Read about Nina Machado Figueira

Information & Communications Technologies Servicer
Joint Operations Center, United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara


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

I was a curious and hyperactive who was born on the same day the MINURSO was created...April 29th! I loved to study about other civilizations, learning languages and always dedicating myself in my courses, looking for opportunities to act in a diverse and multicultural environment. I used to read maps like I read comic books, and my parents used to say that I had a solution “on the tip of my tongue” for all global problems. When I learned about the UN and the peacekeepers in one of my geography classes I immediately identified with its philosophy and, since then, I have been looking for ways to contribute to the institution. Through military engineering I became a researcher in the geospatial area, focused on real-time mapping and on the use of drones for C4ISR, improving Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance activities, using hardware and software architectures for multi-sensor data fusion. When I was assigned to MINURSO I immediately sought to identify opportunities to contribute to the mission, not only as a military observer, but also as an engineer. Now, working as Information & Communication Technologies Service (ICTS) officer I can contribute to a different level. I hope, in a short future, has some opportunity to work in my main area, Geographical Information Systems, providing suitable spatial data to improve the Situational Awareness and the Decision Making in order to keep the global peace and security.


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

The United Nations C4ISR Academy for Peace Operations (UNCAP) Project, preparing hundred professionals for other projects such as: "Using Drones and Early Warning Systems for Pre- and Post Floods Disaster Management in the Gambia".


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

Give your best every day...take a complete "spin on the horizon" and be inspired by the many other brilliant women who have gone before us. Seek opportunities that contribute to your main interest and understand that there is no short path to success...determination and dedication are attributes that we must practice, day after day, in other yo reach our goals.