Samoan woman lands prestigious international job in Geneva

Gisa on the left with colleagues during an ITU meeting

APIA: Friday 3 August 2012: Mrs. Gisa Fuatai Purcell has been appointed to head a Unit in the Development Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union or ITU.

Gisa’s official title in her new post is “Head of the least developed countries (LDCs), Small Island developing states (SIDS), Emergency Telecommunications and Climate Change Adaptation”.  She will be based at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Gisa’s new appointment was officially announced at the ITU Broadband Conference which was held in Denarau, Fiji 26-28 July 2012 by the Director of the ITU Development Bureau, Mr. Brahima Sanou. In the announcement Mr. Sanou stated that Gisa’s new post was advertised internationally and she was among those shortlisted.

Interviews were conducted and Gisa topped the interviews.

Gisa is the first Woman and Pacific Islander, to have been appointed to the level of “Head of a Unit” in the Development Bureau of the ITU. In her new role, she will be responsible for telecommunication development programmes for ITU member countries in LDCs and SIDS, study groups on and emerging technologies and telecommunication issues, and developing the most suitable method to deliver assistance to ITU members during disasters and climate change impacts.

Gisa is currently managing the project titled “Capacity building and ICT policies, regulatory and legislative frameworks for Pacific Island countries” which is jointly funded by ITU and the European Commission (EC). This project is or as it is well known within the telecommunication sectors of the Pacific as (ICB4PAC). The recipient countries for this project are African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) or the fourteen Pacific Forum countries plus Timor Leste.

Through her current project Gisa was able to offer assistance through the Office of the Attorney General in the development of Samoa’s Cyber Crime chapter which is now included in the Crimes Bill legislation, currently before Parliament. If passed, it will see Samoa become the first country in the Pacific region to have a modern Cyber Crime legislation. Other assistance for Samoa from the current project includes reviewing Samoa’s National ICT

Policy and capacity building on Universal Access and Services. During his official announcement of Gisa’s new appointment, Mr. Sanou also stated that while Gisa will leave her current post to take up her new position, the current project for the Pacific Islands will continue, and he will do everything to keep it going.

The ITU was established in 1865 to address the issue of interconnection. It is the oldest specialized agency of the United Nations dealing with telecommunication development.

Before she moved to Fiji, Gisa was spearheading ICT Committee policy, through the development of the Blueprint for the liberalization of the ICT Market in Samoa.  In her acknowledgement she said, “I acknowledge the support of the Samoan Government to my candidature for the new post in Geneva.  Without that backing, access to these high positions in International Institutions is not easy.”

Gisa is married to Satupaitea Member of Parliament Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell and have four children and five grandchildren. She commences her new post on September 1 2012.