Minutes of the Meetings of the Executive Committee of the Internet Society

03 April 2003
Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

Date: 2003.04.03
Committee: Executive Committee of BoT
Document: excom-03-002
Maintainer: Minutes taken by Christian Huitema.
Access: Unconfirmed

Present to the call:
Fred Baker
Rosa Delgado
Lynn Duval
Christian Huitema
Veni Markovski
Kees Neggers
Lynn St. Amour

Latif Ladid
Toshio Miki
Glenn Ricart

Plans for INET 2004
Rosa present the state of our preparation with Barcelona. The Barcelona organizers have sent a plan. There are two possibilities: two separate meetings for ISOC and IGC, or one combined. Veni points to the note sent by Vicent Gasulla, which states that “The IGC organization have the budget, the infrastructure, and the support of our local Internet community to organize the INET2004 without any financial risk for ISOC.” The point of debate is one, what the financial commitment really means; and two, the organization of the program, who will be funding the work of the program committee, etc. They expect the IGC to attract 2000 people, and that many Latin American ISOC members may be attracted by the Barcelona venue. IGC/Forum 2004 is a joint effort by UN, UNESCO and local municipalities.

One of the problems is to preserve INET’s identity in the larger IGC context, and in particular to avoid any confusion with other conferences that may or may not be organized in conjunction with IGC. IGC appears to be a regional conference, mostly aiming at presenting and debating Internet issues within Catalonia/Spain. Lynn points out that there are many practical differences between a regional and an international conference; for example, taking international registrations is an issue. For the Stockholm INET, there were many registration issues, and ISOC ended up developing the web site. Fred asks that we consider the costs and the organization up front.

Kees asks Veni and Rosa why there is not yet a detailed proposal from the IGC organizers; Rosa answers that the people in Barcelona were expecting to also organize a WSIS conference, and were not really clear about the organization. Veni mentions that the organizers were planning to have a meeting in which they will provide responses to all questions. For Kees, most of the question were already raised during the board meeting in November, and repeated in March; we should have responses now; not having them implies that Barcelona is at most an interesting possibility. We have a mandate to approve the proposal, but we don’t have enough information to do so. For Veni, there is still time to make a decision, with three options: join congress, separate tracks, or parallel congress; the organizers will only discuss the details if ISOC makes a decision in principle to hold the conference. For Kees, this is unfortunate: the devil is in the details, and we cannot make any decision without knowing these details.

Fred proposes to figure an action plan. One possibility is to just say no, but that would be disappointing. Another possibility is to work out the details before the next EXCOM call. This is agreed: we will collect responses to our detailed questions and make a decision during the next executive committee call. Lynn will try to get the responses directly from the IGC organizers.

In between, we need to also understand the format. IGC’s format appears close to a “Spanish INET”, covering all the ground that INET used to cover in a somewhat similar format. We have to decide whether INET should be a joint conference, or a parallel conference. There is also an uncertainty regarding the co organization of the ITU’s WSIS jointly with the IGC.

Lynn is concerned that starting an initial scoping work is a slippery slope, as we may end up being involved much more than expected, spending a lot of ISOC resource on conference organization. Fred wonders whether we should have a clear line item for conference organization in our budget; Christian recalls Richard Perlman’s comment during the last meeting, i.e. that ISOC cannot get any control on a conference if it is not willing to have some skin in the game.

We have an organizing committee already, which should have performed a lot of the tasks. The obvious problem with committees is that volunteers only have limited availability. The position of VP for conferences is vacant; it may be a good idea to nominate one, and task him or her with the organization of INET 2004. The general outcome of board committees is disappointing; they tend to deliver late, and short of their mandate. Fred asks when the conference organization committee will be ready with a proposal. Veni and Rosa propose to make a draft of the framework, listing all the questions, in order to make sure that these questions are then properly answered by the IGC organizers. Veni will send an email to interested parties asking each of them to take a look at the existing document, make it better, submit the report in two weeks, and then decide yes or no.

Kees observes that IGC looks like a full INET in Spanish; adding an English-speaking track for INET will not attract the Spanish speakers, and thus will not benefit from any synergy with the IGC; it could just as well be organized somewhere else. This is a question that will have to be addressed by the committee. For Kees, any combination requires a coordination of the 2 program committees, to avoid duplicates. The committee covered one of the requirements, i.e. the financial part, but did not cover the other issues, i.e. the need to have a clear ISOC presence.

Fred asks whether Veni and Rosa have clear “marching orders”. Rosa agrees with Veni’s plan to have a full proposal ready by the next executive committee meeting, i.e. Tuesday April 22.