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SLUSH 2018: Panel Discussion - The Role of Technology Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals
SLUSH 2018: Panel Discussion - The Role of Technology Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals


The world is in the midst of an innovation renaissance. Significant inventions in artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, big data, biotech, drones, space exploration, 3D printing, FinTech, digital medicine, genetic engineering, and other areas are dramatically changing our every-day lives. The power of technology, once exclusively limited to big governments and industry, is now being democratized into the hands of ordinary citizens everywhere.

The first European United Nations Technology Innovation Lab (UNTIL) established in Finland focuses on engaging technology innovation in the thematic areas of circular economy, education, peace and security, and health. The UNTIL labs network with labs in Asia, Africa and other parts of the world is establishing a platform for problem-solving. United Nations, academia, civil society, start-ups as well as large companies are equally engaged in making UNTIL a valuable tool in the hands of countries embracing their journey to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through technology innovation.


This panel discussion on technology innovation will provide leading innovators, thought-leaders, and technology companies an opportunity to engage on how to increase the understanding and awareness of the opportunities and challenges of new technology and exponential change. The event will additionally rally leading innovators and technology companies to develop, incubate and resource cutting-edge innovations to solve pressing challenges in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. Lastly the discussion will explore how to support collaborative platform(s) to facilitate the sharing of the best ideas and innovations to inform policy and inspire collective action for scale and global impact.


Proposed format

The panel will be composed of: a) three key note speakers, b) one moderator and c) five panellists. 
The proposed format is as follows:
•    Moderator - Introduction and a brief opening (5 min)
•    Key note speakers - Opening remarks (max 7 min each)
•    Moderator – Introduce panellists and ask questions to each 
•    Panellists – Provide contributions in response to the moderator´s questions (45 min)
•    Open to the floor – Interventions from the floor (10 min)
•    Moderator – Closing remarks

Composition of panel

Key note speakers:

  • Ms. Anne-Mari Virolainen  -  Minister for International Trade, Government of Finland
  • Ms. Atefeh Riazi - Assistant Secretary-General for ICT, United Nations
  • Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild - Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination, United Nations


  • Tuula Antola - Director of Economic and Business Development, City of Espoo


  • Mr. Rajive Gulati - Assistant General Manager, Haryana State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd.
  • Mr. Afiq Johar -  Chief Fintech Officer, AIFC Fintech Hub
  • Ms. Ilona Lundström - Director General, Department of Innovations and Enterprise Funding, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland
  • Mr. Hossam Osman - Innovation and learning adviser to the minister, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Egypt
  • Mr. Parham A. Vasaiely - Chief, Automated Engineering, Jaguar Landrover


This panel discussion is open for public, including all Slush attendees.

Event Date

Secretary General

"The advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including those brought on by a combination of computing power, robotics, big data and artificial intelligence, are generating revolutions in health care, transport and manufacturing.  
I am convinced that these new capacities can help us to lift millions of people out of poverty, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and enable developing countries to leap‑frog into a better future."

23 March 2018, New York