Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT)

Date: June 1, 11:30 AM-12:30 PM

The IEEE is dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. Its Constitution defines the purposes of the organization as for “the advancement of the theory and practice of Electrical, Electronics, Communications and Computer engineering, as well as computer science, the allied branches of engineering and the related arts and sciences.” IEEE’s desire to enter the Relief and Development sector seems like a natural evolution of its vision to “be universally recognized for the contributions of technology and of technical professionals in improving global conditions” , but it may as well be perceived as a stretch of that vision outside IEEE’s core areas of activities.

Join us for a panel discussion with representatives from the Government, educational institutions, Non-Governmental Organizations and IEEE to discuss IEEE’s current humanitarian activities, current programs and vision for its future in this area.

Moderator: Alfredo Herrera

Alfredo Herrera is an electrical engineer with over 18 years of experience in digital design and verification (ASIC/FPGA), radio system performance verification, technical project management and recently radio system design. Alfredo is currently finalising a Master degree in Systems Science and his thesis in on Open Source Hardware for human development at the university of Ottawa; through this academic research, he has helped define an Open Source Licensing strategy for IEEE’s HW and SW designs. Alfredo actively participated in IEEE’s Humanitarian Technology Challenge, joining the Reliable Electricity Solutions team in 2009 and later being one of the founding members of the PES Smart Villages (formerly Community Solutions Initiative). He likes learning, working on complex problems, and helping others; as can be observed throughout his career as well as in his volunteering for the IEEE. Alfredo is currently a member of the Steering Committee of IEEE’s Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT).
He has also served as:
  • Vice-chair (2005-2011) and chair (2011-2013, 2015) of the IEEE Ottawa chapter of the Technology and Engineering Management Society.
  • Founder (2009) and chair (2010-2012) of the IEEE-Canada Humanitarian Initiatives Committee.
  • Secretary (2008) of the IEEE Ottawa section.
  • Chair (2007) of the IEEE Workshop on Accelerating Computationally Intensive Applications

Michael Lightner

Michael R. Lightner

Michael Lightner is Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Colorado System, a role to which he brings eight years of experience as department chair. In addition, he is currently a Professor of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder which he joined in 1981. He received his PhD from Carnegie-Mellon, and BS (highest honors), and MS from the University of Florida, all in Electrical Engineering. He has worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories, IBM Watson Research, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, consulted with several major companies on computer-aided design. For many years his research was focused on electronic design automation including simulation, synthesis, test, formal verification and optimization of integrated circuits. He was elevated to a IEEE Fellow, for his contributions to computer-aided design. He has received the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Golden Jubilee Medal, IEEE Third Millennium Medal, and the Distinguished Service Award from IEEE for serving as Editor of IEEE Transactions on Computer-aided Design. He is currently the chair of the IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee.

The last ten years have been spent focusing on assistive technology for people with cognitive disabilities. He is Co-Director of the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Advancing Technologies for Adults with Cognitive Impairments (RERC-ATACI) at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Technology Director of Boulder Digital Works, an innovative postgraduate digital media program. Michael Lightner is  a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. In these recent roles he has worked with a variety of government agencies and NGOs, and initiated the first IEEE Conference on the Future of Assistive Technology bringing together government, academe, industry, NGOs, public interest groups, and the public to address the needs in assistive technology over the next decade.

Dr. Mark Williamson

MarkMark A. Williamson is Director General of Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science, which operates in partnership with Public Safety Canada. DRDC CSS is responsible for leading the Canadian Safety and Security Program on behalf of the Government of Canada, a program whose mission is to strengthen Canada’s ability to anticipate,prevent/mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters, serious accidents,crime and terrorism through the convergence of science and technology (S&T) with policy,operations and intelligence.

Mark has performed and managed S&T activities across the academic, industry and government sectors for over 20 years. He began his government career as a petroleum geoscience research scientist with Natural Resources Canada. Throughout the 90’s he coordinated and led several multidisciplinary academic, industry and government initiatives that evaluated and assessed petroleum potential in Canada’s frontier basins. Subsequently, as Program Manager for the Earth Science Sector (ESS), he managed a large effort to consolidate and make available Canada’s geoscience knowledge base.

In 2006, Mark was appointed Director of Chemical, Biological, Radiological-Nuclear and Explosives Research and Technology Initiative where he was responsible for making strategic investments in CBRNE related S&T. This involved efforts to harness existing intellectual capacity across Canada’s federal science based departments and in creating linkages with industry and academia. Subsequently he assumed the role of DDG for DRDC CSS with responsibility to develop a strategic framework within which to identify safety and security policy and operational priorities requiring S&T investments.

Amir G. Aghdam

amirAmir G. Aghdam received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Toronto in 2000 and worked as a development engineer at Voyan Technology, Santa Clara, California from 2000 to 2001. He was a postdoctoral researcher atp the systems control group of the University of Toronto for six months and then joined Concordia University in 2002, where he is currently a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Aghdam is a member of Professional Engineers of Ontario and a senior member of the IEEE. He served as Chair of the IEEE Montreal Section and Chair of the Control Systems Chapter of the IEEE Montreal Section (2005-2006), and Chair of the IEEE Eastern Canada Area (2007-2009). He was the Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Canadian Review (2010-2012), and General Chair of the 2012 IEEE Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Aghdam is a member of the Conference Editorial Board of IEEE Control Systems Society, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Systems Journal, an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, European Journal of Control, IET Control Theory & Applications, and Canadian Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has been a Technical Program Committee Member of a number of conferences including IEEE Conference on Control Applications, IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, American Control Conference, and IEEE Conference on Systems, Man & Cybernetics. Since August 2013, he has been a member of Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) ECE Evaluation Group, and is currently a member of IEEE Awards Board. He is a Fellow of Engineering Institute of Canada, and is a recipient of the 2009 IEEE MGA Achievement Award and 2011 IEEE Canada J. J. Archambault Eastern Canada Merit Award. Dr. Aghdam was the Registration Chair of the 2014 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, and was a Keynote Speaker of the 29th ACM Symposium on Applied Computing in South Korea. He is the 2014-2015 President of IEEE Canada and Director of IEEE Region 7.

Matt Hewet


I have a EE degree from the University of Arizona.  Haven’t wired a circuit in a while!  Currently a technology innovation manager at the Canadian Red Cross working specifically with our domestic disaster management and international emergency disaster operations teams.  Over the past ten years, I have been working on technology and information management teams in the humanitarian sector.   I have field experience in Hurricane Katrina (2005 – USA -American Red Cross), Greensburg Tornado (2007 – USA – FEMA), Hurricane Ike (2008 – USA – FEMA), Haiti Earthquake (2010 – UN OCHA), Albert Floods (2013 – Canadian Red Cross), Typhoon Haiyan (2013 – Philippines – International Federation of the Red Cross), Northern Iraq Population Displacement (2014 – Kurdish Region of Iraq – International Federation of the Red Cross).

Current projects we are working on at the Canadian Red Cross are: developing a case management system and online web registration system to better assist  our disaster clients, developing GIS capacity to assist with situational awareness and reporting during disaster relief and recovery operations, investigating mobile data collection tools to assist with relief and recovery work, choosing technology (short term) and developing standards for field ICT equipment to improve field communications, and  implementing a mass notification system to improve volunteer mobilization for disaster operations.

The Canadian Red Cross Society

The Canadian Red Cross Society is part of the largest humanitarian network in the world, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This network includes theInternational Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (Federation) and 189 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies dedicated to improving the situation of the most vulnerable throughout the world.

 Canadian Red Cross Domestic Disaster Management Operations

As a leading provider of humanitarian assistance in Canada, the Red Cross Disaster Management Programs offers a broad range of emergency management services that help people prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters, ranging from small individual disasters to large-scale catastrophic events. The program supports relief and recovery activities, such as distributing emergency supplies, reuniting families, and providing people with the assistance they need to recover. Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the Red Cross relies on well trained volunteers to support service delivery.

Canadian Red Cross International Operations

The Canadian Red Cross delivers  primary health care programs,  relief supplies, water and sanitation and shelter solutions to people affected by conflicts or natural disasters. Canadian Red Cross international programming promotes cost-effective, community-based programs, which target large numbers of people with humanitarian aid that is rapid, effective and large-scale. We are currently assisting the Nepalese Red Cross effort with our medical hospital described here: http://www.redcross.ca/who-we-are/red-cross-stories/2015/red-cross-teams-continue-delivering-aid-following-second-nepal-earthquake.

Special Panel: STRAT24 Take Two

Date: June 1, 12:30 PM-1:30 PM

On Jan 24th 2015 Enactus uOttawa and IEEE Ottawa Section presented case study to introduce STRAT24 students to:  IEEE Humanitarian Initiatives.

The STRAT24 is designed to challenge students with an issue/problem and present a strategy for implementation from introduction to presentation in a 24 hour period.

The success of the STRAT24 Student Competition is the inspiration for this panel.

The IHTC2015 Panel: STRAT24 Take Two concept is to invite two of the participating student teams to present their recommendations the strategies and/or solutions post STRAT24.

The panel would include the following:

  • Welcome and statement of proposed panel discussion
  • Student presentations
  • Question & answer period
  • Wrap up

Panel Moderators: Dr. Sawsan Abdul-Majid, and Ms Joan Kerr

Evaluators: IEEE SIGHT leaders, CISCO, Enactus Start24, IEEE HQ executives.


The Use of Technology in the Canadian Forces Humanitarian Assistance Operation in Haiti, January-March 2010

Date: June 1, 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Paper 1: Canadian Military Engineering Response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake Disaster (Major Claire Bramma)

Author’s Biography:

ClaireMajor Claire Bramma is a Combat Engineer Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. She graduated from Royal Military College Kingston in 2002 with a degree in Civil Engineering and in 2006 she completed a Masters of Science Degree in Defence Geographic Information from Cranfield University, U.K. Major Bramma’s postings have included combat engineer regiments, the Mapping and Charting Establishment, and the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command. She deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan 2004 in a combat engineering role and then again in 2012 as a geospatial staff officer with ISAF HQ. Major Bramma has also completed three disaster response operations: BC wildfires in 2003, St-Jean sur Richelieu floods in 2011, and most notably following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. In January 2010 she deployed to Leogane, Haiti as a Squadron Commander as part of the Canadian Forces disaster response effort, where she coordinated a variety of military engineering activities including the provision of water and sanitation. She is currently posted to Canadian Forces College Toronto for the Joint Command and Staff Program.

Paper 2: Canadian Forces Urban Search & Rescue Response in the 2010 Haiti Earthquake Disaster (Major Wayne Desjardins)

Author’s Biography:

Maj. DezMaj Desjardins joined the Militia as an infanteer in 1982, was commissioned as an infantry officer in 1984, and completed his infantry officer training in 1986. During his 17-year reserve career, he served in numerous appointments both within the Reserves and Regular Force, in Canada and overseas, rising to the rank of Major.

In 1999, Maj Desjardins accepted a transfer to the Regular Force as a Signals Officer at the rank of Captain. Following his initial army signals officer training, he was posted to 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters & Signals Squadron in Petawawa, Ontario where he served as a unit Signals Officer, then Signal Squadron Operations Officer, and finally with 2 Area Support Group Signals Squadron as the Deputy Commanding Officer.

In 2006, he was again promoted to the rank of Major; however, having accepted an occupational transfer to Construction Engineer, he once again reverted back in rank to Captain. After completing his initial construction engineer training, he was posted to the Canadian Forces Fire Academy as a fire protection officer. In 2008 upon completion of his fire officer training, he was posted to 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia as the Wing Fire Chief. In 2011, he was promoted to Major for the third time and posted to Joint Task Force North in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories as the Construction Engineering Officer. In March 2013, Maj Desjardins was selected as the Royal Canadian Air Force Fire Marshal and moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba in July.

Maj Desjardins has served overseas in Northern Ireland; peacekeeping in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia; and lead the Canadian Forces inaugural Urban Search and Rescue team in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. He is a recipient of the Medal of Bravery – for re-entering a seized building and negotiating the release of 17 hostages in an armed standoff; and a Meritorious Service Medal – for his leadership during the rescue & recovery operations in Haiti.

He also holds a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems Management, and Hospitality Management.

Paper 3: Communications Technology Imperatives and Challenges in The Canadian Forces Response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake Disaster (Dr Rachel Lea Heide)

Author’s Biography:

rachel2Dr. Rachel Lea Heide works for Canada’s Department of National Defence as a Defence Scientist/Strategic Analyst in Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Operational Research and Analysis. Foci include humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, futures scanning, concept development, war-gaming, lessons learned, terrorism and counter-insurgency, War of 1812 commemoration, and Afghanistan conflict war diary research.

Dr Heide is a Canadian air force historian, specializing in the period from 1916 to 1946. She attended Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where she earned a BA (Honours), MA, and PhD in history. Dr Heide has researched, published, and presented on the topics of air force organization, training, leadership, morale, professionalization, mutinies, accident investigation, and government policy. She has also instructed distance learning courses in Canadian history and Canadian military history for Algonquin College (Ottawa, Ontario), Canadian Forces College (Toronto, Ontario), and Royal Military College (Kingston, Ontario).

Women in Engineering:
Practicing Your Profession Within Differing Social, Cultural and Multi-Disciplinary Contexts.

Date: June 2, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM.


Engineers and other professionals must practice their particular discipline within a wide variety of multidisciplinary, social and cultural contexts that can enhance or constrain their approach, practices and experiences. Understanding and leveraging these contexts appropriately can make the difference between both professional and personal success or failure.  For women in particular, their perceived role within a social or cultural context may require them to take particular care and attention to how they go about ensuring professional and personal success. This panel hopes to bring out some of these important elements through a dialogue between the panelists and the audience on personal observations, experiences, successes and failures within these different contexts.

Dr. Ferial El-Hawary

ferialDr. Ferial El-Hawary (M’82-S’86-F’99) received the B.Eng. degree from University of Alexandria, and the M. Sc. from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, in Electrical Engineering; and the Ph.D.in Oceans Engineering from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. Dr. El-Hawary is the President and founder of BH Engineering Systems Ltd. She served on the Faculty of Engineering at Dalhousie University, where she established and directed the Modeling & Signal Analysis Research Laboratory, where she developed and taught related courses linking academic innovations to industrial needs. She has published widely in IEEE Journals and she is the Editor-in-Chief of The Ocean Engineering Handbook. Also, served as Associate Editor of IEEE Oceanic Engineering Journal. (She has established and developed the Task Force for WIE of the Association of Professional Engineers of Nova-Scotia, 1990). Prior to that, she spent two years (1971-1973) in Brazil following her husband Mo in being part of the team for establishing a Higher Research Institute which is now well recognized as (COPPE) in Rio de-Janero, Brazil.

She is IEEE-Canada (Region-7) Director 2008-09, and served many of IEEE Standing Committees. Currently she is serving on IEEE/Oceanic Engineering Society Board. Ferial is recognized for her leadership in establishing many of IEEE- OES Chapters in Halifax, France, Norway and a joint OES Chapter in Quebec City, Canada. Ferial served as IEEE OCEANS’08 General Co-Chair, IEEE Section Congress’08 and IEEE OCEANS’11 Organizing Committees. She was the General Chair of IEEE Canada International Humanitarian Technology Conference (IHTC’2014), Montreal, Canada. Also, she has participated in many of IEEE Panel Discussions related to higher education and IEEE/OES Oceans related.

She is the recipient of the IEEE-Systems Man & Cybernetics Society (SMC) Outstanding Contribution Award, IEEE- Educational Activities Board (EAB) Meritorious Achievement Award in Continuing Education, Marine Technology Society (MTS) Ocean Engineering Compass International Award, the J.J. Archambault IEEE/Eastern Canada Council Merit Award, IEEE Third Millennium Medal, IEEE/RAB Achievement Award and IEEE/OES Distinguished Service Award. She is Fellow of (MTS), Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC), and Fellow of IEEE.

Professor Karin Hinzer

Karin4Prof. Karin Hinzer is the Canada Research Chair in Photonic Nanostructures and Integrated Devices and Associate Professor at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Ottawa. She has made pioneering contributions to the experimental physics of quantum dots marked by two landmark papers in Science. She gained extensive experience in the design and fabrication of group III-V semiconductor devices while at the National Research Council Canada, Nortel Networks and then Bookham (now Oclaro). Cost reduction strategies and liaison with remote fabrication facilities strongly feature in her industry experience. She joined the University of Ottawa in 2007 where she founded the SUNLAB, the premier Canadian modelling and characterization laboratory for next generation multi-junction solar devices and concentrator systems. Her research involves developing new ways to harness the sun’s energy. Since 2010, she has been the inorganic photovoltaics co-theme leader within the Pan-Canadian Photovoltaic Research Network. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Inaugural Canadian Energy Award with industry partner Morgan Solar for the development of more efficient solar panels. She is an IEEE Senior Member and part of the CMC Microsystems Technical Advisory Committee. She has published over 120 refereed papers, trained over 85 highly-qualified personnel and in 2013, her laboratory spun-off a new Canadian company in the energy sector.

Arwa Abdul Wahid

arwaArwa Abdul Wahid was born in Basra, Iraq. Soon thereafter, at the beginning of the first gulf war, she left her home country and moved with her family to Kuwait, where she lived for eight years. Then she immigrated to Canada in 1989. Arwa have several educational degrees, starting from Bachelor in Arts and Sciences from Concordia University, a degree in Accounting and Managements certificate from The John Molson School of Business, as well as a degree in education from the faculty of education at Ottawa University. Recently, Arwa finished a masters graduate studies program specializing in Society, Culture, and literacy, at The University of Ottawa.

Arwa’s passion for poetry had started from an early age, while studying at John Abbott College; she had participated in several exhibitions that were held each year at the International Week. Pictures, poetry, artwork and food were on display to showcase the quality of the Iraqi civilization, culture and people, and to emphasize that Iraq was going through a dark phase that will not last forever. Arwa’s involvement at the time was to write short poems and deliver them at these events. During her university studies at Concordia University, Arwa’s contributions to international events started to expand inside and outside the university by writing and delivering longer poems at larger exhibitions.

Arwa’s passion for community activities was not exclusive to college and university events, as she had actively participated in many fund raising activities meant for the children of Iraq that were affected by the UN Embargo. These fund raising activities were organized by a charity organization called the “Voices of Conscience”.

On August 5, 2000, Mr. Wajdi Mouawad had invited this group to participate at Theatre De Quat’sous, in order to draw the world attention to the miserable Iraqi situation after ten years of sanction. She wrote and recited a poem called an Art Lesson in Arabic and translated it to English, where La press had described her as the civilized side of Iraq. During that event a fund raising activity had took place, in order to deliver medication and school supplies to the Iraqi children.

In March of 2003, in the wake of the US-led coalition invasion of Iraq, Arwa was a guest speaker on many Canadian media outlets, such as CTV news, Radio Quebec, CBC etc. Arwa also participated with the Red Cross, in order to connect with the families affected by this brutal situation. She also recited many poems with different groups. Arwa continues to participate in events and deliver her messages in a very simplistic and passionate manner, where she stays away from complex abstracted metaphoric ideas, she had created a path of her own that mainly depends on rhythmic structures and life praxis. She had participated in 2011 at the Espace Feminine Arabe Gala, where she was among the nominees, and participated by reciting her poetry. In December 11, 2012 she was chosen as a face of multicultural Montreal, by the campaign of Mme. Louise Harel. On February 9th2013, Arwa was declared, by the University of Ottawa, to be the first woman reciting poetry in Arabic in a North American university.

In March 9, 2014, at the international women day she was awarded by the community for her leading role in helping and being a mentor. In August 29, 2014, she participated by reciting a poem of her composition (in video format), in the latest edition of the Oryantalis Festival. Therein she used literary elements of Mesopotamian mythology to highlight and to draw the world’s attention to the tragic lives of ordinary Iraqis, and the peril of future generations. The said presentation was on display for 4 days at the Old Port of Montréal and is currently being considered for transformation into a documentary film by a German director. On December 11, 2014, she was nominated by the university of Ottawa for Senior Women Academic Administrators competition for 2015, in recognition of her literary work, including:

  1. 3D, a poem shedding light on violence against women.
  2. Bankruptcy,a poem talking about culture shock and the decline of the human values.
  3. 9+, a poem discussing the problem of permitting early marriages for young girls and wasting the innocence of childhood.
  4. The History of Ali, a poem that sheds the light on abortion, and finally,
  5. The gardens of light, a poem that explores the outcomes of engineering human ecology.

Moreover, she is nominated for the creativity award (2015) in recognition for her literary work, she is also nominated for the CBC poetry award and for The Montreal International poetry prize .

Ms Arwa Abdul Wahid is an Arabic-Canadian woman who had created a mission for herself in supporting all those who are in need and empowering them in spreading hope for a better and brighter future through her acclaimed poetry. Arwa strives to set a positive example for other women using her poetry.

Dr. Sawsan Abdul Majid

SawsasnDr. Sawsan Abdul Majid, is a Group Manager & Part time professor at the faculty of engineering , University of Ottawa.   She holds PhD in Optical Communication Systems from Varna University, Bulgaria. Since 1993 till now, she has joined many Faculty of Engineering departments internationally ( Libya and Iraq) .She is now part time professor at faculty of engineering at the University of Ottawa , as well as at Algonquin college. She also has eight years Canadian industrial experience in the field of Optical Communication Systems, in which she worked for Global Fiber Optics, and Optiwave Corporation.

Dr. Abdul-Majid is licensed as professional engineer of Ontario. Her work expertise is in the field of silicon photonics, and nano photonics. She has more than 40 publications, related to optical systems, silicon photonics, and nanowire PIC.Since 2008 she has been with the Centre for research in photonics at the University of Ottawa.

Dr. Abdul-Majid is a Senior Member IEEE and an IEEE Canada HIC Committee member since 2010. She has been a member of the HIC Workshop Organization Committee in 2012, Chaired IEEE Canada HIC Student Activities at CCEC 2013, CCEC2014and IHTC2014.

At IHTC 2015 Dr. Abdul–Majid, is technical committee co-chair and student activities chair.

Joan Kerr

Joan 1Joan Kerr is a Social Entrepreneur and humanitarian with over 21 years in facilitating community economic development projects. She is the President and CEO of the Foundation for Building Sustainable Communities. She brings with her a diverse background in Project Management, marketing and film production. Her expertise lies in the not for profit, private and entertainment sectors. Her clients include local and international businesses. She received nominations for the YWCA “Woman of Distinction” and the Home and Business Association, Business of the Year awards. Joan is the recipient of the United Nation Civil Society Award for creativity and content and the Jessica Markland Partnership Awards.

Dr. Julie Lefebvre

Dr. Julie LefebvreDr. Julie Lefebvre is the Director General Science and Technology Joint Force Development (DGSTJFD) at Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC). She leads the development of science and technology (S&T) programs aligned with Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) outcomes taking into account broader Government of Canada and DND/CAF strategies. Dr. Lefebvre also negotiates strategic partnerships with DND/CAF clients, OGDs, Allies, Industry and Academia to leverage capacity and capability and position S&T as part of Canadian and international innovation systems.

Perspectives on Enabling Resiliency

Date: June 2, 10:30 PM – 12:00 PM

Jean-Philippe Tizi

Jean-Philippe Tizi is currently serving as the Deputy Director General, Disaster Manager, with the Canadian Red Cross, where he manages catastrophic planning and recovery operations. He recently moved to this position after being in charge of the post-earthquake relief and recovery operations in Haiti for the last 4 years.

Jean-Philippe joined the Canadian Red Cross in August 2004 as manager of the Americas program where he led development work in the region. After the tsunami disaster of December 2004, he became the deputy national director of Asia-Tsunami operations and was responsible for managing and implementing Canadian Red Cross programs in the tsunami-affected areas of Indonesia, Maldives and Sri Lanka. In June 2006, Jean-Philippe was chosen to be the Director of the Emergencies and Recovery Unit of the Canadian Red Cross International Operations. In this capacity, Jean-Philippe has also become the Head the Canadian Red Cross Asia-Tsunami operations, and has been in charge of various Canadian Red Cross responses in China, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and to other disasters and crises around the world.

In 2010, Jean-Philippe has been selected to be part of the Disasters and Crisis Management Advisory Body to the Board of Governors of the International Federation of the Red Cross.

Prior to working for the Red Cross Jean-Philippe worked with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. He later became program manager with Médecins du Monde and oversaw the development and management of public health and medical humanitarian assistance programs around the world.

Jean-Philippe holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the National School of Engineering in France as well as an Executive Masters in Business Administration from the University of Quebec and from University Paris Dauphine, France.

Ian Burton

Ian Burton is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography and the School of the Environment at the University of Toronto, where he was previously Institute Director. He subsequently worked in the policy office of Environment Canada and as Director of the Climate Change Adaptation Group in the Meteorological Service of Canada.

He has specialised in natural hazards and disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change. He is currently a member of the Working Group on Forensic Investigations of Disaster with the International Council for Science (ICSU). He is a member of the Advisory Committee to Canada’s Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction for Public Safety Canada, and served as co-chair of the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation for the Government of Ontario. He has contributed as a Lead Author to three reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and serves as a consultant to  the World Bank (Climate Investment Funds), and other international  agencies, and is  a visiting Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (London, UK).

Ian is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and  a Trustee of the World Academy of Arts and Science. Ian is the author of many books and papers including The Environment as Hazard (second edition, Guilford Press, New York 1992.)

Lori MacDonald

Lori MacDonald is the Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management and Programs Branch. Responsibilities range from strengthening the national leadership role in emergency management to the delivery of national programs.

Previously, Lori worked for 30 years with the Correctional Service of Canada, she held a variety of positions within the Ontario Region and the National Headquarters in various capacities. She began her career at Kingston Penitentiary in 1983 as a Correctional Officer, and was among a group of women to become the first female Correctional Officers to work in a maximum security institution in Ontario.

In the years since she became a Correctional Officer, Lori took on roles as a Living Unit Officer, Case Management Officer, Unit Manager and other levels of increasing responsibility at institutions in the Kingston area. In 1997, Lori became the Deputy Warden of the Prison for Women and was instrumental in advancing its closure. She then took on a number of projects for National Headquarters of the Correctional Service of Canada, that saw her developing and expanding programs for the Women Offender Sector, most notably the Mental Health Initiative that is now a standard in all women’s institutions. Lori also helped expand programming for men, women and Aboriginal Offenders and those with mental health needs.

Lori then spent 10 years at National Headquarters working in various sectors including the Women Offender Sector, where she ultimately acted as the Deputy Commissioner for Women, the Executive Secretariat and the Public Affairs and Parliamentary Relations Sector as the Assistant Commissioner.

Lori returned to the Ontario Region in 2010 to take on the responsibilities of the Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Institutional Operations. In February 2012, Lori was appointed Ontario’s Regional Deputy Commissioner.

In September 2013, Lori as returned to the National Headquarters to temporary fulfill the role of the Senior Deputy Commissioner on a acting basis.

A native of Napanee, Ontario, Lori has a diploma in Law and Security from Loyalist College in Belleville and a degree in Criminology with a concentration in Law from Carleton University in Ottawa.

Communication Technologies for Disaster Response and Humanitarian Action: Opportunities and Challenges.

Date: June 2, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM


Advancements in communications technologies are transforming humanitarian and emergency response. For example, social technologies have enabled disaster survivors and citizens to actively contribute to humanitarian relief efforts and emergency response actions through crisis-mapping and crowdsourcing of disaster information. Additionally, deployable communications technologies provide critical support to response efforts in remote areas without access to traditional communications networks, enabling enhanced situational awareness and communications between responder organizations and with the public.
This session will focus on the implications of this new paradigm. We hope that you will join us in an interactive discussion and provide insights into: how your organization uses next generation communications and social technologies, any best practices you may have developed or come across, and what are the opportunities and remaining challenges.

Moderator: Simona Verga

Dr. Simona Verga is a Defence Scientist with Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS), where she currently occupies the Psycho-Social Portfolio Manager position. Dr. Verga received her Ph.D. in physics from University of Alberta in 2005. Since joining DRDC in 2006, Dr. Verga has conducted work in operations research and analysis, providing decision support to internal and external safety and security partner organizations through scientific advice and guidance. She has largely focused her efforts in the areas of community resilience and risk assessment. Before joining DRDC, Dr. Verga conducted research on microsystems and high temperature superconductors.

Panelists: Kate Kaminska, Brittany Blackstone, Joe Fournier, and Bill Casey

Kate Kaminska

Dr. Kate Kaminska conducts research on issues related to public safety and security on behalf of the Canadian Safety and Security Program, a federal program led by Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science, in partnership with Public Safety Canada. One of her research interests involves the use of Social Media in Emergency Management for building resilience, both at the community and the national level. Having an undergraduate degree in Engineering, a graduate degree in Physics, and post-graduate experience in applied research, Dr. Kaminska brings a diverse academic perspective to her work.

Brittany Blackstone

Since 2010, Brittany Blackstone has been working in and studying the field of emergency management. Her initial interest in the field arose in 2001, when her small town was badly damaged by an F5-level tornado. She holds a Master’s degree in Disaster and Emergency Management from York University and previously worked in emergency planning at the Toronto Transit Commission. Currently, Brittany works in emergency management and geospatial mapping at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) in the Bureau of Security and Emergency Management. There she has assisted in the response to many emergencies including Tyhpoon Haiyan in the Philippines, unrest in South Sudan and the recent earthquake in Nepal. Generally, her experience has been focused on how Canada can better prepare for and respond to emergencies abroad. She particularly enjoys exploring how technology can intersect with emergency management and won an ‘Open Policy Development’ award in 2013 for the Crisis Mapping Pilot Project at DFATD.

Joe Fournier

Joe has spent his entire 26 year career in the wireless domain working on product, system and network level research & development. He is currently a scientist at the Centre for Security Sciences (CSS) in Ottawa responsible for the Wireless Technology portfolio. Previous to this, Joe spent 13 years at the Communications Research Centre (CRC) in Industry Canada, most recently as the Research Program Manager for Wireless Network Design. While there, Joe was instrumental in supporting Industry Canada, many other government departments and the private sector with their wireless communication needs and challenges.

Previous to CRC, Joe held senior technical and management positions at a number of communication organizations including Intelcan, Newbridge Networks and Alcatel Networks. While at Alcatel, Joe was Associate Vice President of Broadband Wireless Systems. Notably, he has been involved with many turnkey wireless network designs and deployments in North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Joe holds a BASc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Ottawa where he also studied Business.

Bill Casey

Bill Casey is the Exercise Program Manager at the Defence Research and Development Canada Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS).  Mr. Casey is responsible for the development and delivery of exercises that support the centre’s safety and security mandate.

Mr. Casey has spent 20 years working in the defence and security domain as both a federal public servant and as a reserve infantry officer with the Canadian Forces.  Previous to his work with DRDC CSS Mr. Casey spent several years working at Public Safety Canada in the Government Operations Centre where he was responsible for exercises and continuous improvement.

Mr. Casey is currently completing a graduate degree In Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management from the University of Leicester.

Remote Sensing for Humanitarian Applications

Date: June 3, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM


Originally designed for military and government-use, today’s proliferation of smaller, light-weight, intelligent, network connected and sometimes autonomous remote sensors are now finding their way into daily use by civilian authorities, universities and commercial entities as accurate and relatively cheap means of providing functions such as disaster prediction, prevention, mitigation and for damage assessment. This panel looks at how remote sensing technologies can be used for humanitarian aid and sustainable development purposes.

Col (Ret) Andre Dupuis

dupuis Col (Ret) Andre Dupuis has over 35 years of experience in the Canadian Armed Forces in Air Defence and Space operations, mission execution and strategic planning.  Throughout his career he has been selected to lead a number of highly-visible command and transformational initiatives.  His first space operations tour was in 1986 when he was posted to the 7th Missile Warning Squadron, Beale Air Force Base California, holding the position of Chief of Tactical Operations.  He led the Canadian Space Cadre during his last 8 years in the service and had a key role in the recognition of the importance of space operations to the Canadian Forces.  His last Job in the Department of National Defence was as the Director of Space Requirements, where he was responsible for all aspects of the delivery of space capabilities to the Forces.  Upon his retirement he founded Space Strategies Consulting Limited.

Ian Glenn

ianIan Glenn is a builder, a creator, an inventor, a team builder, a leader, a visionary – in short, an entrepreneur. He has built a company — ING Robotic Aviation, that has integrated and invented systems and provided services. He has provided leadership in the field for decades, learning to deal with national and international bureaucracies and created the sector national association, Unmanned Systems Canada.  He has also worked with Transport Canada since 1996 on airspace management regulations and technical standards and has, along the way, learnt how to read a balance sheet.

Ian’s journey in this field began after completing his Masters in Electrical Engineering at the US Naval Postgraduate School. At that time he was assigned responsibility for a number of high-tech projects for the Canadian Army. Ian went on to spearhead the creation of the lingua franca of the unmanned system world — NATO Standard 4586, to create interoperability standards. In parallel, Ian undertook the creation of the a $1+ billion Canadian Army ISTAR program, that underpinned Canada’s operations in Afghanistan and formed the blueprint for the overall Canadian Armed Forces and NATO.

Ian retired from active duty in 2000, taking the opportunity to travel the world for a year. While his adventures provide fodder for many a tale, fundamentally it provided him with the perspective that he has valued as he has tackled increasingly world changing projects. Successful entrepreneurs find their vision in the things that motivates them.  Ian found his in the war in Afghanistan – keeping his friends safe. Ian spent the early part of his career in the Army commanding armoured troops, and while he had left the Army far behind him, in 2006 Ian realized that knew that he had a better idea of how to keep his friends safe in a very dangerous environment. He convinced the Canadian government that a small UAV would be effective. From 2008 until the present, his company, now renamed ING Robotic Aviation, has flown almost continuously for Canada.  When added up our flight time equates to having flown around the planet the 81 times.

By 2011, Ian knew that it was time to translate our military knowledge of operations and technology into the commercial uses that he had envisioned in 2002. Strategically, in addition to employing veterans to conduct flight operations in 2008, Ian had also hired the majority of the team of young engineers who had won the first unmanned systems Canada student competition. He trained them and sent them to war in Afghanistan where they learned firsthand how to design for no-fail operations. Starting in 2011, we designed and built both fixed wing and rotorcraft unmanned systems for our own commercial services business.

Today Ian leads Canada’s most dynamic growth sector in aerospace — robotic aviation.  He inspires an outstanding team that comprises of bright engineers and exceptionally talented and experienced operators. This strong position in the field is no accident. It is a product of over 18 years dedicated to the growth of this sector. While in many ways we have just begun, as the sector leader we have already established a reputation second to none. Some of our next ventures include providing persistence compliance surveillance for the oil and gas and addressing search and rescue in the Arctic.  Ian has also gone on to create an aboriginal business as a social enterprise focused on bringing high-tech jobs into northern communities by providing services with robotic aircraft.  With a global reputation for innovation and excellence, Ian Glenn continues to lead the exponential growth of this dynamic new sector.