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Putting the Digital Divide on the Agenda

The 2020 UN Summer Academy took place from 24 to 28 August and discussed conceptual approaches to sustainable development and the role of multilateralism with regard to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Using this platform, GDL member Elsa D'Silva, together with other professionals from the public sector, called for action to bridge the digital divide. They appealed to world leaders to establish access to digital technologies as a human right. You can watch for yourself in the video below ( to see Elsa and her colleagues tune in at minute 4:35).

This topic is of particular relevance to Elsa because in her home country of India many young students – especially girls – do not have access to the internet or lack the education needed to make use of it. Thus they often find themselves left behind in a world more and more connected digitally.


Compilation of the UN Summer Academy from the United Nations System Staff College

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Elsa Marie D’Silva

Elsa Marie D’Silva is the founder and CEO of Red Dot Foundation (Safecity), a platform that crowdsources personal experiences of sexual violence and abuse in public spaces. Since Safecity started in December 2012, it has become the largest crowd map on the issue in India, Kenya, Cameroon and Nepal.

Elsa Marie is an alumna of the US State Department’s Fortune Program, a fellow with Rotary Peace, Aspen New Voices and Vital Voices, and a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader. She is listed as one of BBC Hindi’s 100 Women. Moreover, she has won the Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award launched by Dušan Stojanović (European Angel Investor of the Year 2013) and the SheThePeople’s Digital Woman Award in Social Impact.

Prior to Safecity, she spent 20 years in the aviation industry, where she worked with Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. In her last role in aviation, she was Vice President Network Planning.

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Read more about Elsa's work at Safecity and see for yourself in this documentary. She also has a very clear vision for the Global Diplomacy Lab.

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