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Keynote Speaker

Opening Plenary Keynote
Depoliticizing Information Through Blockchain

Sunday, 25 October, 9:00 AM-10:30 AM

Houman Haddad


Houman Haddad is the Head of Emerging Technologies at the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). Houman is the founder of WFP’s “Building Blocks” (BB) project, which seeks to harness the power of blockchain to foster interagency collaboration and create efficiencies.

Building Blocks is the world’s largest implementation of blockchain technology for humanitarian assistance, currently serving 700,000 Syrian and Rohingya refugees in Jordan and Bangladesh. Blockchain technology also has the potential to empower the vulnerable through financial inclusion and digital identities. Houman joined WFP in 2010 and, prior to WFP, worked in Canada’s banking sector.

Closing Plenary
Thursday, 29 October; 4:00-5:30 pm ET

"Information for a Sustainable World: A Call to Action"

Panelists: Africa Chapter, Asia Pacific Chapter, Europe Chapter, South Asia, New England Chapter

Moderators: Clara M. Chu, Mortenson Distinguished Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2019-20 ASIS&T President); Kendra S. Albright, Goodyear Endowed Professor in Knowledge Management, School of Information, Kent State University, and Bharat Mehra, EBSCO Endowed Chair in Social Justice & Professor, University of Alabama (2020 ASIS&T Annual Meeting Co-Chairs)

In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, ASIS&T issued a Statement on Injustice and Standing with George Floyd, in which we stated that the information science and technology community and our association have a role to play in tackling racism and other forms of injustice. This year we restructured chapters into regions and a new regional chapter was formed, the Africa Chapter.  In the closing plenary, ASIS&T Chapter leaders will describe what their chapter is doing and/or considers critical in its work or in the region to advance the agenda, focused on information for a sustainable world.

These experts and regional leaders will share powerful ideas to tackle institutional racism or other systemic biases and other grand challenges, and how we can collectively advance sustainable development. The UN Sustainable Development Goals will frame the dialogue. With information and technologies, we can expose injustices and offer solutions to create a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. This is an agenda setting session and a call to action!