Read about Katja Schaefer

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Katja Schaefer
Inter-Regional Advisor
United Nations Human Settlements Programme


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

I have always been interested in changing the status quo based on a strong understanding of ethics and value systems. These, I have found in the policies of the UN. I have had almost 20 years of experience and having arrived at senior leadership level, I am able to inspire the younger generations for a rejuvenated and value-based support to empower those who have been left behind most, particularly during the recently observed crises.... There is still a long way to go, and the UN is to embrace a more agile way of working in order to add the value the world is seeking from this institution.


What has been your favorite technology project or initiative at the United Nations and why? What was your contribution?

UN-Habitat Flagship Programme 2 on People-Centred Smart Cities; and United Nations Innovation Technology Accelerator for Cities (UNITAC) Hamburg, Germany.


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

To date, the tech domain in general, and particularly at the leadership level at the UN, has been male-dominated. Leading programmes for tech utilisation for evidence-enhanced decision-making towards SDG localisation and sustainable urbanisation while placing people at the centre requires an ambitious push! Tech should be a means and not an end!