IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee re-established as the IEEE Humanitarian Technologies Board
Letter from the first Humanitarian Technologies Board Chair, Lwanga Herbert
Dear Esteemed Colleagues, Members, and Stakeholders,
It is an honor to write to you today as the first ever Chair of the newly-formed IEEE Humanitarian Technologies Board. For those of you who are not already aware, in November of last year, the IEEE Board of Directors approved to re-establish the Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC) as the IEEE Humanitarian Technologies Board (HTB).
I celebrate the elevation of the HAC committee to the new HTB board because it reflects the growing numbers of SIGHT membership, project proposals, and funded teams, in addition to the 30% of all active IEEE members (and 60% of active IEEE student members) who indicate an interest in humanitarian programs at IEEE when they join the association or renew their annual membership. It also demonstrates the support of IEEE leaders, who have provided us with the structure to expand upon the significant achievements of HAC in its eleven years as an ad hoc committee and “standing” committee reporting to the IEEE Board of Directors. Humanitarian activities are important to IEEE members and will be a part of IEEE’s identity for years to come.
The vision of HTB remains the same as HAC’s vision: IEEE volunteers around the world carrying out and supporting impactful humanitarian technology activities at the local level. HTB does, however, have a new mission: To support impactful and ethically informed volunteer-led initiatives, programs and projects, and mutually beneficial partnerships, as well as to inform policy formulation that harness technology and innovation to address societal challenges (including disaster recovery) in a responsive, effective, and sustainable way.
Per the HTB Operations Manual approved by the IEEE Board, “the HTB shall oversee and support all Humanitarian Technology Programs in IEEE, including those executed by other IEEE organizations. The HTB shall also be responsible for execution of Humanitarian Technology programs assigned to them by the IEEE Board of Directors.” This sounds like a daunting task, but HTB will be building upon the solid foundation that HAC has provided, and will benefit from an expanded membership with representatives from the Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) Board, Technical Activities Board, Educational Activities Board, Standards Association Board, and IEEE Young Professionals. With this team, I feel strongly that we can accomplish the mission and continue making a lasting impact. Providing oversight and support to programs across the institution doing similar work will allow us to unite efforts, share best practices, and better capture the entire story of humanitarian technology at IEEE.
Many programs that were administered by HAC will continue to exist under the new auspices of HTB, such as IEEE SIGHT, projects, events, education, and others. There are also some strategic areas where HTB will devote efforts this year through its new structure, which include:
- Capacity building
- Collaboration across the board
- Funding opportunities to fuel member engagement
- Continued support for IEEE member sustainable development projects at the local level throughout their lifecycle
Next month, I will be meeting with various IEEE colleagues at the Board of Directors meeting series in New York City. I am excited to work with the Board and senior representatives from other organizational units this year to discuss how we can best tailor HTB’s member-relevant offerings to needs they have identified and maintain fruitful working relationships.
I look forward to leading our efforts this year, and invite you to join me in celebrating the creation of the Humanitarian Technologies Board.
Looking forward to the best,
Lwanga Herbert, 2023 IEEE Humanitarian Technologies Board Chair
The IEEE HTB/SIGHT Sustainable Development Newsletter
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