In October 2017, Manal Ismail, Egypt’s representative to ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee, was elected as the new chair.
Ms. Manal will replaced the outgoing chair Thomas Schneider, a Swiss official, after the ICANN 60 public meeting held in Abu Dhabi.
Ismail is director of international technical coordination at Egypt’s National Telecom Regulatory Authority, NTRA. Earlier in the year Schneider said he was stepping down from the GAC earlier this year, having received a promotion back home that will limit his availability for ICANN work.
Here is her first interview by ICANN on her new role:
The GAC Underserved Regions Working Group has begun undertaking capacity-development workshops for members and observers this past year. What is your take on that, and specifically, on the recent workshop in Abu Dhabi, parallel to ICANN60?
Capacity-building workshops are very useful in bringing not only new members, but also new voices to GAC discussions. Lowering barriers to participation is one of our objectives, and this is just one aspect of our work. Continuous evaluation and enhancement of such workshops, as well as providing the material in different languages, are crucial for achieving broader interactions and discussions in the GAC.
What is on the GAC agenda for the next 12 months?
We have urgent matters such as .amazon and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), WHOIS, and Registration Directory Services (RDS). There are also hot topics such as ICANN jurisdiction and geographic names, the important diverse topic of New gTLD Subsequent Procedures, and the long-standing discussions on intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations. This is in addition to the High Level Governmental Meeting scheduled for Barcelona in October 2018. Administratively, priorities include the review of the GAC Operating Principles and lowering barriers to participation.
How do you see the role of the GAC chair?
The main role of the chair is facilitating the work of the GAC in an accountable and transparent way, in order to provide timely consensus advice to the Board or input to the community. The chair should also work on reaching out to enhance engagement in and of the GAC, and work on building bridges of mutual understanding, respect, and trust between the GAC and the Board, as well as the GAC and the wider community, including all Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees.