Re: the old fellowship program, was Wow, we're famous

Dan Harkins <> Wed, 14 April 2021 21:42 UTC

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Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2021 14:42:48 -0700
From: Dan Harkins <>
Subject: Re: the old fellowship program, was Wow, we're famous
In-reply-to: <20210414185927.07A6E72E4243@ary.qy>
To: John Levine <>,
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On 4/14/21 11:59 AM, John Levine wrote:
> It appears that Nico Williams  <> said:
>> Fernando has pointed out repeatedly that ISOC used to have a sponsorship
>> program for participants from economically disadvantaged countries, and
>> that this program has been terminated.
> It wasn't working. The people would come to a meeting but then
> wouldn't write I-Ds or continue to engage with the IETF. In one
> particularly unfortunate case, the person didn't even speak English
> and somehow the selection process missed that.

   So you mean that inclusion by itself is not the thing to
strive for. That is something I think we need to keep in mind
when people speak of inclusion as some shining goal that is
attainable if we just do something different (smile, mentor a
newcomer, stop using "master" in RFCs, etc).

> We want to resume it
> with a selection process that finds people who can benefit from IETF
> meetings and are likely to be ongoing IETF contributors.

   You're saying that we need to be more *discriminating* in who
we decide to help meet our goals of inclusion. Yes, I agree.

   The thing is, participation in the IETF is voluntary and depends
on interest by the volunteer. So we, as an institution, are at a
disadvantage in having much say in dictating who shows up in the
end. There's only so much we can do to actually change the makeup
of those who voluntarily choose to take part especially when we're
drawing from pools of potential volunteers that are not very diverse
(by almost any way you want to look at it-- gender, geographical
origin, race, professional affiliation, political temperament, etc)
to begin with.

   I advocated for my company to help create a scholarship in a
STEM field at a HBCU here in the states. You can do that too, or
something similar modulo your particular circumstance. It won't
end up paying dividends until after I've stopped attending but
it's gonna do more to achieve the ultimate goal than stopping
the use of the word "master" in an RFC.



"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to
escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius