Crisis Code: Humanitarian Protection in the Digital Age

A two-day conference exploring how crisis-affected populations can be safeguarded from emerging threats in cyberspace.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


September 27, 2017 8:30 am - September 29, 2017 9:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)


$25 (Panel 1 or 2) - $40 (Panel 1 and 2)

Can you put a Red Cross emblem on a Wi-Fi tower in a refugee camp? How can the life and dignity of crisis-affected populations be protected from cyber-attacks and unintended harm in cyberspace? How should humanitarian agencies and their technology partners work together to safely and responsibly meet information and communication needs in crisis?

Together with US, Swiss, and international partners, the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco and swissnex San Francisco convene a two-day conference on September 27-28 to collectively examine our international humanitarian and human rights laws, standards, and norms in light of new cyber-realities. The program provides a neutral platform to develop a better understanding of the relationship between cyber-threats and humanitarian protection, and identify a possible agenda for mitigating the digital vulnerabilities of populations in crisis. In workshops and panel discussions, researchers, practitioners, and policy makers will map out new territories of vulnerability in cyberspace, assess existing practice around humanitarian data, and build consensus for action.

This conference is part of the Swiss Touch Campaign, a series of events dedicated to leveraging Switzerland’s innovative and forward-looking edge. Switzerland is striving for a relevant, responsive, and meaningful humanitarianism in the digital age—through building bridges between the technology and the humanitarian sectors, and between Silicon Valley and international Geneva.


Public Program

Wednesday, September 27

Crisis Code, Panel 1: Humanitarian Threats in the Age of Cyberwar

  • 6:30pm – Doors open
  • 7:00pm – Panel discussion
  • 8:30pm – Catered networking reception
  • 10:00pm – Doors close

Thursday, September 28

Crisis Code, Panel 2: Digital Policy for a New Humanitarianism

  • 6:30pm – Doors open
  • 7:00pm – Panel discussion
  • 8:30pm – Catered networking reception
  • 10:00pm – Doors close

Expert Workshops

Workshops are invite-only. To request an invitation, please contact us.

Wednesday, September 27

Crisis Code, Workshops Day 1: New Territories of Vulnerability

Thursday, September 28

Crisis Code, Workshops Day 2: Toward an Agenda for Action

Special Guests

Peter Maurer, ICRC

Peter MaurerPeter Maurer has been President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) since July 2012. In this position, his priorities include strengthening humanitarian diplomacy, engaging States and other actors for the respect of international humanitarian law, and improving the humanitarian response through innovation and new partnerships. He has led the organization through a historic budget increase to meet the growing needs of victims of armed conflict, from 1.1 bn CHF in 2011 to over 1.6 bn CHF in 2015. He previously served as secretary of State of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and ambassador of Switzerland to the UN in New York.

Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet, ICRC

Charlotte Lindsey-CurtetCharlotte Lindsey-Curtet is the Director of communication and information management for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). She has a degree in business studies and a master’s degree in communication. She began her career at the British Red Cross as information and marketing officer and subsequently as head of project before joining the ICRC in 1993. She worked in the field for five years as delegate, coordinator and head of sub-delegation. She has since held a number of posts at headquarters including head of the “women and war” project, deputy head of division, and deputy director of communication.



Andrina Beuggert, Mercator Fellow

Andrina BeuggertAndrina Beuggert is the co-founder of Just Innovate, a Geneva-based social innovation incubator. Until recently, she worked with UNICEF Innovation in Jordan as a Mercator Fellow, supporting young refugees to turn their ideas into reality. Previously, she has worked with swissnex San Francisco on the Everyone a Humanitarian event series, with the innovation team of the International Committee of the Red Cross, with farmer groups in rural Rwanda, and startups in India. She is passionate about strengthening the capacities of communities and leveraging the private sector.

Eileen Donahoe, Stanford University

EvaEileen Donahoe is Executive Director of the Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University’s Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, where she works to develop global digital policies that address human rights, security and governance challenges. She served as the first US Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, during the Obama Administration. After leaving government, she was Director of Global Affairs at Human Rights Watch where she represented the organization worldwide on human rights foreign policy. Eileen is a member of the World Economic Forum Council on the Future of Human Rights; the University of Essex Advisory Board on Human Rights, Big Data and Technology; the Freedom Online Coalition Working Group on Freedom & Security; and the Benetech Advisory Board. She is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation and an Affiliate at the Center for International Security & Cooperation at Stanford University. Previously, she was a technology litigator at Fenwick & West in Silicon Valley. She holds a BA from Dartmouth, an M.T.S. from Harvard, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, an MA in East Asian Studies from Stanford, and a Ph.D. in Ethics and Social Theory from GTU at UC Berkeley. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Eva Galperin, Electronic Frontier Foundation

EvaEva Galperin is the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Director of Cybersecurity. Prior to 2007, when she came to work for EFF, Eva worked in security and IT in Silicon Valley and earned degrees in Political Science and International Relations from SFSU. Her work is primarily focused on providing privacy and security for vulnerable populations around the world. To that end, she has applied the combination of her political science and technical background to everything from organizing EFF’s Tor Relay Challenge, to writing privacy and security training materials (including “Surveillance Self Defense” and the “Digital First Aid Kit”), and publishing research on malware in Syria, Vietnam, Kazakhstan.

Solange Ghernaouti, University of Lausanne

SolangeSolange Ghernaouti, Professor at the University of Lausanne, is an internationally-recognized expert on information and communications technology (ICT) risk management, cybersecurity, cyberdefence and cybercrime related issues. She has contributed to several initiatives organized by international organizations, public and private institutions, research centers, and law enforcement agencies around the globe. She is an active independent security advisor, an influential analyst, and a regular media commentator. Professor Ghernaouti has authored more than 200 publications and more than twenty-five books on ICT and security issues. She is Knight of the Legion of Honor and member of the Swiss Academy of Sciences, and a member of the scientific committee of the International Forum of Security Technologies. She has been recognized by the Swiss press as one of today’s outstanding women in professional and academic circles.

Sanjana Hattotuwa, ICT4Peace

Sanjana Hattotuwa has served as Special Advisor to Geneva’s ICT4Peace Foundation since 2006. In this capacity, Sanjana works to further the use of information and communications technologies in crisis information management, peacebuilding, and peacekeeping initiatives at the United Nations, the EU, national governments and civil society. This work also includes travel to conflict zones to engage activists, civil society actors and journalists around digital security. In his former role as Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a think-tank based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sanjana led leading groundbreaking research and output around civic media and digital citizen engagement. Sanjana is the founding editor of Groundviews, an award-winning web based civic media initiative based in Sri Lanka. In 2011, he was the first Sri Lankan to be awarded a TED Fellowship, two years after he was awarded a News & Knowledge Entrepreneur Fellowship from the Ashoka Foundation.

Alexa Koenig, UC Berkeley

Alexa Koenig, PhD, JD, is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Center (winner of the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions) and a lecturer-in-residence at UC Berkeley School of Law, where she teaches classes on human rights and international criminal law. She directs the Human Rights Investigations Lab, which trains and works with undergraduate and graduate students to use open source methods to support human rights advocacy and accountability. She administers the Technology Advisory Board of the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court on behalf of the Human Rights Center and is often called upon to speak about the role of emerging technologies in human rights practice. Alexa is the co-author of Hiding in Plain Sight: The Pursuit of War Criminals from Nuremberg to the War on Terror; the co-editor of Extreme Punishment: Comparative Studies in Detention, Incarceration and Solitary Confinement; and a contributor to The Guantánamo Effect: Exposing the Consequences of US Detention and Interrogation Practices. Alexa has won numerous honors and awards for her research and public service, including a fellowship with the American Association of University Women and the Eleanor Swift Award for Public Service, and grants from the National Science Foundation and several private foundations.

Jovan Kurbalija, Geneva Internet Platform

Dr. Jovan Kurbalija is the Founding Director of DiploFoundation and the Head of the Geneva Internet Platform. A former diplomat, Dr. Kurbalija has a professional and academic background in international law, diplomacy, and information technology. He has been a pioneer in the field of cyber diplomacy since 1992, when he established the Unit for Information Technology and Diplomacy at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies in Malta. Dr. Kurbalija was a member of the United Nations Working Group on Internet Governance (2004-2005), special advisor to the Chairman of the UN Internet Governance Forum (2006-2010) and a member of the High Level Multistakeholder Committee for NETmunidal (2013-2014). Since 1997, Dr. Kurbalija’s research and articles on cyber diplomacy have shaped research and policy discussion on the impact of the Internet on diplomacy and international relations. His book, An Introduction to Internet Governance, has been translated into 9 languages and is used as a textbook for academic courses worldwide.

Jeff Moss, DEF CON

A career spent at the intersection of hacking, professional cybersecurity and Internet governance gives Jeff Moss a unique perspective on information security. Jeff is the founder and CEO of the DEF CON hacker conference and the founder of Black Hat Briefings, two of the world’s most influential information security events. Jeff also served as the CSO/VP of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). His corporate experience includes work with Ernst & Young. LLC and a directorship at Secure Computing. Jeff serves on the Board of Directors for Compagnie Financière Richemont SA and is an angel investor to startups in the security space. Jeff actively seeks out opportunities to help shape the infosec conversation. He is currently a member of the US Homeland Security Advisory Council and the Global Council on the Stability of Cyberspace. He is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Cyber Security.

Paul Nicholas, Microsoft

Paul Nicholas leads Microsoft’s Global Security Strategy and Diplomacy Team. Paul is focused on understanding the future of security, cloud computing, and international relations in cyberspace. He currently leads Microsoft’s work on the Digital Geneva Convention and participates as a subject matter expert for World Economic Forum on cyber resilience and systemic risk. He also helped create two non-profits to improve secure development and incident response. Prior to joining the Microsoft in 2005, Paul served in the U.S. Government as a White House Director of Cybersecurity, a policy advisor on technology in the U.S. Senate, an Assistant Director at the Government Accountability Office, and a Department of Defense analyst. Paul earned a B.A. from Indiana University and an M.A. from Georgetown University.

Roland Portmann, Embassy of Switzerland in the USA

Roland Portmann is the Legal Adviser at the Embassy of Switzerland in the United States of America in Washington, DC. As the Legal Adviser, he deals with all legal aspects of Switzerland’s bilateral relations with the United States, ranging from transnational financial regulation to the interpretation of the Geneva Conventions. Prior to taking up his current position, he served twice as an attorney-adviser in the Legal Adviser’s Office at the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berne (2008-10 and 2011-13). Being part of Switzerland’s diplomatic service, he also served as a legal and diplomatic attaché to the Swiss Embassy in the Republic of Kosovo (2010-11). Roland Portmann studied in St Gallen and in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as in Cambridge, United Kingdom. He holds Master degrees in international affairs as well as in law and a doctorate in international law. His recent publications include Legal Personality in International Law (Cambridge University Press 2010 and 2013). Roland Portmann is also a Lecturer in International Law and Constitutional Law at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland.

Elvina Pothelet, University of Geneva

Elvina Pothelet’s research focuses on the notion of “nexus” in international humanitarian law and international criminal law. Prior and in parallel to that, she has worked for more than three years for the International Committee of the Red Cross (as a Legal Adviser and an Editorial Assistant for the International Review of the Red Cross). In the past, she worked with NGOs (Human Rights Watch, Geneva Call, and RADDHO in Senegal), a defence team based in The Hague, the Swiss Department of Defence, and was a teaching assistant at the University of Geneva for the Master’s course “Practice of IHL.” Elvina holds an LLM from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (2012) and a master degree from Sciences Po Lille (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Lille, France). She is an Officer in the French Army Reserve (Legad).

Nathaniel A. Raymond, Harvard University

Nathaniel A. Raymond is Director of the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He was formerly Director of Operations of the Satellite Sentinel Project at HHI, which was a co-recipient of the 2012 US Geospatial Foundation Industry Intelligence Achievement Award. Raymond was previously Director of the Campaign Against Torture at Physicians for Human Rights and served in a variety of roles at Oxfam America, including Communications Advisor for Humanitarian Response and Interim Coordinator for Tsunami Communications for Oxfam International. He has served in the field in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, the Gulf Coast, Jordan, and elsewhere. He is a 2013 PopTech Social Innovation Fellow and a 2010 Rockwood Leadership Institute National Security and Human Rights Reform Fellow. Raymond is a co-winner of the 2013 USAID and Humanity United Tech Challenge for Mass Atrocity Prevention. He has co-written four major peer-reviewed articles on the use of information communication technologies in humanitarian response and human rights work.

Lisa Rudnick, The Policy Lab

Lisa Rudnick is a Fellow at The Policy Lab, and a Founding Partner. Based in Geneva, she is experienced in the peacebuilding and security sector, with skills in strategic design, qualitative research and research design, policy analysis and design and ethnographic methods of engagement. Lisa served as a Senior Researcher and Project Manager at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) for over eight years, and worked with UN field teams, NGOs and communities across Africa and Nepal, focusing on community security, reintegration, and innovation in program and policy design including the development of Local Strategies Research and Evidence-based Design approaches used by the Lab today. More recently, Lisa served as Head of Interpeace’s International Peacebuilding Advisory Team, leading its research on collaborative humanitarian response and resilience to violent conflict in Cote D’Ivoire, Rwanda and Palestine.

Kerstin Vignard, UN Institute for Disarmament Research

Kerstin Vignard, a dual US-French national, is an international security policy professional with over 20 years’ experience at the United Nations. As Deputy to the Director and Chief of Operations at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, she advises the Director and leads the Institute’s work on emerging security issues. She has served as Consultant to four of the five UN Groups of Governmental Experts on Developments in the field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (the UN GGEs on Cybersecurity). Since 2013, she has led UNIDIR’s work on the weaponization of increasingly autonomous technologies.

Special Advisor

Joseph Guay, The Policy Lab

Joseph Guay is an Associate at The Policy Lab and manages the Lab’s research on humanitarian innovation and humanitarian technologies, with a focus on data protection and responsible innovation in fragile contexts. He has supported the development of information management solutions for mass atrocity prevention work in South Sudan, the Ebola pandemic and Nepal earthquake responses, and on human trafficking in the Horn of Africa. He currently advises a pilot project in Myanmar as part of a grassroots mobile conflict and ceasefire monitoring system. Joe has developed innovation strategies and programs for the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation (GAHI), World Vision’s Nepal Innovation Lab (NLab), the Global Protection Cluster at UNHCR, swissnex San Francisco’s “Everyone a Humanitarian” event series, and the inter-agency Response Innovation Lab (RIL), drawing from strategic and evidence-based design, local strategies research, and systems thinking.


Benjamin Bollmann, swissnex San Francisco

Benjamin Bollmann is Head of Science at swissnex San Francisco, where he develops initiatives to foster dialogue and collaboration around science, society, and wider issues facing us today. He launched Everyone a Humanitarian, an event series and physical space dedicated to the future of humanitarian response, with partners ranging from the ICRC and Wikimedia to Salesforce and Stanford. He has led interdisciplinary programs spanning from AI ethics to gene editing, and has spoken at conferences such as South By Southwest. Before joining swissnex in June 2015, he worked as a journalist and curator at the intersection of science, technology, and design in Switzerland. Benjamin obtained his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and his master’s in biomedical engineering from ETH Zurich. He also worked in neuroscience and machine learning research at MIT, focusing on brain mapping at nanoscale resolution.

Martin Schwartz, Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco

Martin Schwartz manages the public diplomacy and cultural programs of the Consulate General of Switzerland. He has led initiatives across a range of subject matter, from sustainable transportation to direct democracy to vocational training and education. As an advocate for transatlantic exchange in the arts, he has brought Swiss artists and content to such institutions as the Berkeley Art Museum, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, ODC Dance, CounterPulse, and numerous film festivals. He was instrumental in revitalizing the San Francisco Zürich Sister City Partnership, manages the City of Zürich’s artist exchange in choreography, and sits on the board of the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival. Martin is additionally a recognized playwright, with several produced plays and works published by Exit Press and Colloquium Magazine.





Photo: San Francisco: Bay Bridge from Embarcadero, Shunyu Fan

Event Photos