The 2nd annual SwitchPoint Conference approaches this month in North Carolina, gathering innovators from across industries to discuss increasing global health equity. (Read Michael Tiemann's keynote from last year's SwitchPoint.) This year's more than 40 presenters include:
- Erik Hersman, co-founder of Ushahidi, a free and open source platform for crowdsourcing information and visualizing data.
- Matt Berg, director of the Modi Research Group's Africa Lab. The group, based in Columbia University's Earth Institute, develops open source solutions for better use of data in development.
- Karim Sy, founder of the innovation-seeking Jokkolab in Senegal and member of the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) council.
The list also includes representatives from the UN Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, GOOD, and others from 15 countries. They'll be talking about everything from big data to 3D printing, apps to social enterprise.
The conference provides a meeting point for those interested in global development, humanitarianism, and innovation at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, NC, a very off-the-beaten-path riverside mill village. It’s been called the ‘burning man’ of global health and development.
From Pape Gaye, IntraHealth's president and CEO:
SwitchPoint 2013 again gathers innovators from a variety of industries and disciplines to launch partnerships that yield creative and long-lasting solutions to global health challenges.
Our business community is increasingly seeking greater alignment between bottom-line business interests and doing good in the world. SwitchPoint creates ‘a-ha moments’ and opportunities for innovation in global health and development.
SwitchPoint also features an art aspect, beginning with a Friday night concert with DJ Spooky, an experimental hip-hop artist who will present a multimedia performance piece with other musicians and projected images. Friday will also showcase Invisible, a performance ensemble that uses pieces like The Selectric Piano, a typewriter hacked to operate a keyboard, and Arrhythmia, a device that controls percussion instruments with the perforers' heartbeats.
This year’s conference includes the Silo Busters Contest for university students. Students have submitted essays and videos describing their silo-busting SwitchPoint innovations the impact they could have in the world. Three entries will be chosen for presentation at SwitchPoint 2013; with the winning students earning all-expenses-paid trips to the event.
Only 350 tickets are available for what is now a two-day event held over April 19 and 20, with the second day devoted to further presentations and micro-labs in three tracks. The event also functions as a retreat, taking advantage of Saxapahaw, NC's weather and natural setting, with kayaking, guided river walks, yoga, sound therapy, massage, live music, food trucks, and a mini-film festival. Two-day tickets are $275, and options are available for one-day tickets with discounts for students.