2018 Forum programme

Mr. Salem Avan
Mr. Salem Avan

Director, Policy, Governance, and Strategy Division
United Nations Office of Information and Communication Technology


Salem Avan is the Director of Policy Strategy & Governance Division for ICT at United Nations Headquarters, with oversight of strategy and leadership of cybersecurity, data analytics, and frontier technology innovations.

He is also Director of Strategy of the emerging network of United Nations Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL). The first UNTIL Lab was established in Finland in 2018. These Labs have been created as separate from ICT to further advance the UN’s work at the intersection of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, and collective intelligence to help accelerate the 2030 Agenda. In creating the UNTIL network his goal has been to bring together the UN with entrepreneurs, social and data scientists, Member States, and the private sectorto articulate, design, and develop solutions to the world’s most wicked social challenges.

Prior to this position, Salem was responsible for information technology at the UN, including creating peace-tech innovations for Peacekeeping Operations, the largest department of the United Nations. He joined UN Peacekeeping in 1994 during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Since then has served in frontline leadership positions in over a dozen Peacekeeping Missions. His career also includes leading significant technology projects with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and for the Special Court for Sierra Leone. A national of the UK, he has an advanced degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Glasgow.