NEW YORK, 12 April (Office of Information and Communications Technology) — The United Nations announced today that Abdulqadir Rashik has won the Unite Ideas #UNGAViz Textual Analysis and Visualization Challenge. A software engineer and entrepreneur, Mr. Rashik was awarded the top prize for his submission “Global Policy”, an open-source tool that enables users to search and interactively view General Assembly resolutions to gain a deeper understanding of the voting patterns and decisions made by United Nations Member States.
The project was the first collaboration between the United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology (OICT) and a Member State agency, the United States Department of State. As that country’s lead foreign affairs entity, the Department of State represents its diplomatic interests around the world and seeks to “shape a freer, more secure and more prosperous world”.
#UNGAViz challenged developers worldwide to create an open-source tool capable of providing greater visibility into Member State voting patterns, as well as greater public transparency about their voting choices. Solutions were judged not only on their technical merits, but also on their potential to support policymakers dealing with humanitarian challenges, peace and security issues, and other international matters, sometimes under extreme time pressure.
“Since its establishment in 1946, the United Nations General Assembly has drafted and passed thousands of resolutions affecting people in every corner of the world,” said Andrew Hyde, a Department of State official, explaining the goal behind the collaborative project. “In support of transparency and accountability, we believe that everybody, from the general public to policymakers to diplomats, should have easy and timely access to this vast body of knowledge.”
#UNGAviz judges were impressed by the overall quality of submissions to the challenge. Awarded the first runner-up position was Maximiliano Lopez, an information technology consultant from Argentina, and the second runner-up was Thomas Fournaise, an information technology manager from France.
“We are very pleased with the results of the #UNGAViz challenge and for the opportunity to collaborate with the US Department of State,” said Salem Avan, Chief of the Global Services Division in the Office of Information and Communications Technology. “Once again, our global network of talented open-source developers responded with insightful, elegant and practical solutions that can be easily implemented and made available to United Nations offices and Member States.”
Mr. Rashik’s prototype will be made public and shared with United Nations bodies and Member States. He will also receive recognition from the Department of State and the Office of Information and Communications Technology. Mr. Rashik is a frequent contributor to Unite Ideas challenges, and he previously won the top prize in the #LinksSDGs challenge for his submission, “Links to Sustainable Cities”, an interactive visualization that identifies and maps the links between Sustainable Development Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and the other 16 Goals.
#UNGAViz is the sixth challenge issued by Unite Ideas, a big data crowd-sourcing platform developed by the Office of Information and Communications Technology to facilitate collaboration among academia, civil society and United Nations offices, and to mobilize data scientists and software developers around the world to help tackle the complex issues faced by the Organization and its Member States through the creation of open-source technology solutions. To date, academia, the general public and private companies have responded to the Unite Ideas challenges with more than 50 open-source solutions, many of which will be used by the United Nations or shared with Member States.