8 March 2024, New York, USA – The Women in Cyber Fellowship, a groundbreaking initiative launched in early 2020, held its sixth fellowship convening in New York City. Focused on strengthening capacity building and technical skills for the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG), the programme prepared new women delegates for the group's seventh substantive session from 4-8 March 2024. This initiative reflects UNITAR's commitment to fostering gender diversity in cybersecurity and international law and is in line with its 60-year legacy of providing targeted training at the UN.

Programme Highlights and Keynote Addresses

The two-day programme, commencing on 29 February, featured an array of sessions led by cybersecurity, diplomacy, and international law experts. The opening remarks were delivered by prominent figures including Mr. Marco Suazo, Head of UNITAR New York Office, Ms Briony Daley Whitworth, Director Cyber and Technology Multilateral Engagement at the Australian DFAT, and Ms Olga Kurilina, Programme Coordinator at UNITAR New York Office.

Engaging and Informative Sessions

The programme included sessions on "Gender in Cyber", led by Ms Allison Pytlak, Cyber Programme Lead at the Stimson Center, and Ms Yasmine Idrissi Azzouzi, Cybersecurity Programme Officer at the International Telecommunication Union. Their discussions delved into the digital gender divide in cybersecurity, exploring its causes, implications, and potential solutions.

Prof. Zhanna Malekos Smith from the Center for Strategic and International Studies conducted the "Cybersecurity Diplomacy" session. Here, participants explored the role of diplomacy in global cyber threats and the complexities of international cyber norms and cooperation mechanisms.

Other significant sessions included "Points of Contact" facilitated by Ms Katherine Prizeman, Political Affairs Officer at UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, and the "Global Digital Compact" panel discussion with experts like Mr Adeboye Adegoke, Strategy Lead at Paradigm Initiative, and Ms Fiona Alexander, Policy Strategist in Residence at the School of International Service.

A Platform for Networking and Collaboration

The fellowship programme also provided ample opportunities for networking, including a luncheon and receptions hosted by the US Mission and Australian Mission. These events allowed the fellows to engage with experts and peers, fostering connections and collaborative opportunities.

Closing the Programme with Insightful Perspectives

The programme concluded on 1 March with sessions on "International Humanitarian Law" and "Artificial Intelligence", bringing in-depth insights into these critical areas. The closing remarks marked the end of an enriching and empowering experience for the participants, setting the stage for their active contributions to the upcoming OEWG session.

Impacting the Future of Cybersecurity and Diplomacy

The Women in Cyber Fellowship Spring 2024 exemplified UNITAR's commitment to empowering women in the field of cybersecurity. By providing them with essential skills and knowledge, the programme not only promotes diversity in the cybersecurity sector but also contributes to the development of more inclusive and effective global cybersecurity policies. For more information about the Women in Cyber Fellowship and other UNITAR initiatives, please contact the UNITAR New York Office at nyo@unitar.org.

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