IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC)
Technology for the Benefit of Humanity // Villanova University, USA / October 23-26, 2024

Panel on COVID-19

IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC) Panel on COVID-19

Date: October 31, Saturday, 10:10 -11:10 a.m.

This panel will address how IEEE HAC & SIGHT responded to the COVID pandemic.


  • Kartik Kulkarni (HAC Chair),
  • Sampath Veeraraghavan (SIGHT Chair and 2021 HAC Chair),
  • John Funso (HAC Partnerships Chair, R8 Humanitarian Coordinator, and also a COVID project lead), and
  • Pia Torres (HAC Project Support and Oversight Ad Hoc Chair and HAC/SIGHT COVID CoP lead)


  • How HAC/SIGHT responded to the COVID pandemic – vision and process improvements
  • Providing volunteer engagement opportunities despite the pandemic
  • Elements of a strong proposal
  • Support from Communities of Practice
  • Examples of some funded projects
  • Building collaboration opportunities, for example, with Societies
  • How this will lead to next year’s program

Panelist Bios:

Kartik Kulkarni

Kartik Kulkarni is the Chair of the IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee, the strategic, global arm of the IEEE Board of Directors that manages IEEE’s portfolio of programs and multi-million dollar project investments that leverage 400k+ engineers in 160+ countries in applying and advancing technology solutions for sustainable development. In 2019, Kartik has spearheaded social impact measurement of IEEE’s sustainable development projects around the world, using the technique of SocialROI. Kartik also heads Oracle’s team architecting the Blockchain Transaction Engine; he is a co-inventor on 10+ US Patents, both granted and pending. The DiscoverE Foundation recognized Kartik as a 2015 USA’s New Face of Engineering.



Sampath Veeraraghavan

Sampath Veeraraghavan is the Chair of IEEE SIGHT and 2021 IEEE HAC Chair. He is a globally renowned technologist is best known for his pioneering leadership and technological innovations in developing large-scale computing systems, advanced software technologies and systems engineering solutions to solve complex real-world computing challenges across multidisciplinary domains such as healthcare, disabilities, education, poverty alleviation, assistive technologies and security. He received his M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA (2010) and B.E. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Anna University, Tamil Nadu, India (2005). He is the founder/president of the technology-based humanitarian program “The Brahmam Innovations” which aims to address global humanitarian and sustainable development challenges through technological innovations. For over a decade, he delivered technology-driven sustainable programs that brought together the engineering community, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies and disability advocacy groups to improve the living conditions of children with disabilities, impoverished women and students in developing nations. He works as a Senior Technical Program Manager at Amazon, Massachusetts, USA.


John Funso

John Oyewole Funso-Adebayo is HAC Partnerships Chair, R8 Humanitarian Coordinator, and a COVID project lead. He is the 18th National Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (NIEEE), a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. His personal goals and interests are in the areas of renewable energy through innovations and infrastructure to sustain cities and communities, globally.  He is an off-grid and mobile broadband subject matter expert for design, implementation and upgrade with expansion opportunities. He delights in producing affordable and sustainable electricity for home-use, as well as designing and installing cheap internet access. He also carries out onsite training in all these.He has a postgraduate degree in Communications and an undergraduate degree in Power systems.



Pia Torres

Pia Torres is Chair of the HAC Project Support and Oversight Ad Hoc. She is Electronics Engineer of the Faculty of Exact Sciences and Technology of the Tucumán National University, Argentina. Diploma in Project Management (PMI) ® from the University of Buenos Aires. Participant of the “Energy Leaders Training Program” – Argentine Chapter of the World Council of Energy (CACME-WEC). Business Development Manager at SINERGEIA – Energy Service Co. specialized in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies. Work experience related to engineering practice in industry, project management, process optimization, production, operation and O&M in several industries: Oil & Gas, Nuclear, Food & Beverage, Energy, IT, etc. Volunteer for 18 years in IEEE – Promoted to Senior Member in 2018. IEEE Industry Applications Society Board Member-at-Large, IEEE Industry Applications Society Distinguished Lecturer. IEEE Young Professionals & IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Argentina Chair. IEEE Joint Chapter #1 (IAS-IES-PELS-RAC-CSS-VTS) Vice Chair. IEEE Women in Engineering Argentina Past Chair. Roboteam Initiative Program Manager. IEEE WIE International Leadership Summit Buenos Aires, Argentina 2019 General Chair.