Singularity University, Amnesty International Announce Technology Innovation Partnership for Human Rights

Partnership will explore use of technologies such as virtual reality to engage, grow number of human rights advocates by establishing deeper, more meaningful connections to key causes.

Jan 20, 2016, 09:00 ET from Singularity University

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Jan. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Singularity University (SU) and Amnesty International have announced a new partnership to develop and apply technological innovations designed to address human rights challenges.

The first initiative will focus on the use of virtual reality as an engagement tool to empower activists, increase public engagement and inspire action for human rights.

This partnership unites the thought leadership of SU, a benefit corporation focused on educating, inspiring and empowering leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity's grand challenges, with Amnesty International's expertise as a global movement of people fighting injustice and promoting human rights.

SU has identified eleven global grand challenges: environment, security, health, learning, energy, food, prosperity, water, space, disaster resilience, and governance. Development and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International join SU to help address these macro problems facing humanity.  This partnership focuses on two challenges with important human rights implications: security and governance.

By closely integrating technology innovation with human rights work, Amnesty International hopes advocates will gain deeper insights into human rights violations and crises situations, establishing a strong basis for taking action.

Amnesty International has had success implementing these tools in the past. The organization launched a Virtual Reality Aleppo campaign in 2015, designed to virtually transport people from the streets of Britain to the devastated streets of war-torn Aleppo in Syria, where thousands of civilians have died as a result of barrel bombings. People experienced the devastation of the bombings in Syria through virtual reality (VR) headsets, with overwhelming results. Amnesty International witnessed both a strong, emotional response from the public and a high level of donor engagement.

"Many human rights challenges arising from conflicts, persecution and inequality can seem daunting and unsolvable. In addressing them, we must combine investigations with activism and practical solutions.  With innovative uses of technology, we can develop new ways of raising awareness of human rights issues, engage more people and find practical solutions for human rights problems,"  said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, deputy director of global issues at Amnesty International. 

As Amnesty International integrates into SU's community, it will add insights to SU conferences and its Global Solutions Program (GSP), in addition to participating in "uncommon collaborations" with SU's global ecosystem of innovators and change agents. Amnesty International provides unique expertise and thought leadership to address human rights challenges on a global scale with the aid of advanced technology.

"Core to Singularity University is our mission to ensure basic needs are met for all people, sustain and improve quality of life and mitigate future risks," said Rob Nail, CEO and associate founder, Singularity University. "Today, we are at a pivotal moment where technology has the power to significantly impact this mission, as demonstrated by Amnesty International's ability to leverage virtual reality to help with its social justice campaigns. We look forward to future collaborations, and the opportunity to explore with them other powerful tools ranging from 3D printing to robotics."

Development and human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, form partnerships with SU as part of the SU Labs ecosystem. SU Labs is an innovation community where large organizations, startups, nonprofits, governments and universities connect to apply exponential technologies and leverage SU's tools and methods to identify, incubate and accelerate big ideas aimed at solving the world's important challenges. Amnesty International joins existing Development Organization Partners: Yunus Social Business, UNICEF, Ashoka, SociaLab, Stockholm Resilience Centre, World Resources Institute, Field Innovation Team, and Viva Rio.


Singularity University is a California benefit corporation with a mission to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies towards solving humanity's grand challenges. Together with a highly engaged alumni community in over 90 countries, SU is committed to creating positive and sustainable global impact via three core areas: EducationInnovation and Community. Headquartered at NASA's Research Park in the heart of the Silicon Valley, it was founded in 2008 by Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis. For more information, visit: Join us on Facebook and Twitter @SingularityU.

SOURCE Singularity University