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[council] New Years greetings from ICANN's chair

  • To: "council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx Council" <council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [council] New Years greetings from ICANN's chair
  • From: Stéphane Van Gelder <stephane.vangelder@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 3 Jan 2012 11:01:49 +0100
  • Cc: Steve Crocker <steve@xxxxxxxxxxxx>, Bruce Tonkin <Bruce.Tonkin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • List-id: council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • References: <B7ACC01E42881F4981F66BA96FC1495706734BE0@WIC001MITEBCLV1.messaging.mit>
  • Sender: owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


On behalf of Steve. HNY to you all!


ICANN Board, ICANN staff and chairs of the ICANN Supporting Organizations and 
Advisory Committees,
[SO and AC chairs, please feel free to pass this along to your members.]
I write to bring you a brief greeting going into 2012.  I won't attempt to 
cover the full set of accomplishments for the past year nor the full set of 
challenges and goals for this new year, but I do want to note just a few.
In terms of immediacy, the opening of the window for applications for new gTLDs 
is January 12, ten days from now.  This is occupying a large fraction of our 
attention and is also the source of much attention from our stakeholders and 
others watching us.  An enormous amount of work has gone into the program and 
I, among many, many others, are eager to see what will happen.  The opening of 
the window on January 12 will be a noteworthy day, but the closing date, three 
months later and the publication date for the names a bit later will also be 
quite noteworthy.  I know there is a bit of controversy over some specific 
aspects of the program, but I am confident the program is well constructed and 
will run smoothly.  I expect by the time we meet in Prague in June we'll have 
much to discuss along this line, and I look forward to hearing an initial 
assessment at that time.
June will also mark the transition period for our CEO.  Rod Beckstrom has 
brought enormous energy to the position and has greatly increased the 
visibility of ICANN around the world.  The search process for the next CEO is 
now in full swing.  Applications have started coming in and I believe there 
will be an announcement in the Economist shortly.  George Sadowsky is leading 
the Board committee steering the process, and I know first hand how hard he and 
the whole committee are working.
Another major event on the horizon is the determination of the next IANA 
contract.  Our proposal was submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce a few 
weeks ago, and I have every reason to believe it will be accepted.  The IANA 
team, led by Elise Gerich, has done a first rate job providing the core service 
that was the raison d'être for the creation of ICANN.  I expect the decision 
will be made sometime within the next two months, with perhaps a bit more time 
to iron out the details.
These events -- gTLD launch, CEO transition, IANA contract -- will naturally 
attract a lot of attention both within our community and from the press and 
others, but they are obviously not the totality of our mission nor even the 
most important things for us to focus on.  ICANN was created a little over 
thirteen years old.  I believe we're well established and have demonstrated 
competence in our mission.  However, like most teenagers, we still have some 
room to grow and become smoother.  I'm sure each of you has his or her own list 
of improvements we should aim for.  Here's my two in broad terms.
Effectiveness.  We often emphasize our commitment to a multi-stakeholder model. 
 There's no question this is important.  However, from my point of view, we are 
organized around broad participation from all parties because it's a system 
that has worked well in the Internet ecology.  And "working well" means the job 
gets done.  If we are not effective and reasonably efficient at doing the job 
we were created to do, the details of our processes will matter very little.  
We have many processes in place to measure ourselves in terms of transparency, 
accountability and other attributes of fairness.  I applaud and support all of 
these, but I would like us all to keep in mind that in addition to these very 
important measures that we also focus on making sure that we deliver the 
service our community needs.
Cooperation and Rapport.  ICANN has some unique characteristics, but it is also 
just one among many organizations involved in supporting the development of the 
Internet and management of its critical resources.  Despite the misconceptions 
sometimes appearing in the press, ICANN does not run the Internet, is not 
responsible for either the growth or the problems of the Internet, and has very 
little power over the very big challenges for the future.  We have a vital and 
important role, but it's within a much larger ecology.  I look forward to 
cementing and deepening the relations we have with the other organizations that 
created the Internet and hence created the environment that led to our 
creation, particularly the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet 
Society (ISOC), the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), the TLD registries, 
the ISPs, the many and varied providers of  content, and, perhaps the least 
easy to define, the innovators, researchers, and entrepreneurs who continuously 
mine the rich set of possibilities made possible by the openness of both the 
Internet architecture and the lightweight governance structures that evolved.  
And as important as all of these non-governmental organizations are, it is 
equally vital that we continue to cement and deepen our relations with 
governments around the world and provide them with confidence that the service 
we are providing to the entire community is balanced, predictable, effective 
and consistent with broadly shared values.
I have had the good fortune to be involved in the network community for more 
than forty years, and it continues to be a privilege to be allowed to serve.  I 
look forward to a vigorous and successful 2012, and I particularly look forward 
to the pleasure of working with all of you.
My very best wishes to each of you both personally and professionally.
Steve Crocker
Chair, ICANN Board of Directors

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