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A New Approach to an ICANN Institution: The Public Forum

24 February 2016
By Steve Crocker

Anyone who has ever attended an ICANN meeting knows that they are all about personal engagement. Our meetings represent a chance for community members to directly and personally engage one another, the staff and the community selected Board.

Nowhere is this attitude of engagement more pronounced at an ICANN meeting, than at the Public Forum, ICANN's public open microphone session, where attendees and those joining remotely can directly engage the Board and ask questions on any subject of community interest. It's a chance to hear, and be heard.

Traditionally, the Public Forum has been the final session at a meeting, scheduled just before the Board's Public Meeting, usually on a Thursday. But beginning with ICANN55 in Marrakech, we're trying something new. As recommended by the community's Meeting Strategy Working Group [PDF, 1.2 MB] (MSWG) we're breaking the Public Forum into two sessions.

On the first day of the meeting, Monday, 7 March we will hold a 90-minute Public Forum session at the end of the day (1700 UTC). During that session as recommended by the MSWG, we will hear from representatives of the Advisory Committees (ACs) and Supporting Organizations (SOs), who will give brief five-minute updates to the community on some of their key issues and how they are being addressed.

Following the AC/SO updates, the Board will take questions and comments from the community, just as we usually do. As most who have attended a Public Forum know, we limit these questions/comments/answers to two-minutes, to accommodate as many people as possible.

At the end of ICANN55 on Thursday, 10 March, the second Public Forum, without AC/SO updates this time will begin at (1330 UTC) and run for about two-hours.

Let me again emphasize that we are doing this in accordance with the recommendations from the community's Meeting Strategy Working Group. As you can imagine, this an evolving process and we will change and tweak the system as we move forward based on what worked and what didn't.

I look forward to seeing you in person or by remote participation in Marrakech and hopefully hear from you at the Public Forums.

Steve Crocker
ICANN Board Chair


Steve Crocker

Former ICANN Board Chair