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Celebrating an Important Woman in ICANN's History

7 March 2022

Tamar Frankel, Professor Emerita, Boston University School of Law
Tamar Frankel, Professor Emerita, Boston University School of Law

Ahead of International Women's Day tomorrow, ICANN is celebrating an inspiring woman who played a key role in the formation of ICANN and the creation of the multistakeholder model.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1925, Tamar Frankel studied law and began her career as an attorney for the Israeli Air Force. She went on to become an Assistant Attorney General for Israel's Ministry of Justice.

After moving to the United States, she studied at Harvard Law School. Now a Professor Emerita, she has taught at Boston University School of Law since 1968. Professor Frankel teaches and writes about financial regulation, fiduciary law, and corporate law.

Professor Frankel also played a key role in establishing ICANN. In 1998, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a White Paper that proposed transferring the management of the Internet to a nongovernmental entity. In response, a host of businesses, governments, and technical experts from around the world formed the International Forum on the White Paper (IFWP) to devise a plan that satisfied the government's requirements.

Because such an entity was unprecedented, and because of her expertise in corporate governance, Professor Frankel was asked to help design a not-for-profit corporation. She chaired IFWP meetings in Reston, Virginia; Geneva; and Singapore, and helped the stakeholders come to an agreement on how the corporation should function.

As a result of these negotiations, ICANN was born. Professor Frankel remained involved in the organization during its early days, including testifying about ICANN before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

According to Professor Frankel, the creation of ICANN shows that if people look beyond their individual interests and work together toward a shared goal, they can build something that is greater than what they could have achieved alone. "When you begin to fight, you can lose everything," she said. "When you cooperate, you don't gain everything, but you are assured of something."

To learn more about the history of ICANN and the contributions of instrumental people like Professor Frankel, visit the ICANN History Project. An interview with Professor Frankel will be featured in an upcoming video on the ICANN History Project's webpage.

DNS Women's Panel Discussion

Don't miss the "DNS Women in Support of Local Initiatives" panel discussion, taking place today at 20:30 UTC as part of ICANN73. Founded in 2009, DNS Women is dedicated to promoting and empowering women in the Domain Name System (DNS) industry.


Sally Newell Cohen

Sally Newell Cohen

SVP, Global Communications