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.


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.


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

Join a Chapter

Join a Chapter

What is an Internet Society Chapter? Internet Society Chapters are communities of like-minded people who work together to run...

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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...

Start your own SIG!
Join a SIG

Join a SIG

What is a Special Interest Group (SIG)? Internet Society Special Interest Groups or SIGs are formed by Internet Society...

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Take an online course

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

Promoting Routing Security in Middle East R&E
Promoting Routing Security in Middle East R&E Thumbnail
Deploy360 9 January 2018

Promoting Routing Security in Middle East R&E

The Internet Society continues to deepen its engagement with the Middle East by participating in the e-AGE 2017 Conference....

I’m Planning to Change the World
I’m Planning to Change the World Thumbnail
Economy 3 November 2017

I’m Planning to Change the World

Earlier this week, the Internet Society published the booklet Enabling Digital Opportunities in the Middle East. Using research created...

RIPE 75: IoT & Routing Security
RIPE 75: IoT & Routing Security Thumbnail
Deploy360 1 November 2017

RIPE 75: IoT & Routing Security

RIPE 75 was held on 22-26 October 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and was the second time the...

Digital Economy in the Middle East holds untapped potential, says new report
Press Releases 31 October 2017

Digital Economy in the Middle East holds untapped potential, says new report

More needs to be done to bring the benefits of the Internet to everyone Abu Dhabi, UAE –31 October,...

RIPE 75 starts in Dubai next week
RIPE 75 starts in Dubai next week Thumbnail
Deploy360 20 October 2017

RIPE 75 starts in Dubai next week

The RIPE 75 meeting is happening next week in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and it’s going to be a busy week...

Internet Situation in Egypt
Access 15 June 2017

Internet Situation in Egypt

In June 2017, the Internet Society Egypt Chapter issued a statement in reaction to some of the recent blocking...

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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

Content and Resource Manager

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)

Members globally
Chapters & SIGs