April 29, 2019
CMU, University of Pretoria Create New Partnership For Human Rights Accountability
Media Contact: Abby Simmons
Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Human Rights Science (CHRS) and the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria in South Africa have established a strategic partnership to pursue joint projects and academic activities that will foster human rights accountability through the use of technology.
"Our partnership is an effort to expand the voices and conversations about technology and human rights. We are particularly interested in engaging directly with researchers and practitioners in the Global South," said Jay D. Aronson, CHRS director and a professor in CMU's Department of History. "The Centre is the preeminent academic human rights research center in Africa, and the partnership will be a great opportunity to share technology and expertise."
The cross-continental relationship also will allow for a robust exchange of ideas, solutions and approaches that will help the human rights community better prepare to tackle the challenges presented by rapid changes in technology. The partnership with initially focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis, but will evolve as needs and opportunities emerge.
Pictured at the top (From left to right): Frans Viljoen, director of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, and Jay Aronson, director of the Center for Human Rights Science at Carnegie Mellon University.
"Up to this point, conversations about the human rights impact of computing technologies have largely been exclusionary," Aronson said. "There is a robust community of computer scientists and human rights practitioners in Africa that do not have the same resources as their peers in North America or Europe and are generally not invited to participate in shaping products, policies and norms. This is an opportunity amplify voices that aren't being heard in the big meetings in London, New York or San Francisco. We want these conversations to expand to places like Accra, Dakar, Nairobi and Pretoria."
Pictured above: Jay Aronson, director of the Center for Human Rights Science at Carnegie Mellon University, gathers with graduate students at the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.