Stories behind Fifteen Years of the LACNIC Community
LACNIC celebrated its 15th anniversary by sharing the vision of different members of the Latin American and Caribbean Internet community during a panel organized as part of the event held in Montevideo.
The panel was moderated by Oscar Robles, Executive Director of LACNIC, and included six members of different regional organizations who told personal stories and shared some of the things their organizations had been through over the past fifteen years.
Robles explained that the idea for this anniversary celebration had been to go beyond LACNIC itself and focus on the stories of the people and organizations who accompanied the development of the Regional Internet Registry.
Six stories. Cristine Hoepers, first co-chair of our regional security dialogue spaces, highlighted the patience LACNIC had always shown in supporting cybersecurity initiatives. From her point of view, since its creation, LACNIC has led the creation of a unique atmosphere, integrating the different communities of Latin America and the Caribbean. “It is great to have created this Latin American community,” noted the Brazilian security expert. As for the future, Hoepers stressed that having a better Internet requires training people and involving more members in the community.
Mariela Rocha, promoter of LACNIC’s IPv6 forums, observed that the Internet community had afforded her many opportunities. She particularly valued the help she had received to overcome her hearing difficulties. “I have always been offered everything I needed to be able to interact with the community,” said Rocha. From her point of view, the most important thing LACNIC has done is to take leadership of the Internet in the region: “LACNIC has promoted the growth of technical experts and supported those who are now leaders within the community. It has also helped other organizations to develop.” She noted that the region has given her the chance to work with the best possible tools and human resources. “Thanks to the community, I have found many more colleagues to work with in the region than in my own country,” she added.
Oscar Messano, who has been involved with LACNIC since its inception and is one of the signers of its Founding Act, shared an anecdote about the creation of the regional registry which left a lasting impression on him. “In 2002, we met with ICANN to define whether LACNIC was going to become an RIR. The Chairman of the ICANN Board at the time asked for a moment of silence for the death of Jonathan Postel, one of the fathers of the Internet. The following announcement was that of the official creation of LACNIC. It was very exciting and moving, as everyone in the room felt as if Postel was passing on to us the responsibility for LACNIC to continue from that moment on. Postel had done so much for the Internet, yet we were just starting,” recalled Messano, former LACNIC chair for 14 years.
Lilian Valverde, current member of the Electoral Commission, noted that LACNIC has allowed building a community regardless of the huge geographical distances that exist in the LAC region. She highlighted the support received by members and particularly how women are being included and assuming leading roles within the community.
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Clara Collado, LACTLD treasurer of and manager of the Dominican ccTLD, shared that she has been working with LACNIC from the very beginnings. “LACNIC is a door that allows us to tell the world what we would like the Internet to look like,” she added.
¿What has LACNIC done right? In the words of Collado, LACNIC has defined its mission and vision extremely well. “LACNIC has always worked towards its mission and vision: with the community and for the community. The organization has been faithful to its principles and gone far,” she added.
Edmundo Vitale, a well-known Venezuelan researcher and academic in the field of ICT, gave the example of LACNIC’s FRIDA Program, where he has been part of the Selection Committee for more than 10 years and has been lucky enough to review close to 300 projects. “Ninety percent of those projects were really good,” he observed. “If we are moving towards a digital economy, all these projects and initiatives executed in Latin America and supported by LACNIC will be part of the grand total,” he added. LACNIC is a great example which shows that Latin America has the ability to do much for its community and its region, he concluded.
Robles closed the panel by acknowledging and recognizing everyone’s efforts in creating the LACNIC community and stressed the importance of continuing to build mechanisms to identify solutions that will allow the region to overcome the challenges it faces.