Read More About the Speakers Attending the 2018 Middle East DNS Forum


Omer Fatih Sayan

Dr. Sayan was born in Istanbul on June 10, 1977. He holds a BS degree from the Electronics Engineering Department of Istanbul University Engineering Faculty, LLB degree from Bahcesehir University Faculty of Law, MS degree in Electrical-Electronics Engineering Communications at the Engineering Department of Munich Technical University and PhD degree from the Biomedical Engineering Department of Istanbul University Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences.

In his earlier career, he worked in the private sector in Turkey, Germany and USA in the field of microchip production, mobile phone design and R&D. He worked as the Advisor and Principal Advisor for the Prime Minister from 2007 to 2014. Dr. Sayan was appointed as the Chairman of ICTA on August 25 2015.

Sally Costerton

Sally Costerton spearheads ICANN’s strategic global engagement, which is critical to ICANN’s mission of preserving a multistakeholder model for an open, singular and secure Internet. With a wealth of experience in complex international multistakeholder environments, Sally and her team cover the globe to engage all stakeholders in the internet ecosystem.

Before joining ICANN, she led one of Europe’s largest public relations firms, Hill & Knowlton, for over six year as EMEA CEO. In her career, Sally has worked with diverse international companies and senior leaders for the past twenty years to maximize their resources and build strong relationships with their stakeholders.

As one of Europe’s leading communications experts, she has been the Chairman and Board member of the PRCA (Public Relations Consultants Association) since 2006.

Nick Tomasso

Nick Tomasso joined ICANN in 2008, bringing with him a wealth of experience after leading IBM’s global meetings as Director of Global Events. Today he has various roles at ICANN. In his capacity as Vice President of Global Meeting Operations, Nick manages all ICANN meetings, in particular, the three annual public meetings held in different regions of the globe that allow attendees from around the world to participate in person. These meetings are an essential platform for ICANN and provide the opportunity for an internationally diverse group of individuals and organizations to come together and discuss and develop policies for the Internet’s naming systems.

He is also the Managing Director for ICANN’s Regional Middle East and Africa Office located in Istanbul, Turkey. In this role, he supports the organization’s strategic objective to evolve and further internationalize ICANN and better serve the global community.

Mohamed Abuabed

Mohamed Abuabed is an IT professional, with more than 10 years of experience working in different roles with reginal pioneer telecommunications and service provider companies.

Mohamed has been handling Saudi Telecom Company’s (STC) development and design of the DNS infrastructure and security. He has a BSc degree in Information Technology and Computing from Arab Open University.

Banu Acarturk

Banu Acarturk has been the Head of the Administrative and Financial Group at Nic.tr Administration (“.tr” Domain Names) since 2004. Her responsibilities involve project management, resource management and documentation, human resources, strategic planning, and data analysis.

Before Nic.tr, she was the Head of Administrative Support Group at METU Computer Center between 1998-2004. Acarturk holds a BA degree in Statistics from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey.

Bashar Al-Abdulhadi

Bashar Al-Abdulhadi is the Founder and CTO of KuwaitNET, the first ICANN-accredited specialized web hosting and domain registration provider in Kuwait and the Arab world.

He is an active member of ICANN’s Arabic community. He participated in many regional events such as Arab Internet Governance Summer School in Egypt, ICANN annual meetings in Hong Kong and Dubai, and the Arab Internet Governance Forums in Kuwait and Dubai. As an Opensource Enthusiast, he co-founded Kuwait Open Source Community and the Google Developers Group Kuwait’s Chapter.

Nadira Al-Araj

Nadira Al-Araj is a freelancer in the Internet Governance Policy Research. She has been volunteering with several I* Organizations. This year, she is a member of ICANN and ISOC nominating committees.

She is a board member of the Arab International Society for Management Technology.  She has also worked as a Lecturer at Bethlehem University and holds double MSc. degrees from Syracuse University in Computer Science and Information Resources Management.  She also acts as a liaison for .PS at the ccNSO.

Raed Al-Fayez

Raed I. Al-Fayez is the General Manager of Internet service in Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He has more than 19 years of experience in DNS, domain names, ccTLD admin/technical, and Internet services and security. He is one of the first Saudi engineers who participated to introduce Internet in Saudi Arabia in 1998, and is an author/coauthor of many research papers (refereed) on Arabic domain names and DNS security.

He holds a Masters degree on Information Systems from King Saud University, and a couple of certificates; mainly project management professional (PMP) and Leadership and Management (ILM).

Maxim Alzoba

Maxim Alzoba holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Physics, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University. Maxim has been actively participating in the policy creation of the TLDs of the city of Moscow (.moscow and .москва) since its early stages. As a special projects manager of FAITID, he is in charge of policy and compliance.

After the execution of.moscow /.xn--80adxhks Registry Agreements with ICANN in late 2013, FAITID joined RySG as a Registry and started direct participation in the work of RySG. Since then, Maxim has been participating in the work of RySG and GNSO. Maxim participates in the GNSO Standing Selection Committee as a RySG appointee.

Munir Badr

Munir Badr is a young Internet entrepreneur and the Founder/CEO of AEserver.com, an award-winning, UAE based domain name registrar and web/cloud host. It is .ae accredited by TRA of UAE since 2008 and .qa accredited by ictQatar since 2013.

Badr has lived more than 20 years in Dubai and has seen the country grow from desert to a futuristic city, this was his fuel for passion to start and grow a business within the domain name/web hosting industry. Badr is also a prominent speaker at various forums such as MEDNSF, APTLD, MENOG and others.

Fahd Batayneh

Fahd Batayneh has been with ICANN since October 2013, and serves as a Stakeholder Engagement Manager for the Middle East. Prior to ICANN, he held several positions within Jordan’s National IT Center (NITC), last of which was managing both the ccTLD and IDN ccTLD of Jordan.

Batayneh has attended ICANN meetings on a regular basis since 2008, and was active in several working groups. Batayneh has also provided consultancy on Internet Governance, new gTLDs, and Internet Policies. He holds a B.Sc. in Computer Engineering with honors, and an MBA.

Prof. Dr. Faruk Bilir

Prof. Dr. Faruk Bilir is the President of Personal Data Protection Authority of Turkey. He studied at the Faculty of Law at Selcuk University, where he also obtained Master and Ph.D. degrees in Public Law. He served as a lecturer from 2001 to 2014. During the past two years, he has been he Head of the Department of Constitutional Law.

He also served as the Faculty of Law Dean at Karatay University. While a Legal Counselor in the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, he was elected as the Member of the Board of the Protection of Personal Data by the President of the Republic of Turkey in 2016 and later elected as the President of the Personal Data Protection Authority in early 2017.

Bilir has a range of published books and articles on constitutional law, political science, parliamentary law, governmental systems, and human rights.

Wafa Dahmani

Wafa Dahmani Zaafouri is Senior Engineer head of NIC/LIR department in ATI responsible for  the management of the national ccTLD registry “.tn” and the National Register IPv4 / IPv6 (Local Internet Registry). She is also the vice-chair of the national MAG-IGF, former ALAC member, ccNSO member, AFTLD excom member and chair of the governance committee and appeal committee within AFRINIC.

She has more than seventeen years of experience (since 1999) in systems and network administration, software engineering, requirements analysis, architecture design, implementation and management of Internet core network services. Wafa was an ALAC member for 2016-2017. She is very active in ccNSO working groups and the Middle East strategy and lately joined the programming committee of the Middle East DNS forum to serve till 2019. She lately joined the global IGF MAG. She is also leading the working group of the Africa DNS Observatory.

Hadia El Miniawi

Hadia El Miniawi is the director of the Domain Name System-Entrepreneurship Center (DNS-EC), establisehed by the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Egypt and ICANN. El Miniawi is also an Africa representative at the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) of ICANN, an active member of the Middle East and Adjoining Countries Strategy Working Group and a participant in several ICANN working groups. She has more than ten years of experience at the .eg registry.

Prior to her current role, she was deputy to the director of foreign trade for Africa and the Middle East at the Hungarian National Trading House in Budapest. El Miniawi holds a MSc. in Management and Leadership from Szent Istvan University in Hungary, a Diploma in Engineering Management and a BSc. in electronics and communication from the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University.

Baher Esmat

Baher Esmat is ICANN’s Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement in the Middle East. In his role, Esmat is a keen facilitator of collaboration and dialogue between ICANN and the regional Internet community, helping promote the development of regional domain name industry.

Esmat is a founding Board member of Egypt ISOC Chapter. He has also served on several Internet governance related groups including the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Internet Governance, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) Working Group on Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Improvements, and the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Committee (MAG).

Esmat has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Cairo University, and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the American University in Cairo.

Su Sonia Herring

Su Sonia Herring is an independent editor, translator, speaker and project coordinator experienced in Internet governance, digital rights, women and youth participation, digital literacy, and overall capacity building within multistakeholder structures and processes.

Herring’s past experiences include project management, communications, localization, content strategy, marketing and event management for Dow Jones, AEG Europe, Experian, and small to medium-sized companies in Turkey, Germany, and Afghanistan. She is currently an executive committee member of the South East European Dialogue on Internet Governance (SEEDIG), project coordinator for Youth IGF Turkey, and mentor for various Internet governance initiatives including MEAC School on Internet Governance and Digital Grassroots.

Nigel Hickson

Nigel Hickson works out of ICANN’s Engagement Center in Geneva as part of the Government Engagement Team at ICANN. He is responsible for global engagement with the UN, IGOs and other International organizations.

Nigel joined ICANN in 2012 and worked until 2014 as the VP for Europe.  He joined ICANN from the UK government; where he had served in a number of capacities for almost thirty years. Latterly he had been responsible for a team dealing with international ICT issues, including Internet Governance.

Patrick Jones

Patrick Jones works as the ICANN Senior Director of Global Stakeholder Engagement. Patrick coordinates ICANN’s global engagement activities across its regional and functional teams. He joined ICANN in March 2006 and has been active in the Internet governance, policy, operations and security areas since 2000.

Patrick is an invited participant in ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee and has been involved with ICANN’s root KSK ceremonies since 2010.

Leyla Keser

Leyla Keser is Founder and Director of Information Technology (IT) Law Institute at Istanbul Bilgi University.  With a graduate degree from Marmara University Faculty of Law, Keser was a research assistant at the same faculty until 1998. She was awarded a PhD degree in 1998, after which she became a faculty member at Istanbul Bilgi University.

She has authored books, articles and reports on computer forensics, e-signature, e-government, e-commerce, information security, biometric methods, e-invoice, DRM (digital rights management), ICT Law, e-health records, data protection/privacy, online behavioral advertising and cyber security. She was a legal counsel of the Ministry of Customs and Trade for Turkish Commercial Code on Digital Company, IT Law and e-Commerce Law. She gives consultancy for several governmental organizations on IT Law since 2004. She represents IT Law Institute within Network of Centers. She was also a faculty fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Cem Kubilay

Cem Kubilay is working at Microsoft Turkey as Senior Technical Sales Manager, helping customers on their digital transformation journey. He is in IT industry for 20 years and had several roles starting with software development to consulting large multinational companies on adapting new technology on their digital transformation. Security and Data Privacy has always been top of mind topic for him and he will share his experiences during the session.

Luna Madi

Luna Madi joined ICANN to lead the Communications efforts in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  She has over 15 years of diverse multi-sectorial international experience in communications management for various leading organizations and clients.

Prior to joining ICANN, she worked with INARA (International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance) in their foundation phase, providing strategic advice for the formation and operational planning for the humanitarian organization. Before that, Luna worked as Communications Adviser to Globe Express Services (Overseas Group) a top 100 privately owned third-party logistics service provider.

Luna has a Bachelor of Commerce with honours from the University of Edinburgh.

Raedene McGary

Raedene is qualified as a Barrister in England, an Attorney licensed in California, and a Data Protection Certified Practitioner. Her involvement in the domain name industry has spanned more than 15 years. McGary is currently the Director of Legal and Policy for CentralNic Group plc. One of the world’s leaders in the domain name industry, CentralNic is continuously developing to meet the domain market’s evolving challenges and opportunities. Headquartered in London, with offices across the globe, it services customers in over 250 countries.

McGary focuses on supporting ccTLDs in operational and policy development projects, assisting both dot brand and open TLD registry clients with policy support with its ICANN operator licenses and compliance for both Registry clients and CentralNic Group owned Registrars.



Dr. Attila Özgit

Dr. Attila Özgit is a graduate of Middle East Technical University (METU). He worked abroad as Software Engineer and Technical Support Manager for several years before rejoining METU. He has served as the Assistant Director, and then as the Director of Computer Center at METU. He initiated and managed several forerunner projects, such as first Internet connection of TR, first Unix based servers, first fiber-optic campus network, broadcasting election results through WEB, etc.

Dr. Özgit is a faculty member at the Computer Engineering Department of METU, where he is doing research in information security, particularly on defense technologies. He is leading a research and development project on “air gap” technologies for mission critical networks. Dr. Özgit is ccTLD manager of “.tr”, from the very early days of Turkey’s internet Connection.

Dr. Cengiz Pasaoğlu

Dr. Cengiz Pasaoğlu received his B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical-Electronics Engineering from Gazi University. He worked in various departments of DHMI (State Airports Authority and ANSP of Turkey) from 2002 to 2016 and led several national and international R&D projects during this period. In addition, he has a range of published articles in conferences and journals.

While he was working as Deputy Head of Electronics Department in DHMI, he was elected as a Board Member of the Turkish Data Protection Authority from the Justice and Development Party Group with the decision of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on 5 October 2016.

Dave Piscitello

Dave Piscitello has been involved in Internet technology for over 40 years, and serves presently as ICANN’s Vice President of Security and ICT Coordination. He regularly collaborates with the information security, operations, and law enforcement communities on a diverse range of security issues related to the Domain Name System and domain name registration processes, including phishing, spam, botnets, DDoS attacks, domain hijacking and registration abuses.

Piscitello’s research includes proxy and private domain registration abuse, REST-based Internet directory services, domain seizures and DNS abuse investigative techniques. Dave has authored books on internet protocols, remote access and Voice over Internet Protocol Security (April 2006). He publishes articles regularly on the Internet security, DNS, anti-phishing, malware, the Internet policy and privacy.

Chamseddine Riahi

Chamseddine Riahi joined the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) in 2002 as a system administrator. He then went on to join the NIC Team in 2010. He has been instrumental in upgrading the Tunisian ccTLD DNS infrastructure by developing a new technical platform based on High Availability and Load Balancing and new front-office solution for registrars (Web Portal, API, EPP and Whois), updating DNS servers and deploying a DNSSEC and IDN, and managing the ICANN Registrar Accreditation for ATI. He also setup “Clean DNS” project for the Tunisian government.

Chams joined the ICANN Community in 2012 as a ccNSO member, and has now become a voluntary co-trainer in DNS Operations and DNSSEC.

Mert Saka

Mert Saka has been working for ICANN since 2014 as the Registry Services and Engagement Manager. Based in ICANN’s Istanbul Office, he works closely with the New gTLD Registry Operators in EMEA region.

With a degree in electronics engineering and very good communication skills in English and Turkish, he worked for various international organizations over the last decade. His experience covers the Internet, software and related fields and his specialties include business/technology analysis, solution and strategy championing, and communications.

Ronald Schwaerzler

Ronald Schwaerzler is well-respected in Austrian Internet, broadcasting and business circles, having served as founding chief executive of the online divisions of the country’s biggest newspapers and online director of the Austrian broadcasting corporation, ORF.

His considerable experience is now helping shape the new Top Level Domain landscape in Europe through his management of the three geoTLDs of .WIEN, .KOELN, .COLOGNE. Each of these three cityTLDs promotes the digital identity of the city and its culture on the Internet. As a consequence, Ronald is also serving in the ExCom of the geoTLD.group, a not-for-profit membership association, representing the interests of geographic top-level domains identifying a city, region, language or culture.

Giovanni Seppia

Giovanni Seppia has been the External Relations Manager at EURid since 2007. He previously worked as ICANN’s European Regional Liaison. Prior to that, he was the General Manager at CENTR. He has also served as the Head of External Relations for the Italian Registry (ITT-CNR) for five years and has three years of experience in various roles at the European Commission.

He has been working as a consultant on EU programs for several national and international organizations and served as an EU programs lecturer for the Master on EU policies and programs at the Venice International University.

Abdurrahman Tig

Abdurrahman Tig was born in Giresun, Turkey in 1969. He finished primary school in Giresun and had his secondary education in Trabzon at Imam Hatip High School. He graduated from Public Administration at University of Uludag. He started his career in media and carried on in different sectors as a manager.

He was CEO of BURFAS, an affiliate company of Bursa Metropolitan Municipality. He had recently worked as CEO at Arz Real Estate and Venture Capital Portfolio Management A.S. He has been the General Manager of İstanbul Dijital Medya Ticaret A.Ş. (Medya A.Ş.), an affiliate company of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality since November 2017.

Leonid Todorov

Leonid Todorov holds an M.A. in Linguistics and did postgraduate studies in international relations, management and business leadership, and economics in Denmark, Taiwan and US. Since the onset of the Russian reforms, he served for more than a decade as Chief of Staff to PM. His background also includes private sector and academic activities.

In 2008, he joined the .RU registry and contributed to the launch of the IDN ccTLD .РФ and some new gTLDs . ДЕТИ (kids) and .TATAR. In 2015, he was appointed as General Manager of the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD). He also helped establish the Russian IGF and contributed to EuroDIG and APrIGF, and sits on CCNSO SOP Committee.

His focus is on ccTLDs, Internet governance, public policy, and cybersecurity. He has authored and coauthored a number of publications on these issues, and presented at various national and international events.

Mohammad Zeidan

Mohammad Zeidan is the General Manager, MENA at Neustar Inc, provider of Top Level Domain Registry and DNS infrastructure. Neustar provides solutions to hundreds of clients around the globe generic, geographic, community and brand TLDs.

Mohammad comes with extensive experience throughout the MENA region, working for leading regional and global online companies. Mohammad supported many digital initiatives, has participated in multiple regional events, and has worked with digital communities in countries including Jordan, United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon.