society’s Middle East Bureau opened in 2016 with the aim to better support regional efforts towards the development of the Internet by building technical knowledge and know-how within the Internet community. The Middle East Bureau works in close collaboration with the African Bureau to also engage our North African Chapters.

Regional focus

The Middle East bureau focuses its work on community empowerment, Internet infrastructure and technical aspects as well as policy discussions that are relevant to the region.

Community empowerment

Empowering the regional Internet community is at the core of all of the Middle East bureau’s activities.

Currently, the Middle East region counts 5 Internet Society Chapters and more than 4000 individual members. The Chapters are located in Bahrain, Lebanon, Palestine, UAE and Yemen. The greater Middle East region also includes Chapters in Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia. We are also working with various groups interested in forming additional Chapters.

Internet Society Chapters in the region typically engage in capacity building and awareness raising activities.

At least once a year, we bring them together on the occasion of a Chapter meeting. In April, 2017, Chapter leaders from the Middle East and North Africa met in Muscat, Oman, alongside MENOG.

Read more about Internet Society Middle East Chapters Meeting 2017.

Read more about Beirut IXP Workshop.

Infrastructure

The Internet infrastructure relies on many operational technologies and standards such as DNS, DNSSEC, RPKI, IP, IPv6…  Our technical activities include organizing trainings and supporting the development of the Internet infrastructure. Our focus is Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), Communities Networks, and supporting Network Operators’ Groups (NOGs).

Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)
IXPs are traffic exchanges that let networks interconnect directly instead of making the data travel long distances internationally. IXPs, help to keep traffic local or regional, lowering costs, and improve network resilience. Internet service providers (ISPs) and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) typically exchange Internet traffic between their networks at IXPs.

Community Networks
Half of the world’s population is not yet connected to the Internet. After more than 25 years of Internet development, traditional business models are slow to reach remote, rural, and underserved areas. Community Networks provide alternative forms of access and break the one-way, monolithic access prerogative.

Network Operators’ Groups (NOGs)
Internet Network Operators’ Groups (NOGs) are informal, country-based, or regional groups that exist to provide forums for Internet network operators to discuss matters of mutual interest, usually through a combination of mailing lists and annual conferences. MENOG is the Middle East Network Operators group and convenes once a year.

Policy

Based on wide ranging consultations with the region’s Internet community, the following policies have been identified as being particularly relevant for the region:

  • Digital economy: Job Creation, Innovation, and entrepreneurship
  • Education and online learning
  • Development of Local Content

The Internet Society’s Middle East bureau thus made it its mandate to focus on these policy areas going forward. Together with a group of representatives from the regional Internet community, the bureau is in the process of finalizing a booklet that provides context, background and recommendations in view of enabling the region to make use of the great social and economic digital opportunity. The booklet will be published later in 2017.

Get involved

Start a SIG

Start a SIG

How to start a Special Interest Group The application and charter process is the same as for Internet Society Chapters, so...

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Join a SIG

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Take an online course

Take an online course to learn more about Internet technologies and policies, including Internet governance, spam, networking and IPv6.

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Middle East news

The Week in Internet News: Email Encryption Has Efail Moment
The Week in Internet News: Email Encryption Has Efail Moment Thumbnail
Encryption 21 May 2018

The Week in Internet News: Email Encryption Has Efail Moment

Encryption fails: A couple of stories in the news this past week demonstrated problems with encryption, or at least,...

Dustin’s Internet Community Roadtrip: In the Bay Area, What Redwoods Can Teach Us About the Internet
Dustin’s Internet Community Roadtrip: In the Bay Area, What Redwoods Can Teach Us About the Internet Thumbnail
Internet Governance 18 May 2018

Dustin’s Internet Community Roadtrip: In the Bay Area, What Redwoods Can Teach Us About the Internet

Dustin Phillips, Co-Executive Director of ICANNWiki, is traveling across the United States in his red Toyota Corolla, making connections with the...

Digital Self-Defense for Palestinian Schoolgirls
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Beyond the Net 18 May 2018

Digital Self-Defense for Palestinian Schoolgirls

Cyber-bullying is a growing phenomenon amongst preteens. Studies have established that nearly 43% of children are victims of cyberbullying...

Sovereignty Is More Than a Designation, It Is a Responsibility
Sovereignty Is More Than a Designation, It Is a Responsibility Thumbnail
Access 17 May 2018

Sovereignty Is More Than a Designation, It Is a Responsibility

The Internet can provide access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunity, but many indigenous communities face challenges to Internet...

RIPE 76 Sees Strong Focus on Routing Security
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Deploy360 17 May 2018

RIPE 76 Sees Strong Focus on Routing Security

The RIPE 76 meeting is happening this week in Marseille, France, held at the fantastic location of the Palais...

The Piikani Cultural and Digital Literacy Camp Program
The Piikani Cultural and Digital Literacy Camp Program Thumbnail
Beyond the Net 16 May 2018

The Piikani Cultural and Digital Literacy Camp Program

The Piikani Nation in Southern Alberta, concerned they were in danger of losing their Blackfoot culture and traditions, sought...

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Resources

Please find in this section, relevant material and policies for the Middle East Region.

Middle East team

Salam Yamout

Regional Director Middle East

Christine Saegesser Baethge

Senior Manager, Global Chapter Development

Victor Ndonnang

Manager Chapter Development, Africa-Middle East

Kevin Meynell

Manager, Technical and Operational Engagements

Our Chapters and members in the Middle East

The Internet Society’s Middle East region currently counts 4,501 individual members, out of whom 2,478 are also members of one of our Chapters in the region. Our Chapters in the region are in Bahrain, Lebanon, Palestine, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. However, there is a close collaboration with the African regional Bureau with regards to the Chapters and members in North Africa.

(Numbers as of March 2018)