A Better World by Design (and Tech)
By Andrea Jones
Andrea Jones is an undergraduate chemical engineering student at Brown University, class of 2010. This is her second year of involvement with Brown University's student chapter of Engineers Without Borders. She is currently an executive board member of Brown Engineers Without Borders and a coordinator of the "A Better World By Design" conference.
I am part of a group of Brown and RISD students who have been working together on what should be a terrific conference, "A Better World By Design," November 7-9, 2008 in Providence. "A Better World by Design" asks the question today's designers, engineers, and economists should be asking. How can we use technology to improve the world?
There is something brewing in the world today. Look closely and you will notice that industries are shifting focus towards building a better world. It is capitalism with a conscience. Many businesses and individuals are practicing sustainability, addressing the needs of society, and responding to the calls of the greatest threats the world has faced. The leaders are not only the executives, government officials, and large corporations of today's society. Among these powerful professionals, college students are staking their claim as active leaders of this movement.
"A Better World By Design" brings together world leaders in humanitarian design from industry to academia to speak about their roles in this movement and pave the way for further discussions and innovations. A total of nineteen world leaders have forgone their usual fee to participate as speakers in this student-run conference, and 300 individuals are already registered to attend. A number of the speakers will be of particular interest to the local info-tech and digital media community including:
- Iqbal Quadir is the Founder and Director of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT, and the founder of GrameenPhone, which provides virtually universal telephony access to rural Bangladesh.
- Ken Banks, founder of kiwanja.net, specializes in the application of mobile technology for positive social and environmental change in the developing world.
- Sheila Kennedy is a founding Principal of Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd., an interdisciplinary design practice that explores new relationships between architecture, digital technology and emerging public needs.
- Erik Hersman is the founder of AfriGadget, a multi-author website that showcases stories of Africans solving everyday problems with little more than their creativity and ingenuity.
"A Better World By Design" will spread awareness of the importance that this movement has in shaping the future of our world. It will not only bring together already established leaders in the movement to Providence, but will allow these leaders to share their individual pursuits with others, leading to more informed professionals, academics, and, most importantly, students. Empowering students with the knowledge of the innovative changes that are taking place in the world will lead to a new generation of leaders that is ready to learn from previous mistakes and forge unforeseen paths in a way that no one has anticipated.
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