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Internet Governance

The Essence of Leadership in IGF Issues

Internet, a technologically complex global communication network and information medium is a chaos, when viewed from multi-stakeholder perspectives. The issues of Internet Governance (IG) are as new as the technology itself in some parts of the world, particularly in developing countries like the Pacific Islands where I am. Imagine trying raising awareness and engaging people on IG issues in such regions where the reliable internet connectivity and increased access is only a wish.

On the other hand, how do you comprehend the nature of internet from multi-sectoral perspective on a common platform, concerning its growth as well as its reflections of social, political, economic, legal, and cultural values? And how do you think that platform or forum have realized to what it is today, which they call Internet Governance Forum (GF), a multi-stakeholder forum which brings together all stakeholders in the internet governance to debate, whether they represent governments, private sector or civil society, including the technical and academic community, on an equal basis and through an open and inclusive process? The amazing success and ongoing of IGF reflects the leadership and commitment from certain individuals both upfront and in the background.

Among others, the global internet community owes Mr. Markus Kummer heaps of gratitude for his leadership and strategic diplomacy to fabricate all internet stakeholders from around the world to recognize the reality of internet governance and the need for multi-stakeholder engagement to discuss and address IG issues. After the Secretary-General has decided to establish a small Secretariat in Geneva to assist in the convening of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Markus Kummer was asked to head the Secretariat. And he did what were required and beyond expectations to groom the IGF model to gained the reputation it deserves.

I am a first-time ISOC Ambassador and this is my first IGF meeting. I met Markus at ISOC Briefing on the first day (26/09/11). He was very relaxed and so calm when responding to queries and the use of words in his responses were selective. One may argue that those few minutes of interaction with Markus does not deemed sufficient for a first-timer to really applaud Markus as a person, however, the event in Conference Room 2 at 6.30pm on Thursday (29/09/11) confirmed my impression. He was recognized by the IGF Secretariat and the global internet community with award of unprecedented Knight of the internet. What a perfect and timely recognition for him. The standing ovation from the packed conference room said it all.

The lesson: Emerging Issues, IG4D, Access & Diversity, Critical Internet Resources, and other pressing issues that you can think of; which had been debated throughout this week have equal significances. In the absence or presence of very limited multi-stakeholder support and political will, prudent and savvy leadership can make a difference. And that was what Markus Kummer has shown us aspiring leaders of internet.