SECTION B. Professional and Educational Background
1. Provide details of your current job, role, title, employer and affiliations
I am currently Managing Director of Compass Rose Sdn Bhd, a private consulting company based in Malaysia that I founded and established in 2009 as my private consulting vehicle.
I am also Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors.
2. Describe your educational and professional history. Provide all information that you believe may be relevant to being an effective member of the ICANN Board
2009-Present Compass Rose Sdn Bhd
Managing Director & Chairman of the Board of Directors
Compass Rose Sdn Bhd is a private limited consulting company incorporated in Malaysia that provides strategic advice and solutions towards enhancing organizational and network performance, learning and impact.
2003-2010 Global Knowledge Partnership Secretariat
Director, Board of Trustees
The GKP Secretariat was a non-profit company limited by guarantee under Malaysian law that provided coordination and operational support to the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) and carried out GKP activities globally.
2001-2008 Global Knowledge Partnership
Ex-Officio Member, Executive Committee/Global Board
The Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) was the world’s first and leading global multistakeholder network of organizations focused on promoting the innovative use of ICT and knowledge for sustainable and equitable development worldwide. The membership of the GKP comprised organizations from all regions of the world that included government agencies, inter-governmental organizations, private sector companies, media organizations, academic institutions, and NGOs. The GKP Executive Committee was an elected body that was selected by and accountable to the GKP membership. It functioned as a Global Board for the Global Knowledge Partnership where it was responsible for all aspects of governance with oversight over the management of the GKP Secretariat and its activities. The Executive Committee was multi-stakeholder in composition and reflected the diversity of the GKP membership in terms of sectoral representation as well as regional representation. As an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee, I was involved in every aspect of decision-making and participated in every work committee. As Executive Director, I was responsible for developing proposals and recommendations for Executive Committee decisions.
My responsibilities and achievements include:
Responsible for setting-up and managing the GKP Secretariat in Kuala Lumpur upon its transfer from the World Bank Institute in 2001 including establishing the GKP Secretariat as a non-profit company limited by guarantee under Malaysian law in 2003; Led and developed an international team of 25 people that included 8 regional coordinators from diverse background and cultures. Grew the annual operating budget from USD500,000 in 2001 to more than USD 5 million in 2007. In 2007, the GKP annual budget combined with the budgets of initiatives under the GKP Global Partnership Programme exceeded USD10 million.
Responsible for growing and diversifying the GKP membership from a network comprising primarily organizations from developed countries to one that is global and with more representation from the developing world, and particularly from the civil society sector. The GKP membership in 2008 had 115 organizations from 54 countries across all regions that included government and inter-governmental agencies, private sector companies, media organizations, academic institutions, NGOs; Established GKP Regional Networks in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean, Middle East, North America, and Oceania; Nurtured relationship with GKP members, partners and funders across sectors, regions and thematic interest.
Responsible for the development, implementation and review of GKP governance arrangements and systems including governance design, practices and documents; Conducted consultations with stakeholders on improving network governance; Oversaw periodic institutional assessments and audits by external experts; Established transparent processes and procedures for the election of the GKP Executive Committee and regional network coordinators.
Responsible for the development of multi-year GKP strategies, annual plans, programs and budgets as well as fundraising. Established global and regional programs for knowledge-sharing, multistakeholder partnership-building, capacity-building, seed-funding for action learning projects on emerging innovations, and best-practice identification; Oversaw the delivery of 3 global events for consultation on emerging issues and solutions in ICT for Development and to present network learning and partnership achievements in 2003, 2005 and 2007; Engaged more than 50,000 development stakeholders across public, private and non-profit sectors worldwide via GKP programs; Commissioned various research on thematic issues; Oversaw program evaluation by external experts.
Responsible for GKP advocacy and stakeholder engagement strategies; Facilitated bottom-up multistakeholder consultations in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean, Middle East, North America, and Oceania on wide-ranging thematic issues for GKP network advocacy at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS); Supported the development of 3 BBC world debates to focus attention on emerging issues in ICT for Development.
Responsible for GKP promotion worldwide; Spoke at key international and regional fora including the plenaries of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS 2003 and 2005); Co-led the organization of the WSIS 2003 “ICT for Development Platform” or “ICT4D Platform” with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation to highlight the human and development dimensions of ICT through debates and showcases of innovative development solutions from around the world; Engaged national, regional and global media to promote key GKP initiatives; Supervised the development and implementation of an internal (in-reach) and external communication (outreach) strategy including the development of a technology platform that served the communication and information needs of a global multistakeholder community; Oversaw the publication of GKP knowledge products.
1997-2001 MIMOS Berhad / National Information Technology Council Secretariat
Policy Technologist, IT Policy Development Division (1997-2000)
Manager, ICT and Governance (2000-2001)
MIMOS Berhad is Malaysia’s leading research and development (R&D) organization for ICT and was responsible for introducing the Internet to the country. MIMOS conceptualized, built and maintained the country’s Internet backbone and gateway; served as the country’s first Internet Service Provider; served as the country’s first country code Top Level Domain (.my) manager from 1987-2006; and established the Malaysian Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCert) for dealing with cybersecurity issues as well as the first Certification Authority (CA) to issue digital certificates in Malaysia.
Between 1994-2003, MIMOS Berhad also functioned as a policy-development think tank and served as the Secretariat to the National Information Technology Council (NITC). Chaired by the Prime Minister, the NITC was a high-level multistakeholder Council that advised the Malaysian Government on the development and utilization of ICT, including the Internet, as a strategic tool for national development. As the NITC Secretariat, MIMOS Berhad supported the policy-development work of the Council and coordinated the implementation of Council decisions.
My responsibilities and achievements include:
3. Describe any current and past volunteer community positions, roles and accomplishments. We are particularly interested in similar Board directorship and committee experience
Volunteer Community Positions/Roles (ICANN-Related)
Other Volunteer Positions/Roles
Volunteer Board Directorship or Equivalent Positions
The Internet Society Malaysia Chapter was established in April 2010 as a non-profit, user-focused organization that promotes development of the Internet in Malaysia to benefit the whole community, including business, academic, professional, and private Internet users. The Chapter currently has 764 members (Dec 2013 statistics). The Executive Council (comprising 8 individuals elected by Chapter members) functions as the governing body of the Chapter and is involved in all decisions related to the Chapter, which are achieved via consensus. I am the only woman elected to the Council in 2013. (http://www.isoc.my/).
Wawasan Open University (WOU) is Malaysia’s first private not-for-profit open distance learning institution dedicated to working adults. It provides an opportunity for people to pursue a university level qualification for professional development and self-enrichment via open and distance learning methods. Established in 2006, the university has served more than 12,000 adult learners. WOU provides accredited learning programs at all degree levels (under-graduate, graduate and post-graduate). These programs are delivered via four professional schools (Science and Technology, Business and Management, Education, Languages and Communications, Foundation and Liberal Studies) and the Centre for Graduate Studies. The university has established 6 Regional Centers to support distance learning throughout the country and has been ranked as an excellent institution of higher learning by the Ministry of Higher Education.
The WOU Council is the precursor and equivalent of the university’s Board of Governors. The Council served as an appointed executive body responsible for the overall management oversight of the institution. The Council includes representatives from the public sector, civil society, industry, and the academic community. The multistakeholder composition of the Council is to ensure that the university has access to holistic advice on how the university can best serve the educational needs of the larger community and expand opportunities for higher learning for all. The role of the Council was to develop the principles and policies that govern the University’s operations, and for considering and approving the university’s budget and work program. I served as a WOU Council Member from 2007-2011 in my individual capacity. (http://www.wou.edu.my/aboutWOU.html)
Malaysia’s National Information Technology Council (NITC) was established in 1994 to serve as a strategic high-level advisor to the Malaysian government in the formulation and coordination of national ICT policies and strategies. Over the years its role has expanded to include policy formulation and strategic direction setting, policy coordination and evaluation, technology assessment, standards development for technology adoption, and industry promotion. The Council retains its function as the primary advisor and consultant to the Government on matters pertaining to ICT in Malaysia’s national development. Council membership is multistakeholder in composition, lasts for two years, and is by appointment of the Prime Minister. I served as a member of the NITC Secretariat under the leadership of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad between 1997-2001. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi appointed me to the Council in my individual capacity for the 2008-2010 term. (http://nitc.mosti.gov.my/nitc_beta/index.php/the-national-it-council/nitc-governance)
GAN-Net is a community of Global Action Network leaders, researchers, funders and other stakeholders, who are committed to developing global action networks that serve the public good. The mission of the network of Global Action Networks (GAN-Net) is to strengthen the capacity, increase the legitimacy and improve the results of multisector, global networks in addressing urgent sustainability and security issues with social, economic, political and environmental implications. The GAN-Net Council is the primary planning body of the network, which is responsible for (among other things) strategy development, advocacy and establishing rules and procedures that govern the network’s execution of its responsibilities. I served as Vice-Chair of the Global Action Networks Council from 2007-2008. I worked on helping multistakeholder entities working on complex global issues (e.g., poverty, corruption, access to justice, environmental and natural resource sustainability and ICT for Development) learn from each other to enhance leadership capacities and find ways to enhance network legitimacy, effectiveness and sustainability while maintaining the support of stakeholders. (http://www.scalingimpact.net/gan/global-actionnetwork)
4. List any relevant personal or professional web pages
SECTION C. Internet Involvement and Interest in ICANN
1. Describe how you meet the criteria for the At-Large selected ICANN Board Director position
The At-Large Board Director has to meet the criteria of the ICANN Board Director in general as well as the additional criteria of the At-Large Director. The following is how I meet those criteria:
(Accomplished persons of integrity, objectivity, and intelligence, with reputations for sound judgment and open minds, and a demonstrated capacity for thoughtful group decision-making)
I have a long-standing passion for ICTs (with the Internet at its core) in terms of their transformative impact and potential to facilitate human development on a global scale. I view the Internet as the single most critical global infrastructure for supporting human activity and advancement.
I have more than 15 years of experience in dealing with ICT-related policies and their implication for national and international development. I have dedicated my entire work life on this issue area. My decision to dedicate my work life in this area is based on a long-standing commitment to serve the interest and needs of the global public, and to help catalyze human development and advancement as equally, widely and quickly as possible via ICT.
I have served in various leadership and board level positions (please view information under professional history and volunteer roles). My track record of service across all the roles, which involve appointed and elected positions, and particularly for positions that are voluntary in nature, establishes that I am considered to be an accomplished person of integrity, objectivity and intelligence and that I have a reputation for an open mind, sound judgment and a demonstrated capacity for thoughtful group decision-making.
I care deeply about the governance of institutions with wide and deep global impact like ICANN. I have spent more than a decade contemplating models of effective governance in ICT-related issue areas that tend to cross national jurisdictions and require the collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders. This concern for effective governance models comes from an early and comprehensive understanding of the potential impact of ICT on society and economy, both nationally and globally, courtesy of an exposure to the highest-level of decisionmaking in my country’s government as well as other equally unique experiences in my work life.
(Persons with an understanding of ICANN's mission and the potential impact of ICANN decisions on the global Internet community, and committed to the success of ICANN)
ICANN’s mandate pertains to the technical coordination of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers and in particular, the security and stability of the system. There is emphasis in the ICANN Bylaws to maintain the scope of this limited mission, but there is also the requirement of the Affirmation of Commitments between ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce that ICANN’s decisions should be made in the global public interest.
In the case of the Internet, the public is global in distribution. Having a limited mission constrains ICANN’s ability to serve the full interest of the global public. This is a point of tension in ICANN. It is known in policy circles that technical decisions have significant impact on non-technical policy issues. ICANN thus faces continuous and increasing expectation to grapple with issues related to content regulation, particularly with the growth of Internet users worldwide and the introduction of new generic Top Level Domains (TLDs), which includes Internationalized Domain Names with variants. There is an inclination in ICANN to deal with this expectation by emphasizing the limits of its mission, which is challenged within ICANN’s own community of stakeholders. The challenge will continue as long as there is no satisfactory solution in place.
ICANN’s function is crucial and necessary for users of the Internet. Having worked in the field of ICT for Development, I understand how the Internet is crucial to support human development across all areas, may they be social, economic, political or environmental. Having served on the At-Large Advisory Committee, I have augmented my understanding and familiarity with end user concerns.
In the rest of this application I elaborate on my understanding of ICANN's mission, the potential impact of ICANN decisions on the global Internet community, and my commitment to the success of ICANN.
(Persons who will produce the broadest cultural and geographic diversity on the Board)
The ICANN Board currently does not have any representation from South-East Asia. Coming from this underrepresented sub-region addresses a gap, but it is not the limit of the cultural and geographic diversity that I can bring to the ICANN Board.
I am multilingual and fluent in English, Mandarin Chinese and Malay (which includes several dialects and also spoken in Brunei, Singapore, Southern Thailand, and Indonesia in variant forms). I am also familiar with the Latin, Chinese and Arabic writing systems, which are used across regions of the world.
I am multicultural in that I come from a family of mixed-ethnicity and I grew up in Malaysia, which is a multi-cultural country. I am comfortable in environments of diversity and I operate effectively within them. My entire work experience has been focused on working with people of diverse cultures and languages at the national, regional and global levels.
I am well exposed to the diversity of world cultures. My work and personal life have taken me to more than 70 countries that span all regions. I have a deep appreciation for the diversity and beauty of world cultures while being aware of the conflicts and struggle for identity that can arise from politically motivated cultural differentiation.
I come from a developing country and my work in the field of “ICT for Development” since 1997 has given me a broad understanding of international development, particularly the needs and challenges of developing countries as well as the needs of disadvantaged communities in developed economies. This understanding informs my deliberation and decision-making on issues that impact the developing world.
I have a good understanding of how access to ICT and the Internet can support and boost national development efforts as a whole and in specific sectors such as education, health, rural development and poverty reduction, delivery of public services, ICT industry development, employment creation, the empowerment of women, youth and marginalized groups, and more.
I am aware of the wide-range of challenges faced by developing countries that include among others:
(Persons who, in the aggregate, have personal familiarity with the operation of gTLD registries and registrars; with ccTLD registries; with IP address registries; with Internet technical standards and protocols; with policy development procedures, legal traditions, and the public interest; and with the broad range of business, individual, academic, and non-commercial users of the Internet)
I am familiar with the theories and practice of public policy, which is primarily concerned with the development of policies for the public interest. I have a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University. I spent the early part of my career working with the Malaysian government on the national ICT strategy and policy development during the Mahathir administration.
I am familiar with the theories of policy development in general. Within the past 3 years I have reviewed literature and theories in policy studies, which explores the range of policy development models and breaks down the policy development process into its component parts for deeper inquiry, as well as theories in public policy, international relations, and institutional design and analysis to refresh my analytical skillset on global governance issues.
I am familiar with the ICANN policy-development process and procedures. I have reviewed ICANN’s policy formulation process based on theories of policy development to support my own learning about ICANN.
I am familiar with individual users of the Internet based on my experience on the ALAC. I am familiar with the broad range of governmental, business, academic, and non-commercial users of the Internet based on my experience working and engaging with these stakeholders in the field of ICT for Development.
I have had to gain some understanding of Internet technical standards and protocols in helping the ALAC formulate its responses to some of ICANN’s proposed policies and programs on IDN variants. Working on IDN variants issues required obtaining a more in-depth understanding of DNS as a system as well as investigating how variants will affect DNS security and stability, which in turn will affect end users. I worked closely with members of the technical community to achieve an understanding of the implications involved on the DNS. I was an observer on the development of the Label Generation Ruleset Process for the DNS Root Zone and contributed to the work of the project team. After a year of learning about the issues, I organized an ICANN workshop at the 2013 Internet Governance Forum in Bali, Indonesia to highlight the issues of concern from the point of view of the language communities/users and the technical community.
Issues related to the operations of gTLD registries and registrars as well as ccTLD registries are important and form an integral part of the ALAC’s work and action during my term, especially aspects related to consumer (end user and registrant) protection, confidence, trust and choice as well as aspects of compliance and public interest commitments of registries and registrars. Apart from contributing to ALAC policy discussions on these topics in varying degrees, I convened the At-Large Multistakeholder Policy Roundtable discussions on consumer protection and public interest concerns in relation to new gTLDs at two ICANN meetings to enhance the At-Large community’s understanding and guide its action.
(Persons who are willing to serve as volunteers, without compensation other than the reimbursement of certain expenses)
I am willing to serve as a volunteer, without additional compensation other than the normal compensation offered to ICANN Directors and reimbursement of certain expenses. I understand that the role of an ICANN Board member is time intensive and I am willing to allocate sufficient amounts of time to be successful in that role.
(Persons who are able to work and communicate in written and spoken English) I am fluent and competent in English, verbal and written.
At-Large Criterion 1
(An understanding of ICANN At-Large)
I have an understanding of ICANN At-Large based on my experience as a member of the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) from 2011-2013.
I am familiar with the formal structure of the At-Large, the relationship between the At-Large Structures and Regional At-Large Organizations, and the At-Large process of accreditation. I am also familiar with the At-Large system of representation in ICANN via the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), the process of At-Large consultations on policy and other matters, as well as its communication channels and work platforms. I have also interacted with some representatives of At-Large Structures from all 5 regions.
The At-Large is a community of individual end users that serves primarily as a policy input mechanism for ICANN on matters that affect the interest of individual end users. The At-Large also serves as an outreach mechanism for ICANN.
The At-Large community is potentially all of the world’s Internet end users. However, for various reasons only a portion of the end users is currently involved in ICANN At-Large. Some of the reasons include scope of ICANN’s work, language barriers, understanding of issues that can be quite complex and technical, ability to engage in ICANN’s particular work culture and practices as well as via its chosen work platforms, availability of time, time zone differences, and even access to the Internet.
Among the end users active in ICANN, some prefer to work through other stakeholder groups at ICANN, some work through both the At-Large and other constituencies while others contribute exclusively via the At-Large.
Despite all the challenges, the At-Large community as it currently stands is diverse, global, and growing. Some parts of the community are extremely vocal and active, others less so.
The At-Large community has a wide-range of interest. It has concerns on issues that fall inside as well as outside of ICANN’s purview. Some community members struggle with the scope limitation of ICANN. The community has differing views on various issues and consensus is not always easy to achieve. Some issues have immediate traction within the community while others require time to understand or volunteers to step up and serve as issue catalysts or facilitators. Sometimes, the time required by At-Large community members to engage in policy issues (which differ from issue to issue) translate into having no At-Large input that can be submitted in time for ICANN’s consideration within the designated policy processing cycle.
Nevertheless, I believe that there are certain core aspects of ICANN that the At-Large community may have consensus on:
(a) The importance of consultation and ensuring that the At-Large voices are represented and heard in ICANN deliberation of issues;
(b) The importance of ensuring that At-Large representatives from all parts of the world can participate in ICANN activities and meetings (online and face-to-face) equally;
(c) The importance of ICANN being governed well and having high standards of accountability and transparency.
(d) The importance of ICANN being responsive to the needs of the At-Large community.
(e) The importance of issue-based capacity-building initiatives and facilitation to help the diverse At-Large community understand and discuss in greater depths the implication of ICANN’s proposed policies, with sufficient time to consult and work on an agreeable or consensus position;
(f) The importance of providing appropriate language support for At-Large activities.
At-Large Criterion 2
(An understanding of the potential impact of ICANN decisions on the global Internet-using community and the Internet end-user community in particular)
The Internet is crucial to support human activities and development across all areas, may they be social, economic, political or environmental.
ICANN’s decisions on matters within its remit, though the remit is narrow, can have tremendous impact on the global internet-using community and the Internet end-user community. Due to complexity or technicalities involved, some of that impact can be challenging to understand or convey to end users.
Here are three examples where ICANN’s decisions impact the global Internet using community and, in particular, the Internet end user community:
DNS Security, Stability and Resiliency
One of the most important aspects of ICANN’s work is in continuously ensuring the security, stability and resiliency of the Domain Name System (DNS), which is critical to the operation of the Internet. The DNS is a ubiquitous enabling technology. It has components that are visible in user interfaces and components that are invisible. Invisible components of the DNS are used in other protocols used by users, but users may not be aware that the DNS is involved. Threats that result in a systemic failure of the DNS would make the Internet unusable for users. Information flow on the Internet including web and email traffic would generally stop. Though users can still communicate via visible user interfaces by using Internet Protocol addresses directly when this type of crisis happens, the difficulty of remembering IP addresses makes it impractical.
Internationalized Domain Names (IDN)
The Domain Name System (DNS) was not originally designed to be multilingual. Until a few years ago, only a small set of Latin characters contained within the US-American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) is allowed for domain names. The DNS has thus been underserving the majority of the 2.7 billion Internet users who do not use Latin script to read or write. For about a billion of those users, visiting a website involves struggling to navigate the Internet using non-native scripts. For some of them, the action requires switching keyboards. ICANN’s work and policies on Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) are critical for the goal of achieving equal use of the Internet for users across language communities.
Consumer Interest and Protection
Consumers in ICANN’s context include both end users and registrants of domain names. There is a range of policy areas related to domain names in ICANN that have implications on consumer interest and protection. A key example is WHOIS, which is an Internet protocol used to query databases to obtain information about the registration of a domain name or IP address. WHOIS services are typically used to identify domain holders and to identify parties who are able to correct technical problems associated with the registered domain. Consumer trust in WHOIS services is driven by the accuracy of the data provided by registrants, which has proven to beproblematic. Some registrants’ desire for privacy (for both lawful and unlawful reasons) has led to the registration of inaccurate data as well as the use of proxy and privacy services that obscure the identities of parties, some of whom that are engaged in illegal or harmful activities that adversely affect end users.
At-Large Criterion 3
(A track record of working to build consensus with a diverse set of interests working together on complex policy issues)
I believe that higher effectiveness and impact can be achieved by working collaboratively, especially when dealing with complex policy issues. I am reasonably competent at consensus building and I excel at facilitating collaboration.
Here are a few examples of where I have helped build consensus, nurtured collaborations or fostered environments that supported collaborations in a challenging context:
(a) GKP Advocacy Position at the World Summit on the Information Society
I was responsible for the advocacy and stakeholder engagement strategies for the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP). For the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), I facilitated bottom-up multistakeholder consultations across all regions to develop a common GKP advocacy position.
The GKP consultations, which took place in every region of the world twice between 2002-2005 required active listening and weighing of differing viewpoints. A common position was not easy to achieve given differences across stakeholders and regions.
For WSIS 2003 in Geneva, consensus was achieved on highlighting: (i) the importance of prioritizing human development in the consideration of Information Society issues and ICT for Development; and (ii) the importance of multistakeholder partnerships and collaboration as a vehicle to address development needs. Also, there was agreement for the GKP community to work within the frame of a selected set of thematic issues that includedpoverty reduction, empowerment of women and youth, indigenous and local knowledge, and governance.
A concrete outcome of the consensus position was the ICT4D Platform (“ICT for Development Platform”) at WSIS 2003, which was co-organized by the GKP and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The ICT4D Platform highlighted the human and development dimensions of ICT through debates and showcases of innovative development solutions from around the world to guide the WSIS deliberations. The importance and results of multistakeholder partnerships were featured across all activities of the ICT4D Platform. The Platform involved 265 organizations from 80 countries and 120 knowledge-sharing activities (panels, workshops, and conferences).
Between 2003-2005, I conducted consultations for the development of the GKP Strategy 2010 (a 4-year strategy that would commence in 2006). Consensus was achieved that the GKP would focus on 4 themes of “ICT for Development”: poverty reduction, resource mobilization, access to knowledge and education. Strategy 2010 was launched at WSIS 2005 in Tunis where the GKP organized 41 multistakeholder conferences, panels and workshops focused on issues within the selected themes.
(b) Sustainable Models for Community Access via Telecenters
I was able to foster better understanding between government, business, and civil society champions of telecenter networks in developing regions (i.e., Asia, Africa and Latin America) through the work of the GKP and its members between 2005-2008.
In the telecenter movement, the sustainability of telecenter initiatives was a key problem and some civil society actors distrusted the private sector and the purely profit-driven model. The challenge was to find creative and collaborative ways to bridge the profit requirement of business entities with the capacity-building, community-service orientation of civil society entities towards developing sustainable community access-points with value-added services and community engagement in rural areas, which help countries address some of their digital divide problems.
The knowledge sharing and partnership building activities of the GKP that involved its members (via various GKP Meetings as well as initiatives like the South-South Exchange Workshops and Telecentre.Org) helped bridge the differences between the stakeholders to work together on sustainable telecenter models premised on multistakeholder partnerships.
(c) Building Consensus in the At-Large
Building consensus in the At-Large is challenging for three reasons: (i) the differences of views within the community when there are views; (ii) the shortage of time before decision-making, which is not conducive for addressing differences towards achieving consensus; and (iii) the absence of views on some issues.
As a member of the At-Large Advisory Committee, I have taken the initiative to lead on certain policy and governance related issues. In terms of the ALAC policy and position statements that I was involved in drafting during my term, the issues pertained to Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) policies (9 out of 18), new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) policies (4 out of 18), ICANN governance and decision-making capacity related (3 out of 18) and Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) policies (2 out of 18). In all of the policy statements, I believe that consensus was achieved in the community except for two statements.
Out of the policy statements that I drafted during my term, four were sent to the ICANN board as formal ALAC Advice.
2. Describe current and past involvement in, contributions to, and leadership roles in activities and organizations involved in the development and operation of the Internet, its naming and addressing infrastructure and/or its security and stability
3. Provide a statement about what you would contribute in the At-Large selected ICANN Board Director position to ICANN and its mission
ICANN is a unique organization that faces persistent and growing challenges. ICANN needs board members of considerable and diverse talent and experience to exercise the fiduciary duties of care, loyalty and disclosure while guiding the organization skillfully through its array of challenges.
Here are three examples of those challenges:
The ICANN Governance Model
The ICANN governance model has its strong points, but it is also fragile. The legal accountability structure of the ICANN Board has its set of advantages and disadvantages. Having ICANN remain as an entity subject to the
oversight of the government of the USA (irrespective of whether the oversight is acted upon or not) carry an active risk that sustains the fragility, especially after the Snowden revelations.
This risk places ICANN in a position where its legitimacy as a global steward of critical Internet resources is vulnerable to challenge by the international community despite any satisfactory performance in fulfilling ICANN’s mandate. In the context of this fragility, the Board has to address ongoing and emerging risks posed by contenders for ICANN’s role.
The Multistakeholder Model and Inclusive Participation
The multistakeholder model (evident in ICANN’s policy-development process, its array of stakeholder groups and its Board composition) is the main redeeming quality that makes ICANN acceptable to the international community. The model strengthens ICANN’s governance, but it is not devoid of weakness. It can still be improved in terms of safeguards against capture and means of enhancing inclusive and effective global participation.
ICANN’s legitimacy is tied not only to its accountability and transparency, but also to how well it is perceived to uphold the global public interest. In this context, how ICANN includes stakeholders and enables their participation in policy discourse and development via the multistakeholder model matter greatly.
In expanding its reach to be more inclusive, ICANN is only just starting to develop its engagement strategies and internationalize meaningfully under its new executive leadership. There are many challenges ahead to realize the vision of “One World, One Internet” with full global participation and effective coordination by a truly international and fully competent ICANN.
The New gTLD Program
The implementation of the new gTLD program will continue to stretch and test ICANN’s capabilities. The program carries several risk factors that are regulatory, technical and commercial in nature. Some of the risks are known during the program development phase and some are unfolding as the program is being implemented, which catches ICANN and its community of stakeholders by surprise.
Some of the challenges require that ICANN’s regulatory compliance enforcement mechanism address its current weaknesses and scale up quickly. Others require a closer look at specific parts of the program. The delegation of IDN Variant TLDs, for example, has potentially far reaching implications that few people understand and therefore has not been discussed widely.
Other issues related to new gTLDs require rigorous debates and review of principles to ascertain whose rights matter most in domain names disputes and whether or not honoring those rights serve the global public interest.
I would contribute my intelligence, skills, knowledge and experiences together with my understanding of stakeholders and ICANN to help enhance the quality of the Board’s deliberation and thinking towards strengthening ICANN governance and producing decisions that fulfill the needs of ICANN as well as that of the global public interest.
Being an ICANN Board Director will allow me to influence the direction of ICANN’s resources, focus and operations towards areas that I think will make a positive difference to global stakeholders and simultaneously enhance ICANN’s positioning, legitimacy, inclusiveness and governance.
It will also allow me the opportunity to apply the learning from the hard lessons of my own experiences towards a more effective and responsible model of governance for global multistakeholder entities, which I believe to be a valuable mechanism for addressing complex issues that implicate stakeholders worldwide.
I view the ICANN model as an innovative model of governance despite its weaknesses, which can be improved. I am dedicated to the success of ICANN, particularly as it seeks to internationalize and find ways to globalize the IANA function to enhance its legitimacy.
I believe that I am able to help ICANN address its array of challenges towards becoming a benchmark for the governance of global institutions with high standards of accountability and transparency.
Having done global outreach via my work in the GKP, I believe I can also help ICANN with its efforts at stakeholder engagement to enhance inclusion and internationalization.
To address the challenges of the new gTLD program and in looking ahead to possible future rounds of new gTLDs, particularly those targeted at emerging and developing countries and economies, I would advocate for a review of the entire gTLD application procedure before the next round and support efforts to amend aspects that are considered to under-serve the public interest based on the evidence of the current experience.
In this review process, I would work on ensuring that representatives of stakeholder groups with no financial stakes are sufficiently represented to balance the interests of those with financial stakes to ensure that the recommendations support the global public interest. In addition, I would advocate for greater awareness raising and discussion on aspects of the program that are not well understood.
4. Provide a statement about what you would contribute in the At-Large selected ICANN Board Director position to the At-Large Community
The At-Large Board Director does not represent the At-Large and is obligated to serve the best interest of ICANN (based on its specific legal accountability structure) and the public interest.
As a Board Director with an understanding of the At-Large and its values, however, I would be in the position to explain and help other Board members understand better the At-Large community’s concerns, priorities, and points of view in the consideration of issues.
To the At-Large community I would extend an active listening ear and (where appropriate) engage in discussions to understand the community’s range of concerns, priorities, and points of view.
In the Board, I would consistently ask the question: Has the interest of end users, especially individual end users, been sufficiently heard or addressed in the consideration of this issue?
To the extent possible, I would help with ICANN’s outreach efforts and serve as an ambassador for both ICANN and the At-Large.
I will maintain a record of my own personal consideration of issues and decision-making action as a Board member that can be used to review my performance without sacrificing board confidentiality.
5. Please describe specifically how and why you will be able to advance, at the ICANN Board, the interests of the At-Large Community and the broader global community of Internet end-users
Care for the Global Public Interest and Good Governance:
I care deeply about the global public interest and the good governance of ICANN, which includes having expectations of high standards for accountability and transparency. I have awareness and clarity on the areas where ICANN is considered to be weak in its accountability and transparency as well as in serving the global public interest. This awareness will help me be focused in addressing those concerns towards improving ICANN’s governance and care for the global public interest.
I strongly believe that it is important for ICANN decision-makers to lead by example, to have integrity, and to be trustworthy while fulfilling the requirements of competence and effectiveness. I have an established track record of effective and responsible leadership in complex environments.
Board Level Experience, Understanding of Decision-Making Approaches and Experience with High-Level Decision-Making:
I have experience with high-level decision-making, particularly ones with strategic impact on organizational, national and global development in ICT-related issue areas by virtue of all the roles that I have assumed. These roles typically involve decisions that mobilize considerable resources towards specific objectives.
I have 12 years of board level experience, 10 of which are focused on organizations with multistakeholder boards.
I am familiar and comfortable with bottom-up and top-down approaches to decision-making as well as approaches that combine the two. I believe that different situations or context may require different kinds of decision-making approaches, which may not necessarily be popular and therefore require care in explaining the rationale.
I also have an appreciation for the need to keep the “long view” and long-term goals in mind in responding to the urgency of stakeholder needs and demands that may be more short-term in orientation. Concurrently, in responding to stakeholder needs and demands, I understand the crucial importance of managing expectations well.
Familiarity with the ICANN Context:
I understand the potential impact of ICANN decisions on the global internet-using community and the Internet end-user community. I am familiar with the ICANN context in terms of its mission, values, strategy, stakeholders, work norms and practices, culture, and work program. All of which will serve to reduce my acclimatization time as a new Board member.
Understanding of the Community of Internet Users:
I have familiarity with a broad range of Internet users including the At-Large Community. As a decision-maker, I understand the importance of keeping an open mind, listening to multiple viewpoints, and having inclusive consultations prior to making a decision. I understand and am sensitive to stakeholder differences and needs. I also understand the context of stakeholders in developing countries and their development needs.
Ability to Work Collaboratively with Stakeholders Across Sectors:
I have experience working and collaborating with a wide-range of stakeholders including those from governments, businesses and industry, non-profits and NGOs, academia, the media, and the technical community. This range of experience will help me find additional resources and knowledge for solving problems and supporting good decision-making.
Experience with the Multistakeholder Model:
I believe in the power of the multistakeholder approach, not just as a form of consultative, consensus-based policy formulation process, but as a response mechanism to challenges and opportunities where stakeholder collaboration is engaged appropriately across the full spectrum of a normative policy development process.
I understand that the value of the multistakeholder approach lies in the pooled knowledge, representation of interests as well as the resources that are brought to bear in the development and delivery of appropriate solutions to shared concerns.
I also understand that in a multistakeholder environment, objectivity and sound judgment are crucial particularly in balancing the interest of one-stakeholder group over another vis-à-vis the collective/public interest that includes the un-represented and the under-represented.
I am aware and familiar with variations in multistakeholder models of engagement deployed elsewhere at the national level and at the global level.
I have led and managed a global multistakeholder organization for nearly 8 years. I have also engaged in ICANN and interacted with the leadership of a variety of multistakeholder Global Action Networks in different issue-areas.
This experience gives me a concrete understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the multistakeholder model as well as the governance challenges of organizations driven by bottom-up, multistakeholder processes.
Understanding of the Importance of Trust and Respect:
To work well collaboratively in a challenging environment, one must have the trust and respect of one’s colleagues. I understand that trust and respect must be earned. I am a person who works hard at earning the trust and respect of my peers and the people that I am accountable to.
Conceptual, Analytical, and Learning Skills:
ICANN is an environment that requires decision-makers with a high learning capacity, able to navigate complex information and environments while operating in compressed time. I have excellent conceptual skills and I am competent in complex environments. I am perceptive and highly aware of my operating context. This enables me to assess a situation and the players that animate a situation relatively quickly.
I have been described as someone with the ability to view a situation in its totality (comprehensive high-level view), able to connect dots across issue frames, able to synthesize common and differentiating factors and identify gaps, and able to zoom in on specific details when required. While having conceptual and analytical skills, I am also intuitive, the combination of which has guided me well in past decision-making.
I am structured in my approach, which is essential in ICANN given that it is an environment that features a very high number of concurrent policy developments and initiatives (e.g., between 50-60 policy-related processes in the ICANN pipeline during the ICANN 46 meeting in Beijing).
I value continuous learning as I am focused on continuous improvement at a personal and organizational level. Learning in the context of ICANN requires not only an open mind, but also an inquiring and agile one. I am a person who always asks questions until I obtain issue clarity to inform my course of action. I believe it is extremely important to be able to formulate the right questions that strike the core of issues. I am confident that I am able to formulate key questions that will contribute to decision-making that serves the public interest.
The range of skills above is important at the Board level, especially when its members are expected to take the lead in addressing specific issues on the Board agenda that are often complex, with cross cutting implications, and that involves digesting a vast amount and range of information/feedback.
In addition, I am disciplined, strategic in my interventions, creative and meticulous in my execution, and persistent in the pursuit of worthy goals. I am also a person who takes the initiative to lead when I think the issue is important or when I see critical gaps that must be filled for the good of the organization and the community.
Listening and Speaking Skills:
I have excellent listening and communication skills. I generally do not over-talk, particularly as I respect everyone’s time including my own. While my natural inclination is to listen (because this is how I learn from people and about them), I am a confident speaker.
When I speak it is with a specific intention, usually with substantive and value-adding contributions to make and to achieve a specific outcome. I am mindful of my audience and I am careful to speak at a level where people can understand me. I am usually diplomatic in how I deliver my message, but I address issues directly and I try to always be clear in my meaning. The effectiveness of my personal communication as well as that of initiatives that I oversee is very important to me.
6. Is there any additional information you would like to submit that would be helpful to the BCEC in making its decision? If so, please summarize it here
http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/input-to-atrt2/2013-August/000005.html - Link to the input that I made to the ICANN Accountability and Transparency Review Team 2 (ATRT2) that indicates my understanding of the At-Large and the constraints that At-Large volunteers face in ICANN
https://community.icann.org/display/atlarge/At-Large+Future+Challenges+WG+-+R3+White+Paper) - Link to the “At-Large White Paper on Future Challenges: Making ICANN Relevant, Responsive and Respected” co-authored by Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Yrjo Lansipuro, Evan Leibovitch, Carlton Samuels, Jean-Jacques Subrenat and Hong Xue, which addresses issues related to ICANN governance.
Selected publications related to governance:
Abdul Rahim, R., Siegenthaler, G. and Waldburger, D. (editors) 2005. Access-Empowerment-Governance: Creating a World of Equal Opportunities with ICT. GKP Publication.
Abdul Rahim, R. and John, K.J. (editors) 2000. Access, Empowerment and Governance in the Information Age. NITC Publication.
Abdul Rahim, R. (editor). 1999. Governance in an Internetworked World: Towards a Global Civilized Society. NITC Publication.