I am now packing after concluding the meeting. My presentation to the Board and ICANN community can be found here-http://dakar42.icann.org/node/27031 under Ombudsman and the transcript is there too.
Here is my final address
Address to ICANN Public Forum
Tena koe, tena koe tena koutou katoa
Haere mai ki te Kaitiaki Mana Tangata
Greetings to all from the Ombudsman
I open by addressing you in the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Maori. In New Zealand our Constitution has developed as a partnership, if you like, a dual stakeholder model with the Maori and European settlers. A partnership is like a multi-stakeholder model because it involves a relationship between the parties which goes deeper than something like a contract or an ordinary company constitution. This is because at the end it involves the people. In Maori we would say that
He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!
What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people! It is people! It is people!,
So my role as the ombudsman is to help preserve those relationships, because the very nature of my job is to look at damaged or broken relationships. In some respects the role is therapeutic rather than policing, which is consistent with my approach to be inclusive and welcoming. A partnership still requires nurturing and care. The ICANN staff provide the nurturing and care to the multi-stakeholder model and the ombudsman is there when the family has an argument.
I should tell you something about what has happened since I was appointed. In the following slides you will see the complaints in the period from when Dr Frank Fowlie finished his term until I was appointed. You can then see a very substantial increase since I began. It is entirely possible that the introduction of the new GTLDs will add to this workload, although the care which has been spent on the application process may avoid this.
This meeting in Dakar Senegal is my first ICANN meeting, and I have tried to meet as many of you as ICANN. Quite a few have found me in my office and called in just to say hello. Some issues have also risen, which is not surprising with so many people all anxious to have their voice heard and with the consequence something like the family reunion where old family disputes are raised.
I was fortunate in achieving a handover with Dr Fowlie, who has of course deep experience of both ICANN and the profession of ombudsmanship. However I intend setting my own mark on this office and you will have seen some changes in the appearance of my site, my publicity literature and the banners outside my office. The curved green signals are a koru, which is developed from the Maori word for the New Zealand tree fern, an important symbol in New Zealand. A fern is an important part of the forest ecosystem, and I hope that this acts as a symbol for the important part of the ombudsman plays in the ICANN ecosystem.
Another analogy for the office of the ombudsman is that of a referee. This of course gives me an opportunity to mention that the All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby team, have just won the Rugby World Cup. I am sure my French colleagues will not mind if I bring this up. But it is important to remember that the referee is not always popular when he has to make a decision which affects the result of the game. Sometimes an ombudsman will also have to make a recommendation which is unpopular, but like the sports referee, someone has to do this. We all hope that on reflection and passage of time that the decisions are seen for what they are.
This meeting at Dakar has been incredibly important for me. It is meeting the people, mostly unpaid volunteers who have an awesome commitment to the goal of ICANN, one world one Internet. I have been overwhelmed by the passion, the deep knowledge and the constant re-evaluation of what we do. I am learning that many in the community know that the office of the ombudsman exists, but perhaps what I can do for you is not as well known as it should be. I intend reaching out however, by all possible means, to ensure that my office is better known and available to everyone and that you feel free to contact me at any time.
I will conclude by giving my thanks to the ICANN staff who have been patient with my ignorance, and to the ICANN community who have welcomed me without reservation. I also acknowledge the friendly staff and our conference centre and hotel, who had provided delicious food, superior pillows for my bed and professional service to all of us.