U.N.’s ITU Secretary-General Receives IEEE President’s Award

She was recognized for her work in bridging the digital divide

2 min read

Joanna Goodrich is the associate editor of The Institute

man in a suit and woman in a red blazer and glasses standing next to each other and smiling while holding a small box with a medal inside

IEEE President and CEO Saifur Rahman presents IEEE Member Doreen Bogdan-Martin with this year’s IEEE President’s Award.


Doreen Bogdan-Martin, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, was named the recipient of this year’s IEEE President’s Award. She is being recognized for “distinguished leadership and contributions to the public.”

The IEEE member has championed global connectivity and digital inclusion for more than 30 years. Bogdan-Martin is the first woman to head the ITU, a U.N. agency headquartered in Geneva that helps set policy related to information and communication technology (ICT).

“It is my honor to recognize you as a transformational leader and an IEEE member for the commitment you made to bridge the digital divide globally,” Saifur Rahman, IEEE president and CEO, said in a news release about the award. IEEE sponsors the annual award.

Leading efforts to bridge the digital divide

Bogdan-Martin began her career in 1989 as a telecom policy specialist in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, in Washington, D.C. The agency advises the White House on telecommunications and information policy issues.

She left there after five years to join the newly created ITU telecommunication development sector as a policy analyst. The sector creates policies, regulations, training programs, and financial strategies for developing countries. She was promoted in 2005 to head the agency’s regulatory and market environment division, managing programs on regulatory reform, economics, and finance. She also advised governments on ICT reform and policy issues.

Three years later, Bogdan-Martin was appointed chief of the ITU’s Strategic Planning and Membership department, the most senior position in the general secretariat. She advised the secretary-general at the time, Hamadoun Touré. In addition she oversaw the organization’s membership, corporate communications, and external affairs departments.

In 2010 Bogdan-Martin helped establish the U.N. Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, where she served as executive director, advocating for universal, affordable broadband. She helped create the ITU’s youth strategy, which aims to engage youngsters in the U.N.’s sustainable development agenda through programs and events. Its goals are to end poverty, protect the planet, and improve the prospects of communities around the world.

Bogdan-Martin organized the Equals Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age and initiated a collaboration with UNICEF on the Giga initiative to connect schools to the Internet.

As an International Gender Champion, she works to break down barriers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. She is a member of the World Economic Forum 2030 vision leaders group and an affiliate of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, which studies cyberspace dynamics, norms, and standards. She is also an amateur radio operator, whose call sign is KD2JTX.

“I’m deeply humbled by this recognition,” Bogdan-Martin said in the news release about receiving the IEEE award. “I look forward to closely collaborating, cooperating, and strengthening the partnership between our institutions.”

She received the award on 5 May at the 2023 IEEE Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit and Honors Ceremony, held at the Hilton Atlanta.
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