December 2020

Note from the Chair

Dear IEEE SIGHT volunteers,

Greetings to you all!

I’m excited to share this year-end closing message. I’m proud of all that has been accomplished in SIGHT this year. This has been a phenomenal year for SIGHT across the globe! We’ve delivered record-breaking growth for SIGHT in terms of membership development, partnerships, project proposals received and funded. In the “Key Highlights'' section below, you can see a table that shows the increasing expansion of the program over the past three years. Under my leadership, we launched a significant number of strategic initiatives for the first time in SIGHT’s history, resulting in ground-breaking performance and key milestones reached. I’m particularly happy that SIGHT achieved its first-ever 10,000 global membership milestone in 2019 and has already broken that record in 2020 by achieving a global membership footprint of over 11,000+ members, which is the highest membership growth since SIGHT’s inception. 2020 was a challenging year given the COVID pandemic situation yet nothing stopped us from delivering this amazing global growth for SIGHT. 

Thank you to everyone who promoted and joined our 2020 SIGHT Week Global Celebration! We had a terrific response from members across the globe. We thank the IEEE President-Elect Susan “Kathy” Land for delivering the inaugural keynote for the SIGHT week. We had a great panel on partnership, project leaders forum and interesting educational webinars from SIGHT leaders. I enjoyed interacting with several global SIGHT members in the Ask the Chair session. Several SIGHT groups across the globe have organized local activities to promote SIGHT in their region. This is very impressive. As the founding chair for SIGHT Week and SIGHT Day programs, I'm glad to see these wonderful responses for SIGHT Week among SIGHT members globally. If you aren’t a member already, join the SIGHT Facebook group to see all the content published by our members during the SIGHT week. 

During the SIGHT Week, we announced the recipients of our annual IEEE SIGHT awards!, Congratulations to the 2020 SIGHT Volunteer of the Year winner Ronny Cabrera of IEEE Ecuador Section SIGHT Group for his amazing contributions to Ecuador SIGHT. We also recognized several SIGHT volunteers with Honorable Mentions recognizing their significant contributions to SIGHT activities. Also, we recognized all nominees with letters of appreciation for their efforts. We thank all award winners for living out the SIGHT mission and bringing meaningful change to your local communities. We expect to announce the results of the 2020 IEEE SIGHT outstanding group of the year and 2021 SIGHT steering appointments in Jan 2021.  

Another major win for SIGHT this year is the partnerships that have been established and strengthened. Currently underway are five pilot projects, conducted with funding from SIGHT and either an IEEE Society or program. Our society partners are closely working with the SIGHT team to drive foundational grass root efforts to support IEEE members.The IEEE Electron Devices Society recently approved a US$25K joint partnership support with SIGHT. This is amazing and reflective of the trust and value our Society partners are seeing in SIGHT. Also, we are actively engaged with industry and leading international organizations like the UN to expand our partnership horizon in 2021. Most recently, I enjoyed sharing about the role of SIGHT and HAC in the first roundtable panel on New Technologies, Ethics and Policy Engagement for Sustainable Development: Health & Human Well-Being (H&HWB) co-organized by IEEE TechEthics and the UN Department of Economic & Social Affairs. I’m thrilled about our new partnership model for collaboration and look forward to replicating with more IEEE entities in 2021 and beyond. Watch out for some exciting partnership news from 2021 HAC early next year.

Also, our recent impact survey with IEEE SIGHT chairs and HAC projects leads shows some promising results and reflects the impact of SIGHT and HAC initiatives on our member experience:

  • Nearly nine in ten (85%) respondents report that members of their HAC/SIGHT Team
    became members of IEEE as a result of their experience on the team.
  • Nearly nine in ten (85%) respondents are satisfied with their experience as HAC Project Lead or SIGHT Group Chair.
  • Almost all (95%) Project Leads and Group Chairs are likely to renew their IEEE Membership.
  • Over eight in ten (82%) respondents are likely to participate in a HAC Project or SIGHT Group next year.
  • Three quarters (76%) of respondents say their participation in HAC/SIGHT influences their likelihood to renew their IEEE membership.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to the SIGHT fund with the IEEE Foundation during the Giving Tuesday campaign on 1 December! Over US$500 was raised! These funds will be put to good use and help SIGHT continue operating as a catalyst for change within IEEE and in underserved communities around the globe.

Finally, to close my note, thank you 2019 and 2020 IEEE SIGHT Steering Committee, it was a great honor to lead SIGHT's global vision and strategy in the last two years. Along with you, I'm glad to have delivered a path breaking growth for the SIGHT program since its inception and making it a world class program in sustainable development and humanitarian activities. Thanks to all SIGHT members, IEEE Board of Directors, 2019 & 2020 HAC and SIGHT committee members, who believed in my vision, goals and supported me in this journey. I would also like to thank the staff team - Holly, Julianna, and Betsy - for being a pillar of support for the program and helping us to deliver this historic performance. I’m confident that the incoming 2021 SIGHT new leadership team will leverage this foundational efforts to scale up SIGHT’s growth next year.

Lastly, I’m humbled and honored to be appointed by the IEEE Board of Directors as the global chair for the IEEE 2021 Humanitarian Activities Committee. I’m very excited about this opportunity and look forward to delivering ground-breaking work for HAC and SIGHT in 2021. Thank you all for travelling this journey with us. We look forward to continuing this success in 2021 and beyond. I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year!

Best wishes,
Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan
2019 - 2020 IEEE SIGHT Steering Committee Chair

Major Highlights

Key Performance Indicators from 2020 - Each Number is a Story!

The following statistics do not do justice to the time and effort that volunteers have invested in furthering the SIGHT mission through creating new Groups, and conducting sustainable development technological projects. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered in some capacity for HAC & SIGHT this year! None of the exciting accomplishments that follow would have been possible if not for the global network of SIGHT volunteers.

The following statistics do not do justice to the time and effort that volunteers have invested in furthering the SIGHT mission through creating new Groups, and conducting sustainable development technological projects. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered in some capacity for HAC & SIGHT this year! None of the exciting accomplishments that follow would have been possible if not for the global network of SIGHT volunteers.

Significant Initiatives Introduced from 2019-2020:

  1. “Ask the Chair” Sessions with the IEEE SIGHT Chair
  2. Volunteer recognition - IEEE SIGHT global Awards were established to recognize a Volunteer and Group of the Year
  3. Joint-funding model with other IEEE entities - currently, four projects with IEEE Society partners are underway, and another is taking place with EPICS in IEEE
  4. Africa Summit - held with members of the Africa Council, local Section leaders, and HAC & SIGHT volunteers both in 2019 and 2020
  5. SIGHT Week Global Celebrations in 2019 and 2020, and the first ever IEEE SIGHT Day was celebrated globally on 28 April 2020
  6. SIGHT Fund was established with the IEEE Foundation and SIGHT participated in the 2019 and 2020 Giving Tuesday campaigns with the IEEE Foundation
  7. SIGHT membership certificate program was launched in Sep 2020 to recognize the professional association of our SIGHT volunteers
  8. Vtools support for SIGHT is made available to all SIGHT volunteer leaders
  9. First ever working group on WIE in SIGHT and Africa SIGHT working group were established

Program “Firsts” in 2019 - 2020:

  1. Achieved a new record of over 11,000 individual SIGHT members! Members live in 112 different countries, and all ten IEEE Regions.
  2. First SIGHT groups organized in Venezuela, Zambia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom & Ireland, Turkey, Switzerland, and Region 1 (New Jersey Coast Section)
  3. HAC/SIGHT funded a number of project proposals from countries that had not received funding for projects prior: Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Zambia
  4. The first SIGHT Webinars in a language other than English - “Constructing a Strong SIGHT Proposal” and “Tecnología de Semiconductores para la Sociedad” - were held in Spanish
  5. HAC and SIGHT Education Committees partnered to create the “Humanitarian Technology and Sustainable Development at IEEE” eLearning curriculum, hosted on the IEEE Learning Network (ILN).

2020 SIGHT Volunteer of the Year Award Recipient and Honorable Mentions

Mr. Ronny Cabrera is the 2020 IEEE SIGHT Volunteer of the Year! Mr. Cabrera, past Chair of the IEEE Ecuador Section SIGHT Group, was selected to receive this award due to his outstanding contributions to IEEE SIGHT, including leading the projects "Nabon Network Project," "IEEE Ecuador 2019 Summer Camps,” and "HACKTECH COVID-19." He has been an organizer and speaker at project-related workshops held by the IEEE Ecuador Section and other SIGHT Groups in the country. Mr. Cabrera is the founder and first Chair of the IEEE Ecuador Section SIGHT Group in 2018, and supported the formation of two other Student Branch SIGHT Groups in Ecuador in 2019.

There were also several volunteers who were recognized with Honorable Mentions:

  • Eduardo Audiche, UK & Ireland Section SIGHT Group
  • Dave Nall, NJ Coast Section SIGHT Group
  • Margaret Lyons, NJ Coast Section SIGHT Group
  • Ankayarkanni Rajendran, Madras Section SIGHT Group

Congratulations Ronny, and to each of the Honorable Mention recipients!

The recipient of the SIGHT Group of the Year Award will be announced in the January 2021 newsletter.


2020 SIGHT Week Celebration!

The 2020 IEEE SIGHT Celebration Week was held from 30 November - 6 December to foster a spirit of community for the global SIGHT network, increase awareness of IEEE SIGHT within IEEE, and celebrate the impact SIGHT volunteers and groups made this year. Activities included a panel with HAC/SIGHT project leaders, another on Strategic Partnerships, and an "Ask the Chair” session with Sampath Veeraraghavan.

A number of SIGHT Groups held events during SIGHT Week as well. The Montreal Section SIGHT Group organized two webinars on “Hands-on AI for Humanitarian Technology: Health Applications.” IEEE Bangladesh Section SIGHT FLASH hosted the “Women in SIGHT Summit (WISE) 2020” to recognize the contributions of women involved with HAC/SIGHT activities. The Ecuador Section SIGHT group held the event, “Projects, Benefits, and Opportunities with SIGHT” as part of the Ecuador Section Young Professionals meeting. The Bangalore Section SIGHT Group organized a Conclave for all of the IEEE Student Branch groups in their Section. How did your group celebrate? Write to us at [email protected] and let us know!


2021 IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee Chair

As mentioned in the November edition of the newsletter, Sampath Veeraraghavan will serve as the 2021 HAC Chair. The IEEE SIGHT Chair and Subcommittee Chairs will be announced in January, and Subcommittees will be formed afterwards.

On behalf of the 2020 SIGHT Committee and HAC/SIGHT staff support team, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to Sampath for his untiring efforts as the 2019-2020 SIGHT Steering Committee Chair. Throughout his time as Chair, Sampath’s dedication to SIGHT was evidenced by the countless hours he invested to truly foster a sense of community for volunteers and SIGHT Groups. His considerate, enthusiastic, and unwavering leadership (even in the midst of a global pandemic) set a clear course for the program to achieve the many milestones shared above. Thank you Sampath!

SIGHT Group Spotlight

Newly-formed SIGHT Group - Welcome to the SIGHT Community!

  • UKF College of Engineering and Technology SIGHT - India, Region 10
  • Thailand Section SIGHT - Thailand, Region 10
Get Involved - Join The Community


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