Standing (L-R) – Chris LaHatte, Jiarong Low, Linda Chin, Philadel Yeo
Sitting(L-R) – Yu-Chuang Kuek, Sally Costerton, Han Chuan Lee
The year-end brings about a mood for reflection. What were the highlights of the year? What more needs to be done? Should we make resolutions for the next year? For me, this year gives me even more reason to reflect as I take on a new role, setting up ICANN’s Asia Pacific hub.
Being new to the community, I did not quite know what to expect. Fortunately, many community members and colleagues offered me advice. As the year draws to a close, I thank my newfound friends for the many conversations I have had. These conversations have enriched me. Most importantly, it has guided my work at ICANN.
The APAC hub will be five months old by the end of the year, and we – the ICANN team that staffs the hub – are in a reflective mood as well. We recently did a year-end stock-take and without prematurely congratulating ourselves, we were happy with the following outcomes.
Setting up of APAC Hub in Singapore – I think this in itself is a significant development. The vision of three ICANN hubs situated around the world shows that ICANN is maturing, as we become an organization that truly belongs to the world. The APAC hub also underscores ICANN’s commitment to the region. As a Singaporean, and a constituent of the Asia-Pacific region; this is important. Of course, the 5-month old hub is in its nascent form, but its set-up certainly represents a stride in the right direction.
Customer Service Channels – APAC stakeholders can now reach ICANN through both phone-lines and email in English and Mandarin/Chinese. This has provided the region with brand new ways of reaching ICANN in their own time zone. As I am candidly reminded from time to time, these customer service channels are hardly perfect. We have been taking copious notes and will be looking into improving service delivery in the year ahead. We will certainly be looking to adding more touch-points in the region as well.
Expanded functionality – When I just started out at ICANN, some stakeholders expressed skepticism with regard to what a hub really means – will it just be an empty shell with more form than function? I think quite a bit of this skepticism has gone away as we started adding functionality to the team here. We now have ICANN staff from IANA, the global stakeholder engagement department and the registry services department here in Asia Pacific. We are rapidly expanding, and look to add more functionality to the region.
A lot more needs to be done. Special thanks goes out to partners and friends who have provided feedback and helped us in the early part of the ride. If we look at the snapshot – much needs to be improved; if we look at the trajectory though – we have covered quite a bit of distance. And we continue to listen and learn. Preparations are also underway for many activities. I am especially looking forward to ICANN’s 49th Public Meeting in Singapore. Here’s to a restful holiday season before striving for new milestones in 2014.