An American, first woman to head the UN telecoms agency
The American Doreen Bogdan-Martin became the first woman elected to head the UN telecoms agency on Thursday, winning the ballot hands down against her Russian opponent.
With 139 votes in her favour, against 25 for the Russian, she will take over next year from the Chinese Houlin Zhao at the head of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), according to the result of the election which s took place in Bucharest.
Founded in Paris in 1865 as the International Telegraphic Union, the organization – which has been part of the United Nations since 1949 – has had its current name since 1932.
“Today we made history. After 157 years, we have broken the glass ceiling,” Ms Bogdan-Martin told the representatives of the Member States.
The UIT establishes the world standards as well for the mobile telephones as television or Internet.
The election was held by secret ballot. Until then director of telecommunications development at the ITU, the candidate from Washington was the favourite.
During the campaign, she highlighted her desire to achieve universal connectivity. His rival, the former Russian Deputy Minister of Telecommunications, Rashid Ismailov, had expressed to him his wish to humanize technological development, rather than focusing solely on its expansion.
After her election, the American gave a speech of unity.
“We seek unity,” she said of the ITU.
“Our success depends on the union of our efforts. The IUT is a union, a union of its members (…). And together we are united, we are united in our hope and in our belief that we can work collectively to make a better connected world.
In his letter of appointment, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that this election « is an absolute priority for the United States ».
This competition between the United States and Russia was not directly linked to the war in Ukraine. But the invasion, which brings the opprobrium of the West to Russia, was on everyone’s mind.