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American Gen Z not interested in ICANN?

Kevin Murphy, May 28, 2021, 07:50:59 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN seems to be having trouble recruiting American youngsters into its cult community.

The org today said that it’s extended the deadline for its NextGen program, which is trying to attract and throw money at a dozen under-30s from North America to attend its October public meeting.

It’s the second North American meeting in a row before which ICANN has had to extend the deadline for applications.

Ordinarily, the NextGen program offers 18-30 years-old students and academics in the internet policy field free travel and lodgings for an ICANN meeting, along with up to $200 for a visa and $500 to cover incidentals.

ICANN typically picks 12 to 15 participants for each meeting. Successful applicants have “mentors” and are obliged to actually participate, giving a short presentation on their relevant academic work.

It’s currently fifty-fifty whether ICANN 72 goes ahead in Seattle this October or becomes the sixth meeting in a row to be held on Zoom, so pandemic-related travel restrictions probably have some bearing on interest in the NextGen program.

But pre-pandemic ICANN 66, the last to be held in the USA, also had to extend its application deadline and ultimately attracted only 11 successful applicants, one below the usual minimum threshold.

(It’s quite difficult, incidentally, to get quality statistics on the NextGen program. The list of North American participants for ICANN 66 is just a copy-paste of the African participants for ICANN 65, and the out-of-date numbers on the official stats page incorrectly have Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean islands categorized as North American (which they’re not, according to ICANN’s geographic regions policy).)

So what is it keeping younger North Americans away from ICANN?

If anything, one would assume a greater interest from academics in the region, given ICANN’s historical connection to the US government and its uniquely interesting position under the law.

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