OHI project interviewed Paul Twomey on 15th September 2019 in Manhattan.
Manhattan is the economic center of the world and the richest district in New York. We managed to find a decent place for our interview in the jungle of Manhattan’s buildings. Thanks to the help of a friend, we found a suitable room in a certain building to conduct an interview. By coincidence, Paul Twomey mentioned that he also worked in this building when he co-founded an Internet consulting company with Ira Magaziner (the father of ICANN) after he just left ICANN. What a coincidence!
Paul Twomey is the former CEO of the Australia National Office for the Information Economy and has served as the CEO of ICANN from 2003 to 2009, the longest-serving CEO in the history of ICANN till now. He has deeply participated in the initial stage of preparation for ICANN and he is one of the people who know the most about the history of ICANN till now. During our interview, he talked about the background of ICANN, the games of various stakeholders and the role of the US government in ICANN.
In 1998, in order to deal with the internal and external pressures (the internal pressure comes from technical community led by Jon Postel and others who wanted to keep the technical community independent and away from political intervention; the external pressure stems from EU, UN and some countries’ objection against the US government’s control of the Internet.), the US government decided to establish ICANN as an international organization aimed at managing Internet.
At that time, Paul Twomey invited Ira Magaziner, a member of the National Domestic Policy Council during the Clinton Administration, to an information economy summit meeting, it was at this time that Magaziner realized Twomey was indeed the talent that ICANN needed. Paul Twomey has a background in the Ph.D. in International Relations at Oxford University, and he was a trusted candidate for the White House who could help the US government gain more international support at that time.
Over 20 years of development and practice, Paul Twomey undoubtedly played an important role in the Internet development as a representative of the Asia Pacific region, and he mentioned that the influence of China on ICANN is crucial, including the issues of Taiwan. Besides, he said that the absolute center of the Internet was Europe and the US 20 years ago, but now the rise of Asia breaks this pattern since half of the Internet users are from Asia.
Paul Twomey has ever worked for McKinsey, a famous management consulting firm, made his talking full of speculative thinking and logical expression. The interview ended quickly and we are eager to hear more from him next time. Also, we believe that we will have more opportunities to cooperate with each other in the future.
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