The Role of Human Rights in the Global Helix for Technology Innovation and Justice
Saturday, May 20, 10:30 am – Noon


Engineering and technological developments are at the core of societal change, influencing and being influenced by society’s cultural, political, economic, and socio-technical contexts. However, various engineering educators and philosophers have pointed out that traditional engineering ethics education tends to focus on micro-ethics rather than macro-ethical issues. Therefore, this panel aims to discuss the broader implications of engineering and technology in society using a human rights framework. The United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights has served as a globally recognized standard that briefly outlines the fundamental rights, including life and liberty, and the right to work and education, among other civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. Those rights are realized within systems where governments and industry play a key role as duty-bearers, and academia plays a crucial role in educating and researching ethical principles and promoting and protecting human rights. All three form part of the triple helix innovation model, where a common theme is the protection and promotion of human rights.

This panel will discuss not only critical thinking perspectives and tools necessary for interpreting engineering obligations in relation to codes of professional ethics and the duty to hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public but also illustrate successful case studies where engineering has become essential to achieve human rights for everyone. Attendees will learn about a new framework to assess and guide engineering ethics based on human rights, learn about successful case studies of their implementation in technology innovation and application, and hear about industry, academia, government, and professional organizations’ perspectives on the role of human rights within the global innovation helix.

Mic Johnson, Technology, Data, and Architecture at BNY Mellon (industry representative).
Theresa Harris, Program Director of the AAAS Center for Scientific Responsibility and Justice, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Anja Lanz Design, Engineer for Haakon Industries Ltd. co-founders and CEO’s of Global Women in STEM.
Molly Land, Catherine Roraback Professor of Law, University of Connecticut (academia representative). Professor Land’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of human rights, science, and technology.

Discussant: Dan Burkey, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Diversity, University of Connecticut.

Moderators: Davis Chacon-Hurtado, University of Connecticut; Kelly Bohrer, University of Dayton; Shareen Hertel, University of Connecticut.