Advancing Technology for the Benefit of Humanity at the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference

To support  IEEE’s mission to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity, there are multiple efforts throughout the organization to bring technology into the hands of NGOs and volunteer engineering organizations. One of these is the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC), which addresses critical issues for resource-constrained and vulnerable populations.

At GHTC, engineers, scientists, practitioners, educators, philanthropists, corporations, foundations, and NGOs work together to identify pressing needs and develop technological solutions for them. Attendees examine research, case studies, and ideas to collaborate on how technology can alleviate poverty, conflict, environmental change, and other challenges facing underserved populations.

Since its inception in 2011, GHTC has focused on topics including power, water and agriculture, health, communications, education and disaster response. As the conference grew, it began hosting workshops for volunteer engineering organizations like IEEE Special Interest Group for Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) and IEEE Smart Village.  

The 2015 Conference was technically cosponsored by IEEE Consumer Electronics, IEEE-USA, IEEE Society on Society Implications of Technology, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, IEEE Power & Energy Society, and IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society. Participants and facilitators included representatives from the American Red Cross; Asante Africa Foundation; Boeing Corporation; Community Technology Alliance; Engineers for a Sustainable World; ESSMART Global; Intellectual Ventures; the Government of Nepal; Microsoft Corporation; NASA; Population Council, Reconciliation and Development; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; the U.S. Agency for International Development; and more than 30 universities, colleges, and institutes.

For the 2016 Conference, the organizers are planning a workshop on how to effectively disseminate applied science, including an examination of NASA’s work. The conference will also feature a new technical track focused on implementation and a panel on mobile communications. Other panel discussions will focus on topics such as the societal impacts of technology, field communications, and remote health provider solutions.

The 2016 conference will take place in Seattle, Washington USA from October 13 – 16.

To learn more about GHTC and to register, visit

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