Press Release: Business Leaders, Journalists, Scientists, Diplomats and Scholars Lend Support and Guidance
The World Wide Web Foundation (Web Foundation) introduces its boards of directors, who will oversee the Web Foundation’s international operations and the start of its first programs. In September 2008, the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, announced plans to create the Web Foundation to foster understanding and evolution of the Web, and to accelerate growth of the Web as a tool of individual and collective empowerment to drive social and economic change. By funding research, technology development and outreach to communities underserved by the Web, the Web Foundation aims to significantly increase the value that the Web can offer to an expanding number of users around the world, regardless of language, ability, location, gender, age or income.
The Web Foundation is governed by a group of highly qualified individuals from the technology, philanthropic, academic and business sectors. Consistent with its international mission, the Web Foundation has selected Switzerland as its principle base of operations for strategic and program direction. Fund raising and mission support will be provided by organizations in other countries (“Friends of the Web Foundation”), the first such organization is a public charity (501(c) (3)) in the United States.
Alberto Ibargüen, the president and chief executive officer of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, chairs the Switzerland-based board of directors. In September 2008, Ibargüen joined Berners-Lee in announcing the creation of the Web Foundation through a $5 million seed grant from the Knight Foundation.
Joining Ibargüen on the Switzerland-based board of directors is:
- Helen Alexander, president of the CBI, the UK’s leading trade body and senior adviser at Bain Capital. Alexander is also a non-executive director of Centrica and Rolls Royce plc, Chair of the Business Advisory Forum of the Said Business School in Oxford, UK, and former Chief Executive of The Economist Group among other high-profile roles.
- Rosemary Leith, a director of Hilvern Management Limited, a private investment company. Leith is also a Trustee of the Web Science Trust, where she previously served as the organization’s executive director. She also worked together with Steve Bratt in the inception and creation of the Web Foundation as a global non-profit organization.
- Mauro Nuñez, the business manager and activity lead for the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Incubator Activity, which focuses on potential foundational technologies that support the infrastructure of the Web as well as Web-based applications. Nuñez is a Fulbright Scholar and held several positions at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso in Chile, first as a project manager, and ultimately as the director of finance for the University.
- Iqbal Z. Quadir, the founder and director of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which promotes bottom-up entrepreneurship in developing countries. In the 1990s, Quadir founded GrameenPhone, the largest telephone company in Bangladesh.
- Nigel Shadbolt, a professor of artificial intelligence and deputy head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. A past President of the British Computer Society Shadbolt is a leading researcher in Web Science and a founding director of the Web Science Trust. Working with Tim Berners-Lee he is currently Information Advisor to the UK Government.
- Daniel Stauffacher, founder and chairman of ICT4Peace Foundation, president of the Geneva Security Forum and the co-founder and Executive Coordinator of the Geneva Network. He also serves as a Special Advisor to the UN Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs for the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development. Stauffacher is the former Swiss ambassador to the United Nations and the Swiss Federal Government’s special representative for the hosting and preparation of the United Nations World Summit for Social Development (Geneva, 2000).
Chairing the U.S.-based Friends of the Web Foundation board is Thomas Roessler, who currently serves as the acting leader of the W3C’s Technology and Society Domain, overseeing the consortium’s efforts in the Semantic Web, eGovernment, privacy, and security areas. He is also part of the consortium’s liaison efforts to organizations like the IETF and ICANN. Roessler brings to the Foundation extensive experience in areas including Internet security, privacy and policy.
In addition to Roessler, the U.S. board comprises:
- Marcia Blenko, a partner with Bain and Company in Boston who leads the company’s Global Organization practice. Blenko writes prolifically on organization, decision effectiveness, leadership and executive compensation for numerous international publications. Previously, Blenko worked for Goldman Sachs in both New York and London.
- Wendy Seltzer, a fellow with the University of Colorado’s Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship in Boulder, Colo., where she researches intellectual property, innovation and free expression online. Seltzer is also a Fellow with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, leads the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, and serves on the Board of Directors of The Tor Project.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee serves as a director on both the Swiss and U.S. boards. In 1989 he invented the World Wide Web while working at CERN’s European Particle Physics Laboratory. He wrote the first Web client and server in 1990, and continues to guide the future development of the Web as the director of the W3C and Web Science Trust.
“As the Web’s capabilities multiply we hope it also grows to take on an increasingly vital role in reducing poverty and conflict, providing medical, educational, and other vital services throughout the world,” said Steve Bratt, the chief executive officer of the Web Foundation. “We are encouraged by the pledge of support from these exceptional individuals who will champion the Web Foundation’s mission as its first board members.”
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