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Every three years, APC members, through their member representatives on the APC council, elect between four and seven directors from among council representatives nominated by members.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting context, the 2020 elections were organised remotely and took place between 15 and 16 October through an online voting system hosted on APC servers.
The members of the new APC board of directors were elected by 53 council members, and its composition is the following:
Chat Garcia Ramilo, APC, Philippines (executive director)
Once again, APC is proud to have a board with gender balance and representatives from several regions (Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America). A balance was also achieved in terms of continuity, with four board members from the previous board retaining their positions (Bishakha Datta, Julián Casasbuenas G., Leandro Navarro and Sylvie Siyam). The new board brings together an interesting combination of wisdom, experience, freshness and enthusiasm to steer APC through the new phase that lies ahead.
APC would like to congratulate the elected members of the incoming board and wish them a productive and outstanding governance period until 2023.
The APC board of directors for the previous period (2016-2019) was comprised of Bishakha Datta (as chair), Leandro Navarro (as vice-chair), Liz Probert from GreenNet in the United Kingdom (as secretary), Sylvie Siyam (as treasurer), Michel Lambert from Alternatives in Canada, Julián Casabuenas G., Osama Manzar from Digital Empowerment Foundation in India and Chat Garcia Ramilo (executive director). APC wishes to thank the outgoing board members and to acknowledge their efforts and excellent contributions towards strengthening the network during their tenure.
What lies ahead, in the words of the members of the new board
Leandro Navarro, from APC member Associació Pangea - Coordinadora Comunicació per a la Cooperació in Spain, was appointed as chair for this new board after serving as vice-chair in the previous period. Looking forward to the upcoming cycle, Leandro acknowledges that the new board has “a very interesting three-year period ahead of us in which, while maintaining the challenges we have faced so far, we are adapting to new environmental changes and challenges, from the pandemic to climate and pollution.”
With a strong emphasis on working towards a greener and more just future, the new chair stresses that “we must ensure that we can all participate in the digital world as part of the solution for the planet and not as part of the problem. We use and shape the internet and digital technologies to satisfy the needs and rights of people and the planet, not the contrary. Therefore, we hope to restore the balance soon so that we can meet again not only at the same time, but also in the same place, celebrate the re-encounter and make the most of it. The problems we are dealing with and the priorities in this triennial are our guide.” (More from Leandro Navarro here.)
Bishakha Datta from APC member Point of View in India shares some insights on her period as chair of the previous board between 2016-2019: “Governance feels a bit like ensuring the foundations, or the skeletal structure, are healthy, strong and growing. Not just for today, but also for tomorrow. I got a good sense of APC’s ‘bones’ in my first tenure: the organisation is in excellent shape and was able to smoothly navigate a leadership transition. With strong financial and human resources and a new strategic plan in place, the future looks bright... internally.”
But externally, she points out, it’s a different story. “Surveillance capitalism. Hate speech. Polarisation. Political manipulation. Disinformation. Data extraction. Online violence. As this intractable virus keeps shifting shape from one to the other, it has felt almost impossible to root out.” For this upcoming period, Bishakha considers that the challenge APC will have to face, and that she is willing to tackle as vice-chair, consists of how to ensure that the organisation and the network are well prepared to face these challenges, and how to push for the digital future that we want.
Pavel Antonov, from APC member BlueLink.net in Bulgaria, says that his first priority as a board member will be maintaining the spirit of shared mission and comradeship within APC's community, as an organisational functioning demonstration of alternatives to the individualism, competition and hostility in the world. He is very enthusiastic about the renewed environmental sustainability and ICTs area of work and keen on helping to take it further, with the active participation of members.
Julián Casasbuenas G. from APC member Colnodo in Colombia has served on the board of directors in different positions, from treasurer to chair to secretary. One of his main commitments for this new period has to do with the advancement of APC's work on internet governance, environment, gender and access, as well as strengthening the work of the members on these issues, seeking mechanisms to maintain and improve the participation of all members.
Sylvie Siyam, from APC member PROTEGE QV in Cameroon, commits to continue serving as a board member focusing on improving the language diversity in APC by encouraging more French-speaking organisations – particularly in Africa – to join APC and by promoting collaborative projects among members.
Oona Castro from APC member Instituto Nupef in Brazil aims to help APC institutionally to achieve its mission in the coming years by strengthening the network, making room for organisations, identifying their best abilities and calling for their contributions. In the bigger picture, Oona will work to bring together the diverse thematic and political agendas on access, digital divides, digital security, digital archives, misinformation, privacy, internet governance, spectrum allocation, human rights and environmental justice, under the umbrella of democracy, fighting against the unethical use of ICTs as part of political processes that threaten our democratic societies.
Sol Luca de Tena, from APC member Zenzeleni NPC in South Africa, another of the newcomers to the board, commits to contributing with her skills, enthusiasm, curiosity, humour and creativity to advancing the objectives of APC and its members. “I am convinced that the most powerful work in creating positive change requires at its heart the bridging and understanding of different lived realities. I would add my sensitivity to these and the care I take in respecting these differences, whilst weaving common outcomes,” she stated.
About APC governance
The APC board of directors is elected from among the members of the APC council, in which all APC member organisations are represented. Except for those reserved specifically for the APC council, the board of directors oversees and exercises all governance powers and activities of the organisation.
The board makes strategic decisions about APC membership and plays a central role in defining APC’s strategic priorities. The APC board often deals with institutional issues that require strong commitment and a willingness to contribute time to the network.