Regenie Fräser, the former Secretary General of a regional trade association, has been selected to serve a one-year term on the board of trustees of the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN).
Fraser’s appointment makes her the first person from the Caribbean and the first non-white person to serve on the ARIN board.
ARIN is one of five registries worldwide that coordinate Internet number resources. The registry serves the United States, Canada and several territories in the Caribbean. ARIN’s selection of Fräser is seen as part of a larger move to increase the representation of the Caribbean region within its organisation.
“The appointment is part of the ARIN Trustees’ ongoing commitment to board diversity and fulfills the April Call for Volunteers of Caribbean background,” an August 9 announcement on the ARIN website said.
Fräser, who is Surinamese, previously served for 11 years as secretary general of CANTO, a trade association of telecommunications organisations with an interest in the Caribbean. Her appointment will take effect from 1 January 2019, and in the interim she will sit on the board as an observer.
“ARIN congratulates Ms. Fräser on her appointment and looks forward to her participation within and contributions to ARIN Board of Trustees and the community,” the announcement said.
The move has been some time in the making. Speaking at ARIN's public policy meeting in San Jose, California last October, President and CEO John Curran said, "We recognise that our policy development process can only benefit from the inclusion of more voices and perspectives from our constituents in the Caribbean.”
But Bill Woodcock, a former ARIN Board member who stepped down at the San Jose in order to create the opportunity for a more diverse leadership to emerge, framed the latest development as a significant success.
“After many years of trying, we’ve finally gotten the first ARIN board member from our Caribbean region! Congratulations to Regenie Fraser and the ARIN board,” Woodcock tweeted within minutes of the announcement being posted.
“It is great that this finally came together. It’s been a long time coming, and it is satisfying to see that the efforts made have produced some meaningful results,” he added in an interview.
Bevil Wooding, a leading Internet expert who is currently serving as ARIN Caribbean Liaison, said the appointment is in keeping with ARIN’s increased efforts to be more inclusive and to encourage greater participation Caribbean-based stakeholders, at every level of its governance.
“Supporting the ARIN community in the Caribbean is a top priority for ARIN. The needs of the Caribbean are not necessarily the same as those of the US and Canada. In order to ensure that the Internet number resource policies reflect the whole ARIN Community, those policies must be developed in a way that includes voices and perspectives drawn from the Caribbean," Wooding said.
Teresa Wankin, who succeeded Fräser as Secretary General of CANTO in 2015, congratulated both Fräser and ARIN.
“I am both thrilled and excited about this appointment—thrilled that my friend and ex-boss is now on the board of trustees of ARIN, and excited that ARIN recognises the need for diversity and inclusion of a Caribbean representative on their board of trustees. It is also satisfying that the region now has a seat at the decision-making table for ARIN and I look forward to more international organisations including Caribbean representation at their highest levels,” Wankin said.
Last year, two women from the Caribbean were appointed to the organisation's second-highest leadership body, the advisory council, for the first time. Advisory Council members voted to appoint Barbadian-born Alicia Trotman for a one-year term, starting January 1, 2018. Jamaican-born Kerrie Ann Richards was appointed as an interim member, also until December 31, 2018. Both applauded ARIN selection of Fräser.
“This is excellent news, another step in the right direction. ARIN should be commended on its continued commitment to diversity and excellence in leadership,” Trotman said.
Richards described Fräser as a “Caribbean flag bearer” on the ARIN board.
“As former Secretary General of CANTO, she has seen the growth of the internet in the region and fully understands the unique circumstances facing island-states. The depth of knowledge she will bring will enrich the conversations at the ARIN board of trustees,” Richards said.
“In the last twelve months, the number of Caribbean voices at the highest level of ARIN leadership has moved from zero to three. With the slate of nominees for ARIN’s October elections being announced soon, I hope it will increase even further,” she added.