In the splendid and very formal setting of the United Nations Building in Geneva, Switzerland last Thursday, Tarek Kamel led a briefing session for over 70 Ambassadors, senior diplomats and representatives of IGOs.
Hosted by the Swedish Mission, and despite the onset of the holiday season, we were honoured to greet Ambassadors from Benin, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Macedonia, Mexico, Senegal, Spain and Thailand as well as representatives from such missions as the US, China, France, Germany, Uruguay, the UK and South Africa.
Over lunch (and yes, the UN sandwiches and cakes were not at all bad!) Tarek, along with Theresa Swinehart, Sally Wentworth (from ISOC) and I conducted a 90 minute briefing and discussion session on the overall ICANN Mission in Geneva; on globalization in general; on the proposed transition of the NTIA stewardship of the IANA function to the global Internet Community; on ICANN Accountability; on the new gTLD Programme and on ISOC work on capacity building.
The discussion that followed covered queries with respect to the status of ICANN after the NTIA transition and the role of governments within it, the status of ICANN in Switzerland, the costs of (and protection for) new domain names, the work ICANN was doing in Africa and our relationship with the ITU.
We were also really honoured to have Theresa with us in Geneva and to welcome Sally Wentworth from our friends at ISOC. And it was wonderful for Tarek to be able to introduce Anne-Rachel Inne, back with us in Geneva, and Dierdre Sidjanski, our office manager who masterminded the briefing for us.
At the end of the session, many of the attendees mentioned how useful the briefing had been as well as the stimulating discussion that followed and remarked how useful follow up briefings would be.
Nigel Hickson is ICANN Vice President for IGO Engagement