Read ICANN Blogs to stay informed of the latest policymaking activities, regional events, and more.

2021 ICANN Community Excellence Award Honors Two Community Members

14 June 2021
By Stephen Deerhake and Abdulkarim Oloyede

Earlier this year, a selection panel of representatives from ICANN Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees was formed to review the Community Excellence Award nominations. Today we are pleased to announce that we selected two long serving community members as recipients of this year's award: Marilyn Cade and Rafik Dammak.

The Community Excellence Award honors members of the ICANN community who have invested in consensus-based solutions and contributed in a substantive way to policy making within the ICANN ecosystem.

From March until late April, the selection panel met four times to review all candidates and nomination statements. This year's recipients demonstrated a strong collaboration with other community members and dedication to ICANN through active participation over many years. The recipients have undoubtedly made a significant impact in supporting and encouraging ICANN's multistakeholder model.

Marilyn Cade

Marilyn Cade was one of the pioneers of ICANN's multistakeholder model, being involved in ICANN since its inception. She served in and led many ICANN groups including the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council, Executive Committee of the Commercial Stakeholder Group, Business Constituency, and ICANN Nominating Committee in addition to participating in many cross community working groups. She always greeted people with a smile despite her busy schedule. Marilyn focused on trying to bring new participants into the multistakeholder ecosystem especially from developing economies. She also contributed to the ICANN Fellowship program and ICANN Academy courses.

Marilyn knew how to bring together people with different perspectives, often helping to build a common understanding of each other's interests. She believed passionately in and advocated tirelessly for the multistakeholder governance model. Her professional communication style and dedication were an inspiration for others, especially for women participating in Internet governance work. Marilyn left us too soon, in November 2020. This award is not intended to be a memorial. Instead, it is a well-deserved recognition of Marilyn's contributions and commitment to ICANN and our multistakeholder community.

Rafik Dammak

Rafik Dammak has devoted countless volunteer hours to the GNSO and cross community working groups for over a decade. Rafik served in and led many ICANN groups including the GNSO Council, Noncommercial Stakeholder Group, the Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) team, and ICANN Nominating Committee. A dedicated community member based in the Asia Pacific region, Rafik participated in teleconference meetings often during non-business hours. He has dedicated significant time and energy into leading community work.

One point that caught the selection committee's attention was Rafik's ability to remain neutral while working across many regions and stakeholder groups. Rafik also successfully handled difficult issues via his commitment to collegial collaboration. His work ethic is instrumental and he is a widely respected member of the ICANN community. Rafik is admired for his dedication, fair dialogue facilitation, and his ability to work with diverse ICANN community members.

All of these qualities support Marilyn and Rafik as the 2021 ICANN Community Excellence Award recipients. You can watch an interview with Rafik here.

The 2021 Community Excellence Award Selection Panel is comprised of:

  • Hervé Clément, appointed by the Address Supporting Organization
  • Erich Schweighofer and Raymond Selorm Mamattah, appointed by the At-Large Advisory Committee
  • Margarita Valdés and Stephen Deerhake, appointed by the County Code Names Supporting Organization
  • Suada Hadzovic, appointed by the Governmental Advisory Committee
  • Philippe Fouquart and Tatiana Tropina, appointed by the GNSO
  • Abdulkarim Oloyede and Amir Qayyum, appointed by the Root Server System Advisory Committee


Abdulkarim Oloyede

2021 Community Excellence Award Selection Panel Representative

Stephen Deerhake

2021 Community Excellence Award Selection Panel Representative