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NEW YORK, NY—The Markle Foundation is undertaking an initiative to enable non-profit groups to more fully participate in Internet governance by making it easier for them to attend international meetings of ICANN, the Internet's first international oversight body, it was announced today by Zoë Baird, Markle's President. The announcement was made to coincide with ICANN's quarterly meeting in Cairo, Egypt.
Under the initiative—part of Markle's Internet Governance Project (IGP)—the Markle Foundation and The Ford Foundation will each make a seventy-five thousand dollar grant for the ICANN Travel Support Program to The Salzburg Seminar, a renowned institution of international education. By funding non-profit groups' travel arrangements to—and accommodations at—ICANN meetings, the ICANN Travel Support Project will help provide a broader range of groups the chance to attend meetings of the Internet oversight body.
Zoë Baird said, "The ICANN Travel Support Project is an important step toward ensuring that the public voice can help shape the governance of the Internet. With this grant, we will reduce or eliminate cost as a barrier to a number of non-profit, educational, research and public-interest organizations that should be able to attend ICANN's international meetings to network, contribute their ideas about how Internet governance should develop, and help shape Internet policymaking."
Olin Robison, President of the Salzburg Seminar, said, "For over fifty years, the Salzburg Seminar has provided opportunities for young leaders to meet and learn. As an international educational organization we are well aware of the financial difficulties many non-profit leaders face in supporting their activities. The Seminar is therefore pleased to announce the ICANN Travel Support Project that will allow selected non-profit leaders to attend ICANN's international meetings. We believe their voices, and those they represent, need to be heard at ICANN's policymaking sessions. Working with the Markle and Ford Foundations, this Project is one step towards making ICANN's meetings more inclusive of the global Internet community."
On April 1, 2000 The Salzburg Seminar's ICANN Travel Support Project will begin to recruit and screen potential participants. Organizations selected for participation will be funded for the costs of travel to ICANN meetings and their accommodations.
Markle's Internet Governance Project is designed to promote the public interest in nontraditional, international venues where decisions are increasingly made and standards are set that affect the Internet.
At ICANN's most recent meeting, in Los Angeles in November, the Markle Foundation announced several major initiatives designed to make ICANN, the Internet's first international oversight body, more accountable to all users of the Internet. This included a grant to enable ICANN to hire staff, conduct outreach (including easy-to-understand educational materials), create technical mechanisms for global voting, translate key documents into several major languages for the benefit of all potential ICANN members worldwide, and initiate the At-large voting process. Markle also enlisted the support of, and is providing funds for efforts by, The Carter Center, The Center for Democracy and Technology, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, Common Cause, and the American Library Association to help establish the election process, to reach out to Internet users, and to monitor the elections. These efforts are designed to encourage the greatest participation by the broadest geographic base of individuals and non-commercial users.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit, international corporation formed in September 1998 to oversee a select set of Internet technical management functions currently managed by the U.S. Government, or by its contractors and volunteers. Specifically, ICANN is assuming responsibility for coordinating the management of the domain name system (DNS), and other important features of the Internet.
The Salzburg Seminar was founded on the ideal that open discussion among individuals helps build the bridges of communication and cooperation for the global community. The Seminar was begun in 1947 by three students at Harvard University as a means of bringing together young Europeans and Americans from countries recently at war to engage in intellectual dialogue. Over the years, the Seminar has evolved and expanded to become a renowned institution of international education. More than 20,000 Fellows from more than 150 countries have attended sessions exploring political, social, and cultural issues of global interest. Our mission is to provide opportunities for the next generation of leaders to meet with each other for the exchange of opinions and ideas. Our goal is to bring together in a productive way the worlds of scholarship, public policy, and practice. The Seminar conducts sessions at Schloss Leopoldskron, an eighteenth century palace in Salzburg, Austria. It is an American not-for-profit educational organization with administrative headquarters in Middlebury, Vermont.