The .AKDN new gTLD

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) consists of over 1,000 institutions, projects and programmes in over 25 countries, many of them with their own identities and domain names. These institutions range from remote, rural early childhood development programmes to hospitals, hotels and hydroelectric plants. They also encompass many scores of volunteer-run programmes that currently operate under different identities.

Institutions within the AKDN are private, international, non-denominational development organisations founded and guided by His Highness the Aga Khan, the Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims. The AKDN represents a contemporary endeavour of the Ismaili Imamat to realise the social conscience of Islam through institutional action.

The AKDN works to improve living conditions and opportunities for people in some of the poorest parts of the developing world, in Central Asia, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. AKDN institutions serve mandates in education (pre school to tertiary including research); health (from primary to tertiary care, including teaching and research); culture; rural development; human habitat; crises response; micro finance; and economic development. A principal focus of AKDN’s multi-programme interventions is the enhancement of pluralistic civil society as an underwriter of human progress, a matter of critical importance in fragile and post-conflict situations where restoring stability and creating and sustaining opportunity for all populations alike is an overriding AKDN priority. AKDN, hence, operates within long time horizons, seeking to render the development initiatives self-sustaining, and where feasible, in a regional context, often at the initiative, and with the support of the governments and international organisations concerned.

An .AKDN TLD would provide the means to link all of these institutions together, avoiding confusion and providing an assurance of the origin and integrity of information to the donors, governments, diplomats, bureaucrats, the Development Community (World Bank, IFC, United Nations etc.), the general public, civil society organisations and other stakeholders with whom we work. It would also be used in new programmes involving distance-learning and other educational tools that will, increasingly, be used on the internet and through mobile telephony. The AKDN is involved in a number of initiatives related to bringing broadband access to underdeveloped areas, such as the Seacom cable that brought high-speed internet to East Africa, as well as innovative uses of network technology for projects such as telemedicine and microcredit in the developing world. An .AKDN TLD would help facilitate such work.

An .AKDN TLD would also signal that a programme or organization under the domain retains the characteristics of the AKDN itself: excellence in difficult and challenging areas, local consultation that leads to relevant projects, programmes that assure human dignity and achieve self-reliance, and a broad, positive impact on the quality of life.

This application is therefore largely based on the need to reinforce and secure a reputation earned over the last 100 years and to differentiate AKDN in ways that reduce complexity and aids understanding of the mission and purpose of AKDN. We believe both aims would be beneficial to key stakeholders and the general public. Driven by this dynamic, we expect to have between 100-200 domains under management (DUMs) after three years.
Jovenet Consulting,
Aug 17, 2016, 8:37 AM