APRICOT 2020 Meeting Report

by Maureen Hilyard

The APRICOT 2020 meeting was held in Melbourne, Australia, despite alarm bells being raised about the coronavirus issue which alerted Australian border control, at that stage, to reject anyone who had been through mainland China. In the middle of it all, news arrived that ICANN had become a victim to the global reach of the virus and had cancelled its Cancun meeting so that online meetings to discuss the development of a virtual conference became a focus for the week, as well as trying to attend APRICOT sessions.

Dot Asia Board Meeting: My first event on arrival in Melbourne was the Dot Asia Board meeting along with two other members of the APRALO leadership team, Chair Satish Babu from India and Vice Chair Lianna Galstyan from Armenia. DotAsia recently held their elections and now have two new members from Taiwan and Korea, as well as retaining Satish and myself who were up for re-election this year. I currently Chair the Board’s Governance Committee and Satish is the Chair of the Community Projects Committee.

AP* Retreat: Another meeting that was held before the APRICOT meeting began was the AP-Star Retreat which is an opportunity for the Asia Pacific IT community to give an update of our activities within the AP region. The AP* meeting was co-Chaired by Duncan McIntyre of the APNIC Foundation and Save Vocea, ICANN Oceania VP Global Stakeholder Engagement (GSE). Reports were provided by: APNIC (Paul), APNIC Foundation (Duncan), ICANN (Save), InterLab (Kanchana), APTLD (Hiro), APCERT (Yukako), ALAC (Maureen), APRALO (Lianna), APSIG (Satish), JPNIC (Akinori), ISOC (Adrian & Robert). This meeting was followed by the DotAsia AGM and dinner.

Duncan Macintosh and Save Vocea – co-Chairs of the AP* Retreat; (2) The AP* gathering; (3) The Dot Asia Dinner

APRICOT 2020: During the 4-day APRICOT meeting, there were several sessions that gave some interesting insights into what was being done in different countries. There were several Pacific participants involved in the week of training as well as a hackathon which took place in the week before the actual conference. A traditional welcome was given by an elder of a local Aborigine tribe. A keynote speaker at the opening plenary was one of the founders of the APRICOT organisation who also helped to create APNIC. This was David Conrad who is now ICANN’s SVP and Chief Technology Officer. David visited the Pacific when he attended and spoke about DNSSEC at the PITA meeting that was held on Rarotonga. The main speaker at the closing plenary was Professor Hanna Suominen of ANU, who explained the latest IT developments in eHealth and its application in developing countries – relevant to the Pacific and e-Health services to our isolated outer islands. 

Conference participants at APRICOT Melbourne, Australia

One of the highlights of the APRICOT gathering was meeting our newest Board member, Georgina Naigulevu and her husband Andrew, at the ISOC networking event put on by Internet Australia. It was great to be able to introduce Georgina to some other regional ISOC contacts. As for participation representation of the Pacific was significant: Georgina spoke at the APNIC Next Gen session about career development; Jonathan Brewer explained the Pacific Islands Peering Landscape; in the APNIC Global reports,  Rajnesh Singh reported on the regional ISOC events and Save Vocea updated everyone on the ICANN situation; and Saia Vaipuna of Tonga Cert explained how they dealt with business email attacks.

Unfortunately, the announcement of the cancellation of ICANN’s Cancun meeting caused several meetings to be called which in Pacific terms are always in the early hours of the morning. On one morning, I had 5 meetings with different ICANN groups between 3am and 9am. (Be warned.  For ICANN’s virtual conference, this is the same timeframe of most of the 4 main days of the conference – 3am – 9am NZ time where I am temporarily based).  Needless to say, I spent several more hours of each morning catching up on sleep when I really needed and wanted to attend these important sessions. Anyone interested in being the ALAC Chair in the future?  I can tell you about the pros and cons.

Georgina with other PICISOC Board members; at the Hackathon; and presenting on a panel about career development.

APRICOT celebrated its 25th birthday at this event which was held as a special occasion in a very impressive venue. I was very honoured to be sitting with the Chair of APRALO, Satish Babu, but also the Vice Chair of the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC), Julie Hammer of Australia. We also had Rajnesh Singh and Adrian Wan from the Singapore Hub of the Internet Society, and their Senior Director of Organisational Members, Robert Maylath. Also, at our table was Asia Pacific’s rep on the ICANN Board, Akinori Maemura of JPRS, Japan.  

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