SSIT and Sustainable Development

By on March 9th, 2018 in Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, President's Message, Societal Impact

Considering the IEEE tagline “Advancing Technology for Humanity,” it is hardly surprising that many IEEE members are actively engaged in different forms of volunteerism addressing social challenges at community level, at home and abroad.

The IEEE Humanitarian and Philanthropic Opportunities (H&P) Initiative was launched at Sections Congress 2017 in Sydney by the IEEE Foundation and IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC). The objective of H&P is to help IEEE members identify opportunities to volunteer their “time, talent or treasure” in the sustainable development and humanitarian technology space based on their interests, expertise, and availability.

Currently there are 12 groups across IEEE involved in H&P, offering team and individual volunteer opportunities of different durations for members at different stages of their careers, ranging from young professional or student, mid-career, pre-retirement, or retirement. Participating groups include the IEEE Foundation, IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC), IEEE SIGHT (Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology), IEEE Eta Kappa Nu, EPICS in IEEE, IEEE Smart Village, IEEE Life Members Committee, IEEE History Center, IEEE Power & Energy Society Scholarship Plus Initiative, IEEE Internet Initiative (3i), IEEE Empower a Billion Lives, and the IEEE-USA Community Outreach Initiative (Move Project).

As an IEEE technical Society whose focus on all aspects of societal implications of technology complements the technical activities of all other IEEE Societies, SSIT members have a proud history of contributions to sustainable development and humanitarian technology. We have long focused on addressing ethical implications, interdependencies, context, and socio-cultural norms that are essential to avoid unintended and unanticipated consequences. One of our core strengths as a community has been our collaborative, partnership-based approach.

SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT members from the IST-Africa Institute, University of Gondar, Strathmore University, Chancellor College, and Nelson Mandela University have successfully built trust-based relationships with healthcare clinics in resource constrained environments in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, and South Africa. They are providing digital literacy training and supporting infrastructure development with the objective of supporting technology adoption to strengthen primary healthcare delivery.

The contribution of our active and committed volunteers is widely recognized. The sheer scale of opportunities to address the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at home and abroad requires us to accelerate expanding our programs and continue growing our global footprint. The IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) is truly demonstrating leadership in supporting operationalization of the IEEE Tagline, “Advancing Technology for Humanity.”

Call for Volunteers

I invite you to help SSIT continue to make a difference, particularly in the areas of sustainable development and humanitarian technology. Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Serving your local community through an existing or new SSIT Chapter.
  • Contributing to the work of SSIT’s committees (including our Standards committee).
  • Volunteering to host SSIT Distinguished Lecturers.
  • Submitting articles or review submissions to IEEE Technology and Society Magazine.
  • Reviewing submissions to IEEE ISTAS, Norbert Weiner, IEEE Ethics, IST-Africa Week, and other SSIT supported conferences.
  • Supporting activities of the IEEE SSIT IST-Africa SIGHT in IST-Africa Partner Countries.
  • Representing SSIT on IEEE committees (TAB, BoD, Standards, Future Directions Initiative).
  • Serving on the SSIT Board of Governors.

If any of these opportunities are of potential interest or if you would like to recommend someone, please contact me (Subject: Volunteer for IEEE SSIT – <name>) and I will direct you to the responsible team. If you have not received a response to a previous offer to volunteer, please accept my sincere apologies and contact me again so I can assist you.

Call for Donations, Gifts, and Bequests

SSIT is launching a fundraising campaign focused on securing the level of resources required to scale activities over the coming years. Funds will be invested in further strengthening and expanding volunteer activities. Options to financially support SSIT volunteer activities include:

  • Donate to SSIT online
  • Mail a check payable to the “IEEE Foundation – SSIT Fund” to: IEEE Foundation, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854, U.S.A.
  • Asking your employer to match your personal donation.
  • Donate in honor or memory of someone who has touched your life or others.
  • Direct a gift to the “IEEE Foundation – SSIT Fund” from your donor advised fund, foundation or family office.
  • Remember SSIT in your will.

Thanks and Welcome

I would like to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by Subrata Saha of SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, and John Villasenor, Professor of Electrical Engineering at UCLA who have finished their terms of service on the SSIT BoG. I welcome Charmayne Hughes of the Health Equity Institute and an Associate Professor at San Francisco State University; Heather Love, Assistant Professor of English at the University of South Dakota; and Jay Pearlman, currently adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado, who have all been elected to serve three-year terms on the SSIT Board of Governors beginning in 2018.