National IT Professionals Association of Afghanistan (NITPAA) organized the first official Afghanistan School on Internet Governance (AfSIG) on 26th and 27th April 2017 at Karwan University Kabul Afghanistan. The event being sponsored by Karwan University, Liwal limited, IO-Global, Wasel Telecom, and ICANN, and supported by ATRA, APNIC, apTLD, APSIG, Asan Khidmat, and INSIG had participants from Kabul and different provinces and from different fields. The media sponsors to this event were Mitra TV, and Pamir production house.
In the first day of the event, AfSIG participants did their registration and a brief opening ceremony was arranged where the speakers from civil society, technical community, private sector, academic institutions and others emphasized on the importance of such initiatives and they appreciated NITPAA for conducting such a critical and much needed event in an academic institution. Citing the future of Internet in the country, Mr. Natyaraju, CTO Wasel Telecom and Mr. Said Zazai, Co-Founder NITPAA emphasized that government should focus on the future aspects of Internet and governance through Internet. Mr. S. Hamid Rohani, Chancellor Karwan University emphasized on the requirement and need of such kind of gatherings and events. Mr. Rohani expressed his gratitude to NITPAA for selecting Karwan University for the event and said that these kinds of events are the key to success for the students in the future. They meet the giants of the industry and they get the exposure to the international events that happens anywhere in the world.
Addressing the audience through an email, Mr. Klinam Chon, APSIG chair, congratulated the NITPAA team for the efforts and arranging the AfSIG2017 on their own and promised more support and cooperation from himself and APSIG ahead as well. The event had a video presentation on Internet history and the multi stakeholders involved in the development of Internet so far. The video showed the global structure of the Internet and the way the networks are connected globally. At the end of the video session, the floor was opened to the participants and they were given the chance to introduce themselves and ask their questions for which they have come to this event to get the answer. This was the first exposure to the participants in such kind of event and out of my expectations, the participants had very challenging questions. There were questions on local and global issues and topics related to Internet. NITPAA had guided the participants to explore for IG before coming to the event and the participants were also given time and Internet facility on day one to explore about the topic. This strategy worked well and we were challenged very well with our ten challenging questions.
Some of these questions that was asked by the participants were as follow:
- How to make Internet/ICT more Relevant to Afghanistan? How the regulatory bodies respond to the requirements of Afghanistan on cyber space?
- What is the support of international organizations such as ICANN, APNIC, and others in Afghanistan?
- How to improve and ensure Privacy and Security on the Internet? Who is accountable to our security and privacy in cyber space?
- Who Controls the Internet and how?
- What is Internet Governance all about? What is the difference between Internet governance (IG) and Electronic governance (E-Gov)?
- Why is Internet Connectivity so Expensive in Afghanistan? What makes it cost so expensive?
- What role can Internet/ICT play for Learning and Education?
- How can we make Internet Gender Neutral and Safer for Afghan Women?
- Which organizations, on international platform, supports Afghanistan for regional threats and transits?
- What are some of the Key Benefits and also potential disadvantages of Internet?
- How to find and Access Credible and Useful Information on the Internet?
This session was followed by a tea break and during the tea break session, the participants, organizers, speakers and experts were involved in discussions and shared their ideas and experiences.
Post tea break, I presented the Internet Eco-System in Afghanistan. In that sessions, we discussed the history of Internet in Afghanistan, regulatory bodies, business entities, challenges faced, and future of Internet in Afghanistan. The participants came along with many questions for that session and we took 10 questions from the audience. Most of the questions were related to the black listing of Afghanistan IPs, reasons behind weak services in the country, IP Addressing strategy of the country, dependency of Afghanistan on neighboring countries for Internet and Internet related issues such as Internet Exchange Point (IXP), root servers, RIRs and others. The participants were encouraged to write their more questions and send it to us through email so that we get their other answers as well.
The session was followed by the DNS system presented by Mr. Ahmadullah Alnoor assisted by Mr. Mohibullah Utmankhil. The session highlighted the infrastructure of DNS, the security aspect of DNS, misuse of DNS in Afghanistan and the .af domain issues and opportunities in the country.
Post the lunch networking break, Mr. Satish Babu from ICANN APRALO took on the discussion on Asia and the next billion: challenges in digital inclusion. Mr. Babu mentioned the challenges that exists towards the digitalization of the region and the steps taken towards that. Mr. Said Zazai, from NITPAA, took on the dice for the discussions on Local language support. On cyber space, the number of websites on the internet is 51.8% in English, 0.1% Pashto and 1.5% in Dari / Persian. Mr. Zazai emphasized on how and why we need to have our own local language contents available throughout the Internet. Mr. Hiwadpal from NITPAA and CEO of Barya Consultancy shared his idea and knowledge on local content development. Mr. Hiwadpal stated that Only 1 person of online users create content while 9 person contributes on it. While the rest of them shares that content. Afghanistan is still not having its own Internet eXchange Point (IXP) and is still using the DNS of other countries. Mr. Hiwadpal emphasized on the infrastructural requirements for the local content development as well. Taking questions on the local language and local content development and support, Mr. Zazai and Mr. Hiwadpal also mentioned that it is not only the duty of the government organizations to work toward these requirements. The people should also join hands together and have their parts played the way NITPAA is trying to do.
The most awaited session of the first day was conducted after the tea networking break in the afternoon. The panel discussion on the topics of Internet access, infrastructure, and government policy for its development was conducted and the panelists invited for this session were Mr. Aimal Marjan Ex-Deputy minister of IT in Ministry of Communication and IT, Mr. Javid Hamdard Vice Chancellor Academics Karwan University, and Mr. Natayaraju Sapana CTO Wasel telecom. The session was moderated by Mr. Said Zazai and the panelists shared their knowledge and experience throughout since 2001 when Afghanistan operated its first Internet officially. (For details of this panel discussion, click on: Panel discussion)
The day was summed up with a review by the NITPAA members for the activities done in the whole day and they shared the key notes of the day from the presentations for different speakers. The organizing team briefed the participants about the plans for the day 2 of the event and the participant’s feedback was also heard and the participants were encouraged to come up with more questions for the second day.
Originally posted at: www.akazizi.af
تل د وی افغانستان – پاینده باد افغانستان