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UNU Macau and UN Women co-hosted regional workshop to enhance capacities on digital security for women CSOs and women human rights defenders

The four-day event in Bangkok, Thailand, helped validate e-learning modules on cyber resilience and Artificial Intelligence in Southeast Asia.

United Nations Institute in Macau (UNU Macau) and UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific jointly co-organised last week the “Regional Workshop to Enhance Capacities and Pilot E-learning Modules on Digital Security for Women’s Civil Society Organizations (WCSOs) and Women Human Rights Defenders in Southeast Asia”. The initiative, which took place in Bangkok, Thailand, on September 26-29, focused on cyber-resilience and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the context of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. 

The regional workshop emerged from an ongoing partnership between UNU Macau and UN Women to conduct research on AI in the context of WPS, as well as on Cyber-resilience for WCSOs and women human rights defenders. Key findings from these two research projects informed e-learning modules and the in-person training session that was held in Thailand and attended by more than 20 representatives of digital rights and WCSOs from seven countries. 

“This regional workshop was a chance to discuss, validate, co-create, and extend on our ongoing work on cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence in Southeast Asia”, said UNU Macau’s Senior Researcher Dr. Jaimee Stuart, who was the UNU lead of the workshop. 

“Working together with experts from UN Women’s network of digital rights experts and WCSOs, we piloted training materials, contextualized research findings, and shared stories of risk and resilience over the course of four very busy days”, she added. 

 

This workshop was invaluable to highlight critical issues of safety and security, support help seeking, encourage digital peace-building and to examine emerging opportunities and threats in the online environment.
Dr. Jaimee Stuart

Participants, Dr. Jaimee Stuart added, “worked together to ensure that the training materials being developed will have the most positive impact possible and be relevant to those who need them the most”.  

“The workshop was a resounding success, with active and engaged participants who shared their experience and expertise freely, validated the research findings, and critically challenged assumptions. These types of events can help us to create better solutions for the complex, systematic issues resulting from gender inequalities and gendered harms online, and support safety and security for women, girls, and marginalised peoples in digital contexts”, Dr. Jaimee Stuart concluded. 

In the research projects, UNU Macau has been working in partnership with experts Dr. Eleonore Fournier-Tombs, Head of Anticipatory Action and Innovation at United Nations University Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR), and Dr. Mamello Thinyane, Optus Chair of Cybersecurity and Data Science, at the University of South Australia’s UniSA STEM, who also took part in the regional workshop. 

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