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ARIN Seeks Caribbean candidate for Board of Trustees

Gerard Best

Persons from the Caribbean seeking to contribute to the governance ecosystem of the global Internet can now volunteer for an appointment to the board of trustees of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). The call for volunteers will close on April 30 at 5 pm EDT.

ARIN is one of five registries worldwide that coordinate Internet number resources. Its region spans the United States, Canada and many countries in the Caribbean. The move by ARIN is intended to address the absence of any representation of the Caribbean region at the board of trustees.

"This is in keeping with the ARIN bylaws, which allow the board of trustees at its discretion to appoint an additional voting member to the board for a term not to exceed one year so as to provide more diversity in the board's composition," ARIN said in an April 12 online post.

In March, the seven-member ARIN board formed a special committee to recruit and recommend potential candidates for the appointment of an eighth member, from the Caribbean.

It is the first time that ARIN is using its bylaws to improve Caribbean regional representation at the highest level of its leadership. The development appears to be part of a deliberate strategy by ARIN to invest in policies and practices that are more representative of its entire service region.

"We recognise that our policy development process can only benefit from the inclusion of more voices and perspectives from our constituents in the Caribbean," ARIN President and CEO John Curran said at the registry's public policy meeting in San Jose, California last October.

Since then, two women from the Caribbean have been appointed for the first time to ARIN's next-highest decision making body, the Advisory Council.

Advisory Council members voted to appoint Barbadian-born Alicia Trotman for a one-year term, starting January 1. Trotman, a senior administrator at Barbados' national telecommunications regulator, described the decision of the council as "a big step forward for Caribbean representation" at the regional Internet registry.

Jamaican-born Kerrie Ann Richards was also appointed as an interim member to fill the remainder of the unexpired term of David Huberman, who resigned from the council effective November 17, 2017. Richards' term ends on December 31.

In February, to further engage its stakeholders in the Caribbean, ARIN launched an ongoing series of workshops designed to raise awareness of ARIN services and to better understand the needs of the region.

On April 19, ARIN is launching a dedicated Caribbean Forum, which will run in parallel with the regional meeting of the Caribbean Network Operators Group, to be held in Miami from April 18 to 20. The registry has also announced plans to expose an even wider Caribbean audience to its mission and community later this year.

"The needs of the Caribbean can be very different to those of the US and Canada. For number policy decisions to best reflect the entire ARIN Community, those decisions must include perspectives and participation drawn from the Caribbean," said Wooding.

The ARIN call for volunteers to serve on its board of trustees is open to anyone of Caribbean background. No ARIN affiliation or membership is required in order to be considered. But the organisation's website specifies that the desired skill set of potential appointees includes demonstrated leadership experience, relevant board experience, and experience in relevant industry sectors, such as Internet or Telecommunications.

"I am really happy that this has happened, although it is unfortunate that it took so long," said Bill Woodcock, who served on the board for 15 years before voluntarily stepping down at the end of 2017.

"ARIN used this appointment mechanism at the beginning of 2017 to bring a woman onto the board, and in the election at the end of 2017, ARIN members elected a woman for the first time in twenty years. So we've seen that this path works to overcome the almost insurmountable advantage incumbents have in ARIN elections. I think it's completely logical to use it again to solve the geographic representation problem that we still face. I think it's great ARIN is finally moving to get someone from the Caribbean onto the board, and I'm confident that it will lead to the Caribbean being represented in elected seats in the future," he added.

An ARIN board meeting is scheduled to take place during its public policy meeting, to be held in Miami from April 15 to 18.

By Gerard Best, Development Journalist
Related topics: Internet Governance
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