Genocide. Mass rape. Ethnic cleansing. These and other mass atrocities threaten our security and offend our conscience. Here in the 21st century, we are now empowered by new technologies that can help prevent these crimes. It is our shared responsibility to act. This Tech Challenge will award prize money of up to $10,000 to the problem-solvers who develop innovative concept papers and prototypes that help us better respond to the following critical issues.
Mike Abramowitz directs the Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Center works to raise public awareness about actual or threatened genocide, while educating policy makers about steps they can take to prevent genocide and related crimes against humanity from materializing. Among the Museum’s current projects is a Working Group on the Responsibility to Protect, co-chaired by Madeleine Albright and Richard Williamson.
Prior to his appointment in 2009, Abramowitz worked as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post. Between 2006 and 2009, Abramowitz was White House correspondent for the Post, and also served as the National Editor of the Post between 2000 and 2006.
Abramowitz graduated from Harvard University after concentrating in Government. He is a non-resident fellow of the German Marshall Fund and was a media fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford.
Patrick Ball has spent more than twenty years conducting quantitative analysis for truth commissions, non-governmental organizations, international criminal tribunals, and United Nations missions in El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, South Africa, Chad, Sri Lanka, East Timor, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Kosovo, Liberia, Perú, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Syria.
Patrick began working in the human rights field in El Salvador in 1991. From 1993 to 2003, he worked in several capacities in the Science and Human Rights Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where he began recruiting colleagues to build HRDAG. From 2003 to 2013 he continued to develop HRDAG from within Benetech, a nonprofit technology company in Silicon Valley. A great deal of his, and HRDAG’s, work has been to support truth and reconciliation commissions through database development and data analysis.
Patrick provided testimony in two cases at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the first in the trial of Slobodan Milošević, the former President of Serbia. He provided technical advice to the Special Court in Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Court, and submitted expert reports to human rights trials in Guatemala.
In April 2005, the Electronic Frontier Foundation awarded Patrick with their Pioneer Award. In June 2004, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) gave him the Eugene Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science and Informatics, and in 2002, he received a Special Achievement Award from the Social Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association. He is a Fellow at the Human Rights Center at Berkeley Law of the University of California-Berkeley; and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (IDCR) at the University of Essex. He has been profiled by The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Foreign Policy, Salon.com, and the Christian Science Monitor, and he has been featured in a PBS film.
Patrick received his bachelor of arts degree from Columbia University, and his doctorate from the University of Michigan.
As Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director, Comfort Ero oversees the organisation’s work in West, Central, Southern and Horn of Africa. She first joined the organisation in 2001 as West Africa Project Director, before serving for three years as the Political Affairs Officer and Policy Advisor to the Special Representative of the Secretary General in Liberia. Prior to Crisis Group, she was Deputy Director of the Africa Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice, Research Fellow at the Conflict, Security and Development Group at King’s College, and a Research Associate for the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Her areas of expertise include conflict prevention, management and resolution, mediation, peacekeeping, transitional justice, and Africa’s politics and international relations.
Patrick Meier (PhD) is an internationally recognized thought leader on the application of new technologies for conflict early warning and humanitarian response. He presently serves as Director of Social Innovation at the Qatar Foundation’s Computing Research Institute (QCRI) where he spearheads cutting-edge research & development on next-generation humanitarian technology. Prior to QCRI, Patrick co-founded and co-directed the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s (HHI) Program on Crisis Mapping & Early Warning and served as Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi. He also co-founded the Digital Humanitarian Network and CrisisMappers: The Humanitarian Technology Network.
Patrick is also a distinguished scholar, holding a PhD from The Fletcher School, a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from Stanford University and an MA from Columbia University. In addition, he was a Research Fellow at the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) and holds an advanced certificate in complexity science from the Santa Fe Institute (SFI). Patrick has given numerous guest lectures and has taught several professional, graduate and undergraduate courses. He is also an accomplished author & writes the widely respected iRevolution blog. He tweets at @patrickmeier.
Samantha Power is the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council. Power most recently served as the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she taught courses on U.S. foreign policy, human rights, and extremism and where she was the founding Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.
She is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide (2002) and Chasing the Flame: Sergio Viera de Mello and the Fight to Save the World (2008), the basis for the award-winning HBO documentary, "Sergio." She is also the recent editor, with Derek Chollet, of The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World (2011). Power has served as a columnist at Time Magazine and, in her journalism, has reported from such places as Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, and prior to serving at NSC contributed regularly to the New Yorker Magazine, the New York Review of Books, and the New Republic.
Power is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. She lives with her husband, Cass Sunstein, and their son Declan in Washington, DC.
David Pressman is the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security responsible for policy development on a range of international crime, counterterrorism, civil rights, and national security challenges confronting the Department of Homeland Security. Pressman also serves on President Obama’s Atrocity Prevention Board.
Prior to his appointment as Assistant Secretary, Pressman was the Director for War Crimes and Atrocities on the National Security Council at the White House. In this capacity, Pressman helped lead the U.S. Government’s efforts to prevent and respond to mass atrocities and war crimes worldwide, including issues related to international criminal justice, fugitive war criminals, international tribunals and accountability mechanisms.
A civil and human rights lawyer, Pressman has led several global campaigns focused on mass atrocities and international justice challenges, and has advised a variety of highly-visible individuals on foreign policy and advocacy strategy. He is a co-founder of the grant making and advocacy organization Not On Our Watch, and previously served as Special Assistant to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright at the State Department.
Alec Ross serves as Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton where he is tasked with maximizing the potential of technology and innovation in service of America’s diplomatic goals and stewarding Secretary of State Clinton’s 21st Century Statecraft agenda.
Previously, Alec served as the Convener for Obama for America's Technology, Media & Telecommunications Policy Committee and served on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.
In 2000, he and three colleagues co-founded the nonprofit organization One Economy.
Among recent recognitions, Alec was named one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine, one of Huffington Posts’ 10 Game Changers in Politics, one of Newsweek’s 10 Navigators on its 100 Digital Power Index, a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award honoree, and the 2010 Middle East/North Africa Technology Person of the Year by the Union of Arab ICT organizations.
Alec started his career as a sixth grade teacher through Teach for America in inner-city Baltimore where he lives with his wife and their three young children.
Anne-Marie Slaughter is the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. From 2009–2011 she served as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State, the first woman to hold that position. Upon leaving the State Department she received the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award for her work leading the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, as well as a Meritorious Honor Award from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and a Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award from the Supreme Allied Commander for Europe. Prior to her government service, Dr. Slaughter was the Dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from 2002–2009, where she rebuilt the School’s international relations faculty and created a number of new centers and programs.
Dr. Slaughter is a frequent contributor to both mainstream and new media, publishing op-eds in major newspapers, magazines and blogs around the world and curating foreign policy news for over 40,000 followers on Twitter. She appears regularly on CNN, the BBC, NPR, and PBS, lectures widely, and has served on boards of organizations ranging from the Council of Foreign Relations and the New America Foundation to the McDonald’s Corporation and the Citigroup Economic and Political Strategies Advisory Group. She is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group.Foreign Policy magazine named her to their annual list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. She has written or edited six books, including A New World Order (2004) and The Idea That Is America: Keeping Faith with Our Values in a Dangerous World (2007), and over 100 articles. She was also the convener and academic co-chair, with Professor John Ikenberry, of the Princeton Project on National Security, a multi-year research project aimed at developing a new, bipartisan national security strategy for the United States.
From 1994-2002, Dr. Slaughter was the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law and Director of the International Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. She received a B.A. from Princeton, an M.Phil and D.Phil in international relations from Oxford, where she was a Daniel M. Sachs Scholar, and a J.D. from Harvard. She is married to Professor Andrew Moravcsik; they live in Princeton with their two sons.
Brett is co-founder and Executive Director of Access (accessnow.org). Access defends and extends the digital rights of users at risk around the world. By combining innovative policy, user engagement, and direct technical support, the organization fights for open and secure communications for all. Brett sits on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Internet.
Previously, he was Campaign Director at Avaaz.org, a global movement which has rapidly grown into the largest online activist community in the world at almost 20 million subscribers in all 193 countries. He was the first Executive Director of GetUp, an Australian independent political movement which uses new technologies to facilitate Australians' participation in democracy. Brett has worked both locally and internationally on a range of social justice and human rights issues. He honed his career at Oxfam Australia, where he founded the International Youth Parliament (IYP), an international network of young social change leaders from 140 countries tackling issues such as poverty, conflict and globalization.
Prior to this, he worked as the Campaign Coordinator for Amnesty International Australia, where his main focus was refugees and asylum seekers, the arms trade and national security. Brett has a bachelors degree in Arts and Law from the University of Sydney and a masters degree in International Law from the University of New South Wales.
Lawrence Woocher is the research director of the Political Instability Task Force (PITF) which is an unclassified research program under a contract funded by the Central Intelligence Agency. From 2006-2011, he was a senior program officer at the United States Institute of Peace, where he focused on early warning, conflict prevention, and the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities. He was a member of the executive committee and lead expert on early warning for the Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen. He is also a lecturer at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Before joining USIP, Woocher was a research fellow at Columbia University’s Center for International Conflict Resolution and, concurrently, a consultant on early warning to the Office of the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide. Woocher holds degrees from Harvard’s Kennedy School and Brown University. *Lawrence is serving as a judge in his personal capacity, not on behalf of the Political Instability Task Force or the U.S. Government.
Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and a principal research scientist at MIT's Media Lab. His research focuses on the distribution of attention in mainstream and new media, the use of technology for international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists.
With Rebecca MacKinnon, Ethan co-founded international blogging community Global Voices. Global Voices showcases news and opinions from citizen media in over 150 nations and thirty languages, publishing editions in twenty languages. Through Global Voices and through the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where he served as a researcher and fellow for eight years, Ethan is active in efforts to promote freedom of expression and fight censorship in online spaces.
In 2000, Ethan founded Geekcorps, a technology volunteer corps that sends IT specialists to work on projects in developing nations, with a focus on West Africa. Previously Ethan helped found Tripod.com, one of the web's first "personal publishing" sites. He blogs at ethanzuckerman.com/blog and lives in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, USA with his wife, son and a small, fluffy cat.