Today was the working day for the constituencies. There were many meetings, and a serious amount of policy was discussed. I think day three at an ICANN meeting is something like the engine room. And we also found out, although it was something of an open secret, the first ICANN meeting for 2013 will be in Beijing. After all the hard work we were rewarded with a fantastic gala hosted by CZNIC in an old Castle by the riverside. There were different rooms with different styles of music, with a basement being my favourite, with a string quartet playing a lot of Czech folk music. The food was fantastic, with an interesting selection of Czech wine, and of course plenty of pilsener.
June 27, 2012
June 26, 2012
On Monday night there were two ceremonies of transition.
The first was the celebration of the 10 years of ALAC. This was a happy occasion in which the very hard work of the unpaid volunteers who form ALAC and the supporting bodies, was recognised and celebrated. The history of ALAC and its continued success was endorsed by many speakers. Our new CEO Fadi Chehade also joined in, and made a good analogy of the ALAC community as the feet of the organisation taking us to our goals. For me, what I enjoy about the ALAC community is the incredible diversity. There is no such thing as a typical ALAC member, but despite enormous cultural and other differences, everyone joined in the celebration, showing us a real model of one world one Internet.
The next ceremony of transition was the reception for retiring CEO Rod Beckstrom. His achievements and successes were celebrated and recognised, including a specific recognition from the Internet Society of China, which I believe demonstrates the achievement in his contact and outreach to Asia. Perhaps in future years one of Rod’s most important achievements will be seen as achieving a breakthrough in Asian involvement with ICANN. It concluded with the presentation from his children which left him momentarily speechless – very touching.
So today in Prague is a very busy day for the community. All of the constituencies are meeting and discussing their work. That is really the engine room of ICANN, and the results of the discussions are most important. But there is another occasion to join in with the traditional music night.
June 25, 2012
Today is the first official day of ICANN 44. In fact many of us arrived over the weekend, and my day of work started properly on Sunday with a presentation to the newcomers, on Ombudsman 101. This is a presentation which I give to all new staff members of ICANN, and modified to present to the newcomers session on Sunday at an ICANN meeting. There were a number of very thoughtful questions following the presentation, including the very interesting topic of whether I could look at issues of access to the Internet where a country imposes restrictions. I have not had such a complaint, so I have not been able to consider the issue of jurisdiction. It would have to be along the lines that there was unfairness preventing someone from participating in ICANN because of the censorship restrictions.
Today began with the official introduction of our new CEO Fadi Chehade. He spoke to the general meeting in a very inspirational address, telling us about his humble beginnings as an onion cutter when he first arrived in the United States, as a non-English speaker. His eloquence and fluency demonstrate he has travelled a long way since those days. He emphasised his desire for inclusiveness, transparency and consensus. I look forward to the particular strengths which he can bring, and the concept of consensus for decision making particularly appealed to me. Rod Beckstrom also gave a thoughtful speech about his term in office, expressing his full support for his successor. He summarised his achievements, and in particular reaching out to the Chinese Internet community, a most important part of his term as CEO. I know as ombudsman I receive very few referrals from China, but of course as Rod mentioned, they have 25% of the world Internet users. So hopefully that means things are well in China, but I suspect really means I need to do more work there.
One of the most interesting features of my job is meeting people from all over the world. For example, I have met impressive individuals from Armenia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldavia as well as a group of friends from the Pacific Islands. So I am constantly challenged by new cultural ideas and approaches.
As the meeting proceeds no doubt there will be debate over a number of issues including the new gTLDs program. I would urge anyone who feels affected by some aspect of this to consult with me, and of course I am available in my office at the Hilton as well as through the complaint system on my website.