Mike Hinchey hands the IFIP Presidency to Anthony Wong

Changing of the Guard @ IFIP

IFIP has new leadership after Anthony Wong (ACS) became President, taking over the reins from Mike Hinchey (ICS) at the conclusion of last week’s General Assembly (GA) in Lille, France. The organisation also has a new General Secretary with Professor Anatolii Marushchak replacing long-serving Eduard Dundler on his retirement. 

Liz Eastwood (ITNZ) and Jacques Sakarovitch (Fr) were elected as Vice-presidents, replacing Gabriela Marin-Raventos (who had served two terms) and filling the spot vacated by Anthony Wong. 

A Renewed Vision for IFIP

IFIP is moving into a new phase to grow IFIP’s relevance and impact, building on the successes from the past 60 years, having just celebrated its 60th Anniversary. To this end, some of the agenda items at the General Assembly were run as workshops with input from all GA Members. The output of these discussions will contribute to the formulation of a renewed IFIP strategy.

In presenting his vision for the global body, Anthony referenced a comment by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his 2020 report that the world is at a critical inflection point for technology governance and the urgency to redouble efforts to better harness digital technologies while mitigating the harm that they may cause.

“In this context, IFIP has an important role to play for humanity and supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Anthony told the assembly, reminding them of the long standing IFIP’s Mission to achieve ‘the worldwide professional and socially responsible development of information and communication technologies.’ 

“This mission established under the auspices of UNESCO hasn’t changed and remains relevant today – if not more so after 60 years – it’s about worldwide professionalism and being socially responsible in how we create and apply technology,” he said. “My presidency is about driving this mission and directly supporting our members and stakeholders, and the agencies of the United Nations including UNESCO, ITU, UNCTAD, United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) and others. Our new partnership with ITU’s AI for Good program (see separate article) is just one of many initiatives we are working on to take our mission forward. We are also starting collaboration with ITU on building cybersecurity skills capacity globally.”

At the upcoming Internet Governance Forum IGF 2022 in November, IFIP will also be hosting a Town Hall session with the Director of UNCTAD’s Division on Technology & Logistics, Head of the secretariat to the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) on the Ethics and Regulation of Emerging Technologies & AI.

Anthony pointed to the diverse array of events staged last year for IFIP’s 60th Jubilee (#ifip60), highlighting the vast depths of expertise, knowledge and thought leadership across the organisation. “These events created enormous value for members and provided a wonderful platform to showcase the knowledge and achievements of our member societies, TCs and WGs as well as IP3, InterYIT and partner organisations like UNESCO. There were so many wonderful collaborations and this has set the scene for new opportunities into the future.”

Anthony shared comments from prominent members who were featured in the more than 60 Faces of IFIP series, talking about what IFIP means to them, including:

ACM CEO, Vicki Hanson: “At ACM, we see a world where computing helps solve tomorrow’s problems – where we use our knowledge and skills to advance the profession and make a positive impact. We are proud of our work with IFIP to develop and share ICT knowledge and expertise, to promote global digital equity, to enhance public understanding about technology and its potential, and to increase professionalism in the field.”

BCS Immediate Past President, John Higgins: “If life had a word cloud, then data and digital would be big text – and getting bigger. We weigh the ways our lives are getting better – apps and the internet, against bad things like ransomware. People expect “something to be done”.  But who? Governments, yes, but professional bodies too. Increasingly the debates are global and so we must be. IFIP has a long and distinguished history – it must now be a powerful voice for our future.” 

Anthony also reminded the meeting of IFIP’s long standing relationship with UNESCO, under whose auspices IFIP were founded, highlighting the collaboration and partnership opportunities to also work more closely with the various UN specialist agencies.

“We’ve started a global project on “Sustaining relevant digital inclusive education for young people” working with interested UN agencies and stakeholders chaired by the head of our Technical Committee 3 -Education, Professor Don Passey” he said. “It’s an exciting time for IFIP to raise our relevance and share our expertise in ways that will truly have a positive impact on the world.”

The September GA took place at the French Regional Parliament in Lille, which was an excellent venue for the gathering of members and stakeholders from across 5 continents.

IFIP would like to express its gratitude to the following people for helping to make the event such a success:

  • IFIP Vice-president, Jacques Sakarovitch, Professeur Université de Lille, Sophie Tison and the French Computer Society,
  • M. Xavier Bertrand, the president of Région Hauts-de-France, 
  • M. Damien Castelain, the president of the Métropole Européenne de Lille, 
  • Prof. Régis Bordet, the president of University of Lille, 
  • Prof. Clarisse Dhaenens, head of CRIStAL laboratory, and 
  • Dr. Mireille Régnier, head of Inria-Lille centre.

And our deepest thanks to our Past President Mike Hinchey, retiring Vice President Gabriela Marin-Raventos and General Secretary Eduard Dundler for their valued contribution to IFIP, leadership and guidance over the many years.

The IFIP General Assembly in Lille, France last week.