Agenda | 24-25 March 2020 | Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


[09:00 – 10:00] Opening Ceremony

Welcome speeches by the local host CITC, the organizer ICANN, and potential sponsors.

Master of Ceremony: Baher Esmat, Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement – Middle East, ICANN

Speakers: TBD


[10:00 – 10:30] Coffee Break


[10:30 – 11:15] [Presentation] ICANN for Newcomers

Introduction to:

  • ICANN and its role in maintaining the security, stability, and resiliency of the unique identifier system.
  • ICANN’s mission, the supporting organizations and advisory committees, policy development process (PDP) work, and its organization.
  • ICANN’s regional presence and efforts.


  • Nick Tomasso, Vice President of Global Meeting Operations and Managing Director of the Middle East and Africa Regional Office in Istanbul, ICANN
  • Fahd Batayneh, Stakeholder Engagement Senior Manager – Middle East, ICANN


[11:15 – 12:00] [Keynote Address] The DNS of Tomorrow

This session will provide insight into:

  • The current DNS landscape and ecosystem
  • Emerging standards such as DNS Over HTTPS (DoH), and DNS over TLS (DoT) amongst others, and their effect on the DNS
  • Emerging technologies such as Internet of Things, 5G, and Smart Cities amongst others, and their effect on the DNS
  • The cyber threat landscape, its growth trends, and relevant ICANN work

Presenter: David Conrad, Chief Technology Officer, ICANN


[12:00 – 12:15] Prayer Break


[12:15 – 13:00] [Presentations] Domain Name Security Extension (DNSSEC)

The presentations will explore DNSSEC as a technology and its importance. Data on the status of DNSSEC deployment worldwide, and the experience of a ccTLD in promoting and marketing DNSSEC is will be shared.


  • SIDN
  • Raed Alfayez, General Manager of Internet Services, Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) KSA


[13:00 – 14:00] Lunch Break


[14:00 – 15:30] [Presentations Followed by a Panel] Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) and Universal Acceptance (UA)

The session will provide an update on the work on IDNs, as well as the efforts being undertaken to address the universal acceptance of all domain names and email addresses (UA). It will also explore how the regional community can contribute to these efforts.

IDN Adoption and Updates

  • The IDN World Report 2019 – Giovanni Seppia, External Relations Manager, EURID
  • IDN Variant Top-Level Domains – Sarmad Hussain, Director of IDN Programs, ICANN

UA Challenges and Solutions

  • UA challenges and the strategy to address them – Sarmad Hussain, Director of IDN Programs, ICANN [Moderator]
  • Universal Acceptance for Laos, A Case Study – Dušan Stojičević, Manager at Gransy and Universal Acceptance Ambassador
  • Addressing UA: Showcase of Activities in the ME Region – Abdelmonim Galilla, Deputy Manager, Dot Masr Registry, National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) and Universal Acceptance Ambassador
  • UA Local Initiative Plans for Saudi Arabia – Raed Alfayez, General Manager of Internet Services, Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) KSA

Duration: 90 minutes

Track: Domain Name Industry


[15:30 – 16:00] [Presentation] The Journey for Supporting the Arabic Language in Domain Names and Email Addresses

The session will highlight SaudiNIC’s journey of supporting the Arabic language in domain names and email addresses, covering the challenges and obstacles that occurred, along with the pilot projects and tools that helped make this dream come true.

Presenter: Raed Alfayez, General Manager of Internet Services, Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) KSA



[09:00 – 10:15] [Panel] Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) Policies and Entrepreneurship

The session will delve into the experiences of ccTLD registries, ICANN accredited registrars, and local registrars, both from the region and beyond. Panelists will provide insights on how ccTLD policies affect growth in the domain market; and share perspectives on promoting entrepreneurship in the domain name business.


  • Giovanni Seppia, External Relations Manager, EURid [Moderator]
  • Abdelrahman Almarzouqi, Director of Cybersecurity, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority UAE
  • Munir Badr, Founder and CEO, AE Server
  • Michele Neylon, Founder and CEO, Blacknight Solutions


[10:15 – 10:30] Coffee Break


[10:30 – 11:40] [Panel] The New generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Marketplace: Global View and Regional Challenges

The session will begin with a presentation by ICANN’s Global Domains Division (GDD) on the domain name marketplace, highlighting the findings from the regular reports issued by ICANN on the topic. This will be followed by a discussion with two regional gTLD registry operators, sharing their experiences in the Middle East and beyond, and their views on the regional opportunities and challenges.


  • Mert Saka, gTLD Accounts Manager, ICANN [Moderator]
  • Mohammed Al-Ammouri, Business Development Manager – MENA, CentralNIC
  • Mohammed Zeidan, General Manager – MENA, Neustar


[11:40 – 12:00] [Presentation] Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP)

An Introduction to RDAP, the new standard that is expected to eventually replace WHOIS, and its benefits.

Presenter: Mert Saka, GTLD Accounts Manager, ICANN


[12:00 – 12:15] Prayer Break


[12:15 – 13:00] [Presentation] Domain Names and Dispute Resolution

The presentation will cover the different dispute resolution mechanisms available for legacy TLDs as a result of the New gTLD Program.

Presenter: Seher Sagiroglu, Stakeholder Engagement Analyst, ICANN


[13:00 – 14:00] Lunch Break


[14:00 – 15:00] [Panel] Developments in the DNS Ecosystem: A Policy Perspective

The panel will cover a number of the policy aspects of the DNS ecosystem, exploring examples of key policy issues and processes related to the DNS. and sharing experiences of engaging in ICANN’s policy development work.


  • Baher Esmat, Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement – Middle East, ICANN [Moderator]
  • Manal Ismail, Chair, Governmental Advisory Committee
  • Amr Elsadr, Policy Consultant, CentralNic and Member, Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group
  • Ali Almeshal, Vice-Chair, Asia-Pacific Regional At-Large Organizations (APRALO)


[15:00 – 15:30] [Presentation] Using the Ethereum Blockchain to Expand and Enhance DNS

The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is an open-source project that is using the Ethereum blockchain to expand and enhance the traditional Domain Name System. This talk explains how ENS has integrated the DNS namespace onto Ethereum, allowing registrants to use their existing domain names to receive cryptocurrency, and improving serving traditional DNS records.

Duration: 30 minutes

Presenter: Brantly Millegan, Director of Operations, Ethereum Name Service (ENS)


[15:30 – 16:00] Closing Ceremony

Closing remarks by local host and organizers

Duration: 30 minutes

We would like to express our gratitude to members of the Middle East DNS Forum Program Committee (PC) for working on the agenda, and for their valuable contributions along the way.