Competition: Help Our Refugees

5 April 2016

Global Grand Challenges

SingularityU The Netherlands was recently selected as the first Exponential Regional Partner for Singularity University, the Silicon Valley-based education and business organization focused on using exponential technologies to help solve our our world’s greatest challenges. As one of its first initiatives, SingularityU The Netherlands will organize and sponsor a Global Impact Competition focused on developing solutions to the refugee crisis, leveraging exponential technology.

Global Grand Challenges
SU has identified 11 global grand challenges facing the world today: learning, energy, environment, food, health, prosperity, security, water, space, disaster resilience and governance. The Global Impact Competitions, now held in more than 20 countries, focus on solving these challenges with solutions that can potentially impact millions of people positively in the next 3-5 years.

Better life for refugees
According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, more than 4.5 million people have fled Syria alone since the outbreak of civil war in 2011. In 2015, the total number of refugees worldwide reached nearly 20 million according to Amnesty International. Many of these refugees are looking for shelter, away from areas of conflict. Issues arise when such a huge number of people have no home. Some live in appalling conditions, with minimal access to food, water or healthcare. Others who do find a new home lack access to information, education and entertainment, among other basic needs. Exponential technologies can help solve many of these issues and create a better life for refugees.

We invite creative and innovative people in the Netherlands to identify solutions that can create a better life for refugees worldwide and leverages exponential technologies as a primary method of solving this challenge. Think about providing shelter, mobility, security, access to food, water and healthcare, access to information, education and entertainment, reducing waste, minimizing language barriers or reuniting refugees with their family.

When asked how this ties in with the current agreement of EU member states, Croese answers: “Already millions of people made the trip, are on their way or are staying in refugee camps. We also aim to create a better life for those already affected. It is SU’s mission to positively impact the lives of a billion people. The refugee crisis impacts millions of lives and is a huge challenge that SingularityU The Netherlands wants to help solve.”

Creators of the best three submissions will present their solutions as part of the SingularityU The Netherlands Innovation Hub launch event on 2 June in Eindhoven. The winner will be invited to attend the 10-week SU Global Solutions Program, starting 18 June. Upon returning to The Netherlands, the winner will have the opportunity to further develop their innovative project, supported by the SingularityU Global community.

Rob Nail, CEO of Singularity University: “Through our global partnerships, and especially with the establishment of this first Exponential Regional Partner in The Netherlands, we aim it to identify a diverse and talented group of innovators in The Netherlands. These innovators will be invited to come to Silicon Valley for the 10-week Global Solutions Program (GSP) where we provide a broad, cross-disciplinary understanding of disruptive technologies and empower our participants with the tools, knowledge, skills and mindset needed to deliver real humanitarian impact at multiple levels.”

What Design Can Do Refugee Challenge
SingularityU The Netherlands is collaborating with What Design Can Do, who recently launched a global design competition along with the IKEA Foundation and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). We invite our GIC participants to also participate in the WDCD Refugee Challenge and maximize our combined efforts to create a better life for refugees.