Two weeks ago was the Internationalization and Unicode Conference. This year is the 45th conference, or IUC45. I delivered a presentation: Top issues in Universal Acceptance of non-Latin email addresses and domain names. Here are my slides.

My abstract was:

The next one billion internet users use a wide variety of languages and scripts. They will demand email addresses, and domain names, in scripts they can easily read. This challenges apps and systems to provide Universal Acceptance (UA) — of all domain names and email addresses, from http://普遍适用测试.我爱你 to تجربة-بريد-الكتروني@تجربة-القبول-الشامل.موريتانيا to सार्वभौमिक-स्वीकृति-परीक्षण.संगठन . We explain the most troubling obstacles and the most inspiring successes in Universal Acceptance encountered by the Universal Acceptance Steering Group. From major email platforms launching support of internationalized addresses to improving support by programming languages and libraries, it has been an exciting year.

I presented on Friday, 15. October, 2021. You can find the slides at (PDF, 5.4MB). IUC 45 registrants may get access to a recording of the presentation sometime during November. I thought I planned my content conservatively, allowing 10-15 minutes for Question and Answer during the 50-minute session. I fear that my 50 slides say otherwise! I should probably have cut some of this content.

I think that Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) and Email Address Internationalisation (EAI) are on the growing edge of the Internationalisation and Unicode Conference’s domain. Sadly, they get little attention. This session was an opportunity to highlight Universal Acceptance, the principle that all domain names, email addresses and URLs should be fully accepted by software, no matter what scripts they use. In other words, Internet names and addresses which use non-Latin characters should be as well handled as those which use the legacy Latin characters. Universal acceptance is fundamental to a truly multilingual Internet, and to supporting the next billion Internet users.

I have been volunteering with the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG), a community-led initiative to raise awareness about Universal Acceptance, identify obstacles, and overcome them. The project is sponsored by ICANN, the domain name system organisation. You can find out about their work and their resources for developers at

IUC45 was held on 13-15 October, 2021, in Santa Clara, California, USA. The conference was virtual in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the organisers aimed for an in-person conference. They did not know how the pandemic would progress, so they had to prepare to switch to a virtual format if required. Happily, in the end, they were able to make a go of it.

But I was not. From Canada, getting to Santa Clara was possible, but there were obstacles of border restrictions, pandemic intensity, and extra expense. They persuaded me that in-person attendance was just not feasible this year. However, the organisers were marvellous about it. They set up a way for me to deliver my presentation live but remotely. I am grateful for their help.

I have been attending this conference for many years. Even after I emigrated to Canada, I came down to Santa Clara, California most years to attend this conference. I love the topic. There is a community of interesting people who attend year after year, and I value a chance to catch up with them. IUC46 will probably be held in October 2022. I hope I can be present in person for it.