[sdnog] Call for Volunteers to Join the AfPIF Program Committee

Nishal Goburdhan nishal at controlfreak.co.za
Tue Oct 1 10:54:07 SAST 2019

On 19 Sep 2019, at 9:53, Sara Alamin wrote:

> Hi Nishal,

hi sara,

> Thanks for sharing the announcement, and I have received many 
> questions about joining the PC. I will share it here for others too.

sure, i’m happy to help.

> - Does joining  the program committee  require certain educational 
> qualifications?

no formal qualifications are necessary.  we do hold the calls in 
english, so proficiency in english is expected.

> - Do I have to work/ have been worked with the Internet exchange 
> point?

oh, absolutely not :-)
the PC is *not* a collection of IXP operators.  we currently have 
operators, people from civil society, some IXPs, some from academia, 
etc.  in general the more varied the constituents from the PC, the more 
diverse opinions you’re able to find, and the better the debate, and, 

i’ve grouped these three together, since they seem to be pretty 

> - for students and fresh graduates, Can they join the PC? Or the 
> committee is only for the expertise?
> - If I do not have any experience or knowledge on how Internet 
> exchange points work. can I participate?
> - after joining the PC, Will there be a training period at the 
> beginning to clarify the responsibilities of work?

generally the programme committee’s primary responsibility is to be 
able to deliver a high quality programme.  to do that, the PC is 
responsible for finding interesting speakers, or coaxing people into 
talking.  ideally, the PC members have a good social network to solicit 
PC members are expected to be able to read, and review submissions in 
advance.  that means understanding the content that has been presented, 
and, be in a position to judge how the audience at afpif, will react to 
this (like or dislike).  that’s why we prefer PC members that have 
attended at least one afpif meeting, so that they have an idea of what 
the event is about.

closer to the meeting, we meet using an online meeting tool, weekly, to 
draw up the programme.  it’s not essential that PC members make all 
meetings, but, we do expect engagement;  either through mail on the 
dedicated PC mailing list, or, notes on submissions for the talk.  and 
at the event, you’re expected to act as an ambassador for afpif;  
speaking to various people, engaging with newcomers, etc.  we don’t 
really want quiet people that don’t contribute, as that doesn’t help 
us generate a better meeting experiences.  PC members also contribute to 
the charter of the AfPIF PC;  ie. over time, we review the PC charter to 
make sure that it is relevant, and to see how it can be improved.

the PC is a non-remunerative position (ie.  it’s volunteer;  there’s 
no pay).  PC members do not get special privileges;  they don’t get 
subsidised attendance to meetings, or faster lines at the lunch buffet, 
i’m afraid :-)  but you do get to help shape one of the most 
interesting events on the continent, imho.

i like your questions about “fresh” candidates.  generally, we’ve 
preferred experienced individuals, with the ability to draw on their 
networks, for speakers, as i’ve explained above.  but there’s a 
growing need to try to have “young blood” and we’ve long 
recognised this.  we don’t have a way to fix this immediately, but the 
PC has spoken about a “shadow PC”  (note:  this is my loose way of 
describing it, and not an official term) where we can induct new people 
that are interested in the concept, but do not necessarily have the 
experience.  you’ll get specific tasks, and you’ll be expected to 
follow up on them, and that will form part of your contribution, and 
learning experience.  our thinking is, that over time, these people 
start to understand how our PC works, and, can then apply to join the 
regular AfPIF PC (or, perhaps, even others).

so, it’s an idea that we are playing with;  if you have suggestions, 
or are interested in more details, please feel free to write to me 
directly.  if you have questions about how you think you can contribute 
to a “shadow PC”, also, feel free to write to me.   however, if 
you’d like to join the PC, please follow the process posted earlier.

hope that helps,

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