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Fadi Chehadé One-On-One Interview | Istanbul | 25 Apr 2013

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Good afternoon Fadi. Could you tell us why we’re here in Istanbul today?

We’re here in Istanbul today to follow through on a very important promise I made when I came on board. ICANN needs to change its posture from being a U.S. centric entity to being a global entity that embraces the world and its stakeholders. So, today in Istanbul, we came to meet with the community, the government, civil society, academics, all the stakeholders, to announce that we are moving part of our global headquarters from Los Angeles to Istanbul and growing in Istanbul a very important hub that can deliver all of the ICANN value to our stakeholders in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Thank you very much.

And why has ICANN chosen Istanbul to base this hub here?

We have spent quite a bit of time carefully analyzing a number of factors to decide where would be the best place to build this hub. Again, this is not the regional office, this is actually a headquarters hub for ICANN. And therefore, we had to look at logistical factors, we had to look at policy factors, political factors, we looked at transportation factors, and then most importantly, we looked at the actual ICT infrastructure, not just in terms of physical infrastructure but also in human capital that is available in this region. And, frankly, Istanbul came on top. And so we did not hesitate to embrace the decision and to immediately move, and our hope is that within the next two months we’ll be operational in Istanbul.

And could you list a few of the benefits that there may be for Turkey and the wider region as a whole?

There is no question that ICANN, which is an organization at the center of the digital economy, it is at the center of the Internet growth, because at the end of the day, all of the names and addresses resources that enable the Internet are managed and coordinated by ICANN. Therefore, moving this to Turkey is going to be seminal to the digital economy of Turkey. It will create around it an ecosystem of innovation, of new businesses, of new sensitivities to the value of the Internet that will only amplify the great investments that have been made in Turkey.

And for ICANN itself, are there any benefits that come manifestly from this decision?

There is no question that ICANN needs to, frankly, get out of its fortress in Los Angeles and embrace all of what this region and Turkey can offer. There is much value in this region that we need to also understand. So this is not just about coming and putting our big ICANN loudspeakers here. It’s also about coming and listening and learning from this community that in the last ten years has transformed this country through political and economic form into a true powerhouse for the world, not just for this region.

What other plans does ICANN have for its expansion and engagement with the local community going forth?

Well, as we said, first we’ll go and build the hub here. Then next, Singapore. And once Singapore, Istanbul and L.A. are up and running, we’ll ensure that our operations are distributed across all these hubs and integrated at all levels. Immediately after that, we are also starting to build engagement centers around the hubs. These would be smaller, much smaller centers, designed mostly to integrate into the communities and get closer to our stakeholders. And, as you know, in Beijing a couple of weeks ago we announced the first engagement center there and we will be building more of these as we go around the world.

And do you have a final message to say to the stakeholders in the region about the opening of this hub and what it needs?

To please come and help us make this hub a vibrant hub, a hub that is not simply a loudspeaker for ICANN, but rather a place where ICANN listens and understands the stakeholders, and bring their needs and their learnings into the ICANN experience so that we can all, on a global level, benefit from the local experience that I'm sure is here and is within Turkey and its community.

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Duration: 4 minutes and 55 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: icann on Apr 29, 2013

Fadi Chehadé One-On-One Interview | Istanbul | 25 Apr 2013

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