When 72 candidates vie for 8 positions, making tough choices are inevitable.
ICANN's 2005 Nominating Committee (Nom-Com) on Friday announced the selection of a diverse and independent set of nominees for important roles in ICANN, including the Board of Directors, the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), the At-Large Advisory Council (ALAC) and the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO).
The year-long process began with an open call in April 2005 for high-caliber, accomplished individuals to serve in voluntary roles in the public's interest. Their charge — to address the Internet's technical coordination problems and related policy development challenges, tasks that are ICANN's general responsibilities.
Nom-Com, itself a unique group, consists of people drawn from diverse backgrounds, and representing various constituencies that reflect the points of view of businesses, civil society, technical coordination bodies, and end-users, but participating in Nom-Com in their individual capacities. These constituencies are defined in ICANN's bylaws. Long-term, the Nom-Com selects 53% of all Board Directors, 20% of GNSO members, 17% of ccNSO members and 33% of ALAC members, staggered across various terms.
The 2005 Nominating Committee received 72 applications, with continued evidence of interest in working with ICANN from all over the world, not just North America and Europe. For instance, only about 5 African candidates applied in 2003, that increased to about 9 in 2004 and continued to about 11 in 2005. Perhaps reflecting the fact that a good number of Latin Americans were selected in 2003 & 2004, fewer candidates seem to have applied from that part of the world. Applications from Europeans and North Americans accounted for 55% or more every year, perhaps reflecting current trends of global Internet usage. In all three years, over 20% of all candidates have been from Asia/Australian/Pacific.
When I first started attending ICANN meetings, the ratio of men to women approximated that of my University's engineering classes...dismally low. This statistic seemed to permeate all the way to the ICANN Board.
It's good to see gender diversity make its way through the ICANN process. In each year, the Nom-Com has helped ICANN's groups increase their gender diversity. From three women (12% of all nominees) nominated in 2003, the number grew to four women (44% of all nominees) in 2004. In 2005, six women (75% of all nominees) are nominated for ICANN positions, including both Board nominees.
In 2005, the Nom-Com seated two persons to the ICANN Board. The selections were geographically balanced between North America and Africa, and between new and incumbent Board Directors.
Susan Crawford, who has been active in the policy, legal and (even!) technical circles regarding the Internet, cyberlaw and ICANN, is the new Director appointed to the ICANN Board. She keeps an active calendar, much of it blogged.
Njeri Rionge returns for a second term to the ICANN Board. She's been active on the Internet, most recently founding and running a leading Kenyan IP Communications Solutions Provider.
Critical Years For Nominees
In the next couple of years, each of the 4 leadership councils (Board, GNSO, ccNSO, ALAC) has weighty and important issues to consider and decide.
ICANN's best known spokesperson and Chairman, Vint Cerf will step down in 2007 (his final term on the Board expires at the conclusion of ICANN's annual meeting in 2007). Both Susan and Njeri will be part of the ICANN Board that has to work through succession planning, evaluation of the CEO, and make reasoned and wise choices to ensure the continued success of the organization.
The GNSO has to wrestle with ongoing policy issues in the areas of privacy, security and internationalization, and also weigh in on new TLD selection process –- in addition to various other issues, including contracts, bid processes, etc. Avri Doria has been renominated, and I look forward to her civil society and technology expertise on the GNSO. The ccNSO, as a relatively young organization, has some "forming" and "norming" issues to resolve –- including they key issue of increasing the number of countries that participate. The ALAC has unique challenges of its own, including thorny issues of representation.
Everyone - these nominees, ICANN and the Internet community need to work carefully in steering ICANN through the WSIS and UN Internet Governance debates that seem to propose new and unproven methods in lieu of the working ICANN model.
Geographic & Gender Diversity statistics were computed from official statistics listed by the Nominating Committee:
By Ram Mohan, Executive Vice President & CTO, Afilias
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