Read about Balques Al Radwan

Balques Al Radwan
Programme Management Officer
Cybersecurity & New Technologies Unit, United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism


What brought you to a career in technology at the United Nations?

Having worked in Cybersecurity in the financial private sector for 10 years, I realized that there are limitations in terms of the impact I can have in technological fields globally. I was a consumer of technology rather than a contributor to its advancement. I choose a career in technology in the UN to use my skills and knowledge to make a positive impact on society. The United Nations' mission to promote peace, development and human rights aligns with my own values and goals.


What has been your favorite IT project at the United Nations and what was your technical contribution?

In 2020, UNOCT Cybersecurity & New Technologies programme partnered with UNICRI to implement a joint research initiative aimed at building knowledge on counter-terrorism in the age of Artificial Intelligence. I was assigned as the project lead from the UNOCT side and together with our UNICRI partners, we produced two research papers titled "Algorithms and Terrorism: The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence for Terrorist Purposes" and "Countering Terrorism Online with Artificial Intelligence: An Overview for Law Enforcement and Counter-Terrorism Agencies in South Asia and South-East Asia.”

Besides leading the project from a project management perspective, my technical contribution consisted of organizing several expert group meetings with subject matter experts from academia, the technical private sector, civil society organizations and Member States, ensuring that the expert's technical inputs are incorporated in the reports and providing my own expertise on cybersecurity and technology to further enrich the reports.


What advice would you give women interested in pursuing a field in technology?

Technology today is an expansive field and includes the very technical fields as well as the more broad policy oriented ones. It’s helpful to find women mentors in fields you are interested in pursuing, who can provide guidance, support and advice. Building a network of professionals in the path you choose to pursue is extremely important. And finally, technology is a continuous learning field so investment in your knowledge and development is also very important to advance in your career.