Techfugees NY Collaborative Conference

#TechfugeesNY

Hosted by The Hive USA for UNHCR, Techfugees NY, and Techfugees NY Contact Host

Register By: Friday, February 5 at 2:00PM

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Event Description

IMPORTANT NOTE: The level of interest in this event has been incredible -- so great, in fact, that we have reached the capacity of the venue. But have no fear! We are working on securing additional space. But for now, starting January 30, those who sign up will be placed on our waitlist, and we will be in touch a couple days in advance of the event to let you know about our capacity.  

Please note that RSVPs (including the waitlist) will close Friday, February 5 at noon. But everyone is welcome to join us at Spark Labs (833 Broadway) at 6:30 pm for drinks and networking - no RSVP required. 

And, of course, everyone who wants one has place in the Techfugees NY community -- keep signing up so we can keep you in the loop about outcomes and future opportunities!  Thanks for your understanding -- we look forward to seeing everyone. If you have any questions or concerns, please email maddie@unrefugees.org.


The first Techfugees NY creative conference will take place on February 9 in New York City. The event will bring together expertise from tech, design, innovation, media and other communities to explore solutions to the global refugee crisis.


Techfugees NY will bring together the smartest minds in technology, design, innovation, media and humanitarian work for a series of discussions and work sessions focused on how to apply the expertise that exists within the United States to solving challenges related to the global refugee crisis. We will harness this expertise to break down the crisis to understand the actual challenges facing refugees, and we will take real steps toward actual solutions.

The discussions and work sessions will focus on challenges within three major areas, as identified by NGOs on the ground and others in the refugee space:


Coordination: Addressing different aspects of the global refugee crisis will require improved coordination across sectors, and greater efficiency and sophistication in delivering aid and other support around the globe. This includes the ability to collect, analyze and share data among organizations that provide direct support for refugees and across the NGO community. Additionally, there is a need for better understanding/mapping of the refugee experience and the emergency response and relief experience, as well as opportunities to identify and anticipate specific needs that can be prioritized in the future.


Expansion: There are systems in place, new apps and other tools that have been developed in the immediate response to the crisis in Europe. Those tools must continue to evolve and improve as the crisis continues to worsen, as well as seek out opportunities to scale and sustain projects so the solutions that have been deployed in Europe can also be applied to other areas of the world (Latin America, Asia, Africa, etc.) where there are equally serious refugee situations. There are also protocols that must be followed in order to protect refugees and standards that can be developed to help future innovation flow more readily.


Engagement: New and improved approaches to getting Americans engaged in efforts to address the global refugee crisis are needed - at all levels. It is more important than ever to improve how issues related to the global refugee crisis are communicated (going beyond storytelling and awareness raising), as well as find better ways to measure and direct support - across all sectors - (beyond fundraising and simple advocacy). Entrepreneurs, tech innovators and others are needed to help tap into the values, skills, and ambition of the United States to support refugees around the world. It's an American story!

Representatives from leading NGOs, tech companies, VCs and others will be on hand to participate, provide guidance and support, as well as feedback and input on the ideas and solutions being developed.


The Techfugees NY event is designed to:

  • Build a community of innovators eager to solve complex problems and create social value through hands-on tactical sessions and interactions between peers and experts;
  • Shape a process based on cross-sector collaboration and knowledge sharing among a diverse group of participants (design, technology, media, social entrepreneurship, business and NGOs/public sector) to create new knowledge and design sustainable refugee-led solutions;
  • Promote and execute an integrated approach based on design thinking principles of ideation, validation and iteration through collaborative learning;
  • Focus creative energies on building products for and with refugees in response to real social and economic challenges and market realities.


Tentative Schedule

8:00am - 8:45am         Registration/Breakfast

8:45am - 9:30am         Briefing (Refugee crisis, innovation rules, project approach)

9:30am - 11:00am       Planning Time (Small group brainstorms, prioritization, explore specific solutions)

11:00am - 11:45pm     Lunch/Networking

11:45pm - 1:45pm       Work Session 1 (three groups, discrete focus)

1:45pm - 2:00pm       Break

2:00pm - 4:00pm      Work Session 2  (three groups, discrete focus)

4:00pm - 4:30pm      Idea Sharing/Wrap Up (Rapid presentations, group discussion)

4:30pm - 6:00pm    Networking/Break

**Take a break, collect your thoughts, grab a coffee and meet us back at Spark Labs (833 Broadway) for drinks and debriefing**


6:30pm - 7:30pm      Cocktails/Networking at Spark Labs


Event Contact:

Brian Reich: brian@unrefugees.org | 212.714.1400

Media Contact:

Ryan Sommer: ryan@maintainpr.com | 646.220.4256 


About Techfugees

As migrants and refugees have poured into Europe this year, major technology players have raised millions in donations. Crowdfunding initiatives and smartphone apps have sprung up to ease the burden of navigation and communication with relatives and fellow travelers. Online petitions and activism have flourished. But finding solutions, let alone a cohesive strategy for a problem that has consistently eluded European policymakers will take more focus and collaboration.

Techfugees launched to help focus and respond to that need.  In its first 48 hours our Facebook Group and Twitter account exploded. Today there are now over 2,200 members of Techfugees, demonstrating a huge desire amongst the tech community to get involved with this issue.

People from across the tech sector have come together to organize "Techfugees" conferences around the world - in Germany, the UK, Australia and beyond. Part discussion, part hackathon, these events are designed to bring together engineers, entrepreneurs and startups with NGOs and other agencies in order to address the global refugee crisis in ways where the technology world can bring expertise.


About the Hive at USA for UNHCR

The Hive is an innovation lab headquartered in New York City that uses advanced data science to develop groundbreaking new models for consumer engagement. The Hive was formed to be an instrument for engaging Americans around the refugee crisis.

Using sophisticated data and insights on what motivates people to take action, the Hive implements unconventional projects and campaigns aimed at engaging Americans in new ways. By partnering with leading technology companies like Google. Airbnb, Kickstarter and Instacart, the Hive is also championing the importance of activating the private sector around solutions to the refugee crisis in ways that exceed mere funding alone.

We believe that strong symbiotic partnerships between businesses and NGOs can shift not only how the humanitarian sector handles global crises, but how businesses see their customers. Bringing together practitioners from the worlds of politics, branding, data and innovation, the Hive is changing how Americans respond to the refugee crisis.

We’re mapping out solutions for the most pressing issue of our time – and we’re thinking like a startup, not a nonprofit. We are assembling the best, brightest, and smartest people we can find to help us light the way.

As a special project of USA for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, we’re building knowledge about issues relating to refugees so that Americans will grow more committed to solving the refugee crisis. We’re using data science to identify and micro-target prospective supporters. And we’re developing strategic partnership opportunities for corporations and brands that change everything we know about philanthropy and advocacy.

We’re changing the way Americans change the world. For more information, visit www.projecthive.nyc.

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