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ISOC Switzerland Chapter Chartered

May 2012

After the de-chartering of the ISOC Switzerland Geneva Chapter, the Internet Society started the rejuvenation process. In the rejuvenation meetings that ensued, on 13 January 2010 and 17 February in Geneva’s ISOC EMEA Headquarters, the individuals present decided to form a transition team (TT) to establish a new body that eventually would get chartered as ISOC Switzerland Chapter. Several TT meetings followed. The active membership in the TT consisted of representatives from the French as well as from the German speaking part of Switzerland, so that extending the scope from local to national level became more and more obviously the thing to do. The idea of a national ISOC Switzerland Chapter (ISOC-CH) was born.

Some members of the TT were concerned about legal conflicts that may arise from the fact that ISOC requires parts of Chapters’ bylaws to be governed directly by ISOC (under U.S. jurisdiction). To avoid incompatibilities between the two jurisdictions, the TT originally decided to go for a two-bodies approach: one body being the “Chapter” (a body not especially recognized by Swiss legislation) and the other being a support organization for the Chapter, formed as an association according to the Swiss Civil Code.

Over the course of the transition process almost all the TT members were less and less convinced that the two-bodies approach would ever work, so that after more than one year of preparations the two-bodies approach was finally rejected in favour of only one association according to the Swiss Civil Code, which was to be chartered as ISOC Switzerland Chapter. The potential conflicts between the two jurisdictions were to be circumvented by a somewhat special setup of the Chapter’s bylaws.


Inaugural General Assembly

Over the following weeks the TT was ready to formally establish the Chapter as an association according to the Swiss Civil Code. During the Global INET in Geneva, on Sunday, 22 April 2012 at 8 pm, almost 30 people followed the invitation for the Inaugural General Assembly (GA) at the ISOC EMEA Headquarters. Among the participants were several guests from other ISOC Chapters around the world.

The Inaugural GA was chaired by Bernie Hoeneisen, who was also preparing the first version of the statutes. Serving as secretary of the inaugural GA was Roxana Radu, an ISOC Next Generation Leaders (NGL) program member who had just moved from Romania to Switzerland. During the course of the meeting, the legal association was formally established by 18 founding members and the first Board was elected among those. The Inaugural GA also accepted membership of three further individuals, who applied for membership in advance but were unable to be personally present in the Inaugural GA, including Ms. Anja Wyden Guelpa, Chancellor of the Republic and State of Geneva. Thus, at the end of the first day, the newly formed association counted already 21 members. After closure of the meeting, a group of founding members—among them the Chair and the Secretary of the Inaugural GA—adequately celebrated this historical occasion in the bars of Geneva until the last bar closed its doors; then, the celebration continued in the streets of Geneva.


First Year

The next important step was the chartering by ISOC. The great news arrived on 9 May 2012: the ISOC Board of Trustees had just officially recognized the Switzerland Chapter as a Chapter of the Internet Society.

Since then, the ISOC Switzerland Chapter has organized several events, including informal, after-work gatherings in Zurich and Geneva; co-hosting an IPv6 event with the Swiss IPv6 Council; and two policy-related events in Bern, the capital of Switzerland:

· 27 November 2012, “The Internet Under Threat”, with National Counsellor Balthasar Glaettli, entrepreneur and member of the Swiss Parliament, and Brian Trammell, research associate at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich

· 8 March 2013, “WCIT Digest”, a panel discussion with Frédéric Riehl, OFCOM, Vice-Director and Head of International Relations Service; Richard Hill, independent consultant (former senior ITU staff member); and Markus Kummer, Internet Society, Vice President Public Policy

All events were well attended, with the Board receiving a lot of positive feedback.

On 8 March 2013, after the WCIT Digest Panel, the first Annual General Meeting was held, with a new Board elected by the GA. Among the new Board members is Lynn Sorrentino, the first female ISOC-CH Chapter officer, elected on International Women’s Day.

After one year in existence, ISOC-CH is engaging already over 100 members across the country in events that reflect member interests and ISOC priorities, and has plans for more events in Bern, Geneva, Zurich, and other regions of Switzerland over the coming year and beyond.

For more news and information please visit www.isoc.ch

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