I am delighted to announce the dates of the Techfugees Global Summit which will takes place in Paris, at Station F, on October 25th and 26th 2017, with the confirmed presence of incredible speakers like Rania Mustafa Ali, the 20 years old who filmed her journey to Europe from Raqqa, Hassan Akkad award winning author of documentary Exodus and Mike Zuckerman from Elpida home to give only a few names.
On September 2015, moved by the images of the three-year-old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, Mike Butcher launched a simple Facebook group, which united the tech community in a common cause ‘how can we help humanitarians and refugees?’. Quickly it transformed into a conference and hackathon organised in London that instantly turned techfugees into a movement: the 48 hours that followed the event, techies and change-markers from around the world called upon Mike to replicate the event in their respective countries. This Global Summit is the culmination of two years of community research and work.
Techfugees has come a long way since Mike convened the tech community in London two years ago. Our journey began with mapping the landscape of actors and needs. Our team of volunteers and local ambassadors needed to understand the problems displaced people were facing and the existing solutions out there that were making a difference.
For this, our team went on the ground and conducted interviews with refugees, humanitarians and technologists. We visited camps in northern France, including ‘the jungle’, was granted access to the inner-workings of refugee resettlement by visiting the main refugee centres in Paris, and took several repeated trips to Lebanon & Jordan, to visit the cities and camps hosting refugees, including the famous and massive Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan.
So far, Techfugees has become the body where connections between tech-minded people are made, a network to connect the dots for grassroots innovation in the humanitarian space. We’ve begun building a bridge between the world of technology and the humanitarian sector with the mission to empower the displaced with safe and sound technology solutions.
Whilst we were behind the scenes mapping the actors, the network flourished. At last count, we now stand at 25 local chapters spread throughout the world. This has all been made possible by our amazing and hard working volunteers, who continue to donate their spare time to Techfugees. A prime example of this is one of our earliest chapters in Australia. They have run hackathons, events and programmes across the country – with several great initiatives emerging from their hard work like Refugee Talent, which founders have been recognised by Forbes lately.
This network of chapters, coupled with insights, has enabled us to engage with NGOs and governments to advise on the use of technology to empower the displaced. An example of this is the ‘Supporting Syria conference’ last year, during which we provided a list of 30 projects with insights on the use of technology for the education of Syria’s displaced. The event brought together world leaders and raised over $12bn to help millions of displaced people throughout the region.
Our next phase of development is to support sound projects, provide access to partner incubators and accelerate the solutions within our network through access to a pool of funders. We have started partnering with tech companies, charities, NGOs and advising governments in Europe and the Middle East, to ensure that projects coming to us or through hackathons are robust before beginning pilots and gradually being rolled out by our partners. We know that 70% of our hack winners are still going a year later, and we keep on hearing of projects and teams born out of our events around the world delivering innovative solutions to the refugees.
The Techfugees Global summit in Paris is the culmination of our two years ground work and symbolic launch of our next phase. The summit will bring our international network for two days, which will feature thought-provoking talks and workshops seeking to address one of the 21st century biggest challenges. The event will offer a great opportunity to meet and network with the community of technologists, investors, corporates, governmental representatives, refugees and charity leaders that we met along the way the last two years. For this gathering, we couldn’t think of more fitting venue for this summit than the largest startup campus in the world, Station F, the official partner of the event.
We know the difference people can make when they come together. We see it daily throughout our network. We hope you can join us on our next stage of development.
Registration for pitching slots are open for organisations and entrepreneurs wanting to pitch their tech for refugee project. The deadline for registration for pitches is the 25th of Sept.
Follow the updates for the event on our Facebook page.