EPFL’s EssentialTech Centre has reinforced its team with an internationally recognized leader in humanitarianism, development and peace.

Former Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Yves Daccord will serve as Senior Advisor to the EssentialTech Centre at EPFL, which is dedicated to harnessing technology to drive sustainable development, humanitarian action and peace.

 “We are extremely pleased and proud to have attracted the attention of such an important thinker,” says EssentialTech’s Director Klaus Schönenberger. “Yves’s international profile and capacity to drive change will bring immense value. It is an honour for both EssentialTech and EPFL at large.”

A renowned humanitarian leader, international strategist, influencer and changemaker, Daccord’s ICRC career spanned more than 20 years, including 10 years as Director General. He is currently leading the first-ever Pop-Up Institute at Harvard University – the Edgelands Institute – to envision the terms of new social contracts that work for cities and people in the age of pandemics and digital surveillance.  He co-chairs #Principles4Peace and serves on numerous boards including at ODI, a leading global affairs think tank, the International Human Rights Film Festival of Geneva, the Humanitarian Quality Insurance Initiative, and the newspaper Le Temps.

Yves Daccord

As Senior Advisor to EssentialTech, Daccord will inject new vision and help open doors to new partnership and synergies at a crucial time in the Centre’s history. His leadership profile in the humanitarian sector will help solidify numerous partnerships that EssentialTech currently has with prominent international organizations such as the ICRC, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He will also be particularly instrumental in guiding the Centre’s year-long 10+10 initiative marking its 10-year anniversary.

 In addition to a broad reflection on the learnings from the past decade, 10+10 involves numerous events aimed at defining strategic priorities for the Centre’s future greater impact for the next 10 years. It includes conferences and workshops that will bring together high-profile leaders from the sustainable development, humanitarian and peace sectors, as well as young, dynamic minds to bring fresh, exciting perspectives. The Centre is also in the process of growing its profile, and deepening and extending relationships with stakeholders across the spectrum.

 Recent events underscore the importance of evolving approaches to global challenges in fast-moving, turbulent times. Among changes to anticipate in the coming 10 years are the end of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, the digital revolution, and tectonic shifts in world power, with rising populism and threats to democracy.

 “I believe that that the Centre’s approach to how technology can drive sustainable development, humanitarian action and peace is spot on,” says Daccord. “Over the last decade, it has developed a unique expertise in this field. Along with other EPFL actors, EssentialTech’s work shows that EPFL, and indeed Switzerland, can be a leader in leveraging technology science and technology to help address these global issues.”