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American leadership on this United Nations body will connect the world

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Global communications technology is advancing at an increasingly rapid pace, creating a more connected world, and new opportunities for economic growth. The United States plans to continue leading the world by fostering technological advances at home and participating in the international bodies involved in the communications governance issues of the past, present, and future.

This month, the United States has an opportunity to influence global communications priorities at a quadrennial treaty-making conference convened by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations agency formed in 1865 to align telegraph regulations. Today’s ITU, representing 193 countries, allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, manages international standards for telecommunications networks and technology, and works to improve access to these technologies in the areas of the world that do not have it.

{mosads}The ITU will vote on new leadership during its three weeks of meetings that start Oct. 29. The United States has put forward Doreen Bogdan-Martin as a candidate to lead the ITU Bureau of Telecommunication Development (BDT), which works to empower developing countries with tools to expand connectivity. We’re doing this for a simple reason: our candidate has the experience and vision to make significant progress in closing the global digital divide. Her successful election would give the United States a voice in ITU leadership for the first time in three decades.

If elected, Bogdan-Martin would be the first woman to hold one of the ITU’s five elected positions. She has a bold plan for transforming the Bureau, which plays a fundamental role in the worldwide expansion of telecommunications services.

While the developed world is working to make 5G and next-generation satellite broadband a reality, many developing countries still lack the broadband access that is necessary for meaningful participation in the today’s global economy. Solving this connectivity challenge will require strong, experienced leadership, bringing together all stakeholders to promote private investment and innovative solutions to expand telecommunications and connect the unconnected.

With more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications sector, including 14 years at the BDT, Bogdan-Martin has worked to increase the ability of people all around the world to connect to the internet and access valuable telemedicine, educational and business opportunities. She has the qualifications, commitment and drive to lead the BDT into the future and advance worldwide broadband accessibility.

As Director of the BDT, Bogdan-Martin plans to increase global connectivity, strengthen partnerships, improve resource mobilization, and encourage digital inclusion and skill development.  Drawing upon her proven track record as a strategic leader with the ability to build teams and programs around a common vision, she will deliver high quality, relevant and practical solutions for all ITU members.

Beyond Bogdan-Martin’s eminent qualifications to lead the BDT, the United States Department of Commerce has set ambitious goals for the expansion of radio frequency spectrum use and commercial activity in space. We look to ITU support to achieve success on these priorities. American leadership at the ITU will help ensure that the agency pursues pragmatic approaches supporting the global expansion of communications technologies.

We at the United States Department of Commerce and in the administration of President Trump believe Doreen Bogdan-Martin is the right person to lead at the ITU.

David J. Redl is assistant secretary for communications and information at the United States Department of Commerce and chief of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

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