IJCAI 2021:
Technology, Girls, &
Sustainable Development

Empowering Girls and Women to Use Space Technology and AI for Sustainable Development

August 23rd, 2021, 7:00 AM PST – 11:40 AM PST (Virtual Event)

On August 23rd, Technovation hosted a virtual workshop for girls, women, and industry professionals who want to use technology for social good! Together, we learned about powerful technology tools like artificial intelligence and space data (which includes big data sets collected by satellites):

  • Building AI apps to help tackle problems like poverty, monitoring and protecting forests, conserving biodiversity, ocean conservation and energy conservation.
  • Getting inspired by experts who will share their stories and strategies for using AI to keep our planet and people healthy.
  • Hearing from other girls just like you who are using technology to lead change in their communities.

IJCAI-UNOOSA-Technovation Partnership:

Technovation partnered with the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs and the International Joint Conference on AI to bring this workshop to you!

IJCAI is the world’s oldest running AI conference (starting in 1969) and is a great way to get introduced to the people who innovate in AI.

Who this session is for:

This session was designed for girls who are interested in learning more about technology and how to use technology as a tool for solving problems in their communities. Educators who work with girls and young women may also find this session useful.

Watch the workshop recordings HERE!

Workshop Program

Welcome – Tara Chklovski, Technovation

Opening Keynote – How Space and AI technologies can support Sustainable Development – Jorge Del Rio Vera, UNOOSA

Tutorial – Make your own AI-based image recognition app – Pratham Goradia, MakerBay and ClearBot

Panel Discussion with girls and women tackling climate change with AI


Fireside Chat – How space data can change earthlings’ behavior – Michelle Lapinski, SustainBiz, formerly Earth Genome

Learning how to use and manipulate space data to tackle problems in your community – Alice Bourdet, UNOOSA

Tutorial – Building an AI-based app that maps poverty – Chenlin Meng, Stanford University

Tutorial – Building an AI-based app that maps illegal deforestation – Kai Kresek and Anika Berger, World Resources Institute

Invited Talk – Wetlands conservation: How satellite observation supports sustainable wetland management – Valdilene Siqueira, Action Against Hunger France

Invited Talk – Partnerships, data & technology to clean our planet’s arteries of plastics – Valeria Tamayo-Canadas, UC Santa Barbara

Keynote – Your actions matter – Olanike Olugboji, Women’s Earth Alliance and Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment

Group Reflection and Closing

Meet Our Speakers

Jorge Del Rio Vera is a telecommunication Engineer with a PhD in earth observation. He started his career in the Group of Physical Oceanography of the University of Malaga where he used remote sensing to study the Mediterranean Sea. During this period he had research stays at Colorado State University, the University of British Columbia and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre. After that, he joined the European Space Agency, working on Envisat, the largest earth observation satellite ever built, and Copernicus, the biggest European earth observation programme. He has also worked for the NATO Underwater Research Centre applying space knowledge to underwater systems and the European Maritime Safety Agency using satellites to catch polluters red-handed. He then moved to the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, the agency in charge of the exploitation of Galileo, the European global navigation satellite system, where he worked setting up the operations of the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre. Now as Scientific Affairs Officer at the Office for Outer Space Affairs at the United Nations, he promotes international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

Nora Moraga-Lewy is the Rainforest Journalism Fund manager at the Pulitzer Center, a non-profit organization that strives to strengthen engagement with global issues by supporting independent journalism and education. Nora is passionate about the role of journalists and civil society in tropical resource conservation and human rights protection, especially in the context of social conflict and economic development. Previously, Nora was a Research Associate at the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), Fellow for the Kerry Initiative at Yale’s Jackson School of Global Affairs, and Graduate Teaching Fellow at Yale. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Certificate in Energy Studies from Yale College and a MEM from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Michelle Lapinski works to solve systemic environmental and societal challenges through the intersection of business, science and technology. As founding CEO of SustainBiz she builds world class ESG, sustainability and social impact programs for companies and organizations. Michelle’s Fortune 500 clients have included Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Shell, Dow, Sodexo, Starbucks, HP, PagerDuty and Walmart, and now tech leaders Robinhood and PagerDuty. Previously, as Vice President at Earth Genome, she built coalitions and decision support tools to enable investment and market approaches to using nature-based solutions to address drought, flooding and water quality. She built the corporate engagement program for The Nature Conservancy, including their groundbreaking engagement with Dow to value and invest in nature, helped develop the Natural Capital Protocol to value nature, built Consumer Products, Agriculture Food, Transportation and Environment advisory services with Business for Social Responsibility, and contributed to the development of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and Global Reporting Initiative. A pioneer in the sustainability field, at Gap Inc. 25 years ago she pioneered environmental health and safety product and supply chain standards and approaches that are now industry standards. Her popular Harvard Business Review piece makes the case that natural infrastructure can be a viable and cost-effective alternative to traditional infrastructure. She’s the board chair of Young Women Social Entrepreneurs.

Anika Berger is a Research Analyst with Global Forest Watch (GFW). She uses coding, AI, and satellite imagery to identify and research new spots of global deforestation to send to journalists for reporting. Anika also does research and analysis related to GFW’s deforestation alerts, supporting the development of faster and more confident alerts to promote action.

Valdilene Siqueira is an environmental engineer with 4 years of experience in the rural WASH sector in Brazil. She supported the development of the Brazilian National Rural Water and Sanitation Program (PNSR) and worked together with the national government to foster rural WASH initiatives in the country. She is currently pursuing an Erasmus Mundus master’s degree in Sustainable Territorial Development, in Europe. She has also been supporting the NGO Action Against Hunger France (Action Contre la Faim) to implement the evaluation of the environmental impacts of its humanitarian projects.

Olanike Olubunmi Olugboji is a self-driven and resourceful individual and an award-
winning conservationist and women’s empowerment advocate. Inspired by her care for nature
and unique sense of equity, she took a journey into the world of social activism when she
founded the Environmental Management and Protection Network (EMPRONET) in 2004. In
response to the realities on ground which revealed that grassroots women’s rights, roles,
responsibilities and efforts are overlooked in the drive for environmental sustainability; she
founded Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE). Her online journal and radio
show (‘WE- Women and Environment’) on Sylvia Global Media , are dedicated to raising
awareness of and spurring action about environmental and other societal issues that touch on
women’s lives. She sits on the board of a number of organizations and companies in Nigeria
including WISE Waste Plastic Solution, Greenscape Integrated Global Services Liited, Green
Environment Foundation (GEF) and Girl-child Right Awareness Initiative in Africa. Olanike’s
core areas of expertise include Environment, Climate and Gender development Issues.