Farewell to the ICANN Board

December 8th was my last ICANN Board meeting.
I served there for the last three years. I couldn’t go to the meeting in Sao Paulo; but here’s what I asked Vint Cerf to read on my behalf, which he did with passion:

Dear colleagues and friends of the Board.
I call you friends, because I’ve been with you for quite a while now, and I’ve built great feelings of respect for you.
The last three “ICANN” years of my life have been among the most interesting ones. They’ve brought to me a number of positive emotions, great experience and many new ideas. I’ve been constantly inspired by the strong characters I met. Each of you has some unique features. I believe that thanks to those features, I managed to fix some of my bugs. Well, except for my sense of humor and the jokes I keep on telling you, which is bug with no fix discovered:).

The ICANN board is not the beginning and the end of the world, as some people think.
I’ve accepted the position of an ICANN Director not as an honor, but as a responsibility. The temptation is strong to believe that being a member of the ICANN Board gives you some power over the Internet. That’s a fake feeling. The ICANN Board gives you 50 % less time for your normal 8-hour working day. It gives you also angry people who believe their business is influenced by your decision. The truth is, their businesses are influenced by themselves, and sometimes by the business models they’ve developed. People forget that if businesses make their money because of glitches in the system; when someone tries to fix the glitches, the businesses complain they are being deprived of their opportunities…

But enough about the businesses, interests, and special interests around ICANN. We all have seen a lot of that.

I want to make a point about personalities.
The ICANN world is full with great people, and many of them are great personalities, as well. We used to say in Bulgaria, some people are just faces, and some are personalities.

I will always remember (in alphabetical order):
– Raimundo Beca for his spirit always to defend the RIRs (or was it the NROs?;-);
– Susan Crawford for her never ending desire for a change (at least in her first year);
– Steve Crocker for his in depth knowledge of security (and hopefully we can use some of that in .bg);
– Daniel Dardalier for his quiet expertise, which has been quite helpful;
– Peter Dengate Thrush for his incomprehensible English… or rather NewZealandish:), for his hospitality, and for his VERY strong character;
– Roberto Gaetano for his Italian spirit, which reminds me so much of Bulgaria (we, southern people have to support each other, right?);
– Demi Getschko for his precise observations and commitment to work (and yes, for his Bulgarian origin and Greek language);
– Hagen Hultzsch for his German discipline, and great spirit always to take the most difficult tasks upon himself;
– Joichi Ito for his endless enthusiasm and business approach, but also for his contributions in key moments, as well as for making the Bulgarian Foreign Minister start his own blog;
– Thomas Narten for making the world of standards more clear to me;
– Alejandro Pisanty for devotion and contribution to ICANN, ISOC and many other i-organizations (but also for the fact that he’s the third person with some Bulgarian origin on the Board)
– Hualin Qian for his quiet approach and making me understand how important it is to think in long terms perspective;
– Njeri Rionge for her audit skills, that made me understand how important it is to keep an organization accountable;
– Rita Rodin for her balanced views as a newcomer, and for her dancing skills of Bulgaria folk dances:-);
– Vanda Scartezini for providing me with knowledge about all different places we’d go, and for being a very balanced person;
– Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi for his great hospitality, understanding of cordial greetings, and for being our master of ceremony for the complex world of the GAC;
– David L. Wodelet for his decision to follow the Markovski model of counting the days he spends on ICANN work, but more importantly – for all of his contribution to the work of the Board

I want to mention also Ivan Campos, a.k.a. Ivan the Gozilla, who was managing financing, when there was no or little finances; my ISOC colleagues Lyman Chapin, and Tricia Drakes. The unique Mouhamet Diop; John Klensin – the IDNer and man who could describe the Fall of the Internet in Technicolor and Dolby stereo; Michael Palage – the man who knows all by-laws, documents, and mails going through the ICANN servers by heart; Thomas Niles for his diplomatic skills and knowledge of policy and for his understanding of Russian jokes;-), Francisco A. Jesus Silva for his character and understanding of ICANN issues, and Richard Thwaites of the ITU, who showed that the ITU experts are also human:-)

Special thanks go also to:

– Paul Twomey, ICANN President and CEO, whom I will remember not only for his Australian, even more incomprehensible than Peter Dengate’s NewZealandish, but as someone who was leading and defending the organization with commitment not seen in my previous experience. I saw him acting with excellence during the meeting last October with my foreign minister, and I witnessed what he can achieve for the benefit of ICANN.

Very special thanks go to:
– Vint Cerf, who has been a true leader in difficult times. He has given me some of the priceless lessons in my life, and I’ve learnt a lot from him. Vint has done a lot to keep ICANN stable in the interesting times, which we all live in. The stability and security of the Internet relies on ICANN being a predictible and stable organization, and the Board managed to do that, under Vint’s leadership.
I also would like to thank Vint, on a personal note, for introducing a whole new universe of wines to the whole board, and esp. for the “brunello di montalcino”

Thank you all – I will miss you all!!

I will also miss the “usual suspects” from the ICANN community, with many of whom we have built cordial relations.
I’ve met great people, and I’ve found out a lot about the international world of politics, policy making, bottom-up processes, multi stakeholder approach, enhanced cooperation, etc. To all of you – thank you!

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