AllHumanity Blog

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Is Virtual Reality (VR) the “empathy machine”? What are the best practices of VR, a technology that is taking off in 2016?

Mark Atkin, curator of VR exhibitions at Sheffield Doc/Fest, UK’s biggest non-fiction film festival, speaks with the Thomson Reuters Foundation about the challenges of making VR films and how filmmakers can adapt their ways of storytelling.

Virtual reality was tied to computer gaming when it gained popularity in the 1990s. But as the technology has progressed, it has found many other uses. Filmmakers and charities have begun to use VR films to raise awareness of humanitarian issues worldwide, with its immersive quality helping audiences to better understand the plight of those caught up in wars or disasters.

“It’s certainly not good enough just to take your camera and stick it in the middle of a refugee camp and think ‘now people will understand,'” Atkin said. “If you don’t have a strong connection to the character, if you don’t have a compelling story, it’s just like any other media. It’s not going to move you very much at all.”

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Ladies & Gentlemen and Friends of AllHumanity Group:

Dr. Frederick "Skip" Burkle is a legend at Harvard, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, John Hopkins and the Nat. Academy of Sciences.  

Dr. Burkle is a Senior Fellow with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and a Visiting Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is a Senior Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington DC,  Professor, Department of Community Emergency Health, Monash University Medical School, Melbourne, Australia, Senior Associate Faculty, Department of International Health and the Center for Refugee & Disaster Response, Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutes, and Adjunct Professor, the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. In 2007 he was elected a member of the prestigious  

Dr. Burkle was appointed Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Global Health, United States Agency for International Development in June 2002. From 2000 to 2002 he was Senior Scholar, Scientist and Visiting Professor, The Center for International Emergency, Disaster and Refugee Studies, the Schools of Public Health and Medicine, Johns Hopkins University. From 1989 he was Professor of Surgery (Emergency Medicine), Pediatrics, and Public Health and Chair of the Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Hawaii School of Medicine. He is an Adjunct Professor at Tulane, the Uniformed Services University and the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University. He graduated from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in 1965 and holds graduate degrees from Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, the University of California at Berkeley, and a Diploma in Health Emergencies in Large Populations from the University of Geneva.

He is certified in emergency medicine, pediatrics, pediatric emergency medicine, and psychiatry and holds a MPH in public health. He has worked in complex emergencies and refugee care in Viet Nam, northern Iraq, Somalia, the Former Yugoslavia , and Kosovo and in development and health and security in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. He was on the Board of Directors of the International Refugee Committee from 1996 and was Executive Director of the Health Unit for IRC in 1999. He has published over 110 articles and 4 books mostly in the field of disaster management and health. He is a retired Navy Reserve Captain, having served with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Marine Divisions in Viet Nam, the Persian Gulf, and Somalia. He is the recipient of the Gorgas Medal for “groundbreaking work in the field of preventive medicine.”

Dr. Burkle has published over 150 scientific articles, abstracts and book chapters, four books, three on disaster management including Disaster Medicine (1984).  He has worked in and consulted on numerous humanitarian emergencies and large-scale international disasters in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. From 2002-03, Dr. Burkle served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Dr. Burkle holds post-graduate degrees from Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, the University of California at Berkeley, University of Geneva, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He is qualified in Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health and Diploma in Tropical Medicine. He is a retired Naval Reserve Captain and a member of the Board of Directors and Overseer of the International Rescue Committee.

The "allhumanity" project, the brain child of Robert Cipriano has filled a vital gap in global health communications. Allhumanity provides an open and transparent environment and capacity to communicate among the multi-disciplinary professions all of whom are required to help solve crises of today and in the future. Charities need a voice in the decision-makling process vital to the increasingly expanding humanitarian community. A short decade ago those who called themselves humanitarian professionals numbered about 100,000 and has grown today to over 220,000. The "allhumanity" project comes at an opportune time giving us an unprecedented and necessary means to communicate and exchange ideas that we all share responsibility for. We thank Robert's lifelong pursuit to enhance the level of transparency and information exchange in order to help mitigate poverty and its consequences among the most vulnerable of populations...and for the work he has done to make "allhumanity" a success. 

 Dr. Frederick "Skip" Burkle


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