Technology for the Benefit of Humanity
April 21st, 2011

News, announcements and updates will be posted here.

October 12th, 2015

The annual flagship event of IEEE SSIT – the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (IEEE ISTAS 2015) takes place this year in Dublin, Ireland 11 – 12 November.

ICT for Development (ICT4D) and Humanitarian Technologies is a strong focal area for the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology.

The IEEE SSIT SIGHT was recently established to focus on cross-border, multi-stakeholder and end-user community driven ICT4D and Humanitarian Technology interventions in IST-Africa Partner Countries, leveraging mobile technologies in the areas of ICT for Healthcare, Education, Agriculture and Public Service Delivery.

For more information, see


September 28th, 2015

Open Data Kit (ODK) Workshop

Date: Thursday, October 8
Time: 1:30 – 5:00pm
Location: DoubleTree Hotel, Cascade 7-8 – Mezzanine Level

ODK-logoOpen Data Kit (ODK) is a free and open-source set of tools which help organizations author, field, and manage mobile data collection solutions. ODK provides an out-of-the-box solution leveraged by tens of thousands of users in hundreds of organizations on six continents. ODK helps organizations use mobile devices to address problems in low resource environments in the domains of public health, environment monitoring, agriculture, and human rights monitoring, among others. This workshop is an opportunity to learn about ODK from ODK’s core development team. The workshop will include: an overview of ODK, a preview of ODK’s upcoming 2.0 tool set, a hands-on tutorial, and Q&A sessions with ODK’s core development team.  Workshop participants will have a chance to help decide the topics that will be covered during the workshop.

Facilitators:  Waylon Brunette, Mitch Sundt,  Jeff Beorse,  Clarice Larson


September 26th, 2015

The DoubleTree has extended the reservation cut off date for one more week (to September 28) so you can still call in or register on-line for the discounted group rate of $119.  As of this posting, rooms are sold out for Wednesday, Oct 7th pre-arrival and close to selling out for Saturday, October 10th and Sunday, October 11th.  Rooms are still available for Thursday and Friday, October 8th and 9th.

Telephone reservations: +1 800-222-8733. Reference (IEEE GHTC) when making reservations.

Online Reservations:


September 11th, 2015

Call for Volunteers for Leadership Positions for next year’s GHTC Conference

IEEE Region 6 is calling for leadership positions for its Premier Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC) 2016.

These key positions will be responsible for shaping and guiding the success of the 2016 conference.
Familiarity with GHTC or other humanitarian conferences is a plus but not required. Previous experience on a conference organizing committee of any topic will be extremely useful. Please see the following descriptions for the qualifications and skills required for each role.

  • Chair
  • Vice Chair
  • Program Chair
  • Treasurer

Application submission should be made using the online form here.
The deadline is 9 October 2015. Acceptance notification is 16 October 2015.

This is an amazing and rewarding opportunity to work with a global group of humanitarians to help the under-served populations of the world. If you are not interested in one of these leadership roles, but have applicable experience and are interested in one of the other organizing committee roles, you can specify this information in the submission form.

For more information on the GHTC conference its mission and objectives please go to this year’s conference website

You can also conatct the advisory board for questions or more information using this contact form:

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September 6th, 2015

The Gaetano Borriello ‘Feet on the Ground’ Humanitarian Symposium

BorrielloPlease join us for the Gaetano Borriello Feet on the Ground Humanitarian Symposium on Saturday, October 10, 2015 from 1:30 to 6:00 pm at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport. The symposium, which will feature talks by researchers and humanitarian leaders who are applying technology solutions to real-world problems, will be held during the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC15), October 8-11 in Seattle.

Our friend and colleague, Professor Gaetano Borriello, passed away earlier this year. He was a Fellow of the IEEE and a recognized leader in the fields of Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing who devoted a significant portion of his career to developing computing technologies aimed at improving conditions in low-resource settings. He led the development of a suite of open-source mobile data collection tools, known as the Open Data Kit (ODK), that are used by humanitarian programs worldwide to advance public health, human rights, political participation and environmental stewardship.

Dr. Borriello demonstrated how research can impact the lives of people around the globe.ODK-logo The symposium will honor his contributions by bringing together experts in developing and applying technologies to address humanitarian challenges.

Jim Jefferies, President of the IEEE USA, will join the symposium to deliver a special announcement, which will be followed by a series of keynote presentations and technical talks by experts in developing and applying technologies to address humanitarian challenges.

Featured speakers include:

  • John Bennett, Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation Initiatives, University of Colorado, Denver and past president, Engineers Without Borders
  • Eric Brewer, Professor, Computer Science Division, University of California, Berkeley
  • Kiersten Israel-Ballard, Technical Officer, Maternal and Child Health/Nutrition, PATH
  • David Thau, Manager of Developer Relations, Google Earth Engine & Google Earth Outreach
  • Heather Underwood, Associate Director, Inworks and Assistant Professor, University of Colorado, Denver
  • Lorenzo Violante Ruiz, Learning & Innovation Coordinator, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • Roy Want, Research Scientist, Google

In addition, a panel of researchers who worked with Dr. Borriello on the Open Data Kit will offer their perspectives on its role in aiding development and humanitarian work around the globe, featuring Waylon Brunette, Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington; Nicola Dell, Assistant Professor, Computing & Information Sciences, Cornell University; Carl Hartung, Co-founder & CTO, Nafundi; and Sam Sudar, Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington.


UWCSE_smallProfessor Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, will open proceedings with a tribute to Dr. Borriello’s life and work. The symposium is co-chaired by Professor Richard Anderson, Department of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, and Dr. Sheree Wen, U.S. national commissioner to UNESCO, chair of IEEE Seattle and vice chair of GHTC15.

unesco logoIn addition to honoring the life and contributions of Dr. Borriello, we will also celebrate the 70th anniversary of UNESCO, the United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization. Since 1945, UNESCO has united people in 197 countries, endeavoring through education, science and culture to improve lives through peaceful collaborations.

Attendance at the Gaetano Borriello Feet on the Ground Humanitarian Symposium is open to members of the public in addition to GHTC15 conference registrants. Because space is limited, individuals who plan to attend the symposium are encouraged to RSVP in advance at There will be no onsite registration. See Symposium webpage at

Organized by IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional society with over 400,000 members in over 160 countries, the cross-disciplinary Global Humanitarian Technology Conference focuses on advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. More than 300 people from 30 countries are expected at GHTC15. Learn more and register to attend the entire GHTC15 conference at

Updated 25-Sep-2015

August 25th, 2015

IEEE SIGHT logo smallThe IEEE SIGHT Steering Committee is offering limited and partial conference participation support to the following category of participants at IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference 2015-

  • Authors of papers accepted by GHTC, and whose work is part of a SIGHT.
  • Representatives of SIGHTs from who would like to present their work.

This is an invitation to consider the opportunity: (a) to network with other IEEE members doing humanitarian work; (b) to participate in workshops, tutorials and technical sessions on humanitarian topics; (c) to present your work to your peers. To that effect, we will grant funding to 50% of your conference expenses, up to a maximum of $750.

To apply download the application form here (Word, PDF). Submit the filled-in application for review to Holly Schneider-Brown at the address below. A decision should be rendered by the 2nd week of September 2015. Note that SIGHT funding is limited and not all worthy applications can be supported.

Application Deadline:       5th September 2015
Decision:                             10th September, 2015

Please submit to:
Holly Schneider-Brown
SIGHT Steering Committee


August 10th, 2015


IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC)

October 8-11, 2015     Seattle, Washington USA
Registration Now Open!
Early registration discount ends September 6, 2015

IEEE Global Humanitarian Conference (GHTC) is the perfect venue for enthusiasts from all backgrounds to connect, share and address critical issues for the benefit of the humanitarian endeavor worldwide. Join us in Seattle, WA, USA as we:

  • Enable a global sharing of skills, knowledge, networking in the humanitarian and emergency management fields
  • Highlight humanitarian technologies that promote successful practice, attract practitioners, and guide future research
  • Positively impact billions of people around the world

IEEE GHTC is the place to be whether you have experience to share, are looking for opportunities to join, or simply want to understand humanitarian work. In its 5th year, sponsored by IEEE Region 6 and IEEE Seattle Section, the conference is dedicated to “Advancing Technology for Humanity” with a focus on essential areas including energy, health, disaster management, connectivity, agriculture, and education.

Conference highlights include:

  • Maurizio Vecchione, Sr. Vice President of Global Good & Research – plenary
  • “The Future of Humanitarian Technology” with a panel of experts from NGOs, the United Nations, and the Red Cross
  • “The Internet of Things (IoT) for Humanity” with a panel of industry partners
  • IEEE SIGHT Gaetano Borriello Memorial Symposium on Humanitarian Technology
  • UNESCO 70th Anniversary celebration
  • IEEE Smart Village workshop on Energy, Education, and Empowerment

Interactive special sessions that support in-field humanitarian efforts:

  • Open Data Kit Workshop – learn to collect data and build data services for many humanitarian efforts
  • Entrepreneurship and Education – engage in workshops with interactive dialogue on grass-roots business development and collaborative educational strategies for entrepreneurs and practitioners
  • Demonstrations and Exhibitions – see and experience new technologies in water and sanitation, energy, and communication and connectivity technologies

Register today to participate in an extensive, vibrant, and innovative technical program with likeminded individuals across the world.
Advanced Discount Registration ends September 6:
Regular Registration ends October 7
On-Site Registration & One Day Passes Available
For more information, contact

Download PDF of the Call for Participation flyer.

July 26th, 2015

The review process for the Student Paper Contest has been completed and the final 5 papers for conference presentation have been selected.

The Top 5 Student Papers selected for conference presentation are as follows: 

  1. Alexander Anderson and team, Washington State University, USA ‘Need Clean Water Here’.
  2. Vijay Kumar and team, Vignan Institute of Technology and Science, India ‘Automatic Vehicle Indicator On/Off’
  3. Bartley Argo and team, University of Central Florida, USA ‘Lifestream Mobile Application: Navigating Transgender Healthcare in Metropolitan Orlando’
  4. Thejus Padmakumar and team, Amrita University, India ‘DTMF based Robotic Arm Design and Control for Robotic Coconut Tree Climber’
  5. Rahul R and team, Vellore Institute of Technology, India ‘Motorized Hand Rehabilitation Device’ 

These papers will be presented in the Student Paper Contest session at GHTC 2015 in Seattle on October 10.

We thank the IEEE MGA Young Professional/Student Activities Committee for sponsoring the awards for this years Student Paper Contest.


July 1st, 2015

Registration is now open for GHTC 2015.

Visit the Registration page for information and a link to the registration system.
Regular Advance Registration ends at 11:59 pm PST  6-September-2015

Note that US Travel Visa requests are handled via the registration process. If you have questions, see the Visa Requests page for links to US State Department information pages.


Hotel reservations are also open.

See the Hotel and Travel page for information on the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport hotel, room options and pricing, and making your reservation online or by phone.

GHTC has arranged a very good Group Rate of $119. The GHTC Group Rate will be offered for a period of five (5) days before (10/3/2015), and five (5) days after (10/16/2015) the Meeting Dates, subject to availability of rooms at the time of reservation.

The Hotel Reservation cut-off date is September 21, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time


May 16th, 2015

The deadline for submissions for the GHTC 2015 Student Paper Contest has been extended to June 3.