When I joined the Internet Society as the Regional Bureau Director for North America earlier this month, it was the culmination of my career to date. I’ve spent the better part of the last 15 years working on a variety of policy and communications issues, from the health of Indigenous Peoples to the governance of the Internet’s technical resources and the use of technology to enhance the economic and social well-being of the globe’s citizens. The one thread that ties these diverse roles together has been my approach – in each role, I have done my best to facilitate the creation of communities of interest to work together toward a shared vision.
My long-standing interest in the Internet Society has really been driven by how closely the organization’s values align with my own. The power of technology, and the Internet in particular, to drive transformational, positive change for the benefit of all citizens of the world is virtually unparalleled in our collective history. I am excited to be a part of the Internet Society’s team so that I can play an active role in advancing those values.
I believe the Internet Society’s chapters, members and partners are important to its success and the achievement of the organization’s vision. I look forward to building strong, mutually-beneficial relationships with and among the North American Internet community. By working together, we can realize the true potential of the Internet as a platform for social, economic and cultural development.
North America is a unique region in the Internet Society’s ecosystem. While we enjoy some of the highest rates of Internet penetration and usage in the world, the fact remains that we have a lot of work to do to ensure all citizens can share in its benefits. Issues of access, broadband speed and price, security, and many others have become mainstream in the U.S. and Canada. In fact, Canada’s telco regulator has just wrapped up three weeks of public hearings to determine whether broadband should be treated as a basic service.
I join the Internet Society with a commitment to collaboration, innovation and transparency in my work, and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to work with the amazing North American community. I am reaching out to all North American chapters now, but if you would like to contact me directly (or are interested in starting a new chapter in North America), my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and I can be found on Twitter at @mebuell.
Image credit: Screenshot from our updated map of Internet Society chapter locations.