Smart Village Plenary Panel

Field Perspectives on the UN SDGs


Friday, October 19th 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

This panel organized by IEEE Smart Village brings together a set of experts from an array of backgrounds to discuss crosscutting between the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the perspective of in-field projects from across the globe.

Each of the panelists will address an SDG relating to their area of interest and work in sustainable development. Topics to be discussed will include

• The significance of each SDG and its target indicators
• SDG what progress has been made in the field for implementing the SDG
• what technical, social, and financial obstacles need to be overcome
• what innovations have been / need to be developed to accomplish the SDG
The forum will be organized as an interactive session during which each of the panelists will provide their view on each SDG, after which the audience can provide questions, comments, and field experiences. About 10 to 15 min will be allocated to discussion of each SDG.

• SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being
• SDG 4: Quality Education
• SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation
• SDG 7: Affordable & Clean Energy
• SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth
• SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
• SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals



Solomon Darwin is the Executive Director of the Garwood center at the Haas School of Business. He defines a smart village as “a community empowered by Digital Technologies & Open Innovation platforms to access global markets,” with the goal of “empowering people with access to tools, resources, real time transparent information and uninterrupted internet connectivity.” Darwin has an MBA from Golden Gate University and an MCCP from Harvard University's Graduate School of Business.

Solomon Darwin

Bai Blyden is Vice Chair of the IEEE Smart Village Development Committee. He continues the legacy of his great grandfather, the human rights advocate and political philosopher Edward Wilmot Blyden (considered by many to be the father of Pan Africanism). Blyden received an MS in power systems engineer from the Moscow Energetics Institute, and is currently creating a Knowledge Engine for systems-based knowledge capture and transfer of best practices, education, technologies, and development strategies to every African community.


Alexander Anderson is Chair of Partner Engagement at IEEE Smart Village and CEO of EmpowerPack Social Purpose Corporation. He focuses on strategy development and management of community infrastructure enterprise system-of-systems programs, as well as the development of innovative, rugged, and inexpensive solutions to ICT access for healthcare, education, and job creation. Anderson has an MS in power systems engineering from Washington State University and is a PhD candidate in Systems Engineering at Colorado State University.


Nirupama Kumar is a Senior Manager at Smart Wires Inc. and is active with numerous IEEE committees, including IEEE Smart Village, SIGHT, HAC, PES, WIE, and Sustainable Microgrids Task Force. She is an expert in energy markets strategies, delivering technologies to underprivileged communities, and coordinating programs for volunteers and community development in India and Zambia. Kumar received and MS from the University of Washington and MBA from Cornell University as an Environmental Finance and Impact Investing Fellow.

Niru Kumar

Robert Wubbena is President of Transform International, retired Vice President of HDR Engineering, and former President of the American Water Works Association. He served on the board of Water for People for many years and was Vice-Chair of WASRAG (Rotary Int’l) for 6 years. Wubbena has launched, nurtured and supported large WASH programs and circuit rider training projects in rural America, Malawi, Papua New Guinea, and elsewhere.

Bob Wubbena

Paul Cunningham is CEO of the International Information Management Corporation and Director of the IST-Africa Institute and mHealth4Afrika. He is a technology, strategy, and policy expert for creating strategic collaboration with ministries and national councils responsible for innovation, science and technology in 18 African Member States. He is also 2017-18 President of the IEEE Society for Social Implications of Technology, 2018 Chair of the IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee, and member of the Technical Activities Board. Cunningham has received degrees from Trinity College Dublin, UCD Graduate Business School, and is a PhD candidate in Computer and System Sciences at Stockholm University.

Paul Cunningham

Joe Decuir is Editor of the IEEE 2030.10 DC Microgrids Standard, former Secretary of IEEE Region 6, and past chair of several IEEE GHTC conferences. He is focused on adaptation of USB, Bluetooth, and other communications protocols to enable plug-and-play compatibility between DC microgrid hardware. Decuir is a Fellow of IEEE and received an MS in Electrical Engineering from UC Berkeley.

Joe Decuir