IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC)
Technology for the Benefit of Humanity // Villanova University, USA / October 12-15, 2023

Report on IEEE GHTC 2019

Report on IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC) 2019

Ed Perkins, V. Chair

IEEE GHTC 2019 is a world class flagship conference focused on sharing practical technology enabled solutions addressing the needs of underserved populations and resource constrained environments around the world under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

The 9th GHTC was held October 17-20, 2019 in Seattle, WA, USA. See for full details on GHTC 2019 and prior conferences.

GHTC 2019 had 214 participants from 30 countries. The program featured a student poster contest, workshops, plenary panels, keynotes, 32 sessions with over 130 paper and oral presentations, and unconference sessions.

Researchers and practitioners exchanged experiences related to these topic areas:

  • Agriculture & Food Security (UN SDG2)
  • Good Health and Well Being (SDG3)
  • Quality Education (SDG4)
  • Clean Water & Sanitation (SDG6)
  • Affordable & Clean Energy (SDG7)
  • Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response & Recovery
  • Communication/Connectivity in Support of Development
  • Sustainable Development (e.g. SDGs 9, 11, 12, 14)


Keynote speakers:

  • Neil Sahota, Chief Innovation Officer, University of California (Emerging Technologies Research & Policy Institute) “AI is the Disruptor: How to Wield the Tool Building the 21st Century”
  • Thomas Coughlin FIEEE, 2019 President of IEEE-USA and President, Coughlin Associates “Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Activities by IEEE Members in the USA”
  • Tess Russo, Portfolio Lead and Research Scientist at Global Good “technology development for smallholder farmers in Africa and South Asia”


Plenary Panels:

Disaster Recovery, Disadvantaged Communities and Displaced People Panel

Moderator: Ed Perkins, GHTC 2019 V. Chair

  • John Berglund, Territorial Emergency/Disaster Services Director, The Salvation Army USA
  • Stanley Atcitty, Navajo Nation
  • James Conrad, IEEE MOVE Community Outreach



Health-Related Issues in Resource Constrained Environments Panel

Moderator: Paul Cunningham, Founder and Coordinator, mHealth4Afrika Initiative & GHTC 2019 Chair

  • Tim Wood, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Skye Gilbert, Deputy Director, Digital Health, PATH
  • Judd Walson, START Center, University of Washington



IEEE Smart Village (ISV) Energy Panel

Moderator: Alexander Anderson, Engagement Chair, IEEE Smart Village; CEO, EmpowerPack SPC

  • Robin Podmore, Co-founder and Vice-Chair, IEEE Smart Village; President, Incremental Systems Corporation
  • Ruomei Li, Secretary General (retired) of the Chinese Society of Electrical Engineering; Research Fellow, Tsinghua University
  • Monica L. Brown, Founder and Executive Director, Africa Development Promise
  • Olga Anderson, Education Chair, IEEE Smart Village
  • Taylor Hudson, Technical Designer, Kilowatts for Humanity

Special Events

GHTC 2019 featured several pre-conference Special Events on Thursday.

Participatory Workshop on Contributing to IEEE Sustainable Development Activities Around the World

Unconference sessions on Sustainable Development


GHTC 2019 was sponsored by IEEE Region 6, IEEE Seattle Section and IEEE SSIT (Society on Social Implications of Technology) with technical sponsorship by IEEE-USA, IEEE CES, EMBS, MTT-S, PES and IEEE Smart Village.

GHTC 2019 Patrons were the IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC) and Global Good (Intellectual Ventures).

GHTC 2020 will be held in Seattle on October 28-Nov. 1, 2020.