Universal Access to Energy | Session 2: Engagement Opportunities & Policy Debate Roundtable | IEEE TechEthics & UN-DESA

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About the Video: This session provides information on how to get engaged in the UN policy debates on technologies for universal access to energy, as well as similar engagement opportunities across various parts of IEEE.

About the Event:

Part of a new series of online events conceived by IEEE TechEthics and UN-DESA as a way to facilitate and share technology solutions and promote substantive discussions among policy makers, engineers, legal experts, ethicists, social scientists, and others on a variety of topics related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This event in the series focused on Universal Access to Energy.

View/download session 2 handouts (PDF)

About the Speakers:

- Marcel Alers is the Global Head of Energy for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Marcel is an experienced development professional and has many years of experience in environmental and energy management. He first joined UNDP in 1999, focusing on GEF funded project development and developed a significant portfolio of clean energy projects, including a large number of energy efficiency projects in particular in the buildings sector. After leading UNDP’s programming in the area of sustainable energy for many years, since 2018 he has been UNDP’s Global Head of Energy, focusing on energy policy and strategy. Prior to joining UNDP, Marcel worked as a senior environmental specialist at the African Development Bank with a special focus on energy and infrastructure. Before that, he managed several sustainable forest and protected area management projects in Cote d’Ivoire and in several Central African countries.

- Shantanu Mukherjee is a micro-economist interested in poverty, inequality, health and sustainability. Apart from cross-cutting SDG analysis, his current work focuses on strengthening the science-policy interface and enhancing the impact of science, technology and innovation on the SDGs. His team leads the UN support for the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) and the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM). Before this, he led the research and writing unit of the United Nations’ Development Programme’s (UNDP) flagship Human Development Report, focusing especially on the analysis of jobs and livelihoods in the context of the sustainability transition and rapid technological change. Prior to that he was head of UNDP’s MDG (Millennium Development Goals) policy work, working directly with many developing countries. Some of his most interesting assignments during this period were with Bangladesh, Colombia, Indonesia, Jordan, Liberia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Togo and Yemen. Shantanu began his career with the Indian Government in different areas of finance as well as development policy planning and implementation. He earned a PhD in Economics from Princeton University and also holds advanced degrees in Public Policy and Physics.

- Damir Novosel is president and founder of Quanta Technology, a subsidiary of Quanta Services, a Fortune 250 company. Previously, he was vice president of ABB Automation Products and president of KEMA T&D US. Dr. Novosel is also an adjunct professor of Electrical Engineering at North Carolina State University. He chairs the IEEE Industry Technical Support Leadership Committee. Damir served as President of the IEEE Power and Energy Society and VP of Technical Activities. He is a member of the IEEE Standards Board. Damir is also a member of the CIGRE US National Committee and received the CIGRE Attwood Associate and the Distinguished Member awards. Dr. Novosel was elected to National Academy of Engineering, holds 17 US and international patents, has published over 190 articles and reports, and contributed to 5 books. Damir is an IEEE Fellow since 2003, holds PhD, MSc, and BSc degrees in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University (where he was a Fulbright scholar), the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and the University of Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, respectively. Dr. Novosel was selected as Mississippi State University Distinguished Engineering Fellow.

- Pritpal Singh is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Villanova University. He received his BSc in Physics from the University of Birmingham in England in 1978 and his Ph.D. in Applied Science/Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 1984. Dr. Singh has been working in solar energy research for over 40 years, working right from the cell level to the systems level. He teaches postgraduate courses in power electronics renewable energy systems, sustainable product development for low resource settings and information, communication and energy technologies for development (ICET4D). He ran his own solar business in India for five years and has consulted for the US Department of Energy and two private companies on solar electric systems. He has worked with UNICEF in Nicaragua, Burundi and Zimbabwe giving workshops on renewable energy and entrepreneurship. He has recently worked on humanitarian projects in Ecuador in renewable energy and connectivity with colleagues from the Escuela Politecnica del Litoral (ESPOL) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Dr. Singh served as the IEEE Special Interest Group for Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) Education Subcommittee Chair from 2017 - 2019 and was the 2020 Chair of the Assessment Training Ad-hoc Subcommittee of IEEE SIGHT. He was also the Technical Chair for the 2020 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference. He currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Education Committee for IEEE Smart Village.

- Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan is a globally renowned technologist best known for his technological innovations in addressing global humanitarian and sustainable development challenges. Currently, he serves as the global chair for the 2021 IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC) managing the portfolio of IEEE sustainable development and humanitarian engineering programs globally. Prior to serving as the 2021 HAC Chair, Sampath was the 2019-2020 global chair for the IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) leading that program to record-breaking growth through high-impact, technology-driven sustainable programs benefiting members in 117+ countries. He served as an expert in the 2020 Broadband commission working group on school connectivity that is co-chaired by UNESCO, UNICEF and ITU to drive “GIGA’, a Global School Connectivity Initiative. He is the founder and president of the technology-based humanitarian program “The Brahmam”, that aims to deliver next generation social innovations to achieve sustainable development goals and benefit the marginalized communities globally. He received his B.E. degree in Computer Science and Engineering (2005) from Anna University, India, and M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University, USA (2010). Throughout his career, Sampath spearheaded cutting-edge technology development programs in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, computer vision, spoken language technology, cloud computing, information systems, assistive technologies and sustainable technologies. For over a decade, he delivered technology-driven sustainable development programs that brought together the engineering communities, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies and disability advocacy groups to improve the living conditions of children with disabilities and impoverished women and students in developing nations. He currently works as a senior technology and program management leader with Alexa Artificial Intelligence Group at Amazon, Massachusetts where he spearheads the next generation conversational AI science and engineering programs in the Natural Language Understanding space. Sampath is accredited with numerous global awards and global media mentions for his leadership contributions and innovations in leading technology-based humanitarian programs. Most recently, IEEE honored him with the 2020 IEEE Theodore W.Hissey Outstanding Young Professional Award “for inspiring leadership, exemplary innovations, and pioneering contributions to addressing global challenges through technology-driven IEEE humanitarian programs”.

- Mark A. Vasquez (moderator) is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with over 25 years of experience in association management at IEEE. He currently serves as the senior program manager for IEEE TechEthics, a program that drives conversations about the ethical and societal impacts of technology. In this capacity, he works to develop relationships with others in the technology ethics community, produces events, convenes thought leaders, and more. Mark is an engineering graduate of The Cooper Union.

Recorded on 11 February 2021.

About the Video: This session provides information on how to get engaged in the UN policy debates on technologies for universal access to energy, as well as similar engagement opportunities across various parts of IEEE.

Speakers in this video