Following discussions between members of the MENOG Programme Committee (PC), please allow me to explain the new direction MENOG will be taking over the coming years.
The PC feels that the MENOG community has come a long way since its first meeting in 2007. Now that the community is established and the meetings are well-attended, we think there is a better approach to support the growth of the Internet community in the Middle East. After some deliberation, we have decided that MENOG will shift from a model of two meetings per year to one single (larger) meeting each year, and focus on delivering more Roadshows and national week events. This approach will start with MENOG 17 in 2017.
The Roadshows were launched in 2011 as a joint initiative between the RIPE NCC and MENOG. In the years since, we have seen a total of 36 Roadshows across the Middle East, visiting every country in the region at least once. The RIPE NCC also now organises additional events alongside each Roadshow. These include Member Lunches for RIPE NCC members in the immediate area, as well as events with local universities or other stakeholders such as governments, regulators or specific industry groups. The Roadshow in this way has been developing into something larger, where we try to make the greatest impact from our visit to a country and draw people into the MENOG community. This approach will be expanded under the new direction, and the Roadshow itself will be further developed, adding more diverse tracks based on the local need.
Ten Roadshows are budgeted to be delivered in 2016 and will continue to provide for a similar amount of events in the future. This means that on a country-by-country basis, more members will have a chance to engage directly with the MENOG and the RIPE NCC and participate in the community than if they were to wait for the next MENOG meeting to be held in their country.
So, to summarise: we believe that greater direct engagement on the national level provides more value and will be more effective in growing the MENOG community than having a second event. Moving to a single MENOG meeting each year will also allow us to focus on ensuring that this meeting is of a high quality and continues to deliver value to the community members who attend.
Chair of MENOG PC