[Internal-cg] Coordination Group, 2 weeks after London.

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Mon Aug 4 18:06:09 UTC 2014

> -----Original Message-----
> Maybe this precedent offers us a way forward.  We can have a chair and two
> co-chairs.

I agree, and I was a supporter of 3 co-chairs. I found Alissa's compromise acceptable because, while 3 co-chairs had the most support, it also had the most people who "couldn't live with it."
This way, we get 3 chairs but a clearer status differentiation between them, satisfying both camps.

> This is exactly where I perceived the discussion to be going before the latest
> intervention by ALAC. 

I have to agree that the last intervention by _one_ of the ALAC representatives (which is not the same thing as an "ALAC" intervention) did not help to move us forward. 

As someone who has been analyzing and writing peer-reviewed scholarly publications on the "wider picture" and the "geopolitical challenges" of US unilateral control since 2001, I do not think it advances the work of the ICG to focus on those kinds of issues, unless one can show how it is related, clearly and directly, to specific decisions the ICG needs to make; i.e., to the activities in the charter. 

I think we flirt with divisiveness when we imply that people who happen to be of a certain citizenship are agents or supporters of their government's position, particularly when people from civil society or the technical community are involved. FYI, I have been criticizing US unilateral control and organizing opposition to it before some of us here knew what ICANN was. During the previous administration this did not make me friends in Washington, and that had its costs. So I don't appreciate being subjected to charges that I am not sensitive to those issues.

If there is an imbalance in the ICG composition, it is Western vs. non-Western. In other words, a European co-chair would maintain the imbalance just as much as an American one. But, as I said in London, competence and confidence among the ICG is the top priority to me. Citizenship diversity is desirable but cannot be the sole, overriding criterion, and there are other relevant forms of diversity (e.g., cultural/linguistic, gender, stakeholder group).

It's time to move forward on the chair issue. It is not a high-stakes political decision but primarily a practical one. How we solicit and handle proposals, especially when the level of consensus is unclear, will prove to be far more consequential than this stuff. We are diverting our attention from more important things.

Milton L Mueller
Professor, Syracuse University School of Information Studies
Internet Governance Project

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