SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: Okay. Thank you very much. I am trying to help Fiona Asonga to run the meeting today. She may have some trouble to get audio ready to talk, but she is on the chat already. She had prepared the meeting, and I will just run as if she was here.
You have the agenda with an introduction, review the previous meeting action items, a discussion about the strawman – it was sent just a few hours ago by Fiona – and some way forward and any other business.
I must have asked first if there are people just on the phone to be added to the list of the participants. I guess that is Seun, but maybe there are others. Please, tell us. Okay, thank you very much. If there is somebody left not in the list of participants, just send a mail to staff and they will add you.
Okay, I guess, I don’t know if there are any action items from last meeting. Do we have in the recording or report of the last meeting some action items? If staff can help me with that. Because I don’t remember, but I remember one. It was to discuss the strawman. Please, staff, can you put strawman on the screen, and we will start the discussion on that.
As I was traveling, I didn’t read in too detail, but I think it’s a completion of some documents with some additional information to end up with some questions as a group. If you look to this document, there is first a tentative definition of what we do mean by diversity. Second, it’s what could be the elements to define or a list of elements regarding diversity for ICANN. Then you have a [closer] definition of diversity in relation to ICANN. If you see, there are some excerpts from the document from ATRT and from the Bylaws when there are some words about diversity into the Bylaws of the different SOs and ACs. Or when there is no, it’s also interesting to note. The fourth topic is the scope of diversity within ICANN to end up with three questions:
1) What are your views on the definition of diversity? Agree? Disagree? Explain.
2) What elements of diversity are important within ICANN?
3) How can ICANN measure the important element of diversity?
That’s the document we have, and thank you for Fiona to provide this document. Any questions, comments, input on that document today? Just for the people who just joined, this is Sebastien Bachollet speaking. I am just trying to act to help Fiona Asonga to run the meeting as she is not able to be on to talk to us.
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: Sebastien?
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: Yes, go ahead, Cheryl, please.
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: Thank you very much. I changed [hands] because I also had a not being able to be heard even though I was off mute problem. So I apologize for any of my interventions I was making from ten past the hour not being heard.
I’d like to, first of all, deal with my reaction to the strawman on the meaning of diversity. Whilst we may still have some discussion on expanding or having some further edit on this, I feel that the concept as was discussed in earlier meetings of having a shared view and vision of what we mean by diversity for ICANN is essential for our work to progress. I think we need to at least take a first reading on this strawman now and discuss to see whether this group at least at this stage is able to establish how far this definition goes to meet their needs. So first of all, I’m an absolute supporter of having a single agreed definition – which can be modified at future points in time, obviously – for us to work within, otherwise it’s going to get very messy indeed.
That said, I think that the document referring to Dalia’s suggestion in this matter where the multidimensional approach which obviously for our organization I also support referring at least to the following: the geographic origin (which is something that ICANN already discusses and sadly seems to be almost in some cases the only thing it particularly looks at for guidelines), language, gender, stakeholder (allocation, I guess I’ll be calling that). It’s the “openness” part that I guess I somewhat stumble at. I’m happy to just [define] all of those other things in measurable terms. I’m a little challenged as to, while it’s openness is a guiding principle, I’m not quite sure how we can establish and measure on, for example, initial appointments for things the [role of] openness.
Perhaps we could look at those in turn and get agreement and discussion. It may be that we want to add more [inaudible]. I’d like to take them separately if we can. I think some of those are going to be far easier to agree upon, and some might need either addition to or discussion and I certainly want to flag that I think we need to discuss the [how to] on the openness. Thank you.
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: Thank you, Cheryl, for your comments. I am sorry for the problem with the audio for you too. I hope that the staff [notices all that] and it will be sent to the right people within the IT to solve those issues because we really need the tool working well for everybody in every place, including the other side of the world from me. It’s Australia and including in Africa. It’s very important for our organization. Thank you for your inputs. Interesting one and useful I think.
Please, Lars, you raised your hand. Go ahead if you want to talk.
LARS HOFFMANN: This is Lars from staff. Thank you for calling on me. This is actually just the second time I’m [following] this group. I was wondering whether from a staff perspective we can ask questions as well, if it’s appropriate or not? I just wanted to check in with you beforehand.
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: I will answer, and if Fiona disagrees with me, she will say it. But you are very welcome as any other participant or observer or whatever status you are in this group to ask questions and to help us to find the good way to go with this question of diversity, and maybe you have some specific inputs on how diversity is on the side of the staff. Because when we talk about diversity, we talk about diversity for the community, for of course [inaudible] and leaders of the community but also within the staff it’s also an important issue for the overall organization. Lars, if you have some inputs and want to come with additional questions or raise issues that we can discuss, it’s welcome.
LARS HOFFMANN: Thanks, Sebastien. Just very quickly, I fear I have no solution but another question to add really. But before I do that, just very quickly on the note on the technicalities. I know that our staff in the background works very hard on this, and we discussed this on several team calls. We know the switch to the new AC rooms poses problems. I’d just like to assure everybody that Yvette and Brenda do what they can in the background and they’re in touch with IT. So this should be taken care of as soon as possible.
But on this matter of diversity, the list that has been put in in the strawman, I’m just wondering whether you already thought to the next step that it’s the question of, I suppose enforcement is a strong word, but on application? Are you envisaging this to have certain requirements around that? What I’m hesitant to say is a positive discrimination [or] affirmative action I suppose it’s called in America. Is that something that plays into this, or are these just best practice ideas?
Thanks, Sebastien. That’s all.
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: I will try to answer that, Lars, but others can [jump in], of course. I think we are starting the work in this group. Both of your, I would say, proposals – is it just best practice, is it enforceable, was there still discrimination – I guess it’s really an open point and will be needed to be discussed within this group.
Maybe we have some part or some elements of the definition. For example, today, geographic origin is a must for some of the [body] of ICANN. To join the [vote], for example, you can’t have more than five people from one geographic origin. If you look to some of the body like [Iraq], it’s 15 members, 3 from each region. Then there is already in some parts of the organization this geographic origin is already taken into account and I would say enforceable and needed.
Now if you take the other, for language there is no requirement yet. Gender, there is not requirement, I can say also, yet. But when we will end up to make some recommendations, we may decide that a gender balance must be an obligation for some of the [election] or not. It’s really what we will discuss in this group that it will be.
Cheryl, do you want to talk? Because I will not wish to read what you are writing as you are [inaudible] better to have [the sound of your] voice.
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: Thank you, Sebastien. I suspect you don’t want to read what I’ve written because you and I disagree on a couple of points as well. Lars, [we must] remind you…
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: [inaudible] Not at all.
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: That’s alright, my dear. That’s alright. Sebastien and I will be on opposite sides of some of this [team] at times. That’s fine. We know where we stand. Lars, it is as Sebastien says too early to answer your question directly. We’re at the scoping and definitional stage of our work here. It will undoubtedly come to our table in the near future to discuss the aspects of how you can impact on the desirability of all of these diversity issues.
One of the tried and tested – notice the careful use of terminology from me there – the tried and tested way of doing that is various types of positive discrimination, be it quotas or whatever. As I put in the chat, I am, whilst everyone should know, a passionate advocate and activist in some cases in a number of diversity areas, including of course both accessibility as opposed to disability and age. Disability being a subcomponent of if we get accessibility right, then it’s alright, but we shouldn’t have to have cripples on everything, even me.
But I do have problems with things that are just quota based or affirmative actioned or positive discrimination-ed. I much prefer a properly facilitated and supported system which ensures there are no barriers to entry and, in fact, that the positive aspects come from programs to ensure that we are making it easy and facilitating in whatever way possible to get proper balance in all our diversity measures. But there are arguments we’ll have later on. Thank you.
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: Thank you, Cheryl. That’s really useful, your inputs, and we need to take that into account in the discussion, of course. I will give the floor now to Herb. Please, go ahead, Herb.
HERB WAYE: Yes, thank you, Sebastien.
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: Yes, go ahead.
HERB WAYE: I’m just pulling off to the side of the road here so I don’t kill myself. There are two definite aspects to the diversity. One is – and I’m kind of repeating what everybody else has said here – the administrative, organizational side of the [shop] that looks at hiring practices and involvement of all of the various diverse members of the community. An educational component that is going to be critical that should potentially be addressed by this working group and that thing that should be targeted to the community at large but should definitely involve the leadership teams.
I’ve raised this at a couple of other working groups and phone conferences. The leadership teams are critical in changing the culture within an organization. So if we’re looking at things like harassment, diversity as far as inclusiveness of races, cultures, languages, the leadership team has to live that. I think an important component of any diversity initiative is getting all of the leadership moving in the same direction.
That is probably something that could be looked at by this group and how to get the entire leadership in the organization living diversity and not just talking about it. It’s a big challenge. It’s a challenge in any big organization to make that big shift of actually becoming a completely neutral aspect of looking at everything so that none of the filters and the cultural difference [inaudible] decision making process. So leadership is something that definitely has to be brought into this to move forward. Thank you.
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: Sebastien, we can’t hear you. You might be muted or hopefully you turned off your audio connection.
HERB WAYE: Cheryl, could you hear me?
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: Herb, we heard you. We have not heard Sebastien back though.
HERB WAYE: Okay, thank you.
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: Is that okay now?
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: We can hear you now, Sebastien.
FIONA ASONGA: [Can you hear me?]
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: [I can hear you.] But, Fiona, we can hear you too. Go ahead, Fiona, please.
FIONA ASONGA: I’ve heard what Herb has explained. I think the most important thing for us to move forward because one thing that is coming out very clearly is in all the feedback that has come in on diversity, everyone talks about the different aspects and elements of diversity, but yet we do not take a step back and look at [so, okay,] within ICANN what do we want diversity to be defined as. That is why Rafik and I [could not accept it as it reads].
We’ve gotten some feedback on the wording of that and how it could improve, however I think for us then to move forward we need to ask ourselves to see: are we able to define diversity on its own, or must we use the elements of diversity to define diversity for us to help us significantly move forward? Because at the end of the day, one of the outputs of this group is to be able to have in place a plan on how ICANN should implement diversity, so carrying out a different work plan on enhancing ICANN’s diversity as part of the Work Stream 2 work, and we are the group that should be able to generate that plan.
Without a clear starting point, it becomes difficult. It’s very easy for us to mention the elements of diversity, but what are we really talking about? I think what comes out clearly is that we are basically trying to ensure that there is variety, that ICANN is able to [inaudible] a variety of [inaudible] representation throughout all the levels of the organization and the community.
If we can agree on that or something, what are these [inaudible] we are looking for, we can then go into the discussion of education level, skillset, region, origin, culture, all those aspects and see whether or not they are relevant.
Because it’s very easy for us to over and over list various elements, and I keep seeing the list just increasing. But can we systematically – the goal of this [inaudible] is for us to be able to systematically agree on what our starting point is. If to add and build onto that definition, fine. If will need to combine that definition with the elements of diversity, which are very many, fine. Then let’s [do it].
Then after that, we still need to come back and look at those elements, which ones can we measure? Which ones can’t we measure? If we can measure them, then which ones do [take] priority? Because if ICANN is going to have to have an implementation plan for diversity, then we need to have a very clear [document]. Clearly, the outcome of this discussion should be a document that clearly gives recommendations which ICANN needs to be able to implement, measure, and report back to the community on the [inaudible].
Sorry I’m pinning everyone down on the definition part, but can we agree on what we mean by diversity? Because we keep mentioning elements and going off looking at very varied elements, but it may be difficult for us to explain their relevance in the ICANN space.
So then I can see in the chat that [inaudible] the element after we’ve identified what our definition is. So then we [inaudible] the question on your views of that definition of diversity. Feedback?
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: Fiona, if I may? If I understand you well, you want us to take the proposal definition of diversity that is the line in italics in here: “Diversity within ICANN refers to the ability of ICANN to facilitate variations in different aspects of stakeholder representation at various levels within the organization.” This definition you want us to talk about and to see how we can agree with or improve it or whatever? If you are talking, Fiona, we can’t hear you.
FIONA ASONGA: Can you hear me? Can you hear me?
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: Now, yes. Go ahead. Yes.
FIONA ASONGA: Yes. So I’m saying that if we [have] to be able to move forward together, there are a number of [our] members who were not involved in the initial discussion that we had in Work Stream 1, for those of us who were involved in the Work Stream 1 work.
I realize that it is important that we are in agreement on what is the diversity we are referring to. Two or three sentences [inaudible] sentences just so that it’s clear so if anyone else who comes in and reads the document will be able to understand what we mean by diversity within ICANN. Because the use of the term diversity really refers to just having variations and differences really. These differences can be as broad as the different mindsets of people reading the same document.
But if we look at that within the ICANN space, it’s important that we have a clear guide, some guiding statements that will guide on what diversity is within ICANN. [inaudible] is that introductory line on what is diversity within ICANN. So, yes, Sebastien, I need us to look at that and think about it. If we feel we need more time to think about it, fine. But defining that goes a long way in enabling us to identify then the elements of diversity and being able to distinguish those elements of diversity and the principles within ICANN that make ICANN what it is – a global multi-stakeholder entity.
Because I think when we look at those referred to in Dalila’s document and those that we’ve referred to [inaudible] in the chat that are under Element 2, we find some [inaudible] already identified some are principles of how ICANN operates and others are elements of diversity. But we need to agree so that you can be able to clearly move now together.
Does that make sense? Thanks, Sebastien. I can you’re agreeing in the chat. So if we say that that is our tentative definition because the document was circulated today. Many still may need to read and think through it. We can say for this first reading that is our tentative definition. What then would be the elements of variation that ICANN needs to look at? These are basically the elements of diversity.
We then come to have the list of aspects that we need to look at as well as we need then to discuss those that are listed there: skillsets, region, origin, culture, language, gender, age, stakeholder group. I think there are a lot of documents that show that work has been put into geographical diversity. What about the other aspects? Yes, Cheryl?
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: Thanks, Fiona. I think you’ve hit on something. Some of these, as I mentioned earlier, if we took the rough categories one-by-one we could probably agree fairly quickly and leave for a second reading for confirmation that some of them are more advanced and established in the context of ICANN than others. As Sebastien also mentioned, geographic I think is fairly effectively hardwired into at least some of the aspects of ICANN, particularly in the areas of the ICANN Board where we have a very strict limitation on those minimum and maximum numbers of voting Board members who can be “sourced” (for want of a better word) from any particular geographic region. So there must be one and there can be no more than five.
Now that’s fairly well established. It’s measurable. It has served us to a reasonable extent to date fairly well. Is it perfect? Well, no. We had issues when this rule was put into effect that are very different to the issues and the problems we were trying to solve then are very different than sometimes they are now. So there are even things to discuss about that, although I think we can probably agree that geographic is one that is [now] well established and we do need to discuss is probably well and truly [inaudible] adding to ICANN at this stage, and that’s a good thing. But can there be some proposed modifications to it? Quite possibly, and that’s no doubt the work of this committee to discuss and to propose for further discussion.
Some of the others if we start breaking them down, origin for example, sometimes one has very little and sometimes one has huge [inaudible] on culture, language, and a number of other things, physical ability for example, depending on where our origins are. But sometimes it makes absolutely no difference at all. So a measure that is somehow linked to a term like “origin” even if we were to agree upon that, does being born in a small island state in the Pacific when you have spent your education working life adulthood [inaudible] and family and domicile somewhere else in the world, how important is the fact that culturally you could claim yourself with an origin and/or even second language or first language base that was different to the one that you primarily operate in?
These are sort of the grayer bits. So there are the easier bits to agree to, I think, and there are the slightly less easy bits to agree to. Even when we come to [inaudible] like religion and culture, one could argue to what extent some of those things may even impact upon the work of ICANN or an individual’s work of ICANN. It may be that they impact hugely. It may be, for example, in a hypothetical region that the deeply held views and strongly held discomforts between one or more religious groups may make sitting at the table to discuss an issue very difficult indeed as opposed to a positive experience. I don’t know. But we also we need to be with all of this very careful what we wish for.
So I think we do need to take this in an analytical approach. We do need to look at [lists] and desirabilities of all of these things and recognize some of these are going to be easier to do than others. But even with geographic which, let’s face it, pretty well since the very beginning of ICANN we’ve had limitations in geographics. When you have people who can live, work, and function [and for all intents and purposes be] [inaudible] to one or from one geographic region, but because of the nature of their origins, their parenthood, or their dual citizenship and multiple passports, can be put onto an ICANN Board, for example, or an ALAC committee because they’re [inaudible] another geographic seat. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I’d say it’s a thing that happens. Thank you.
FIONA ASONGA: Thanks, Cheryl, for that. I think that makes it much more clear. [inaudible] important that we then think through the elements of diversity that are important to ICANN that are likely to significantly affect the activities of ICANN. And then see what ICANN can do to ensure that those elements of diversity are appropriately addressed.
You raise an important issue on the ones that ICANN has been keen on over the years. It may not be perfect, but ICANN is already working on it, such as the geographic. With geographic, there is also the language issue. ICANN has gradually made an effort to translate to more and more languages materials and documents. We may need to look into that to see how efficiently that has been done.
On the issue of gender, which was in the [inaudible] document, it looked like there was more that needed to be done in terms of gender diversity. I don’t think we have looked at any data on age or physical disability or the different stakeholder groups. So there are areas where we have not collected any data on. Being able to then make a discussion around that would require us to first go through some of the data and possibly see what additional data we need to be collecting.
On the issue of the elements of diversity, I’m seeing we’re running out of time. We’re almost coming to the end of the hour. I think it’s important that we agree on our way forward in terms of what we need to do on these. I think we need to have further discussion on the elements of diversity that are important to ICANN. And of course, we need to be able to support with a justification to the community why we as a group feel these are important. I know that there are many elements that we have not listed in this document, and Rafik and I are looking forward to receiving those.
My suggestion is that we take the next couple of days to look at the elements of diversity and try to see to what extent we can complete that list of the elements of diversity and also be able to identify which ones are important, which ones are measurable. Is that agreeable? Hello?
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: I’ve got a green tick up. I’m assuming other people do, Fiona.
FIONA ASONGA: Okay.
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: May I?
FIONA ASONGA: Yes, Sebastien.
SEBASTIEN BACHOLLET: Yes, I agree with you. I wanted to add a few things. Even if Cheryl starts by saying that we may [not] agree, I would completely agree with what she said before. I just want to add one point. It’s an interesting point. It’s where the people went for university. Of course, there are some places in the world where it is difficult to go to university, in some small island in the Pacific for example but there are other places. But there are places where you have good universities but you go abroad in university. Then how much is your culture changed with a few years in another country? It’s an interesting point also to be [had].
Then I want to come to this discussion that [a little bit doubt about], do we know about gender diversity study? I am very happy to learn about that. I would like more transparency. This group is a good group to discuss this issue and to [help] [inaudible] I will say [inaudible] publish a study with some data. I guess [inaudible] will be very happy if somebody within the ICANN staff takes those inputs into account and [follow] the work, add new data, and help with analysis of those data. It’s something very important [in truth] for our group and for ICANN in general. Thank you very much.
FIONA ASONGA: Thank you, Sebastien. I agree with that. I think we need to get the [inaudible] data and look at it and see what elements of diversity within ICANN need to be paid more attention to in addition to the geographic and language aspects that ICANN is already covering. I think for the question on elements of diversity, I think we agree that we’ll all go and look at the [inaudible] report, but we’ll also have an [internal] discussion. Rafik and I will probably begin that and have you all chip in on the elements of diversity: what they are, what they mean, and their relevance to what ICANN is doing. Because if we [take it back to them], it will be easier for us to then narrow it down.
We are at the top of the hour, and I think staff may be wanting to terminate the call. But before if we can use a few more minutes, in that case then we will not be able to have the discussion today on how ICANN can measure the important elements because we still have to identify those elements. So the action item there will be identifying the elements of diversity. Then we’ll probably at the next call look at the feedback that has come in and see if we can agree on which are the important elements.
So as a way forward on today’s meeting, one is we shall review the definition of diversity and have a second reading on that. Then, two, we shall have a [inaudible] discussion on the elements of diversity that are important to ICANN on e-mail. Then we’ll have another discussion during our next conference call, and only after that discussion that we shall be able to see how to measure. So part of the agenda of our next call will be how then do we measure the elements of diversity that we shall have identified.
So with that, unless anyone has any other business or any questions we may need to – any questions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No questions.
[CHERYL LANGDON-ORR]: [All good, thanks.]
FIONA ASONGA: [Hello?]
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, thank you, Fiona. [inaudible]
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just one quick question.
FIONA ASONGA: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, thank you very much. Bye-bye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the [inaudible].
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello? Are we done with the call?
FIONA ASONGA: I think [inaudible] connected. I’m still on the call. [inaudible]
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: [inaudible] Go ahead.
FIONA ASONGA: Okay. Herb, please [inaudible].
HERB WAYE: I was just asking whether the [inaudible] to ICANN at large and not necessarily ICANN as an organization? Or are we looking at ICANN as a leadership in the community to put this forward? So that was just a little bit confusing for me.
FIONA ASONGA: [We are] actually looking at this mission of ICANN, the organization and the community. Does that help you?
HERB WAYE: [Thank you.]
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: Fiona, yes it does. But Herb also identified leadership. Again, we get to drill down and need to have some agreed scope on those things. Because if we do it organizational entity and the community, then the matter of leadership [inaudible] something worthwhile exploring. So there’s still some bricks and mortar that need to be put in place.
FIONA ASONGA: Sure, Cheryl. I totally agree with you on that. I think as we discuss in the next coming days on the list, [we should be able to firm up] because this is just the first reading. By the time we are looking at it a second time, the next call, we should have that on how we shall best present it. Because, yes, the areas we looked at in the Bylaws touch a lot on the leadership and the different groups, mainly the leaderships of those groups. So if there is a gap in addressing diversity within the community, then we need to see how to fill it.
Can we take that discussion online and in e-mail and see if we can agree on the community and not ICANN the organization or both? Because I don’t think with the time left we are going to be able to finalize on that. Herb?
HERB WAYE: That’s fine. We can definitely look at it. Maybe it’s just wordsmithing of diversity within ICANN because I’m sure that ICANN the organization has a completely different view on diversity as far as hiring practices and organizationally, internally, administratively. We just don’t want there to be an ambiguity when we put something out there so that the community understands that when we say “ICANN” we are talking about them and not Los Angeles, Washington, and Istanbul and Singapore.
FIONA ASONGA: Thank you, Herb. I think that is clear and acceptable. We need to be very clear on what we are defining.
Is there any other business? Anything that I may have left out that we may need to look at?
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: Fiona, just briefly.
FIONA ASONGA: Yes?
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: Could this document be made available as a Google Document open for comments rather than having it as a true collaborative space where we’re editing over the top of each other? If we could put some comments, it might help us when we go through those on the second reading. Even if we had multiple views on a single sentence, we can use that as a baseline to talk from.
FIONA ASONGA: That is agreed. I can do that immediately after this call.
CHERYL LANGDON-ORR: That would be really helpful. Thank you, Fiona.
Thank you. Anything else? I think with that, let’s just say thank you to everyone who has been able to participate in this call. Thanks for your patience. I happen to be somewhere out of town, and so connectivity was a bit of a challenge and so was dial-in. But finally, I managed to get through. I’m happy to have participated in this discussion with you. Let’s see what you can do online. And I look forward to discussing this further in our next call.
Thank you so much, everybody, for your input, for your patience, and have a good day, good night, good evening, depending on which part of the world you are at. Thank you very much.
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