UA Ambassador, Delhi – Harish Chowdhary, National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI).
In 2019, Harish participated in a variety of outreach and education initiatives to promote UA, which were focused on nine cities and seven states in India, specifically Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh; Pune, Maharashtra; Patna, Bihar; Kolkata, West Bengal; Raipur & Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh; Jaipur, Rajasthan; Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh; Shimoga, Karnataka. India has 22 official languages written in 11 different scripts, and Harish used 2019 to concentrate on the acceptance of the Devanagari script. Hindi is the most widely spoken language in India and is written in the Devanagari script.
Further, Harish partnered with academia, startups, incubator hubs and governments to organize six workshops for local developers in Raipur, Bhopal, Jaipur, Lucknow, Pune and Patna. These were held in partnership with the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and funded by the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) Government of India. The workshops provided tutorials on UA coding and hosted challenges to create a website, web application or web service that would work with – specifically, accept, validate, store, process and display – all domain names and email IDs written in languages based on the Devanagari script.
Also, in partnership with governments and technology groups, he worked with the Council of Information Security (CIS), India Internet Foundation, the National Institute of Technology, Bhopal (NIT-BHOPAL), the Internet Society (ISOC) Rural Development Special Interest Group (SIG) and Kuvartiz Technologies Pvt Ltd to organize UA-related workshops, coding sessions, lectures and discussions. He also attended the India School on Internet Governance (inSIG) 2019, ICANN66 and ISOC Rural Development SIG events in Moradabad and Shimoga (remote attendance) to promote and discuss issues around UA.
Looking ahead to 2020, Harish will focus on expanding the support of scripts other than Devanagari, which helps regions like the south of India and West Bengal, with local UA initiatives in India. The next UA workshop he is coordinating will be held in the city of Ranchi in February 2020. He is also planning a UA session during the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) in Nepal, as well as a workshop at the India School on Internet Governance in Mumbai towards the end of the calendar year.