FINAL - ICANN Academy Pilot Leadership Training Project 

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DRAFT - Project Proposal ICANN Academy: Learning how a multistakeholder Internet governance model works in practice 

1. Introduction

Since the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 2003 – 05 it became evident that Internet Governance (IG) is a new global challenge and a unique field of regulatory requirements that cannot be handled with traditional state or national instruments. The creation of a broader body like the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) besides ICANN with its fixed mandate was an appropriate answer to the new questions and interpretations around the disputed term “governance”. The evolving concept and model of IG was soon accepted by the Internet communities, since it describes the way in which the Internet has been governed since its early days.

ICANN is the world first and most advanced multistakeholder organisation in the global Internet Governance ecosystem. However, newbie’s in ICANN meetings, including representatives of governments, need a lot of time and advice to understand the structure, issues and working methods of the numerous ICANN bodies. There is only little literature available for newcomers (in contrast to organisations like the United Nations, OECD, IOC or the World Bank) where outsiders can get compressed and structured information about the organization as a whole. Over the years "learning by doing" has emerged as the only concept to get closer into the inner life of ICANN meetings and the processes in between the meetings. Even for people who apply for an ICANN leadership position, it needs sometimes two or three full ICANN meetings before they understand the complex ICANN procedures and issues and how the multistakeholder model is working in practice. As a result a lot of potential knowledge, wisdom and energy of both ICANN participants and ICANN leaders remain unused and is not fully available for the improvement of ICANNs performances and further development as a multistakeholder model. This is in particular a waste of resources of ICANN volunteers, who have been selected by the Nominating Committee (NomCom) or the various ICANN constituencies to serve in a leadership position, either in the board, or in a Council or an advisory committee.

ICANN has recognized this weakness and has developed various instruments to improve the situation for newbie’s and new appointed board members by offering special training lectures for participants in the fellowship program and for new elected board members. However there is no systematic mechanism in place which would provide a more structured and analytical presentation of ICANN, its mission, core values, structure, working methods and specific ICANN issues (DNSSEC, new gTLDs, iDNs, CERT, IPv6 etc.) as well as of the broader historical and political environment in which ICANN works as an important part of the global Internet governance eco system. 

The ICANN Academy could fill this existing gap and provide various forms of structured training and education both for newbie’s, appointed ICANN officers and a broader public (including members of the governmental advisory committee). The ICANN Academy could develop various courses, tailored according to the specific needs of the various target groups, like

a) a general introduction into ICANN course for newbie’s (based on the existing lectures for participants in the fellowship program (financed by ICANN)

b) an enhanced 20 hours lecture programme for new appointed ICANN officers for the board, councils and advisory committees (financed by ICANN)

c) a general programme for interested individuals (financed by participants fees and sponsors)

To improve ICANNs efficiency there is a special need to provide a comprehensive educational programme for new elected ICANN officers (board, council and advisory committee members) who are selected annually by the NomCom and the various ICANN constituencies (see b.). Such a programme could be developed complementary to the already existing training activities for selected newbie’s under the fellowship programme (see a.).

A course for elected/selected ICANN officers should include not only ICANN specific knowledge but also lectures on the broader historical and political environment under which ICANN operates as an important element of the global Internet Governance eco system with the aim to enable ICANN official representatives to understand better the political, economic and legal implications of their work in the relevant ICANN bodies and their special individual responsibility and accountability to the global Internet community and the governments of the world.

Such a programme could be organized after each annual ICANN meeting, when new appointed ICANN officers take their seat in the relevant bodies, when they have already participated in at least one full meeting and have generated a lot of questions which under the present circumstances remain often unanswered until the next ICANN meeting.

Based on the experienced of training for members of the fellowship programme and the special course for ICANN officers, in the mid-term a third element - a programme for a broader public, financed by participants fees and sponsors - could be developed as a third element of an ICANN Academy (see c.). Such an offer could be made also in particular for new members of the governmental advisory committee. 

2.  Point of departure

Some of the particularities of this IG model were characterised by multistakeholderism and enhanced cooperation and thus bypassing the former inter-governmental level with its state actors. The new concept included other actors like the business sector and civil society – “in their respective roles” – necessitating other forms of interaction, consultation and decision-making. One problem was: there were / are rarely any academic institutions where IG actors could study characteristics and complexity of the new IG model. Therefore capacity building was soon understood as one of the urgent requirements among the Internet communities to better understand the different thematic layers, emerging issues and existing regulation structures. The existing conferences like the annual IGF (since 2006) and the regular ICANN meetings (besides some other thematic events) were the few foras where actors and communities meet and discuss – but limited to an almost manageable size of people (“usual suspects”) and known insiders. At the IGF level, there is a slightly broader foundation and outreach by the thematic Dynamic Coalitions (DC) and related networks, whereas ICANN is still and broadly perceived as rather “technical” and limited on key issues like the DNS and IP addresses. It appears that it is very difficult and time consuming for new stakeholder groups to get into ICANN and understand processes, acronyms and policy. ICANN’s At-Large structure with its five RALOs (besides the NCUC of the GNSO) are the few access or outreach points to constantly enlarge its narrow insider basis. The fellowship program is another side door where hand-selected newcomers can enter the ICANN biotope. 

3.  First / related models

In view of these few access tracks and trails to IG, some capacity building programs emerged over the last years: the European Summer School (EuroSSIG) since 2007, the Latin-American (South-SSIG) since 2009. An African version is under development and several training courses inspired by the SSIG-concept took place in the Asian Pacific area – besides several DiploFoundation’s programs on IG and the like. Whereas the Diplo programs offer a first introduction into the complex IG sphere, the Summer Schools are more focused on a post-graduate level / upgrading students with advanced knowledge in the field. These capacity building programs are therefore more complementary than competing. They offer a holistic approach to legal, technical, economic, development, socio-cultural aspects and are a basic introduction to the IG and ICANN topics. ICANNS existing education tools like webinars should be included in any future programme. 

4.  ICANN Academy

The creation and developments of an ICANN Academy would therefore be complementary as well, focused on key issues of the ICANN mandate and mission. It should reflect the different backgrounds within the ICANN communities (technical, business, government, CS/At-Large/end users) and needs to promote a solid understanding of ICANN key issues, stakeholder groups and consultation processes – especially for newcomers from all stakeholder groups. So far, getting involved in ICANN themes and constituencies depends on various professional preconditions, business or governmental affiliations – for the rest, particularly the At-Large community, on plenty of coincidences, detours, learning-by-doing and the privilege to regularly participate at ICANN meetings.

Basic considerations reflecting the need for an ICANN Academy:

  • An ICANN-specific capacity building program could promote a “standardised” access and introduction gateway, a better understanding of key and current themes, actors, roles, (vested) interests, processes, conflicts of goals and decision-making.
  • A capacity building program must strengthen a better public participation at ICANN (without “wasting” much time before newcomers understand basics).
  • It should promote At-Large’s outreach and inreach initiatives.
  • It should improve “professional” representation of roles by a focused introduction into stakeholder roles at ICANN.
  • Whilst training all stakeholder groups in one “camp” it should promote interaction and consent finding among SOs and ACs (to bridge or overcome silo cultures and thinking for the future interaction).
  • Getting familiar with ICANN-specific communication tools and channels.
  • Learn from (long-term) expertise and experience of old-hands.
  • Constantly reflect the specific needs and challenges of ICANN.
  • After defining some key areas of existing lacks and gaps, develop a module based standard ICANN curriculum covering the various requirements for newcomers 
  • Such a capacity building curriculum should be repeatedly tested and evaluated (compared with other existing offers, see above) and once “matured” become part of the regular ICANN meetings (2 – 3 days before beginning). It would be a valuable investment in ICANN’s own future and human resources.

5.  Model frame for an ICANN Academy

1.  Target groups and participants:

The ICANN community in its various composition (SOs, ACs, new Board and Staff members etc.). To allow an intensive learning and interaction, each course should have between 15 (minimum) and 25 (maximum) participants joining the community.

2.  Timing

The best moment to offer and conduct the ICANN Academy seems to be in autumn in line with the ICANN AGM. Normally, the annual NomCom selections are published in September and the constituencies have selected their new representatives as well. The program could be held just before / or immediately after the respective ICANN meeting lasting 2.5 days (minimum) to allow an appropriate introduction in the vast ICANN sphere.

3.  Venue

As mentioned before, the annual ICANN Academy should be organised in line with an ICANN meeting and will be held in the respective country / city of the AGM (changing venues). To offer an appropriate and intensive teaching atmosphere, suitable locations should be selected in the periphery of the host city (preferably on the country side). Following the concept and experience of EuroSSIG, an enabling environment for the conduct of such courses in crucial enabling joint meals and time slots for informal interactions to promote community building among the participants.

4. Teaching methodology and material

Teaching modules and material can be adapted from existing and proven programs such as EuroSSIG and Diplo’s Capacity building programs and must reflect the current needs and challenges of ICANN. From the preparation phase of the project and on-going, a repository of basic and related literature can be created (see EuroSSIG – Literature The teaching program will be developed in an ICANN standardized manner allowing a certain flexibility on topics due to its modular character. At the beginning of the ICANN Academy, no separations of groups are foreseen; at a later stage, specialised lectures can be organised for particular groups, if required.

5.  Lecturers

Lecturers for the program can be chosen from the vast network of EuroSSIG faculty members, from ICANN Staff, former Board and constituency members including all stakeholders.

6.  Technical support

For the smooth conduct of the program, technical support will be needed (1 person worst case / 2 good / 3 best case). 

7.  Program proposal

A course for about 15 new appointed ICANN officers could start on Friday after the end of the open board meeting and could continue until Sunday evening. This would allow the development of a 20 hours course which would meet high level practical and academic standards. The 20 hours course could include traditional F2F lectures by world leading experts, moderated panel discussions and presentations by participants

  • History of the Internet and history of ICANN
  • ICANN as model of a new multistakeholder organisation (structure, policy making processes)
  • ICANNs role in the global Internet Governance ecosystem (IGF, UN, CSTD, G 8, OECD, Council of Europe, EU, G 77 etc.)
  • the need for an enhancement of the security, stability and resilience of the Internet
  • the role of codes, standards, protocols in the future development of global Internet Governance
  • the management of critical Internet resources (root server, domain names, IP addresses) and its political, legal and economic implications
  • the political, economic und cultural dimension of the further enhancement of the domain name space 

(A detailed module program proposal will be submitted once the concept and framing of the project is approved).

8.  Draft Budget

Such a course could be organized on a cost saving basis. The course could take place in the conference hotel or in a nearby (isolated) resort which offers a good atmosphere for intense collective learning. The fellows (new elected/selected ICANN officers) and the majority of faculty members would be already there so that extra costs for travel could be minimized. Extra costs would be needed to finance three extra nights for about 15 fellows and up to 8 faculty and two secretariat members plus meals/coffee for three days.

The course could be prepared and organized by a small ICANN Academy Secretariat (hired on a contractual basis and linked to ICANN Staff).


Travel costs of participants to the Academy / changing location will be normally covered by ICANN Constituency Travel in line with the invitation to the respective meeting (AGM)

covered by ICANN Constituency Travel


For approx. 150 USD /night/person
(15 Fellows / 10 Faculty & Secretariat)

11.500 USD

Venue costs

Conference Package (3 days a 100 USD, including meals and coffee for a suitable venue in the periphery of the host city)

7.500 USD

Technical support and equipment

ICANN Staff – 1 Person required,
Conf. present. (projectors, micros etc.)

5.000 USD

Remuneration for lecturers

A remuneration of US$ 500.- per lecturer seems to be appropriate

10.000 USD

Prep. + Org. costs

2 x 25.000 USD on contractual basis

50.000 USD



6.000 USD



90.000 USD


Leipzig/Neuchâtel, 22 August 2011.

Wolf Ludwig, Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Sandra Hoferichter,

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  1. ------- Message original -------
    Sujet:     RE: WG: ICANN Academy
    Date :     Fri, 12 Aug 2011 08:56:41 +0100
    De :     <>
    Pour :     'Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond' <>, 'Cheryl Langdon-Orr' <>, 'Evan Leibovitch' <>, 'Carlton Samuels' <>
    Copie à :     'ICANN AtLarge Staff' <>

    Thank you Olivier for sharing this proposal,

    I highly appreciate the work done by Wolf and his team; I find the initiative very interesting since it gives the community the opportunity to be trained on ICANN process and main topics under consideration. It is exactly the objective of the capacity building program AFRALO planned for Nairobi, and advocated very strongly till reaching the possibility to organize it in Dakar. The ICANN academy is a wider concept that I strongly support.


    I have made some minor modifications in the text (Red= to be removed, Blue= to be added, Green= comments). (NOTE: the above version already takes into account the suggested amendments.)

    A final remark: the project proposes to use educators from outside ICANN. I think that there is the necessary competencies inside the ICANN community, and its less costly.


    As for the venue, and while I recognize the benefit of being outside the city, I think that for logistic consideration, it will be better to hold it in the venue of the ICANN meeting.

  2. Wow!  This is really excellent and is a "long time coming".  I would just want to emphasize that having the academy BEFORE a scheduled ICANN meeting would be much more beneficial than after.  I would give the attendees a chance to see what they have learned in action during the ICANN meetings.

    I certainly wish this had been in effect when I was just starting - great work all.


  3. Anonymous

    My general comments start with my initial response to the use of academy. My experience in setting up private career colleges in Canada for for Oracle, Microsoft and Novell as authorized academic training centers resulted in similar results especially in the heydays of IT career education programs
    Benefits of the programs included
    Standardized modular presentations
    Lecture training manual
    Participant guidebook
    Trainer evaluation
    A specified set of hours for theory and practice
    Specific deliverables
    Practical online courseware to reinforce the learnings

    I would recommend using Moodle for the evolution of the teaching and communiy learning materials
    Use SCORM training for adult learning approach
    beta test materials
    Video preparation of materials
    Obtain video testimonials
    Develop educational broadcast narrowcasting channel
    Make the training compulsory
    Make classes maximum 4 hours

    Just a few quick comments
    Glenn McKnight
    Naralo and Nomcom

  4. Anonymous

    It may be so obvious but essential to the participate experience it is worth mentioning
    It is the importance of teaching chairs and participants to learn how to effectively run a productive meeting and provide an enriching experience for the participants. Too many meetings either drag on or the questions become mini speeches without adding to the meetings
    How to run a effective meeting
    Dealing with objections
    Turning criticism into productive feedback
    Setting meeting deliverables and action items

    Glenn mcknight

  5. Useful. Useful. Useful.

    Timing: Definitely before the AGM rather than after - after most are tired/exhausted/fractious and just wanna leave the space. What can occur after though is some kind of evaluative assignment/gathering that would help look into how the academy learnings have been applied.

    Faculty: Agree that within ICANN constituencies/groupings capacity exists but it also does beyond the hallowed ICANN walls. A ablance is what is required. More so in the presence of not just northern faculty but a balance of expertise drawn from public, private, adaemia, developing, developed, north south.

    Beyond ICANN Meetings: A section on growing this beyond attendance of ICANN meetings should be included - from online capacity building to road shows across under represented nations in ICANN.

  6. This is the first time I am using the "Wiki". This is a brilliant initiative and congratulations on addressing the need to address the "knowledge divide". 

    This is in response to the ICANN Academy Proposal attached that will be discussed at the ALAC Meeting within 20 hours. 

    The Context

    Within a rapidly evolving world and amidst globalisation, the challenge for ICANN which holds in fiduciary capacity the responsibility of for coordinating at the overall level the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers, and in particular to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems. In particular, ICANN coordinates the following:-

    • Allocation and assignment of the three sets of unique identifiers for the internet, which are;
    • Domain names;
    • Internet Protocol addresses and Autonomous System Numbers;
    • Protocol port and parameter numbers;
    • Operation and evolution of the DNS Root Name Server System;
    • Coordinates Policy Development reasonably and appropriately related to these technical functions.

    There is a clear demand for capacity development within ICANN and also to the global community to enable meaningful participation. Meaningful participation is to be able to understand the issues and engage in constructive and robust dialogue on issues. The Internet Universe by its very construct is complex and for the specific coordination aspects of ICANN it is inherently critical that the methodology of such a capacity development initiative is properly teased out to suit the growing needs of ICANN.

    Utilisation of the Internet

    Recognising that one of ICANN’s Mission is to coordinate Policy Development reasonably and appropriately, it follows that even within ICANN’s fabric of operations, it has always ensured that regions of the world are covered, that no one is excluded, where everyone is given the opportunity to participate whether as Government, Private Sector or Civil Society. One of the core values of ICANN is respecting the creativity, innovation, and flow of information made possible by the Internet by limiting ICANN’s activities to those matters within ICANN’s mission requiring or significantly benefitting from global coordination.

    To this end, to be effective and create systemic impact it is critical that the methodology for addressing the development needs in the “knowledge divide” is conquered using that very thing which brings us together, the Internet. Innovative police space requires innovative capacity development and this has to evolve from the finite traditional training mechanisms to the interactive dynamics that learning over the Internet brings. The “death of distance phenomena” being utilised and ultimate success is guaranteed when people apply their learnings and this transcends training, at times it involves coaching, mentoring and hand holding through new policy areas. To this end education theorists argue that emotional and psychological aspects are critical in the learning process.

    There are organisations within the Internet Universe that hold and conduct trainings and they include and are not limited to the following:-

    • International Telecommunications Union – usually broader ICT topics but the training is limited to its members;
    • Network Operator Groups (NOGs) around the world – ICANN Global Partnership has played a huge role DNSSEC Trainings;
    • Regional Internet Registries (RIR) --have conducted IPv6 Trainings, Labs etc and ICANN Global Partnership supports these Trainings by sending resource persons etc;
    • ICANN – has a strong Fellowships Programme that was an initiative birthed out of Global Partnership arm;
    • Internet Society (ISOC) – they give Fellowships;
    • Diplo Foundation – Online trainings on Internet Governance with tutors and assessments;
    • Summer Schools on Internet Governance – European, Latin American; etc

    Proposed Methodology

    To effectively address the challenges, there is a need for clear empirical research through a survey.

    It is critical that to maintain a level of coherence that we work closely with Global Partnership to map potential partners and trainings and resource allocations done outside of the Fellowships that may not be in the list above.

    We then urge to conduct a survey from a sample space sent to existing members of various sectors, working groups within ICANN even some from the Board, they will be anonymous survey to ensure impartiality but reference to the sectors on what the gaps training needs are, this can then be analysed and assessed by the Working Group.

    The Working Group can then be tasked to assessing the different strategies and strengths and weaknesses and creating, if needed, a new model and framework for addressing the challenges. This Team can also develop the curriculum in consultation with field experts from within ICANN on clear thematic lines. 

  7. This is a great proposal and much thanks for the work done by Sandra and Wolf on pressing it forward. 

    I have one query regarding the frequency of the Academy, the proposal does not state if it will run before/after every ICANN meeting (3 per year) or annually. Perhaps if it is pitched as an annual event we may have a greater chance of obtaining funding.

    I would also like to suggest that we get feedback and input from Janice at Fellowships so that the ICANN Academy can work in tandem with the Fellowship Programme.

  8. There is no question that this is a significant effort and a much required one. In my experience a big part of the training expenditure is usually not the training materials and the delivery per se-- it is the expenses associated with people traveling to the training location to attend these trainings.

    Therefore I would strongly recommend exploring a web based medium, either in part or in full, for this training to make it more ubiquitous and accessible to a wider audience.

    It will be a shame to see the budget gets shot down or drastically reduced by ICANN, endangering the whole program.

  9. It is a good start to think of "ICANN Academy" as a three day program for 15 - 25 participants. But the total number of new community leaders and new Executive Staff at ICANN every year is a lot more. Starting from the ICANN Board, we could count new comers to Advisory Committees, Supporting Organizations, Executive Staff .. include newcomers to the various Stakeholder Groups, particularly new Registrars, new Registries, ISPs, any new NomCom appointees drawn from outside ICANN, and include ccTLD Registries and large ccTLD Registrars, whether or not fully a part of the ICANN process - all form part of the target audience.

    The training at the Academy could be mandatory for those who submit a statement of interest for Board, AC and SO positions. For newcomers as members to the Registry, Registrar and the ISP constituencies, the program at the Academy could be optional.

    Over and above this core target group, there could be an extended circle of potential participants. This could include elected or nominated Community Leaders from IANA, NRO and Regional NICs and top executives of the National Internet Exchange points.

    ICANN Academy could be open to participation of Governmental and non-governmental organizations around the world that oversee DNS functions.

    With such a larger target group, it is possible to have a revenue model for the Academy. Course Fee could be set at about $3000 per week, but ICANN could pay for the Community participants excluding GAC nominees of affluent countries, representatives of large Registries and Registrars. ICANN could offer (and encourage other institutions to offer) some fellowships for some of the participants from outside the ICANN community.

    The course content could be on two levels: Level 1 could be the general and fundamental level on Internet 'Fundamentals in Depth' and Level 2 could be ICANN-specific. Alternative Tracks could be offered on Level 2 depending on the emerging variety of participants. One possible track could be on Internet Policy.

    As stated earlier, 3 days of programs, once a year could be a good start for the ICANN Academy. But rather than be constrained by limitations that do not exist, the idea could be expanded as a proposal for a larger Academy. Perhaps we could rename it "ICANN Internet Academy" or even as "Internet Academy"

    We could plan to offer education of uncompromising standards on multiple levels of 5 day programs, starting on the Monday of the week preceding the ICANN meeting, three times a year, and once at the time of the Internet Governance Forum, for 25 - 30 participants each time, making a total of at least a hundred participants per year. The idea of timing and locating most of the programs alongside ICANN meetings makes it cost-effective for ICANN. Participant and faculty travel costs would be minimized. 

    The Academy could be an ICANN initiative, but could be set up as an entity with structural independence to make it possible for other Internet Institutions, and perhaps even Regional and National Governments (who may find a purpose) to contribute to the Academy. If the Academy is receptive to partnerships, the capital outlays / operations costs could be less of a burden for ICANN, while achieving the primary objective of educating all of its participants assuming positions of responsibility.

    Beyond offering these standard programs, the Academy could offer, from time to time, specialized courses related to DNS. The Academy could also consider an online presence to offer lighter courses and free courses for At Large members and remote participants.

    The Summer School of Internet Governance which is cited as an early model offers learning in a multi-stakeholder environment. At the Summer School, the students and faculty are both drawn from across different stakeholder groups. The Academy could emulate that concept and go on to offer a greater diversity in such a learning environment by opening up the Academy for participation beyond the ICANN community 

    The rationale for this expanded proposition is that there is a latent and felt need for Leadership Training in Internet Governance. While it is a good idea to restrain the scope of the ICANN Academy to ICANN's own internal needs, it would be far more meaningful to expand the idea for the good of the Internet, perhaps in partnership with other Internet Organizations that may share the same vision.

    1. Good morning. Has the ICANN academy proposal been adopted? Will it take place in Costa Rica, Prague?

      Regards, CW

  10. I would suggest adding  the  role and responsiblilties of the Ombudsman Chris LaHatte  I have a couple of good videos shot when in Dakar

  11. Anonymous

    This is a great initiative.

    J'en avais révé depuis quelques temps : Comment comprendre la complexité de l'ICANN au delà des bribes que je reçois dans les diverses présentations durant les conférences ?