Beyond Boundaries: A Caribbean IT Manager's Sojourn into Internet Governance

Beyond Boundaries: A Caribbean IT Manager's Sojourn into Internet Governance

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, where the Internet intricately weaves itself into our daily lives, comprehending the inner workings of its operation is like unraveling a complex tapestry. Until September 2023, this enigma remained shrouded in unknowns for me. As an IT services manager at the local multisector ministry on the idyllic island of Carriacou, my responsibilities span various domains from climate change to coastal zone management. The world of Internet registries and governance was a realm I had yet to explore.

Discovery

A fortuitous encounter altered the course of my digital journey. While scouting opportunities for my multifaceted role, I stumbled upon the ARIN 52 Fellowship Program listing on the Funds for NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) portal. Curiosity led me down an unexpected path, from the tranquil trails of Carriacou to the bustling corridors of NANOG 89 and the dynamic discussions of ARIN 52 in San Diego. It was akin to embarking on a quest to decode the intricate junction where IT management and Internet governance converge.

Participating in the ARIN Fellowship Program and attending the ARIN 52 meeting was a privilege beyond measure. This experience was a profound education in Internet governance and policy development. The mentorship provided by seasoned ARIN community members was invaluable. Their generosity in sharing experiences and knowledge made me feel not only welcome but empowered within the community.

This guidance not only deepened my comprehension of policy development intricacies but also instilled a sense of duty to engage further. As a participant representing the Caribbean region, I now recognize the importance of actively shaping ARIN’s policies for IP addresses and Autonomous System Numbers. The examples of my Mentor, Advisory Council Member Alicia Trotman, and others like Gerry George and Peter Harrison (originally from Jamaica) have set me on the right path in that endeavor.

Exploration

This unique journey included participation in two significant networking events: NANOG 89 and ARIN 52. The North American Network Operators’ Group (NANOG) convened its 89th conference 16-18 October in San Diego, uniting networking professionals and experts to explore the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in the network operations community. As an IT services manager from a small island ministry, I found this experience to be enlightening, offering a glimpse into the details of Internet governance and network policy development.

ARIN President and CEO John Curran’s keynote address at the onset of NANOG 89 underscored the pivotal role that operators — regardless of their geography and scale — play in shaping Internet governance. It emphasized the importance of active participation in discussions that directly influence digital infrastructure, cybersecurity, and global connectivity. Topics like Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) piqued my interest. As I immersed myself in sessions and engaged with fellow attendees, I realized the critical role RPKI plays in enhancing routing security and safeguarding against route hijacking and IP address prefix spoofing.

Reflection

The ARIN 52 meeting itself surpassed my expectations. It was impeccably organized, offering a treasure trove of information that, though initially overwhelming, proved to be an excellent learning and networking opportunity. The diverse perspectives brought by attendees enriched discussions, fostering constructive dialogue. The level of interaction and collaborative engagement among participants left a lasting impact, creating an atmosphere of mutual respect conducive to candid and productive exchanges.

My primary takeaway from this transformative experience is the imperative for active Caribbean involvement in ARIN processes. Embracing available opportunities can pave the way for a more Internet-resilient community, capable of addressing our unique challenges. I am committed to remaining engaged, and I foresee my involvement with ARIN expanding. The avenues for participation are manifold, and I eagerly anticipate contributing to the vibrant ARIN community.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to ARIN’s dedicated team, Mentors, and fellow participants for nurturing a community characterized by openness, collaboration, and support. To [Community Programs Manager] Amanda and her team, and to my Mentor, Alicia, you are very special people. Your commitment to the aforementioned principles is commendable.

I am happy to have been a Fellow; I am equally excited about the prospect of the Caribbean region, and similar areas, playing a prominent role in shaping the future of Internet governance and policy development. Thank you for this remarkable journey, and I eagerly anticipate ongoing engagement with ARIN.

Post written by:

A photo of Davon Baker
Davon Baker
IT Manager/Systems Administrator, Government of Grenada; Founder and President, Kipaji Development Initiative, Inc.; ARIN 52 Fellow

Davon Baker serves as a local services manager in the multisector Ministry of Carriacou & Petite Martinique Affairs and Local Government, Government of Grenada. He is dedicated to implementing innovative technologies for the sustainable development of the Caribbean islands Carriacou and Petite Martinique. His passion lies in advancing sustainable development in small island environments through technology and innovation. An enthusiastic learner, Davon recently participated in the ARIN 52 Fellowship Program that took place 28 September-26 October 2023 and holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Midwestern State University (Texas).

As the founder and president of Kipaji Development Initiative, Inc., Davon spearheads this community-based NGO with a focus on sustainable development in the Grenadines. His commitment extends to integrating cutting-edge technologies in developmental and climate change initiatives, aiming to bolster local resilience and significantly improve the quality of life for the local communities.

Any views, positions, statements, or opinions of a guest blog post are those of the author alone and do not represent those of ARIN. ARIN does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or validity of any claims or statements, nor shall ARIN be liable for any representations, omissions, or errors contained in a guest blog post.

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