[At-Large] The visa to Canada and fall of participation

Seun Ojedeji seun.ojedeji at gmail.com
Mon Oct 28 12:24:53 UTC 2019

Sent from my mobile
Kindly excuse brevity and typos

On Mon, 28 Oct 2019, 06:47 Evan Leibovitch, <evan at telly.org> wrote:

> Hi Satish,
>> In addition to all the benefits mentioned, remote meetings will also save
>> on the enormous carbon emissions that our meetings seem to cause (as per
>> the ICANN CEO's recent blog).
> Indeed.
> However, in a recent conversation with the CEO, we were told that ICANN
>> does not foresee any change in its meeting strategy in the short run, which
>> means we have to still seek ways to improve the visa process, especially
>> for participants from the Developing World.
> There are two issues here: At-Large Summits and ICANN meetings in general.
> It is within our capacity now to commit ATLAS IV to be virtual, which
> gives plenty of time to plan and test. (Indeed, given the massively lower
> cost and improved access, virtual Summits could be held every year.)

SO: While I agree with the idea of an all virtual annual pre-summit, I
would caution about an all virtual ATLAS

> Meanwhile, it is my opinion that ALAC should be advancing very strong
> Advice to the Board to hasten the virtualisation of its meetings. This is
> not only a developing-world issue, it's one with real consequences
> worldwide.  The current meeting policy impairs developing-world access well
> beyond  the visa issue. Visa problems are irrelevant to those who want to
> attend but can't afford to go and are not deemed worthy of subsidy; virtual
> meetings eliminate these barriers for all.

SO: I would still caution against an all virtual ICANN meeting, there is
indeed significant advantage with meeting face 2 face which largely has to
do with level of productivity (if properly planned).

I think there needs to be continuous exploration on how the meetings team
working with the local host could get a more helpful Visa process in any
country the meeting goes.

The remote participation options are improving and there needs to be
continuous exploration of how to further bridge the experience gap between
the virtual and physical participants.

I will also say that should there be known historical visa challenge with a
certain country without any indication of possible improvement from the
host country then there is no need to stuff an ICANN meeting into the mouth
of such country. I don't think we must always go to fancy countries to hold
ICANN meetings, if visa process of the less fancy ones are more
accommodating then they should be considered if they had express interest
to host. Ofcourse I am also not unaware that there may be many more devil
in the details of selecting a host but I have just focused on just this one
related to visa FWIW.


> The experiences witnessed in this thread suggest that ALAC may want to
> advance this issue up the CEO's priority list. How badly do we want the
> barriers removed.?
> --------
> As for short term help, ICANN Constituency Travel has been grappling with
> this issue for decades. ICANN itself can't be expected to understand local
> visa issues everywhere they have meetings, and very very few countries
> have no entry restrictions
> <https://qz.com/1701304/the-easiest-countries-to-visit-as-a-tourist/>.
> ICANN 68 will be in a country that denies all access to people from Israel,
> period. ICANN 67 and ICANN 70 will be held in a country that requires visas
> from almost all of Africa and Asia (*except* for Israelis, for which
> entry is visa-free) and has 27 fewer embassies than Canada. ICANN 72 will
> be in a country that might approve your visa but still turn you away at the
> point of entry after demanding to see your phone's social media posting
> <https://www.rferl.org/a/new-u-s-visa-rules-may-push-foreigners-to-censor-their-posts/30005463.html>s.
> And not everyone has an easy time getting into Schengen, either.
> It's unlikely that these meeting locations, already approved by the Board,
> are likely to change. So what can be done?
> What is crucial is to have a good local host for each meeting with
> governmental connections. At ICANN 42 in Toronto almost exactly seven years
> ago, the local ccTLD (CIRA) was heavily involved as host and I don't recall
> any visa problems. (Indeed that meeting was either the first or second time
> ever that an At-Large event was hosted at an ALAC member's home -- mine).
> Next week's meeting host is the dot-quebec geoTLD
> <http://rendez-vousmontreal66.quebec/> -- have they been involved at all
> in facilitating anyone's visa issues? If not that's a problem, they should
> be the ones with local knowledge, willing to provide advice or make
> interventions.
> So ... in the short term, demand that ICANN has a reliable local hosts for
> each meeting who will be expected to support -- and intervene on behalf of
> -- visa applications. In the medium term and beyond, ALAC needs to push for
> virtual meetings on a general principle of inclusivity.
> --------
> I was asked for solutions; these are mine. You may now resume the
> gratuitous Canada-bashing and petition-starting, while determining if those
> constitute solutions.
> - Evan
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