Read about Clarissa Jazmin Rios Rojas

Clarissa Jazmin Rios Rojas
Political Affairs Officer
United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs


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

Embarking on a career at the United Nations in the realm of technology is a journey fueled by a profound passion for fostering global security and a commitment to advancing the frontiers of science for the betterment of humanity and the planet. As a scientist with a Molecular Biology and Neuroscience foundation, I still felt the need to use my scientific background outside the laboratories. That quest led me to transition to science diplomacy and government science advice. Before joining the UN, I worked on Global Catastrophic and Existential Risks policy. This dual expertise paved the way for a pivotal role at the Biological Weapon Convention support unit, where our mission is to provide invaluable assistance and counsel to state parties committed to the convention. Our collective aim is securing a world free from the looming threat of weapons of mass destruction. In the dynamic landscape of my work, I need to analyze and keep up-to-date on the convergence of biotechnology with cutting-edge disciplines such as Artificial Intelligence and Quantum technology. Every day, I am inspired by the potential of science to transcend boundaries, mitigate risks, and contribute to a safer, more peaceful world. It is an honour to be part of an organization that aspires to harness the power of technology for the collective good, steering us towards a future defined by progress, collaboration, and a resolute commitment to building a world free from the shadows of bioweapons.


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

Having recently joined the UN, my journey has already immersed me in impactful projects, delving into the ethical dimensions of Artificial Intelligence and its policy implications, particularly in the context of the Biological Weapons Convention. Despite not being a software developer, my role demands a deep understanding of IT-related topics, from the intricacies of computer systems to the nuances of programming languages. One of the topics I am working on this week is describing the risks posed by natural language models, whereas last week, I was co-designing a foresight exercise to explore the future of science and technological developments in the realm of disarmament, peace and security. In this brief period, I've come to appreciate the dynamic intersection of my background in Molecular Biology and Neuroscience with the ever-evolving landscape of technology. Every day brings a new opportunity to contribute to a safer, more interconnected world. I am excited to be part of an organisation that champions innovation and envisions a future where technology becomes a force for positive change.


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

As a woman from the global south, born into a family with tight finances, I'd suggest this: Immerse yourself in online resources and free courses to build your expertise in technology, biology, and diplomacy (EDx, S4D4C, blogs and videos made by other female scientists). Connect with local mentors (or go online on LinkedIn and connect with international ones) who've navigated similar paths. Apply for scholarships and grants, and be persistent, do not give up. Your unique perspective is your superpower, let it shine. With resilience, vision and the support of your community, turn financial challenges into stepping stones toward a future where nothing holds you back.