Co-Founder ​​Paul Fehlinger Steps Down as Deputy Executive Director

Published on
March 7, 2022

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, its Co-Founder and Deputy Executive Director Paul Fehlinger announces to step down from his function after one decade, and transitions into a Special Advisor role.

The news marks an important milestone in the history and future of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network. Under the joint leadership of its two founders, Executive Director Bertrand de La Chapelle and Deputy Executive Director Paul Fehlinger, the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network grew from a small governance start-up in 2012 into the global multistakeholder organization enhancing legal interoperability in cyberspace that today engages over 400 key entities from governments, internet companies, technical operators, civil society, academia and international organizations in more than 70 countries around the world.

The scope, reach and impact of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network is beyond what we ambitiously dreamed of in 2011 when Bertrand and I met for the first time in a small café in Paris. I am overwhelmed with pride and happiness when I think about what we have accomplished”, says Paul Fehlinger. 

After one decade of building and co-leading the organization and with the growth, level of institutional stability, outcomes, international recognition and visibility that the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network has achieved, the organization is mature. It is a crucial milestone that it now continues to thrive without me as its co-founder.


Figure 1. Paul Fehlinger moderating the Main Session on Data Flows and Trust of the 2019 United Nations Internet Governance Forum

Paul Fehlinger has been working tirelessly for 10 years to bring together stakeholders from governments, internet companies, civil society groups, universities and international organizations to enhance legal interoperability in cyberspace and drive the global growth and impact of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network. In his role, he has always been motivated by the vision that a positive future for cross-border online services and data flows can be achieved through cooperation.

Without everything that Paul has done, the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network would not have become what it is today”, says Co-Founder and Executive Director Bertrand de La Chapelle. “I am moved that Paul steps down after 10 years. It was a remarkable journey to build this organization together until this great milestone. The community, the team and I thank him sincerely for the tremendous work and energy he has put into building this organization. And we wish him every success for his next chapter.

Looking back, Paul Fehlinger recalls: “Since 2012, we convinced – one by one – hundreds of states, IGOs, the world’s largest tech companies, operators, top universities, and civil society groups on five continents to cooperate. Together with them, we helped put the jurisdiction issue on global agendas, showed that multistakeholder collaboration can produce concrete policy outcomes through ongoing work, and pioneered knowledge sharing to enhance evidence-based policy innovation”. But the most important accomplishment, Fehlinger says, has been building a unique global community of stakeholders who deeply care about a positive future for the cross-border internet: “It is thanks to their trust and engagement that we achieved so much together, and I am forever grateful to all our supporters.


Figure 2. Group picture of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network in Ottawa, Canada, in 2018 

I am humbled that we have come such a long way from a start-up with two people to an organization formally recognized by the international ecosystem from the G7 to the UN, written about in outlets from The Economist to Politico, and backed by an incredible coalition of financial and institutional supporters. I hope I made a contribution to move the future of the cross-border internet in the right direction by catalyzing cooperation and policy innovation. It has been a fascinating and rewardingly intense entrepreneurial adventure”, summarizes Paul Fehlinger.

Looking at the accomplishments of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, Paul Fehlinger emphasizes how grateful he is for the work of the Secretariat: “It is a fantastic and hard working international team. I am fully assured that the community is in great hands!

The transition has been well prepared in the Secretariat. Paul Fehlinger will remain a Special Advisor to Executive Director Bertrand de La Chapelle.


Figure 3. Co-Founders Bertrand de La Chapelle and Paul Fehlinger opening the 3rd Global Conference of I&JPN