ISOC Fellows Gain Skills, Network at IETF 77


Date: June 1, 2010

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Anaheim, California, site of IETF 77
Jean-Robert Hountomey (Benin)
Afaf El Maayati, Returning Fellow (Rabat, Morocco)
Kondwani Masiye (Blantyre, Malawi)
Sakaio Manao (Suva, Fiji)
Mohibul Hasib Mahmud, Returning Fellow (Dhaka Bangladesh)
 Idris A. Rai (United Republic of Tanzania)

Since 2006, the Internet Society (ISOC) Fellowship to the IETF programme has provided a critical link between the IETF and Internet technology professionals in developing regions. The fellowship, which operates under the aegis of ISOC’s Next Generation Leaders Programme, has since provided dozens of opportunities for men and women to meet face-to-face with the network engineers who are grappling with Internet-related problems and issues.

In March 2010, six technologists travelled to Anaheim, California, as first-time fellows and three others attended as returning fellows. Here’s what some of them are doing-and what they are saying about their experience at IETF 77.


Educated at the University of Madras, Chennai, Palanivelan is currently employed by Cisco Systems in Bangalore, India, where he is a senior member of the nextgen router test team and is responsible for technical inputs as well as for providing guidance for the team. What did Palanivelan appreciate most about IETF 77? “The opportunity to share, learn, and discuss ideas with the best in the business.”

Born and raised in Cotonou, the largest city and the economic capital of Benin, Jean-Robert is now in Minnesota, where he is studying computer forensics and working as a consultant on network architecture design and security. His primary interests within the IETF are IPv6, the Anti-Spam Research Group, DNS, and DNS Security Extensions. The best part of IETF 77 for him, Jean-Robert said, was “meeting friendly people” and being able to talk with the people who make the Internet run.

Born in Marrakech, Morocco, Afaf now lives in the capital city of Rabat, where she works at the National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency-or ANRT (the organization delegated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers as the administrator of the .ma ccTLD). At ANRT, Afaf serves as a project manager responsible for auditing the registration and management of .ma, for studying and verifying the accreditation requests of .ma registrars, and for mediation of conflicts concerning .ma domain names, among other activities. Within the IETF, she is especially interested in Domain Name System Operations and DNS Extensions.

Born and raised in Blantyre, Malawi, Kondwani was educated at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College and is now employed by Malawi Telecommunications Limited. His work involves deploying new IP and data systems for Malawi Telecoms’ service provider or carrier network. He works primarily in project management; network designing and engineering; and implementation of various systems as well as router, switch, and server configuration. “I also do a bit of network management, and I design custom solutions for our customers,” he wrote via email. Down the road, Kondwani would like to develop his expertise as a network architect because he’s interested in a number of areas within the IETF, including IPv6, multiprotocol label switching, virtual private networks, DNS, and Border Gateway Protocol. What would he consider the most gratifying aspect of attending IETF 77? “I liked the interaction with people in my field, who are extremely brilliant, and the openness of the participants.”


Originally from Nukulaelae, Tuvalu, Sakaio is now based in Suva, Fiji, where he works at the SOPAC (Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission) Secretariat managing the SOPAC local- and wide-area networks while studying to become a Microsoft Certified IT Professional. Of particular interest to Sakaio are IPv6 operations and management. IETF 77 gave him the opportunity to be “exposed to a high level of technical opinions, discussions, and expertise.”

A native of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Mohibul has a bachelor’s degree from the National University of Bangladesh and an M.B.A. from the Asian University of Bangladesh. He is currently pursuing ISOC’s Next Generation Leaders eLearning Programme, an online course made available at DiploFoundation. Mohibul currently works at BRAC BDMail Network Ltd, a Bangladesh-based Internet service provider, where he manages the core network team, conducts network planning, and maintains upstream links. “My interests are in network routing, security, quality of service, and network management,” he wrote via email. In the future, he would like to learn more about Internet technology and policy as well as the “Internet ecosystem” and to contribute to the Internet standards development process. What does he enjoy most about IETF meetings? “I enjoy the interaction among the participants as well as the networking opportunities. IETF [meetings] provide larger bandwidth for the participants for interaction, which is not possible in the mailing list.”

Born in Zanzibar and educated in Turkey (B.Sc. and M.Sc. in electrical and electronics engineering) and France (Ph.D. in networks and computer science), Idris now works at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, where he is responsible for teaching communications networks programmes, supervising graduate students at the master’s and doctoral levels, and managing academic programmes and student affairs for the Faculty of Computing and Information Technology. He also conducts research in network protocols, overlay networks, and mobile computing. In the short term, Idris is hoping to secure a full professorship by 2011 and perhaps a top management position before 2015. In the long term, he hopes to create and launch businesses in the area of communications networks. Mainly, he says, he hopes to “honestly contribute in order to make a huge difference, wherever I am.”


First-time Fellows

Palanivelan Appanasamy (India)
Mentor: Keyur Patel
Jean-Robert Hountomey (Benin)
Mentor: Alain Aina
Sakaio Manoa (Fiji)
Mentor: Phil Roberts
Kondwani Masiye (Malawi)
Mentor: Joel Jaeggli
Idris A. Rai (Tanzania,
United Republic of)
Mentor: Fred Baker
Gustavo Ramos (Brazil)
Mentor: Joao Damas

Returning Fellows

Afaf El Maayati (Morocco)
Mohibul Hasib Mahmud (Bangladesh)
Dessalegn Mequanint Yehuala (Ethiopia)
Noah Sematimba (Uganda)

This article was posted on 26 June 2010 .


Full Caption Text:
Image 1: It helped to be in sync with the happenings in the networking community apart from approaches to getting my drafts moved up the ladder to become RFCs. Palanivelan Appanasamy (India);  Image 2: I enjoy participating in discussions with people as well as the opportunity to contribute in some of the areas important to the African continent, such as IPv6, congestions, and DNS security. Jean-Robert Hountomey (Benin);  Image 3: Attending an IETF meeting is always a very good opportunity to build relationships and [conduct discussions] with key people involved actively in standardization work. Afaf El Maayati, Returning Fellow (Rabat, Morocco);  Image 4: I think the meeting opened up the IETF to me. I have a better understanding of how it works and a greater desire to participate. Kondwani Masiye (Blantyre, Malawi).;  Image 5:  The ISOC plenary session on IPv6 provided an opportunity to look at the exhaustion of IPv4 [addresses] and why the move to IPv6 should be taken seriously. Sakaio Manao (Suva, Fiji).;  Image 6: The IETF experience was great exposure for me. I had the opportunity to interact with the RFC contributors and share my views, particularly the developing-world perspective, with them. Mohibul Hasib Mahmud, Returning Fellow (Dhaka Bangladesh).;  Image 7: The best take-home [from IETF 77] was positive contribution to some of the sessions as well as having hands-on experience with IETF issues, establishing new research collaborative networks, and making friends. Idris A. Rai (United Republic of Tanzania)