Vesna Manojlovic

Building Bridges Between Diverse Communities at RIPE 85

Vesna Manojlovic

In this article, I would like to encourage a diverse set of RIPE-adjacent communities to take part in RIPE 85. Please share and enjoy the grants, education, and inclusivity support provided and make use of opportunities to cross-connect your community to RIPE.

RIPE 85 takes place this autumn from 24-28 October. Registration is open and so is the call for presentations.

This is the first time a RIPE Meeting has taken place in my birth town, Belgrade. I moved away from Belgrade 23 years ago, but I still have a deep attachment to this city. I also see symbolic significance in its history and its geographical location for the present-moment Internet:

  • Belgrade is an ancient crossroad of diverse cultures, where East and West meet
  • It is situated on the confluence of two important rivers, the Danube (connecting the Alps with the Black Sea) and the Sava (connecting three South-Eastern Europe countries)
  • The bridges across these rivers are practical and symbolic connections between regions, religions, and communities
Bridges of Belgrade (picture by Marko Milivojevic)

Green Tech, Low Tech, JEDI

While RIPE topics are mainly technical (BGP, DNS, IPv6, IXPs, Internet Governance, RPKI, measurements, IoT, etc.), they also include other highly relevant and fundamental topics that are much more of a main focus for adjacent communities.

In the spirit of greater cross-connection, and to build bridges, I want to flag these topics and help raise RIPE awareness of the communities dealing with them:

An Invitation to RIPE 85

The topics listed here are all of vital importance to the RIPE community and the more input and interaction we have with members of the above communities, the more we'll be able to learn and contribute. For that reason, I urge members of these communities to come and talk to us, to give presentations, and to really take part in ongoing activities and dialogues at the upcoming RIPE Meeting in Belgrade.

To help make this happen, here I list a set of RIPE and RIPE NCC initiatives that are all aimed at making RIPE Meeting attendance more accessible. While some of these deadlines are close now, it's important to keep in mind that all the programs listed here are available for all RIPE Meetings. I hope you find something here that helps you get involved:

Financial Accessibility

  1. The RIPE Fellowship provides funding for under-represented contributors (deadline: 6 September)
  2. There is a substantial student discount on RIPE Meeting tickets
  3. Some speakers qualify for free day tickets
  4. Or, you can enter the RIPE Labs Competition for a chance to win a free ticket to RIPE 85 (deadline: 4 September)

Accommodation and food in Belgrade are relatively cheap in comparison to countries in Western Europe, so this could make it easier for participants to afford the travel for work.

Inclusion and Equity

  1. Apply to be a speaker: the RIPE 85 Call for Presentations is open (deadline: 11 September, and you can present remotely, of course!)
  2. Volunteer to be a Working-Group co-Chair (several are selected at each meeting)
  3. Nominate yourself to serve on the RIPE Programme Committee (again, new PC members are selected at each meeting)

Due to Serbia’s socialist past, gender equality of education and jobs has resulted in relatively larger numbers of female engineers and greater gender diversity in technical industry — and I am hoping that this will lead to more diverse meeting!

Speaking of diversity matters, there will also be a Diversity in Tech session taking place on the Thursday evening of RIPE 85.

Emotional Safety

  1. As a newcomer, young person, student we offer a free online introduction to RIPE Meetings on 4 October
  2. As a parent: we offer free child care!
  3. For everyone: RIPE Code of Conduct and Trusted Contacts

On the topic of safety at RIPE Meetings, valid concerns have been raised about the acceptance of LGBTQ* community in Serbia. For international visitors, here are some pointers for additional travel safety, and here's a useful blogpost on the personal experiences of a blogger who visited Serbia four years ago.

For the local community, the RIPE community strives to contribute by being role models, educators, and allies. We are also looking for more ways to enhance the contributions of the local communities to RIPE, so please let us know what we can do together.

One last important thing I would like to add is how grateful we are for the support from the local hosts for RIPE 85 - RNIDS and SOX. The local community's enthusiasm makes RIPE Meetings possible. And remember, if you would like to see future RIPE Meetings to happen in your city/country/region, do look out for the call for hosts and send us your proposals.

RIPE85: 24-28. October 2022 , Belgrade:
Panoramic view (picture by Marko Milivojevic)

Picture credits: Marko Milivojevic

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About the author

Vesna Manojlovic is Community Builder at RIPE NCC. Vesna joined the RIPE NCC as a Trainer in 1999. In 2003, she took responsibility for developing and delivering advanced courses, such as RPSL, Routing Registry, DNSSEC and IPv6. In 2008, she lead efforts to establish IPv6 RIPEness as a measure of IPv6 deployment among LIRs. In 2011, she joined the Science Division as Manager of the Measurements Community Building team; in 2015 she moved to Communications Department as Senior Community Builder, with a focus on organising hackathons. Vesna gives presentations at many technical conferences and workshops, and enjoys visiting hackerspaces. Vesna received a Batchelor of Sciences Degree in Computer Science and Informatics from the School of Electrical Engineering, University of Belgrade. She has three children.

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