First woman to lead UN’s telecom agency

Published September 30, 2022
Bucharest (Romania): Doreen Bogdan-Martin of the US delivers a speech after she was elected secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union on Thursday.—AFP
Bucharest (Romania): Doreen Bogdan-Martin of the US delivers a speech after she was elected secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union on Thursday.—AFP

GENEVA: Doreen Bogdan-Martin was elected on Thursday as the first woman to lead the UN’s telecom agency in its 157-year history, with the US contender beating a Russian rival to the post.

Bogdan-Martin will become the next secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union, which plays an important global role in setting the technical standards underlying mobile phones, television and the internet.

She claimed a landslide 139-25 victory over Russia’s former deputy telecoms minister Rashid Ismailov in an election among the ITU’s member states at a conference in Bucharest. “Today, we made history. After 157 years, we shattered the glass ceiling,” she said.

Bogdan-Martin has worked her way up through the ITU. She joined its development bureau — one of the ITU’s three main divisions — in 1993 and became its director in 2019, pushing digital transformation.

Contests for the top UN jobs are typically about the balance of power between regional blocs.

The vote to lead the UN’s Geneva-based information and communication technologies agency — which coordinates everything from radio frequencies to satellites and 5G — was unrelated to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, the election was being seen as a test of Russia’s standing in the United Nations as the war in Ukraine grinds on.

Moscow’s reliable friends in UN circles have dwindled due to the war, though ITU member states had nonetheless blocked a bid to stop Russian candidates from running.

Bogdan-Martin’s pitch was about getting more of the world connected to the internet and pushing forward high-speed access.

“The world is facing significant challenges: escalating conflicts, a climate crisis, food security, gender inequalities, and 2.7 billion people with no access to the internet,” she said.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2022

Opinion

The risk of escalation

The risk of escalation

The silence of the US and some other Western countries over the raid on the Iranian consulate has only provided impunity to the Zionist state.

Editorial

Saudi FM’s visit
Updated 17 Apr, 2024

Saudi FM’s visit

The government of Shehbaz Sharif will have to manage a delicate balancing act with Pakistan’s traditional Saudi allies and its Iranian neighbours.
Dharna inquiry
17 Apr, 2024

Dharna inquiry

THE Supreme Court-sanctioned inquiry into the infamous Faizabad dharna of 2017 has turned out to be a damp squib. A...
Future energy
17 Apr, 2024

Future energy

PRIME MINISTER Shehbaz Sharif’s recent directive to the energy sector to curtail Pakistan’s staggering $27bn oil...
Tough talks
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Tough talks

The key to unlocking fresh IMF funds lies in convincing the lender that Pakistan is now ready to undertake real reforms.
Caught unawares
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Caught unawares

The government must prioritise the upgrading of infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.
Going off track
16 Apr, 2024

Going off track

LIKE many other state-owned enterprises in the country, Pakistan Railways is unable to deliver, while haemorrhaging...