Peace, Gender & Data: ICTD Research and the United Nations

Date: February 26, 2016

Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm

Venue: Room 723, 7/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU

Speaker: Professor Michael Best, Director of the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) in Macau SAR, China


The United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) is a new research and policy intensive institute at the intersections of information and communication technologies and international development (ICTD). In this talk we will overview our three initial research focus areas: ICTs for peacebuilding and to support human security, respond to crises, and mitigate human displacement; ICTs that promote women’s empowerment and enable sustainable community led development; and ICTs that create actionable knowledge from local data, empower citizens with data they trust, and improve global datasets with local data. In particular, we will review earlier and emerging projects focused on social media filtering and field data aggregation in support of election observation, crises response and political development.



Professor Michael L. Best directs the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) in Macau SAR, China. He is a professor, on leave, with the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology where he directs the Technologies and International Development Lab. He is also the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the widely read journal, Information Technologies and International Development and he leads the Global Computing column for Communications of the ACM. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT and has served as director of Media Lab Asia in India and head of the eDevelopment group at the MIT Media Lab. He has over 100 published papers in journals, proceedings, and books. He is the recipient of awards including the Stephen A. Denning Faculty Award for Global Engagement (2014), People & Technology Award, Georgia Tech Research Corporation (2011), and Ivan Allen Faculty Legacy Award (2009). His research focuses on information and communication technologies (ICTs) for social, economic, and political development. In particular he studies mobile and Internet-enabled services and their design, impact, and importance within low-income countries of Africa and Asia. He researches engineering, public policy, and business issues as well as methods to assess and evaluate development outcomes. He is also interested in the impact of ICTs on the development-security nexus and on post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation.

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