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ICANN picks Istanbul for 2024 meeting

Kevin Murphy, November 29, 2023, Domain Policy

The ICANN community will head to Türkiye for the Org’s 2024 Annual General Meeting, it has been confirmed.

The board of directors picked Istanbul for ICANN 81, which will kick off November 9 next year, according to a just-published resolution.

While the precise venue has not been revealed, you’d have to assume the Istanbul Congress Center is a prime candidate.

While it’s conveniently on the doorstep of Europe, Türkiye counts as Asia-Pacific under ICANN’s rules mandating meetings rotate through the world’s five geographic regions.

ICANN maintains an office in Istanbul, so it can presumably save a bit of money not having to pay for travel and lodgings for local staff who would usually travel.

Next year’s meetings also see the community travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico in March and Kigali, Rwanda in June. The first meeting of 2025 will be held in Seattle, Washington.

ICANN names Egypt-based head of Istanbul office

Kevin Murphy, August 19, 2020, Domain Policy

ICANN has appointed veteran staffer Baher Esmat as the new head of its regional office in Istanbul, Turkey.

His new job title will be managing director for Middle East and Africa, having previously headed ICANN’s partnership programs for the region. He’s basically become ICANN’s point man in the region.

He’s replacing Nick Tomasso, who’s sticking around at ICANN in his main role as VP of meetings but appears to be leaving Istanbul.

Esmat currently lives in Egypt, which isn’t even in the same time zone, and there does not appear to be a short-term plan to move him to Istanbul

The ICANN board noted in its resolution promoting Esmat:

There will be a fiscal impact on ICANN in FY21 only to the extent of travel and related costs for Mr. Esmat as he will continue to reside in Egypt for the time being, but ICANN will save on the costs associated with Mr. Tomasso’s having resided in Istanbul during his tenure as the representative of the liaison office in Turkey, Istanbul.

It’s not clear whether the decision to stay in Egypt is coronavirus-related, but I imagine working from home in Egypt isn’t much different from working from home in Turkey.

Esmat has been at ICANN for 14 years. Tomasso ran the Istanbul office from 2017. The handover is effective at the end of the month.