Iranian pro-democracy demonstrators in 2009 used social media to organize and document their protests. Here, an opposition supporter films a protest on her mobile phone. (Source)

Technology is changing the nature of human rights

We’re excited to offer the latest session of our course Introduction to Technology for Human Rights, which runs for five weeks from October 28 to December 1. Participants will learn about the relationship between technological tools and human rights through a combination of theory, principles, and real-world case studies from Kenya, Iran, and the Arab Spring. This will leave them equipped with the knowledge needed to incorporate technology into their own campaigns.

Activists are constantly adapting to use technology in new ways as it continually impacts the struggle to defend human rights worldwide. As mobile phone usage and internet access continue to rapidly increase, even in less-developed countries, technology has become an essential part of the landscape, influencing both the economy and civil society.

Who should take this course?

The ability to use new tools to their full potential while also recognizing their limitations and inherent risks has become essential for human rights defenders everywhere. From crisis mapping to social media to satellite imagery, people working in fields like human rights, international development, and journalism need to understand the opportunities and adversities they face when using technology to promote change.


  • Week 1 – Introduction, History, and Principles
  • Week 2 – The Mobile Revolution and Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Week 3 – Mobilization, Citizen Journalism, and the Iran Election 2009
  • Week 4 – Social Media, Mobile Apps, and the Arab Spring
  • Week 5 – On the Horizon: The Future of Technology for Human Rights

For more details and to register, visit our Academy page.


Course content is delivered through a combination of audio lectures, slides, videos, readings, small projects, and live video discussions held through Google+ Hangout. Everything has been structured to accommodate participants with varying work schedules and across different time zones.