During the past three years we have seen a tremendous amount of productive work by a functional and focused Internet Society Board of Trustees. This included not only the normal board and committee work, but also the extra efforts associated with the selection of a new CEO, creation of the Internet Society Foundation, and meeting the challenges of the proposed PIR/Ethos transaction.
It’s important to learn from these experiences, but it’s also important to focus on achievements and to reassert the core values of the Internet Society as a force of good in the Internet ecosystem. We see the Internet Society focusing its efforts with purposeful strategic direction lead by CEO Andrew Sullivan and his team. As a departing Trustee, I would like to see the Internet Society explore more opportunities for members to learn from one other, including “Meet the Board” to foster improved communication and a means to help teach the community about the role of the Board of Trustees.
During these three years, my work beyond the normal board work has also involved committee work, including volunteering on the Governance and Nominations committees. I was the Nomcom Chair for one of these years. During these years, I witnessed Board Chair Gonzalo Camarillo run Board meetings effectively and on schedule, encouraging a diversity of opinions on the issues we considered. Gonzalo, along with Sean Turner and Richard Barnes as Treasurers and John Levine as Secretary, were key individuals who did a lot of heavy lifting.
Moving forward from the Internet Society, I will be focused on ongoing work in the Internet Governance space, with the launch in September of the Virtual School of Internet Governance. It’s a Massive Open Online Courseware (MOOC) initiative for 400 students in the first year, with the first cohort of 100 students already registered. This free course is a major educational opportunity for Internet Society members, since it’s based upon the extensive taxonomy of the DC Coalition of Schools of Internet Governance and more.
I wish the entire Board (especially the incoming members) a smooth transition and productive years to come. If there is one thing we’ve learned this year, it’s that we need an open, globally-connected, secure, and trustworthy Internet now more than ever.
The Internet Society Elections Committee is pleased to
announce the final results of the 2020
elections and the IETF selection for the Board of Trustees.
The voting concluded on 3 April. The results were announced
and the challenge period was opened on 6 April. The deadline to file challenges
was 15 April. One challenge was filed in the Chapters election. In accordance
with the Procedures for Selecting
Trustees, Internet Society President Andrew Sullivan, the chairs of the
Nominations and Elections committees, and the other members of the board
discussed the merits of the challenge. In the end, the board decided that the
challenge was without merit and rejected it.
Therefore, the election results announced on 6 April stand:
The term of office for all of the new Trustees will be three
years, commencing with the 2020 Annual General Meeting, 1-2 August.
The Elections Committee congratulates all the new Trustees
and expresses its gratitude once more to all of the candidates, the members of
the Nominations and Elections committees, and everyone who participated in the
process this year.
As Chair of the Internet Society Nominations Committee, I am pleased to announce the slates of candidates for the 2020 Board of Trustees elections. The candidates for each slate are listed below in alphabetical order by last name.
Chapters Election (two seats available)
Luis Miguel Martinez
Organization Members Election (one seat available)
The deadline for receipt of petition requests is Friday, 21 February at 15:00 UTC. The deadline for petition signatures is Friday, 28 February at 15:00 UTC. The names of any successful petitioners will be placed on the ballot. The final candidate slate will be announced on Monday, 2 March and voting will open on Thursday, 19 March.
I’m writing to the Internet Society community today with a notice that there is a key change to the Procedures for Selecting Trustees starting this year. This change reduces the duration of voting period from 28 to 14 days in the Internet Society Board of Trustees elections through which Chapters and Organization Members get to elect candidates to the Board.
If you read the 2019-2020 Elections Timetable carefully, you may notice that the Candidates Forum and the voting period are no longer done in parallel. As the below timeline shows, the 28-day period that used to be allocated for voting and the Candidates Forum is now split into two distinct sequential stages: the first 14 days is for the Candidates Forum and the second 14 days is for voting.
This decision was made for two reasons.
The first is to allow candidates to be heard fully before votes are cast. Upon examining the activity log of the last elections, we realized that some voters cast their ballots before the candidates had a chance to interact with the community. Voting before hearing what candidates have to say in the Candidates Forum is detrimental to the elections process as it encourages what one can call ‘electoral tribalism’ since voters base their decisions on name recognition or popularity rather than on the merits and ideas of the candidates.
Put yourself in the shoes of a new candidate with great ideas on how to improve the work of the Internet Society. You are not known by many in the community, but have a lot of useful ideas that you wish to share to try to persuade voters to vote for you. In the past, voting would be open immediately at the start of the Candidates Forum, hence making whatever you say meaningless for those who are already committed to vote for their ‘favorite’ candidate. This may cause you to be frustrated since voters may not hear you out because they have
already made up their minds. It may likewise make those more ‘popular’
candidates less keen to engage in the discussion because they expect to have
voters cast their ballots already at the start of the voting period without the
need to hear any candidate.
After this key change is made, this will no longer be possible. Candidates will have their say first and voters can hear them out and weigh their options if they are keen on voting for those with the better ideas and clearer vision. They could also consider looking into the candidates’ past track records of course, but voters cannot cast a ballot until all the candidates have spoken and answered all queries of the community. In other words, this makes responding and interacting with the community of greater importance and value for candidates, forcing them to be more upfront and engaging and less laid back since no votes will be cast until the Candidates Forum is over.
This change will probably not deter some voters from voting for candidates they had in mind before, but it gives those voters an opportunity to reflect and rethink their choices, because they gave all candidates the chance to argue for their positions and ideas.
As the Chair of the Elections Committee at the time, I felt it was necessary to make this change to ensure that all candidates, especially new and relatively unknown ones, are treated fairly and get the chance to be heard. It is not healthy in a democratic process to prejudge candidates before listening to their ideas and responses to questions posed by the Committee or the community through the Candidates Forum. Candidates deserve to be heard and their competing ideas assessed by voters well before the first vote is cast. Doing so promotes greater awareness and equips voters with all the information they need to make informed decisions.
The second reason is based on our conclusion from the statistics of the voting record of the last elections that the period of voting was apparently too long and not efficiently utilized. We found out that the majority of the voters either voted immediately after they were invited, waited until the last day before voting, or cast their ballot only after they got a reminder as the below graphs show.
2018-2019 Chapter election:
2018-2019 Organization Member election:
The empirical data above clearly showed that the 28-day period was not necessary since the majority of votes took place in a few days. While a long period of voting or early voting can be justifiable in paper elections to avoid long lines or to give voters the ability to vote on weekends without having to miss work or school, in an online voting environment, this is not needed. In fact, part of the month-long period could be more effectively used exclusively to hear from and interact with candidates.
Yes, we are halving the voting period
from 28 to 14 days. But by doing so, we are also providing candidates with 14
days exclusively to engage with the community, mainly through the Candidates
Forum, and to offer an opportunity to create a much more informed electorate.
I thought I’d just let you know how we came to this decision and look forward to having a productive and democratic elections process this time around.
If you are an eligible voter, make sure you mark your calendar and note this important change.
Walid Al-Saqaf Chair of the Internet Society’s 2018-2019 Elections Committee
The Internet Society Elections Committee is pleased to announce the final results of the 2019 elections for the Internet Society Board of Trustees. The voting concluded on 8 April. The challenge period (for appeals) was opened on 9 April and closed on 17 April.
There were no challenges filed. Therefore the election results stand:
Olga Cavalli has been re-elected to the Board by our Chapters.
The Internet Society Elections Committee is pleased to announce the final results of the 2018 elections for the Board of Trustees. The voting concluded on 9 April 2018. The challenge period (for appeals) was opened on 11 April and closed on 18 April.
There were no challenges filed. Therefore the election results stand:
Walid Al-Saqaf has been re-elected to the board by Chapters, and
Robert Pepper has been elected by Organization members.
Also, following the process documented in RFC 3677, the Internet Architecture Board has selected and the IETF has confirmed:
to each serve second terms on the board.
The term of office for all 4 of these Trustees will be 3 years, commencing with the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Internet Society, 29 June – 1 July.
The Elections Committee congratulates all of the new and renewing Trustees. We also extend our thanks again to all the candidates and to everyone who participated in the process this year.
Editor’s Note: At the Internet Society’s Annual General Meeting in June 2016, Bob Hinden’s term ended on the Board of Trustees. We asked Bob to share some parting words on his years on the Board. Thank you, Bob, for your outstanding contributions to the Internet Society and its mission.
It’s a bittersweet moment for me leaving the Internet Society Board of Trustees. I have been a board member for six years, and Chair for the last three years. It’s been an honor to serve on the board. ISOC is a very important organization and has a unique role in the Internet. It is the only organization that is dedicated to making the Internet for Everyone.
I have been fortunate to have worked on the Internet since the early days, and to have worked with people like Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn, Jon Postel, and Steve Crocker. I don’t claim to have invented the Internet, but it was exciting to havce worked with the people who did. I think I can say that everyone from the early days is very proud of what we all created and the positive effect it has had on the world.
The Internet Society has come a long way in the past six years. The organization and the Board of trustees are much stronger and more effective. However, since the Internet faces many challenges, ISOC still has a lot to do. I am very confident that the organization and the Board are ready and able to meet these challenges, and lead the Internet Society into the future.
My advice for the Internet Society and the Board of trustees is to remember, it’s not what is best for the IETF, the Chapters, the Organizational members, or even what is best for the Internet Society. It is always what is best for the Internet. We will achieve more if we all work together and make the Internet for Everyone.
Editor’s Note: At the Internet Society’s Annual General Meeting in June 2016, Narelle Clark cycled off the Board. Thank you Narelle for your six years of service and contributions.
After six years on the ISOC Board of Trustees, my term is now over. Thinking back to my first year, I felt a very green and inexperienced newbie compared with my fellow Trustees – some of whom left me awestruck just meeting them! Despite my thinking they were truly Gods, they quickly became solid friends and mentors – and we continue to work together even after some have left the Board.
When I was first elected, the big issue of the day was censorship of the internet and government efforts to block content from the citizenry. We were also looking at ways to increase the organization’s footprint and to assist chapters and organizational members. Those issues are still present, yet we have significantly increased the number of chapters, and our organizational members’ meetings are dynamic and interesting. Our impact as an organization is indisputable: our CEO speaks to the United Nations, and our leaders around the world address their own governments and regional forums with influence. Each time a new (or old!) Internet issue appears, there is an Internet Society person ready to guide its resolution by diplomatically providing impartial, expert views to enable a robust, reliable Internet. Threats such as address scarcity, poor regulation, lousy connectivity and so on don’t seem to disappear, but our strength to counter them together is clearly increasing.
Over the years I’ve been involved in a few substantial changes to our organization, and even the Internet itself: the By-Laws review (which created the Chapters Advisory Council), and most recently the IANA transition. We’ve seen a new CEO join the organization and a vibrant renewal take place that has retained our important values: high ethical standards; deep technical know-how; a global perspective; and respect for our fellow human beings.
One of my strangest moments was at the inaugural Internet Hall of Fame meeting, where over breakfast I found myself in a deep discussion about all the flaws in a new technology – my operator experience meant I understood the deployment issues it would face. Of course, my colleague was the person who invented it! I quickly learned that this was perfectly normal and acceptable in IETF circles: ideas come first.
Certainly the most rewarding part of this journey has been the opportunity to work side-by-side with the many Internet Society members around the world to address the issues we all face. It amazes me how similar our issues are! It seems we are all struggling with connectivity, regulation, affordability and accessibility. At one stage I was privileged to join a meeting to establish an internet exchange in Africa: as a seasoned telecoms engineer I was expecting to show people what to do, but after introducing a few people to each other, they took over and laid their own plans. It is fantastic to see the Internet Society acting as an enabler of people to act for themselves.
In my role as Chair of the Nominations Committee I have also seen firsthand how the passion for education has driven developing nations ahead. Most recently we have seen emerging leaders from developing nations with postgraduate degrees and deep management know-how that will equip us well for the future. In the past, those qualifications were mostly seen in people from developed nations, and we struggled to find people from across the world that had the balance of skills needed to take on the role of Trustee. I am truly optimistic that the diversity I have worked for will be carried forward.
What an experience this has been. I won’t miss the sleepless nights with long conference calls at unkind hours, but I know I have forged some deep relationships with some truly brilliant people. People I know I can trust with the Internet.
When I joined the Internet Society Board of Trustees in 2010, it was clear that the Internet was facing growing challenges and that the Internet Society had an important role to play. The Internet can, and does, bring tremendous opportunity to people around the world and ISOC is playing a bigger and bigger role in ensuring we have the right policy settings, the right technology framework, and the tools on the ground for people to be confident in building their destiny. I have personally found it tremendously satisfying, whilst also challenging, to serve on the Board and to support the work of ISOC to keep the Internet open and of benefit to all people around the world.
Over the years, I’ve seen ISOC continue to strengthen its voice and its impact. With our global community now more than 70,000 strong, ISOC is an internationally respected expert on all Internet technology, development, and policy issues.
The ISOC Nominations Committee is now accepting nominations of qualified individuals to serve on the ISOC Board. These people will help guide the future of the organization. We are seeking nominations for three (3) positions on our international Board of Trustees. These people will be a crucial part of taking us into the future. Please take a look at the call for nominations and feel free to put forward the people you see as having the skills and attributes we need.
Nominations are open now closed as of 15:00 UTC on December 21, 2015.
We’re looking for a diverse range of dynamic leaders such as engineers, teachers, journalists, humanitarians, researchers, managers, policy analysts, and beyond to serve the organization in fulfilling its mission.
While it’s important to have a sound understanding of how the Internet works, it’s also important for candidates to share our vision of an Internet for everyone, bringing positive change to people and places around the world and have the governance and organizational skills a board requires.
Our community is unique. Rooted in the origins of the Internet, we’re passionate about preserving its foundations, and developing its full and boundless potential. For everyone.
If you care deeply about the future of the open Internet, please consider applying for one of the open seats on the ISOC Board of Trustees.