Read about Avishan Bodjnoud
Chief, Information Management Unit, Office of the Director for Coordination and Shared Services, Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs-Department of Peacekeeping Operations
What brought you to a career in technology at the United Nations?
Growing up in Tehran during the Iran-Iraq war gave me a front-row seat to witness the positive impact of UN Security Council resolution S/RES/598 (1987), which called for an immediate ceasefire and thus injected hope into the lives of so many of my loved ones. The words of that resolution became engraved in my heart, and I decided then to dedicate myself to supporting the Mecca of peace — the United Nations. In the aftermath of the war, I yearned to discover more about the outside world. In high school, I learned about the dial-up modem; it was my gateway to global exploration. With the help of the Internet and technology, I gained unparalleled access to a mesmerizing virtual universe where I could share ideas and information with new friends from all over the world. By freeing me from the constraints of physical borders and political divides, technology revealed itself to me as a powerful tool in shaping the future of our civilization. I knew that it would play an integral role in my career. After studying software engineering and obtaining a master’s degree in Information Technology Management from Tehran Amirkabir (polytechnic) University, I decided to follow my childhood dream by embarking on an internship at UNHQ. Afterward, I successfully passed the Young Junior Professional exam in IT, and I joined the UN.
What has been your favorite IT project at the United Nations and what was your technical contribution?
There are so many, including developing UNDSS core database, Policy and Best Practices database, Peacekeeping Mission Factsheets, integrating all peacekeeping missions to iSeek (which won the UN SG's Award), CPAS, Enhancing Situational Awareness in peacekeeping and, of course, working on the UN Secretary-General's Data Strategy.
What advice would you give women interested in pursuing a field in technology?
Be passionate, inquisitive, and persistent. Don’t be afraid to question and challenge the status quo. Never stop creating, learning and engaging with the world around you. And, above all, believe in your dreams. Remember - geek is the new chic!