Industry Canada Communications Research Centre (CRC) president Veena Rawat is putting forward her candidacy as radiocommunication director at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Rawat intends to submit her candidacy by September 2010, and if she is elected, would increase Canada’s influence on the international telecommunications scene. Based in Geneva, the ITU is a United Nations agency focusing on information and communication technology. Its radiocommunication branch (ITU-R) deals with such issues as global sharing of radio spectrum, assigning satellite orbits and establishing standards for radiocommunication systems. “It would be very helpful to have a Canadian in this position,” Keith McIntosh, director of regulatory affairs at the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), said in an interview. Electing Rawat as ITU-R director would also help Canada defend and promote its regulation on an international scale, McIntosh added. In a May 14 letter to Industry Canada Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications assistant deputy minister Helen McDonald, CWTA president and CEO Bernard Lord writes that Canada would significantly benefit from Rawat’s nomination. “The Association believes Dr. Rawat would serve Canada extremely well, as she understands the technical and business issues and pressures facing industry and administrations,” says the letter, obtained by The Wire Report. “It is in Canada’s interest to be represented in management positions of international organizations,” Marc Girouard, Rawat’s campaign director and director of coordination and fixed services at Industry Canada, said in an interview. “It’s in every country's interest to elect someone who is neutral and who has great experience to ensure that the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau is well managed, given the impact it could have on Canada.” Rawat’s campaign touches on information and communications technology (ICT), global development, and developing and enabling new wireless and satellite technologies. “The rapid development of new technologies and the explosion of wireless-enabled ICT applications such as e-health, e-commerce, e-education and others are increasing the demands on spectrum and orbital resources,” Rawat, who was not available for an interview, writes on her campaign website. “Providing effective and efficient access to these resources requires an increased role for the ITU-R.” One of Rawat’s main concerns is beefing up security in the wireless industry. “Protecting data must be a priority of the ITU-R to realize the full benefits of wireless technologies: reduced costs, increased efficiencies and easy access to information,” she says on her website. Rawat is president of the CRC, which conducts communications technology research and development. She holds a PhD in electrical engineering from Queen’s University. Her experience with the ITU spans two decades, during which she chaired committees and worked on delegations dealing with radio, telecommunications, spectrum, and space services. Rawat will be up against potential candidates from Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Northern Asia, Africa, and Asia and Australia. Rawat is the only woman running this year. If she wins, she would be the first female director in the history of the ITU. Only François Rancy of France has officially declared his candidacy for the position, according to ITU media relations official Sarah Parkes. Rancy is now director general of the French National Frequency Agency and has been working with the ITU since 1990. Rancy is focusing his campaign on spectrum issues, such as increasing its efficiency reducing interference. “Rancy possesses a unique experience in spectrum regulation,” French Prime Minister François Fillion wrote in a letter of endorsement. “ has participated in all major debates on spectrum since 1990.” Rawat is up against another runner, Fabio Leite of Brazil. He is the ITU-R deputy director and has yet to announce his candidacy. “Dr. Rawat is the best candidate in terms of competence, due to her international experience, negotiation skills and her experience in the field of communications research and development,” Girouard said. The election for the position of ITU-R director will be held during the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference from Oct. 4 to 22 in Veracruz, Mexico. Valery Timofeev of Russia currently holds the position Rawat will be campaigning for. Timofeev’s maximum of two four-year terms come to an end in October.