Speaker Bios

Nevena Alexandrova

Agricultural Extension Officer, Policies and capacities for Innovation Unit leader, Office of Innovation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Dr. Nevena Alexandrova-Stefanova is a highly qualified FAO technical officer with a strong background in agricultural biotechnologies, biosafety, knowledge-sharing and risk-benefit analysis of frontier technologies. She holds a PhD in marker-assisted plant biotechnologies and has over 12 years of experience in research, project management, and science communication.

For 10 years, Dr. Alexandrova-Stefanova worked at FAO’s Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, focusing on policy advice and knowledge sharing for sustainable and inclusive agrifood system transformation with a focus on digitalization and innovation systems.  Since 2018, she has been with FAO Headquarters, supporting countries in transforming their national agrifood systems pathways through innovation, and promoting access to knowledge and services for smallholder farmers and supporting national agricultural innovation systems, including research and advisory services.

Dr. Alexandrova-Stefanova is a leading expert on foresight methodologies and their application in the agrifood systems, in particular in emerging agrifood technologies and innovations and innovation ecosystems. She serves as the FAO alternate focal point of the UN Future Labs community of practice and is leading global foresight studies on emerging technologies and innovations for agri-food systems.

In her current role, Dr. Alexandrova-Stefanova assists countries in developing evidence-based and future-oriented policies in and building capacities for agricultural innovation.

Thomas Basikolo

Program Officer, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Thomas BASIKOLO is Programme Officer in the Telecommunication Standardization Policy Department of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB). He coordinates and manages the ITU AI/ML in 5G Challenge and was an advisor to the ITU-T Focus group on Autonomous Networks. Prior to joining ITU, he worked as a Research Engineer in the Engineering Department of Microwave Factory Co., Ltd, Tokyo, Japan.

He received a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Yokohama National University, Japan. He is recipient of multiple Best Paper Awards, the IEEE AP–S Japan Student Award and the Young Engineer of the year award by IEEE AP–S Japan in 2018.

He has co-authored peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, predominantly in the areas wireless communications and antenna engineering. He serves as a Reviewer of IEEE and IEICE Journals. His interests includes, machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence and network science, and their applications in wireless networks as well as how technology can be used to advance the UN SDGs.

Anish Sethi

Chief, Digital Solutions Centre, United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC)

Mr. Anish Sethi was appointed Chief of Digital Solutions Centre in October 2022. Mr. Sethi was previously appointed Chief, Clients and Projects Division in October 2020 and was already serving as Chief, Clients and Projects Division since October 2018. In this role, he was responsible for professional services at UNICC, including oversight of new services and products as well as development of strategic partnerships with technology and international development organizations. He led the Business Relationship Management function, which manages, strengthens and grows UNICC’s Client base. He also headed the Project Delivery unit responsible for managing and delivering all Client and UNICC projects, including all consulting engagements. Mr. Sethi is the administrative head of the UNICC New York office.

Mr. Sethi joined UNICC in 2005 and has been involved in several Client professional consulting engagements, including strategizing and managing cross-cultural teams to deliver large mission-critical client services and project office initiatives.

Mr. Sethi has over twenty-eight years of experience in the various aspects of information and communication technology businesses and has an educational background in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

Over the years, he has engaged in strategy and execution of professional services in the areas of Program and Portfolio Management, business and process management, enterprise architectures, portals, knowledge and search solutions, business intelligence solutions, team collaboration and messaging and enterprise planning.

Seizo Onoe

Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU

Seizo Onoe took office as Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on 1 January 2023. Known in the industry as “the father of LTE” (Long-Term Evolution mobile broadband), he now aims for global outreach to bridge standardization gaps, deliver the benefits of technology widely and speedily, and ensure meaningful and affordable broadband access for everyone. Before his election as TSB Director by ITU Member States, he completed an over 30-year career with Japanese mobile operator NTT DOCOMO. In 2021, he became Executive Vice President and Chief Standardization Strategy Officer for NTT Corporation and a Fellow of NTT DOCOMO. From 2017, he served as NTT DOCOMO’s Chief Technology Architect and President of its subsidiary DOCOMO Technology. From 2012 to 2017, he served as NTT DOCOMO’s Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President, a Member of the Board of Directors, and Managing Director of R&D Innovation Division. Earlier, he served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of NTT DOCOMO’s R&D Strategy Department and Managing Director of the company’s Radio Network Development Department. Mr Onoe holds a Master’s degree in electronics from the Kyoto University Graduate School of Engineering.

Franca Vinci

Head of Learning Services, UNICC

Franca Vinci is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in learning services tailored for the unique environment of the United Nations. Having joined the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC) in 2002, Franca has been instrumental in shaping the organization’s IT learning strategy and implementing dedicated learning programs, particularly focused on supporting peacekeeping missions.

In her current role as the Head of Learning Services Unit at UNICC, Franca oversees the development and delivery of comprehensive learning solutions, including the expansion of learning services to all UNICC customers and the introduction of new services such as eLearning content development and Moodle-based Learning Management Systems.

Franca’s commitment to excellence extends beyond learning services, as evidenced by her involvement in change management initiatives, ensuring that learning strategies seamlessly align with broader organizational objectives, and by her proactive, self-directed leadership style complemented by a keen eye for detail.