The 2012 Internet Society Global INET 
  20th Anniversary Awards 
  Reception and Gala Dinner 

 

Brief session description:

Monday, April 23, 2012    The centerpieces of ISOC's historic 20th Anniversary Gala was a short program introducing the inaugural class of the Internet Hall of Fame, a tribute to the many technical capacity-building missions ISOC has undertaken over the years, a thank-you to the top leaders of the organization since its beginning, and the warm social gathering and the animated discussions shared by a sell-out crowd at the gala. 

Details of the session:

“We’ve connected, collaborated and now its time to celebrate,” said host Chris Brow as he finally got the boisterously noisy room quiet in order to officially start the 20th anniversary Awards Reception and Dinner Gala.

Hundreds of Internet leaders and contributors to the Global INET 2012 conference gathered in the Intercontinental Geneva Hotel April 23. Candlelight and a light display that looked like a starry night reflected off the well-dressed attendees as they cheered, toasted and celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Internet Society.

“This is a room of world-changing contributors who made it possible to connect to the whole world and - with some technology - even fall in love,” Brow said. “Information that used to take days to spread now takes minutes, and the technology can even start revolutions. This is something to celebrate.”

A photo slideshow showed the faces of the contributors that have continually devoted time and energy to ensure the Internet remains accessible for all. A selection of photos representing 20 years of global conferences and meetings showed how much effort members of the Internet Society have put into, and photos of the Network Training Conferences represented all of the developing countries that came to the Internet during the last 20 years.

Lynn St.Amour, president and CEO of the Internet Society, took the stage as a birthday cake decorated with two sparklers and a huge candle in the shape of a 20 was brought out.

“I’d love to be recognized for being 20 again,” St.Amour said. “That ship passed a few weeks ago. This cake belongs to everyone in this room.”

Someone mentioned it was a birthday for a longtime ISOC leader; after a few lines of "Happy Birthday" were sung, the room silenced for St.Amour to list off a few of the Internet Society’s accomplishments during the last 20 years, including its support of IETF, its work with members and chapters, its activities that advocate for positive policies moving forward as the Internet evolves and the technical advances that have been made.

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, took the stage to introduce the Hall of Fame inductees.

This is the first class of Hall of Fame inductees. From this point on the hall will grow annually. To make up for not having inducted anyone during ISOC's first 20 years, this class is large, with 33 inductees, Wales said.

To read details about the Hall of Fame inductees, click here.

The Hall of Fame inductees were called up to the stage by category: Pioneers Circle, Innovators and Global Connectors.

Desserts were left untouched on tables all around as all attendees gave the inductees a standing ovation, shifting to the front of the room to get a closer look at those who were being honored.

The actual Hall of Fame inducation ceremony took place in another part of the hotel earlier in the evening, and most people in the audience were unaware who the selectees were until Wales read the names. Two of the first up to the stage to stand and be honored were Vint Cerf and Steve Crocker, longtime friends and global Internet leaders who are basically rock stars of their kind.

Next to be honored at the 20th Anniversary Gala were ISOC's 13 charter members, the current board members and past board members. All were asked to rise and be recognized for their devotion to ISOC over the years.

Walda Roseman, the chief operating officer of ISOC, recognized the chapters that have been with ISOC for at least 15 years and organizations that were founding or platinum organization members - among them are Afilias, AFNIC, ARIN, Comcast, Juniper Networks, Research In Motion, RIPE NCC, SIDN Stchting Internet, Domeinregistratie Nederland, Taiwan Network Information, Verisign, and one platinum member, Microsoft, reached that status earlier in the day.

“ISOC is the people you see here,” Roseman said. “We would be nothing without the community. We want to recognize the number of you that have been part of the community and supported ISOC for a long time.”

Board chair Raúl Echeberría presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to St.Amour. Everyone in the room rose to give her a standing ovation as Stevie Wonder’s "Superstition" played through the speakers.

“This isn’t about me,” St.Amour said, trying to turn the attention and the spotlight away.

“Yes, it is,” someone in the audience yelled out.

But St.Amour ended the night by reminding people how the evening started: It was a time to celebrate all of the people who helped make the Internet what it is today. 

“This is not a lifetime achievement award. We have only just started,” St.Amour said. “The Internet couldn’t have been created by one person and ISOC couldn’t be created by one person.”

- Reporter: Rebecca Smith

Return to home page for Imagining the Internet's
coverage of the Global INET Conference 2012

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A selection of Twitter Reports
from this ISOC 20th event:

ISOC members constitute a network of fresh-thinkers and advocates for a sustainable, healthy Internet http://bit.ly/Ic3pjE #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET

ISOC is host to multistakeholder standards orgs, including IEFT, IRTF and IAB – architects of the Net http://bit.ly/HWApk8 #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET

The Internet Engineering Task Force is an open, global community building the positive evolution of the Net http://www.ietf.org/ #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET

The Internet Research Task Force looks ahead to do research important to the long-term evolution of the Net http://irtf.org/ #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET

The Internet Architecture Board http://www.iab.org/ conducts oversight of Internet Standards Processes #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET

Today’s standards are established through an open, transparent, bottom-up, consensus-building process http://bit.ly/HWApk8 #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET

SEE @ImagineInternet coverage of the ISOC list of “Defining Moments of Internet Evolution” here: http://bit.ly/Iah8KU #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET

SEE @ImagineInternet coverage of inaugural Internet Hall of Fame inductees here: http://bit.ly/HLJ8CS #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET

The multimedia reporting team for Imagining the Internet at the Internet Society's 20th Anniversary Global INET Conference included the following Elon University students, faculty, staff and friends: Jacquie Adams, Dan Anderson, Janna Anderson, Kacie Anderson, Nicole Chadwick, Jeff Flitter, Addie Haney, Brandon Marshall, Brian Meyer, Caitlin O'Donnell, Rachel Southmayd and Rebecca Smith.

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