Former Indian diplomat Amandeep Singh Gill was named by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as his envoy on technology on June 10 to oversee programmes for international digital collaboration. The nomination was announced by Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, who described Gill as a “thought leader on digital technology”.
Additionally, Pakistani diplomat Navid Hanif was designated assistant secretary-general for economic development, while Bangladesh’s permanent representative to the UN, Rabab Fatima, was named high representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).
Gill has a BTech in Electronics and Electrical Communications from Panjab University, Chandigarh and an Advanced Diploma in French History and Language, from Geneva University. He also did his PhD in Nuclear Learning in Multilateral Forums from King’s College London.
In 1992, he joined his country’s diplomatic service, where he worked on disarmament, strategic technologies, and international security issues. As a member of the Indian Foreign Service, he worked at the Indian Missions in Tehran, Colombo, and Geneva, as well as at headquarters on bilateral and multilateral issues involving political affairs, security, nonproliferation, technology, development, and human rights.
He was the Head of the Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division, Ministry of External Affairs between 2013 and 2016. From 2017 to 2018, he served as India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
Gill helped establish the National Task Force on Artificial Intelligence for India’s Economic Transformation in 2017 and chaired the Group of Governmental Experts of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) on emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapon systems in August 2018, which agreed on a set of Guiding Principles for these technologies.
As Executive Director of the UN Secretary-High-Level General’s Panel on Digital Cooperation’s Secretariat, he assisted the Chairs, Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, in delivering a ground-breaking report in June 2019.
However, as of now, Gill has been heading the International Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence Research Collaborative (I-DAIR) project, based at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.