2016 looks to be a year of transitions, and a significant year for ICANN's Asia Pacific (APAC) hub.
Today, we say goodbye to my mentor and friend, Kuek Yu-Chuang, who led the establishment of ICANN's APAC hub and spearheaded ICANN's globalization efforts.
It feels like it was just yesterday when he and I stepped foot into our then-new office at the Ocean Financial Centre; we were the hub's first employees.
Hitting fast-forward through the whirlwind that was the last two and a half years, we can now look upon the network we had built with the key stakeholders in the region. We've successfully developed key partnerships with regional community members, and, in doing so, brought ICANN and its issues to you in local context and language. We've worked tirelessly to facilitate your understanding and participation in the multistakeholder model of ICANN governance. And through it all, we've seen the APAC hub expand to 24 staff members and moved to our permanent premises at the South Beach Tower.
We saw a great deal of change under Kuek's leadership, and will surely miss him as he returns to the private sector. Please join me in thanking him and wishing him the best in his future endeavours – let's flood the comments section below.
I have big shoes to fill. As I step into Kuek's role, I want to assure you that business will continue as usual. Our teams in the hub will continue to provide our wide range services to you, without interruption.
A new chapter for the APAC hub
The work at the APAC hub has been extremely meaningful for me. Of the over 3 billion Internet users globally, we serve a region which accounts for half of this number. We expect that the next billion people coming online will largely come from this region, and APAC will undoubtedly play a key role in the future of the Internet.
As a multistakeholder organization, you – the Internet's stakeholder and soon-to-be steward of the IANA functions – will always be at the heart of the APAC hub. We recognize that this is a diverse region with many different languages, cultures and needs. As your needs evolve, we will also evolve our DNA to better address your concerns and serve you better.
I have started leading our teams in the hub to better align our operational strategies, and to service and engage with you more holistically and cohesively. I am also working across the different functions and teams to strengthen our capabilities to operate and serve you better.
For example, we are strengthening our coordination between Registry and Registrar services, Contractual Compliance, as well as the Global Stakeholder Engagement teams to better engage and service our region's contracted parties. Working with our Language Services team, we will continue promoting community-driven language localization to bring ICANN to you in your local language. Our partnerships with stakeholders from Japan and Thailand are models that we hope to bring to you, and we hope that you can join us.
Our globalization journey has just begun. We had established the APAC hub through listening and working with you, and I hope that you can continue to walk with us to take the hub to the next level. As much as possible, I hope to meet with you either in your country, at regional fora including the upcoming APRICOT meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, or at the ICANN55 Marrakech meeting.