My name is Roberto Trevini Bellini, I have been suggested by a friend to join this very interesting community.
I am impressed reading the names in the panel of speakers for the event on 19/11 in Brussels, and some of the stories shared in the forum. The topic and the angle it is approached are definitely interesting for me personally and professionally, and hopefully I could bring a useful additional point of view to the discussion.
Briefly, my story: after my studies in political sciences and international relations with a focus on human rights, I started working in the field of international development cooperation and humanitarian aid. I have worked for different kinds of organisations (NGOs, Italian Development Agency, European Commission, private companies), and for the last 5 years I have been project manager and trainer/consultant for a consulting company, especially working in the area of training and skills development for the development and humanitarian community, with the European Commission being our main client.
Development cooperation, with all its flaws and contradictory features, is (or should be) fundamentally driven by the goal of fighting inequalities and eradicating poverty. However, after 70 years of international development cooperation, while some progresses have been achieved, it is evident that inequalities are still growing.
The age of the Internet has brought many new opportunities and challenges for the global fight for justice and equality. Technological advances have made knowledge, services and goods far more easily available to a bigger share of global population. However, the control over these resources is increasingly concentrated in the hands of few stakeholders (usually private corporations, and to a lesser extent public entities).
During my university studies, I followed a course about the governance of the global communication and information systems, which raised my awareness about the intimate link between how technology is designed and how much the users are (or aren’t) protagonists of the decision-making processes that impact their daily lives.
For example, I am currently involved in the design and development of an online training programme, funded by the European Commission, to develop the skills and awareness of volunteers engaging in solidarity actions in Europe. We are just starting, but it is already evident that accessibility for everyone is key for the success and usefulness of the programme, as it is the direct involvement of learners in shaping the e-learning contents and modalities.
Another example is the possibility to use geo-spatial data to provide humanitarian or development services with the direct involvement of beneficiaries.
In general, my curiosity is piqued by the possibility to develop technologies that can re-shape development policies and practices towards a needs-based approach instead of a donor-driven approach.
Besides strictly development/humanitarian aspects, I am interested in the role of technology, AI, social networks and IT tools that can empower citizens and foster democracy in an increasingly complex global society.
I look forward to meeting you in Brussels.