Read about Roaa Al Feel
Roaa Al Feel
UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
What brought you to a career in technology at the United Nations?
My career in technology at the United Nations combines two of my passions: technology and contributing to social good. As a teenager, I was always passionate about technology, computers, mathematics, and artificial intelligence. Additionally, I always kept an eye on and was concerned by the social and economic issues taking place in the region and had always wondered how I could help. Years later, I did my master's in computer science thesis on leveraging machine learning technologies to detect fake news in the Syrian war, which kickstarted my career in big data for social good. From this project onward, I decided on the career path of researching the many ways I can use big data and artificial intelligence to understand and improve the living conditions in society.
What has been your favorite IT project at the United Nations and what was your technical contribution?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, my team and I created big data for a public policy platform that uses social media data streamed in close to real-time to assist policymakers in Jordan and Lebanon. The platform allows us to understand the needs and concerns of their populations with regard to health, the economy, education, and other factors. As the product manager, I contributed to decision making such as deciding which data sources to integrate, which tools and programming languages to use, as well as dashboard design decisions.
What advice would you give women interested in pursuing a field in technology?
The best advice I can give women interested in pursuing a career in technology is to follow your passion, fight for what you believe in, and challenge societal norms as you face them. Despite the stereotypes suggesting this field to be more male-dominant, it presents many amazing professional opportunities with a lot of versatility especially for women, so do not allow anyone to tell you that you can't do it! I also advise them to surround themselves with positive and inspirational people who believe in them and encourage them to pursue their dreams because these types of people had a great contribution to my motivation and believing in my success.