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Last updated: Version 2.3 (Updated May 15, 2018).

Wednesday, May 16 • 17:15 - 18:15
Language Access and Humanitarian Response: A Matter of Human Rights

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The world is seeing an unprecedented scale of migration due to conflict and climate-related natural disasters, and people from very different linguistic backgrounds are coming together in a number of humanitarian contexts—rapid response work, logistics and support in refugee sites and general communications in job placement sites and shelters. Without the ability to communicate effectively with each other, both aid workers and beneficiaries stand to lose significantly.

In this panel, members of Meedan and Outside will share their experiences in the field in dialogue with others who are looking at issues of language barriers in humanitarian work. In the first 30 minutes, we will bring our perspective from field contexts that span southern Serbia to Greece, in sites where refugees and aid workers come nearly a dozen different language backgrounds.

In the latter 45 minutes, we will then open up the conversation to the audience to discuss the challenges they’ve seen in their work, specifically with regards to language and access. This format will borrow from Outside’s Humanitarian Design Workshop, also known as Design Thinking To Save Lives. In this interactive workshop, participants learn and apply the principles of Humanitarian Design to create real things that reduce suffering and save lives, with a specific focus on language. The goal is to exercise the principles of Humanitarian Design in a risk-free environment with experienced, real-world practitioners.

This conversation continues from RightsCon 2016, where Meedan hosted a conversation with members of InterNews, Global Voices and 18 Million Rising on issues of language, and we hope to discuss core principles and best practices around access.

avatar for Jovan Jelicic

Jovan Jelicic

T4D - Global Connectivity Manager, MercyCorps
As Global Connectivity Manager, Mercy Corps Technology for Development department (T4D), my responsibility is to deliver sustainable, secure Wi-Fi networks to high-density environments in different regions of the world. Since 2016 I've been heavily engaged in Syrian response crisis... Read More →

Dragana Kaurin

Founder & Director, Localization Lab
Dragana Kaurin is a human rights researcher and ethnographer working at the intersection of technology, human rights and migration. She is the founder and executive director of Localization Lab, a non-profit organization that works on technology adoption with local communities, research... Read More →
avatar for Tom Trewinnard

Tom Trewinnard

Programs & Partnerships, Meedan
Tom Trewinnard (UK) is Director of Programs at Meedan, a social technology non-profit working on the Check project to develop collaborative verification tools and open training curricula. He is a co-founder of Pop-Up Newsroom, which has led major collaborative reporting initiatives... Read More →

Wednesday May 16, 2018 17:15 - 18:15 EDT