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ICANN Meeting Issues

30 June 2014

Office of the Ombudsman

At the ICANN 50 meeting the space available for meetings was very limited, partly because of the nature of the venue but also the extraordinary number of registrants. One of the results was that there was pressure on the space which was available. One of the groups which had a presentation was caught short when an earlier group ran late in their presentation. This group complained to me that when they also ran over time, the end of the meeting was somewhat disrupted by the third and following group insisting on the meeting coming to an end so that they could start. I had a discussion with the people from ICANN who were supervising groups for the sessions. They observed that it is very important to began to wind up the meetings about 10 minutes before the due time for close, to avoid this situation.As a result of talking to all of the people involved I also gained the impression that there was some cultural clash between the different groups, which could have been interpreted as rude or disrespectful. Certainly in my experience, in some cultures, interrupting in this way would be seen as disrespectful. Other cultures would also however regard running late as also disrespectful. As ICANN grows to a global organisation, we do need to keep our cultural antennae attuned to these cultural differences.

There is no action which I need to take, because the meeting is now over. But I am posting this to my blog so that at future meetings people can consider the pressure placed on others by running late, but also the appropriate way to intervene.We can all learn from each other in these incidents.

Office of the Ombudsman