Advances in information and communication technologies provide new opportunities to ensure that decision-makers and communities themselves can develop timely action and response to help vulnerable populations cope with serious crimes and violations of human rights. This panel explores a range of cases on how technology was used to assist and empower groups vulnerable to human rights violations.
Robert Kirkpatrick (UN Global Pulse)
Emily Jacobi (Digital Democracy)
Mike Best (Georgia Tech University)
Justin Dillon (Call and Response)
Kohl Singh Gill (Labor Voices)
Aashika Damodar (Survivors Connect)
Dr. Michael L. Best is an associate professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology where he is a researcher with their GVU Center. He is also a Fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
Professor Best is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Information Technologies and International Development. He is a frequent consultant to the World Bank, ITU, and USAID. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT and has served as Director of Media Lab Asia in India and head of the eDevelopment group at the MIT Media Lab.
Aashika Damodar is the founder & CEO of Survivors Connect. Damodar is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley in Anthropology & Political Science. Her research interests include international development and human rights. Her honors thesis on the politics of the "trafficked victim" won the Ronald Frankenberg Prize for the best thesis in Critical Medical Anthropology, the Sylvia Forman Prize from the American Anthropological Association and was recently published in the 2010 Project Censored Journal. She was a Zimmerman Fellow and Freedom Award winner in 2008. Aashika is now the Founder of Survivors Connect and is working on her MPhil in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, UK as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.
As a musician, Justin Dillon started hosting benefit concerts for organizations addressing the problem of modern day slavery. His passion grew into a "rockumentary" that combined critically acclaimed artists such as Moby, Natasha Bedingfiled and Matisyahu with social luminaries such as Cornell West, Ashley Judd, Julia Ormond, Nicholas Kristof and Madeline Albright in the film, CALL+RESPONSE. Dillon and the film have been featured on CNN, Today Show, MSNBC, in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Sun, and the Huffington Post, along with speaking engagements at the White House, Dept. of State, United Nations Events, and the Clinton Global Initiative. The film has been seen by over 350,000 people and helped raise over $250,000 for front line groups helping free slaves and rehabilitate victims. Dillon has also helped launch a modern day consumer advocacy movement with our online campaigns ChainStoreReaction.com and SlaveFree.com.
Currently, Dillon is working with the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking to create the first ever 'Slavery Footprint.' This online tool and mobile application will allow users to answer select questions about their consumer spending which will then display a graphical "footprint" of the user's participation in slavery, as quantified by their consumption of items created by forced labor.
Kohl Singh Gill
Dr. Kohl S. Gill is the president and founder of LaborVoices, Inc. Dr. Gill served as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow for the U.S. Departments of Energy and State, most recently as the South Asia and Middle East Labor Affairs Officer for the Office of International Labor and Corporate Social Responsibility in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
Prior to federal service, Dr. Gill was an Indicorps Fellow in the slum areas of Delhi, India, serving as a volunteer paralegal with local residents, using transparency legislation to fight both petty and grand corruption at the local level. Dr. Gill is a graduate of the California Institute of Technology and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, for his work in quantum computing and semiconductor physics.
Emily Jacobi is the Executive Director & Founder of Digital Democracy. She has worked on media, youth development and research projects in Latin America, West Africa, Southeast Asia and the U.S. Emily began her career as a youth journalist working to highlight young people's voices in professional media. At the age of 13, she reported from Havana, Cuba on the lives of young Cubans during the Troubled Period. She previously worked for Internews Network, AllAfrica.com and as Assistant Bureau Director for Y-Press. Since January 2007 her work has focused on researching and supporting the capacity of local organizations in closed and transitioning societies.
At Digital Democracy Emily manages staff, oversees strategic planning and development and works directly with grassroots partners on program design for human rights and community engagement.
Robert Kirkpatrick is Director of UN Global Pulse, an innovation initiative of the Secretary-General harnessing Big Data and real-time analytics for global development and crisis resilience. Robert was the founding CTO of the Silicon Valley global health and disaster technology NGO InSTEDD, and the co-founder of Microsoft Humanitarian Systems. He has spent more than 15 years developing solutions for public and private sector organizations, with a focus on organizational change. He has done fieldwork in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Uganda, Indonesia, Cambodia, and post-Katrina New Orleans.
Justin Dillon, who directed "Call + Response," a documentary about human trafficking, explains how he uses storytelling to spread awareness of slave labor among consumers. By articulating the "direct, one-to-one" connection that consumers have with forced labor, Dillon hopes to inspire viewers to change their buying habits.