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Improving NCUC Members Policy Writing Skills

By Bruna Santos, Benjamin Akinmoyeje and Michael Karanicolas

ICANN’s processes and procedures can be a tricky thing to engage with. As motivated and committed as folks are, there will always be technical, administrative, and logistical challenges to meaningful engagement. This is particularly true for the NCUC. Our status as volunteers sets us apart from constituencies that represent the various business and commercial interests involved in the domain name space. High priced lobbyists will always be able to draw on clients’ resources to develop their technical and advocacy skills, and to make sure their voices are heard and prioritized. Noncommercial voices have never enjoyed the same level of funding, for obvious reasons, and must instead rely on their own commitment to the cause, and their representation of important interests like privacy and freedom of expression, which carry a natural global weight behind them.

This is where capacity building becomes so important. It is a valuable resource to help our community develop the skills to represent non-commercial interests effectively. In this regard, the NCUC is pleased to invite all of you to attend a webinar, on May 26 at 1300 UTC. This webinar, which is the latest installment of the NCUC’s Policy Writing series, is intended to help support the development of stronger collaborative and advocacy skills among our membership. In particular, this webinar is aimed at boosting the ability of ESL speakers to participate and contribute, and to overcome the hurdles in ICANN’s English-dominated environment. 

Participating in the ICANN Policy Development Process – either by being part of a working group or contributing to Public Comments –  is the desire of many of those who engage in the ICANN multistakeholder process. Writing policy statements is the core of this process and an important aspect of participating in all PDPs and other processes. As a result, in 2019 NCUC launched its Policy Writing Course on ICANN Learn, in order to give our members the  tools and resources to improve their writing skills. This course was aimed at both at our members who had not worked on policy statements and also at NCUCs newcomers. We wanted to give everyone the chance to  improve their writing and increase their ability to participate within NCUC and GNSO. 

But we are also aware that there are challenges stemming from the fact that english is the default working language here at ICANN and many of the NCUC global members are from countries and regions whose primary languages are different.  Non-native English speakers’ participation level and ability to contribute to public comments processes can be greatly affected by their training, experience, and native languages. Many NCUC members have English as their second, third, or fourth language, and these challenges can be a limiting factor among many, especially those who are from developing countries. We realize that these processes benefit from a diversity of participants, including voices from all parts of the world. This latest policy writing course aims to address that gap.


We are continuing our efforts with ICANN Org focused on developing opportunities and resources to improve participation from our members and, as mentioned above, will host a Policy Writing Course Webinar for Non-native speakers, on May 26th at 13h00 UTC.  This webinar will be a follow up to our ICANN Learn Course – 701.1 Writing for Policy and Public Comment -, which is already live! 

If you are interested in joining this new webinar, please write to chair@ncuc.org or maryam.bakoshi@icann.org, confirming your attendance! Our only pre-requisite for this upcoming webinar is that you complete the ICANN Learn course before hand!

Looking forward to seeing you all there! 

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NCUC Policy Writing Course – Policy Writing for Members with English as a Second Language 

Date: May 26th

Time: 13h00 UTC

Pre-requisites: complete ICANN Learn Course ‘701.1 Writing for Policy and Public Comment‘ .

ps. RSVP to chair@ncuc.org or maryam.bakoshi@icann.org, confirming your attendance. 

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