Global Broadband Plan for Refugees Announces Board of Advisors

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The project to craft a Global Broadband Plan for Refugees (the “Project”) to meet the broadband connectivity goal set by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR)—that “all refugees, and the communities that host them, are connected to mobile networks and the Internet so that they can leverage these technologies to improve their lives”—today announced the Board of Advisors for the effort. The advisors represent a broad cross spectrum of experts on both refugees and broadband technologies, including from the corporate sector (including Intel, Cisco, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Mastercard, GSMA, General Atlantic, Accenture and McKinsey), the non-profit sector (including Net Hope, USA Care, the Alliance for an Affordable Internet, Open Society Foundations, Urban Institute, and Télécoms Sans Frontières), former government officials (including from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Federal Communications Commission, and the State Department), officials with expertise in telecommunications in Africa, and academics with subject matter expertise relevant to the project.

Blair Levin, who directed the writing of the National Broadband Plan for the United States and is coordinating the effort, noted “we are thrilled that so many from such a wide spectrum of stakeholders are willing to assist in making sure this project has the best possible input. Obtaining information from the wide spectrum of stakeholders is critical to having a through analysis on which to base our recommendations.”

The Project is managed by leading experts on broadband policy and practice and funded by USA for UNHCR,, and the World Bank. It reflects the increasing recognition that, in addition to emergency responses, the world’s growing refugee population requires investments in long-term solutions and that, in today’s connected world, a sound strategy should include initiatives that increase refugee access to broadband. The Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility of the New School is overseeing the effort. The Board of Advisors will review the analysis and recommendations of the Project team and offer insights and their own recommendations for action.

Previously, the Project announced a Request for Information seeking written submissions on a variety of topics related to how to achieve the UNHCR broadband connectivity goals and improve the lives and prospects for refugees using broadband networks and content. Information on the RFI can be found at here. Building on the information it receives from the Advisors, the RFI and from other activities, the Project will propose specific action steps for government, philanthropic, assistance organizations, and the private sector to address the broadband needs of the global refugee population and their host countries.

For further information about the Project go to or contact Aaron Alberico at

Broadband For Refugees Board of Advisors

  • Thomas Abell, Senior Manager, Accenture Development Partnerships, Accenture
  • Jonathan Askin, Professor of Clinical Law, Brooklyn Law School
  • Manu Bhardwaj, Vice President for Research and Insight, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
  • Peter Cleveland, VP, Law and Policy Group, Intel Corporation
  • Sheba Crocker, Vice President for Humanitarian Policy and Practice, USA Care
  • Sarah Cross, Senior Policy Advisor for the International Migration Initiative, Open Society Foundations
  • Arnab Das, Partner, McKinsey
  • Mindel Del Torre, Chief Regulatory & International Strategy Officer, Omnispace
  • Jim Forster, Managing Director, INIHoldings
  • John Guisti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA
  • John Horrigan, Senior Fellow, TPI
  • Charmaine Houvet, Public Policy Director of Africa, Cisco
  • Sonia Jorge, Executive Director, Alliance for Affordable Internet, Head of Digital Inclusion, Web Foundation
  • Mohit Kausal, Senior Advisor, General Atlantic
  • Michael Kende, Senior Advisor, Analysys
  • Jim Kohlenberger, President, JK Strategies; Former Chief of Staff, Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House
  • Carleen Maitland, Associate Professor of Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State University; Editor, Digital Lifeline?: ICTs for Refugees and Displaced Persons (Information Policy).
  • Ammar Malik, Senior Research Associate in the Center on International Development and Governance, Urban Institute
  • Paul Margie, Télécoms Sans Frontières
  • Patrick Masambu, Director General and CEO, International Telecommunications Satellite Organization
  • Denis McDonough, Senior Principal, Markle Foundation
  • Milo Medin, VP Access Services, Google
  • Jane Mesek, Sr. Director, Global Programs & Partnerships, Microsoft Philanthropies
  • Lillian Nalwoga, Programmes Associate, Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA); President, Internet Society Uganda Chapter.
  • Catherine Novelli, President, Listening for America
  • Jon Peha, Professor, Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Lou Pugliese, Sr. Innovation Fellow & Managing Director Technology Innovation Action Lab, Arizona State Uni.
  • Kyla Reid, Head of Digital Identity & Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation, GSMA
  • Caroline Robb, Senior Fellow, African Center for Economic Transformation
  • Frank Schott, VP of Global Programs, Net Hope
  • Stefaan Verhulst, Chief Research and Development Officer, NYU GovLab
  • Chris Weasler, Global Head of Spectrum Policy and Connectivity Planning, Facebook