As the new year approaches, we have some news to share. PCI’s Chair, Vint Cerf, will take on new responsibilities at Google that require his full-time attention and PCI’s Executive Director, David Bray, will take on a new role with the Atlantic Council focused on “think and do” actions with exciting details to be shared later in January 2020. Working together, it has been our privilege to serve respectively as Chairman of the Board and Senior Fellow/Executive Director over the last three years. It has been very satisfying to see the organization take shape, the community grow, and the organization take concrete steps towards fulfilling its mission. With the start of these new roles, we will be concluding our PCI board service though we both expect to continue to participate in PCI activities as time permits.
PCI co-founder, Mei Lin Fung, will serve as the new elected board chair. We are confident of her dedication and capacity to lead PCI into its evolving future. Marci Harris will continue as a board member and Treasurer. Lin Wells has been elected as a new board member and will begin service on January 1, 2020. We would like to recognize the contributions of PCI’s volunteer communications officer, Corina DuBois, and the coordinators of PCI’s social media and newsletter, Inna Goncharenko. Both Corina and Inna have done excellent work in writing and producing the monthly newsletter and will conclude their roles at the end of 2019. In addition, PCI’s webmaster, Felix Velarde, is scaling back his activities with the start of the new year now that we’ve moved to cloud hosting. We are sincerely grateful for the volunteer work Felix did to help PCI grow.
There is still so much to be done to improve the accessibility, utility, affordability and sustainability of the Internet and its applications. We have enjoyed our roles on the PCI board and the opportunity to interact and learn from each of you. PCI is comprised of a remarkable group of principled, concerned, and highly motivated individuals and we have no doubt that this community will continue to move the dial on Internet utility in the years ahead.
Vint Cerf and Dr. David Bray
It has been a privilege to serve as Chairman of the Board of PCI. I am happy to announce that Google is providing an additional $100K in 2019 for further work on Native American access to Internet. I am grateful for the support given to PCI by all of you who have participated in PCI events and activities and to Mei Lin Fung for inviting me to participate in the founding of PCI.
Echoing Vint, it has been an honor and privilege to work with everyone involved with the PCI Community. All of you have done a lot over the last three years, embodied most strongly by efforts with Native American Communities through MuralNet, led by Mariel Triggs and TDVNet, led by Matthew Rantanen. Désiré Banse is also doing great work on experimental designs for innovative solutions to food security, access to energy, and Internet access in West Africa. The PCI community worked with the 2018 hurricane recovery, thanks in part to the efforts of Mel Cordova, Marci Harris, Lin Wells, Mei Lin Fung, Eric Rasmussen among others, helping Puerto Rico in various roles. PCI also worked with the post-wildfire recovery in California – thanks to the significant efforts of Marti Grimminck and Dan Desmond. The capstone People-Centered “Our Digital Future” event on 10 Dec focused on the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights and celebrated a milestone in Internet access: 50% of the Earth’s population has access to the Internet. R “Ray” Wang and his Constellation Research Team deserve great credit for organizing that amazing gathering.
The PCI community also worked to catalyze important conversations and gatherings on crucial issues, starting with the challenges of countering misinformation to include the stellar work done by Pablo Breuer, Sara-Jayne Terp, and Brett Horvath in addition to the wise counsel provided by experts such as Lin Wells, Eric Rasmussen, Parry Aftab, and Annette Sobel. We had a chance to address the United Nations on UN Charter Day in 2019 and we also assembled representatives from both Silicon Valley and the national security community to discuss how to resolve the widening polarization present in open societies.
Most recently in November, PCI collaborated with PeaceTech Labs, thanks in large part to the efforts of Corina DuBois, working with Sheldon Himelfarb, to gather a diverse group of people. The PeaceTech efforts focused on identifying tangible steps forward to counter hate linked to violence, counter misinformation that contributes to polarization, and how the private sector might help scale a “PeaceTech” industry. I have truly enjoyed working with Vint and each of you. With my new role with the Atlantic Council, there may be additional ways in which we can all collaborate. It is great to see the work that PCI has done and I look forward to the new milestones PCI achieves in the future; here’s to the new year and shared future ahead.