As our activity in the Middle East slows from now until the end of July, we take the opportunity to present a recap of the RIPE NCC's second year of operations from the Dubai office.
In 2016, we continued to put a lot of effort into our engagement strategy on a national level by visiting as many Middle Eastern countries as we could. Our aim was to strengthen our relationship with our members and deepen our understanding of the Middle Eastern Internet community's needs and concerns.
RIPE NCC Member Lunches
Member lunches have been a big part of our member engagement strategy. We noticed that our membership has shifted from the traditional telecom and operator base to a broader base that includes different sectors such as banking, education and enterprise. We wanted to make sure we understood the needs of each sector to help us better serve them.
We organised seven member lunches and plan to host two more before the end of this year:
- 2014: Yemen
- 2015: Iran, Saudi Arabia
- 2016: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Syria
- Planned 2016: Jordan and Oman
We received feedback from the academic community asking the RIPE NCC to be more involved in helping students and researchers to better understand how the Internet works.
We organised a half-day session on 25 April with the students of the American University in Beirut to discuss the Internet infrastructure and the organisations that support it. The session was well received and the RIPE NCC was invited to conduct similar sessions later this year in Saudi Arabia (Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah) and the UAE, as well as for a second session in Beirut with all the Lebanese universities.
The RIPE Academic Cooperation Initiative ( RACI ) provided students and researchers with a chance to travel to the Middle East Network Operators Group (MENOG) meeting and present their work to the technical community.
We noticed an increase in RIPE NCC membership from the financial sector. The RIPE NCC organised meetings with banks in Bahrain, Lebanon, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to explain the role and services of the RIPE NCC. The RIPE NCC and the MENOG technical community is in a position to assist with a number of issues raised in these meetings and we plan to start working more closely with the financial sector in Bahrain and Qatar this year.
National IPv6 Initiatives
IPv6 deployment in the region varies drastically to say the least. To help increase the understanding and deployment of IPv6 in the Middle East, we are involved in establishing national taskforces and awareness meetings in Lebanon, Qatar and the UAE.
Over the past two years, we organised or participated in national IPv6 efforts in the following countries:
- 2015: Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen
- 2016: Saudi Arabia and UAE
- Planned for 2016: Qatar
The IPv6 Roadshow launched in 2011 as a joint initiative of the RIPE NCC and MENOG. Since then, 36 IPv6 Roadshow events have been held in ten countries across the Middle East, providing instruction to roughly a thousand participants.
- 2014: Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia (Riyadh and Al-Khobar) and the UAE
- 2015: Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the UAE (twice) and Jordan (for Yemeni attendees)
- 2016: Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE
- Planned for 2016: Jordan, Kuwait and Oman
Train the Trainer
In 2015, the IPv6 Roadshow launched the “Train the Trainer” (TTT) initiative. This spin-off initiative is aimed at building a diverse pool of highly-skilled Middle Eastern instructors capable of delivering future IPv6 Roadshows, ensuring that the project evolves and scales to meet the growing demand for this kind of training. We have had three TTT participants co-train as part of six IPv6 Roadshows since the launch of the initiative.
RIPE NCC Regional Meeting in Iran
In November 2014, the RIPE NCC Regional Meeting was held in Tehran, Iran with a total of 270 attendees. Hosted by IRNIC, the meeting attracted both RIPE NCC members and the wider Internet community from Iran and the surrounding region. The community raised the need for support and training in the areas of IPv6 and IXPs, and to have the RIPE NCC act as a facilitator to encourage cooperation between network operators in Iran.
Levant Regional Meeting in Lebanon
The RIPE NCC Levant Regional Meeting was held in Beirut, Lebanon, in April 2016. A total of 140 people from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Iraq attended the meeting. The community raised key regional issues and Ogero, the Lebanese incumbent, pledged to deploy IPv6 before the end of the year.
MENOG 15 took place in Dubai in April 2015. The main themes of the plenary covered peering in the Middle East region, domain name operations and securing online banking. 195 participants attended the meeting from 32 different countries.
MENOG 16 took place in Istanbul in March 2016. Despite the unfortunate circumstances that happened during the meeting week in both Istanbul and Brussels, the meeting was still a success, with 150 attendees from 15 different countries participating. The main themes of the plenary revolved heavily around security and Internet exchange points.
We are excited to continue working with the technical community and other stakeholders in the Middle East. The levels of engagement we have seen are encouraging and we expect to yield large, tangible results in the near future.
The progress we've made so far could not have been possible without the support of everyone we've engaged with towards this goal. We thank you all for your input and ask for your continued guidance to better support our region.