Guest Lecture - How can countries better prepare for disasters in the telecommunications sector, and how does the United Nations (UN) support their resilience journeys?

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Disasters know no borders. Under different climate scenarios, the frequency and severity of disasters is expected to rise in the times to come for near-certain. How can countries better prepare for disasters in the telecommunications sector, and how does the United Nations (UN) support their resilience journeys? Ria’s session will cover real-life examples of transboundary disaster hazards, and how some of the UN programmes she has experience working in, have helped build country resilience in the telecommunications sector. The session will include some reflections from her decade-long UN career across different duty stations and offices across the world.

Ria Sen, who agreed to have a talk with us at the Europa-Universität Flensburg, is a London School of Economics MSc. alumna, with a published final thesis in the ICT for development sector. She serves as Lead Preparedness Officer, Emergency Telecoms Cluster, within the United Nations World Food Programme’s Technology Division (WFP) based in Rome, Italy. Her functions cover enhancing readiness and capacity of national governments to prepare for disasters, with reference to the technology sector (emergency communications specifically). Prior to WFP, Ria has worked on innovation, technology, and DRR portfolios with the United Nations Development Programme, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and the European Commission, serving in countries from Belgium to Fiji. In the academic arena, Ria has delivered guest lectures on artificial intelligence and technological applications for disaster and climate risk management in the UK, USA, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Thailand and India. She is a Global Panellist for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Tech Review publication, and Global Advisor at the Harvard Business Review. She regularly publishes academic writing, in outlets such as LSE Business Review and the UNDRR PreventionWeb knowledge hub. Ria is conversant in five languages, and is learning a sixth. She is happy to connect via LinkedIn.

For preparation and getting more information about the topic, you can take a look at the following texts regarding technological applications for sustainable development, and how the international governance regimes are adapting to projections of changing climate scenarios. Ria Sen will present the topic and the open the floor for discussion, time at which you can discuss the topic with her and also ask questions, both about the topic at hand and her career. The moderation of the talk will be done by Prof. Dr. Anne Reichold.

Date: 20.06.2022

Time: 16:15 – 17:45


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BA European Cultures and Society

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