21 JANUARY 2019


Dr. Iyad Rahwan

Dr. Iyad Rahwan is the AT&T Career Development Professor and an Associate Professor of Media Arts & Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where he leads the Scalable Cooperation group. A native of Aleppo, Syria, Rahwan holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and is an affiliate faculty at the MIT Institute of Data, Systems and Society (IDSS). Rahwan's work lies at the intersection of the computer and social sciences, with a focus on collective intelligence, large-scale cooperation, and the social aspects of Artificial Intelligence. He led the winning team in the US State Department's Tag Challenge, using social media to locate individuals in remote cities within 12 hours using only their mug shots. Recently, he crowdsourced 30 million decisions from people worldwide about the ethics of AI systems. Rahwan's work appeared in major academic journals, including Science and PNAS, and features regularly in major media outlets, including the New York Times, The Economist, and the Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Anahi Ayala Iacucci

Dr. Anahi Ayala Iacucci first joined Internews in 2010 and today she leads the Internews Humanitarian team as the Senior Director for Humanitarian Programs. Anahi plays a key role in developing Internews’ global Humanitarian program strategies; while also closely supporting teams in the field and managing Internews Emergency Response Program. Since 2006 Anahi has been consulting for NGOs and international organizations like UNOCHA and the World Bank on the use of ICT4D, new technologies and crisis mapping, merging her skills in Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid with her technical expertise on the use of technology for development. She started with Internews as a Media Innovation Advisor for the Africa Region, Health and Humanitarian Media, based in Nairobi, Kenya and working in Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Ghana and Haiti. Anahi moved to Washington DC as the Senior Innovation Advisor for the Internews Center for Innovation and Learning in 2013, where she worked on the strategic direction of the organization globally, with specific regard to the application of new technologies and agile design for ICT4D. At the onset of the Ebola crisis in West Africa, Anahi moved back to the field as Internews Country Director for the Ebola Response in Liberia, where she set up the first Rumors Tracking project, which was then replicated in Internews Humanitarian Projects in Nepal, Haiti, and Greece. In 2015 Anahi became the Humanitarian Director for Internews South Sudan, where she managed a multimillion dollars portfolio of 6 different projects before moving to her current position in 2017. Anahi holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Bologna; a Master Degree in International Affairs from Colombia University; a Master in Human Rights from the University of Padova; and a Post-Graduate Degree on Humanitarian Assistance from the Center for the Rights of People of the Padova University. She is also the co-founded of the Standby Task Force, a member of the International Network of Crisis Mappers and a Board member of Elva.

Dr. Bülent Sankur

Dr. Bülent Sankur has received his Ph.d. degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at 1976. He held visiting positions at research institutes such as Delft University and Ecole Nationale Superieure des Telecommunications and consultant positions in industrial corporations such as Arçelik and Marmara Research Center. He has been the director of Boğaziçi University signal processing center BUSİM, and is an Emeritus Professor at the Electronics & Electrical Engineering Department. His research interests span the areas of image and video processing, watermarking, biometry, 3D shape analysis, brain interfaces and Bayesian signal processing. He has authored or co-authored many publications on these fields, and supervised 22 Ph.d.s. He has received the EURASIP Society Meritorious Service Award (2013), Lifelong Service Award of TÜBİSAD and Türk Bilişim Derneği (2010), Elginkan Foundation Award for Service to Culture (2009), Turkish Association of Computer Machinery Special Award for Achievement (2006), Bogazici University Rector’s Award of Achievement in Research (2005), and Mustafa Parlar Foundation Award for Science, (2002). He is a member of the Science Academy.

Dr. Yıldırım Bahadırlar

Dr. Yıldırım Bahadırlar received the B.S. degree in Department of Electronics from Technical Education Faculty of Marmara University in 1985, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, in 1990 and 1997 respectively. In Nov. 1999 he joined TUBITAK-MAM Information Technologies Research Institute, Gebze, Turkey. In 2010 Information Technologies Institute is unified to Informatics and Information Security Research Center (BİLGEM), Gebze, Turkey, since then he has been working for BİLGEM. During these periods he acted as deputy director of Intelligent Systems Department from 2006 to 2011 and after was employed as acting deputy director of Homeland Security Department from 2014 to 2017 both in Information Technologies Institute. He also executed R&D projects and prepared many R&D project proposals. He is currently active in advisory board of BİLGEM and continuing to work as chief researcher. R&D interests are adaptive filter theory, array processing methods, spectral estimation, classification and optimization methods, signal and system modeling, radar signal processing, artificial neural networks, machine & deep learning algorithms, software and system engineering.

Dr. Alex Rutherford

Dr. Alex Rutherford is a data scientist with a PhD in condensed matter physics. He worked as a Research Scientist at UNICEF’s Office of Innovation and previously as a data scientist with UN Global Pulse, which is an innovation initiative within the Secretary General's Office. Alex spent many years, including several spent in the Middle East, applying the theoretical physics toolkit to a disparate set of problems. These include precursors of ethnic violence, social mobilisation, incentives to corruption, data privacy and constitutional reform.

Dr. Claire Melamed

Dr. Claire Melamed is the Executive Director of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, headquartered in Washington, DC.  Dr. Melamed has a PhD from the University of London.  During her time in the office of the UN Secretary General, she was head of the Independent Expert Advisory Group Secretariat and lead author of the report ‘A World That Counts’.  She is based in London and was previously a Managing Director at the Overseas Development Institute, has worked for a number of international NGOs and taught at the University of London and the Open University.  She can be found on Twitter at @clairemelamed.

Jean-Marie Garelli

Jean-Marie Garelli is the Deputy Representative for Operations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ankara, Turkey since September 2016. He started working with UNHCR in 1994 and since then has been posted to several countries including Mauritania, Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Eritrea, Serbia and Chad. From 2006 to 2010 he worked in UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva on the Desk covering Southeast Asia. Between 2011 and 2013, he was seconded to the Office For Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in New-York and worked in the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), an United Nations pool fund aimed at providing financial support to respond to emergencies.In September 2013, he was appointed Assistant Representative (Programme) in the UNHCR Representation for Lebanon, in Beirut, where he has been serving until September 2016. He is graduated in Political Science from the Institute of Political Studies in Aix-en-Provence, France, in Contemporary History from the University of Nice, France and in International Law from the University Pantheon-Assas in Paris, France.

Ahmad Garibeh

Ahmad Garibeh has a Bsc in Computing from the University of Greenwich. He is a full stack developer, data science enthusiast, volunteeter of Istanbul&I social impact team, and an international relations team member for the Syrian Youth Assembly.

Dr. Geoffrey Charles Fox

Dr.Geoffrey Charles Fox received a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge University where he was Senior Wrangler. He is now a distinguished professor of Engineering, Computing, and Physics at Indiana University where he is director of the Digital Science Center, and both Department Chair and Interim Associate Dean for Intelligent Systems Engineering at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering.  He previously held positions at Caltech, Syracuse University, and Florida State University after being a postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and Peterhouse College Cambridge. He has supervised the Ph.D. of 70 students and published around 1300 papers (over 460 with at least ten citations) in physics and computing with an hindex of 77 and over 32000 citations. He is a Fellow of APS (Physics) and ACM (Computing) and works on the interdisciplinary interface between computing and applications.

He currently researches the application of computer science from infrastructure to analytics in Biology, Pathology, Sensor Clouds and Ice-sheet Science, Image processing, Deep Learning and Particle Physics. His architecture work is built around High-performance computing enhanced Software Defined Systems on Clouds and Clusters. The analytics focuses on scalable parallelism. He is an expert on streaming data and robot-cloud interactions. He is involved in several projects to enhance the capabilities of Minority Serving Institutions. He has experience in online education and its use in MOOCs for areas like Data and Computational Science.

Joséphine Goube

Joséphine Goube, nominated three times in a row by Forbes as one of
the top 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneur in 2016, 2017, 2018, is an
hacktivist for migrants and refugees' social inclusion. As CEO of
Techfugees, a non-profit coordinating the tech community to respond to
the refugee & migrant challenge in 25 countries over the world,
Josephine promotes the use of mobile & new digital technologies to
empower the displaced and provide them access to information,
healthcare, and education. She seats on the board of the Norwegian
Refugee Council and previously worked as tech evangelist for the
web-based cross border recruitment platform, Yborder, was appointed in
2015 as an informal expert to advise the EU commission on its
immigration reforms and helped build a web-based marketplace for
migrants to apply to visa to Europe as part of the startup team of

Fırat Yaman Er

Fırat Yaman Er graduated from BA department of Boğaziçi University in 1997 and earned his MBA degree from San Francisco State University in 2011. Mr. Er started his carrier at Dogan Holding in 1997. Afterwards, he started to work at Aria Communication Services and played an active role in the merger of Aria and Aycell. He continued his role in Avea after the merger. In 2008, he started to work as Business Planning Director at Oger Telecom. In 2011, he was appointed as Assistant General Manager responsible for Business Planning at Oger Telecom.

Mr. Er started to work as Assistant General Manager of Business Planning at Türk Telekom in May 2014. He also acted as Assistant General Manager of Strategy and Business Development between March 2016 and December 2016. Fırat Yaman Er is serving as Strategy, Planning and Business Development Assistant General Manager since December 2016.

Senem Özyavuz

Senem Özyavuz graduated from Istanbul University Law Faculty in 2000, earned her M.A degree in law from University of Malta in 2002 and got her LLM degree from University of Utrecht in 2003. Mrs. Özyavuz also attended Mini MBA Program in University of Cambridge within the framework of Falconbury Program in 2014 and completed MIT Sloan Executive Education Programme in 2017. Mrs. Özyavuz is currently a PhD candidate in the field of law at Galatasaray University.

Mrs. Özyavuz started her carrier at a Maritime Law Office as Senior Associate in 2003. Afterwards, she started working at Avea İletişim Hizmetleri A.Ş. in 2006 where she was promoted to Internal Consultancy Line Manager in 2007 and to Legal Department Manager in 2009.  Mrs. Özyavuz has been serving as Legal Director for Strategy, Regulation and Procurement affairs since October 2014 at Türk Telekom.

Dr. Phuong Pham

Phuong Pham, Ph.D., MPH, is an Assistant Professor at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of Evaluation and Implementation Science at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI). She has over 15 years of experience in designing and implementing epidemiologic and evaluation research, innovation solutions, and capacity building programs in on-going and post-conflict countries such as northern Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Iraq, Cambodia, and Colombia. She co-founded Peacebuildingdata.org (a portal of peacebuilding, human rights, and justice indicators) and KoboToolbox (a suite of software for digital data collection and visualization). She also co-directs the DataPop Alliance.

Mithat Büyükhan

Mithat Büyükhan has graduated Gazi University Chemistry Education Department in 1993. He got his masters degree from the Public Administration Institute for Turkey and Middle East (TODAIE) in public administration, and continued to study social politics at the PhD program of Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University. He is a teacher of chemistry, and worked as expert and PI in numerous projects. Currently, he is a project manager at the Lifelong Learning General Directorate of the Ministry of Education.

Mazen AboulHosn

Mazen AboulHosn, Lebanese national, is an emergency coordinator at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Turkey. He has worked in response to crises in Lebanon, Haiti, Chad, Congo and Turkey. His expertise covers humanitarian response programming in natural disasters, conflicts and complex emergencies. He worked in several programs including psychosocial, education, livelihood, and health and community stabilization.  

Ömer Hakan Şimşek

Ömer Hakan Şimşek has received his first Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmaceutics at İstanbul University at 2000 and a second Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration at Anadolu University. He received his Master of Science degree in Health Economics and Pharmacoeconomics, with a thesis on “The Effect of Legislation changes to Medicines Market” from Hacettepe University. Mr. Şimşek has experience in pharmacy management, as well as software development. He started to work at the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TMMDA) under the Ministry of Health in 2013 and since then, lead many projects at the Agency. He is currently the Head of the IT Department.

Nona Zicherman

Nona Zicherman arrived in Turkey in 2015, first serving as Emergency Coordinator for UNICEF before being appointed as Deputy Representative in June 2017. Ms. Zicherman also served as the Chief of Emergency for UNICEF in the Democratic Republic of Congo, based in Kinshasa, and as an Emergency Specialist in UNICEF’s East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO), based in Nairobi. An international development professional with fifteen years of experience largely in fragile and post-conflict settings, Ms. Zicherman has worked with the United Nations, international non-governmental organizations and the private sector throughout Africa and Asia. She holds a Masters degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Bachelors degree in Political Science from Columbia University.

Dr. Manuel García-Herranz

Dr. Manuel García-Herranz is Chief Scientist at UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, where he focuses on bridging the gap between Data Science and the most vulnerable, exploring how to apply Big Data, Complex Systems theory, and Artificial Intelligence to help the most deprived and invisible. Fields of application include growing humanitarian problems such as epidemics, natural disasters, and migration as well as transversal issues such as poverty, data representativeness and algorithmic equity. Manuel holds a PhD in computer science from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. He joined UNICEF Innovation in 2014 and has been since working to bring the value of Big Data to UNICEF, leading research at UNICEF’s Office of Innovation and creating collaboration networks and Data Science tools that focus on the problems of the most vulnerable children.

Dr. Vedran Sekara

Dr. Vedran Sekara is a Research Scientist at UNICEF's Office of Innovation. Originally a physicist by training, his current research interests lie in the intersection between physics, sociology and computer science, where he utilizes machine learning, complex systems and massive datasets to drive scientific developments that improve the conditions of the most vulnerable. A native of Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina) he was forced to flee his home country in the early 1990's due to the civil war and has experienced what it means to be a Refugee. Vedran holds a PhD in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from the Technical University of Denmark, and a Masters degree in Physics from the Niels Bohr Institute. 

21 JANUARY 2019

Welcome to the homepage of the Data for Refugees (D4R) Challenge Workshop. This workshop will gather stakeholders seeking to use Big Data for improving the living conditions of refugees. The Challenge participants will present their findings at the Workshop, and Awards will be distributed on different categories:
Health, education, social integration, unemployment, safety & security, respectively.

The presentations will be in English.

Date and Location

This workshop will take place on the 21th of January 2019 at Boğaziçi University, Albert Long Hall.

Participation and Registration

The workshop is free to attend, but security requires the names of attendees to enter the university on the day of the workshop. Please register if you like to attend.

First Name
Last Name

09:00 - 09:30   Opening talks (Boğaziçi University, TUBITAK, Türk Telekom)
09:30 - 10:00   D4R Challenge Award Ceremony
10:00 - 11:00   Session 1 (Oral)
Reducing measles risk in Turkey through social integration of Syrian refugees Paolo Bosetti, Piero Poletti, Massimo Stella, Bruno Lepri, Stefano Merler and Manlio De Domenico Data Analytics without Borders: Multi-Layered Insights for Syrian Refugee Crisis Ozgun Ozan Kılıç, Mehmet Ali Akyol, Oğuz Işık, Banu Günel Kılıç, Arsev Umur Aydınoğlu, Elif Sürer, Hafize Şebnem Düzgün, Sibel Kalaycıoğlu and Tuğba Taşkaya Temizel UDMIT: An Urban Deep Map for Integration in Turkey Sedef Turper Alışık, Damla Bayraktar Aksel, Asım Evren Yantaç, Lemi Baruh, Sibel Salman, İlker Kayı, Ahmet İçduygu and Ivon Bensason 11:00 - 12:00   Session 2 (Oral)
AROMA_CoDa: Assessing Refugees’ Onward Mobility through the Analysis of Communication Data Harald Sterly, Benjamin Etzold, Lars Wirkus, Patrick Sakdapolrak, Jacob Schewe, Carl-Friedrich Schleussner and Benjamin Hennig Measuring fine-grained multidimensional integration using mobile phone metadata: the case of Syrian refugees in Turkey Michiel Bakker, Daoud Piracha, Patricia Lu, Keis Bejgo, Mohsen Bahrami, Yan Leng, Jose Balsa-Barreiro, Julie Ricard, Alfredo Morales, Vivek Singh, Burcin Bozkaya, Selim Balcisoy and Alex Pentland Quantified Understanding of Syrian Refugee Integration in Turkey Wangsu Hu, Ran He, Jin Cao, Lisa Zhang, Huseyin Uzunalioglu, Ahmet Akyamac and Chitra Phadke 12:00 - 14:00   Session 3 (Poster) and lunch
Refugees in undeclared employment - A case study in Turkey Fabian Bruckschen, Till Koebe, Melina Ludolph, Maria Francesca Marino and Timo Schmid Mobile Data for Mobility: Travel and Communication Patterns of Syrian Refugees Eda Beyazıt, Ervin Sezgin, Kerem Arslanli and Mehmet Gencer Segregation and Sentiment: Estimating Refugee Segregation and its Effects Using Digital Trace Data Neal Marquez, Emilio Zagheni and Ingmar Weber Integration of Syrian refugees: insights from D4R, media events and housing market data Simone Bertoli, Paolo Cintia, Fosca Giannotti, Etienne Madinier, Caglar Ozden, Michael Packard, Dino Pedreschi, Hillel Rapoport, Alina Sirbu and Biagio Speciale Exploring Refugee Mobility due to Large Scale Events using Mobile Phone Records Fatima K. Abu Salem, Al-Abbas Khalil, Ahmad Dhaini, Joachim Diederich, Shady Elbassuoni and Wassim El Hajj An Overview of Group Behavior on Turkey Humberto T. M-Neto, Jussara M. Almeida, Artur Ziviani, Virgilio A. F. Almeida, Jaqueline Faria de Oliveira, Douglas C. Teixeira and Haron C. Fantecele New Approaches to the Study of Spatial Mobility and Economic Integration of Refugees in Turkey Steven Reece, Franck Duvell, Carlos Vargas-Silva and Zovanga Kone Syrian Refugee Integration in Turkey: Evidence from Call Detail Records Tugba Bozcaga, Fotini Christia, Elizabeth Harwood, Constantinos Daskalakis and Christos Papadimitriou Optimizing the Access to Healthcare Services in Dense Refugee Hosting Urban Areas: A Case for Istanbul Tarik Altuncu, Nur Sevencan and Ayse Seyyide Kaptaner Social Integration of Syrian Refugees: Some Insights from Call Detail Record Datasets Nuran Bayram-Arli, Fatih Cavdur, Mine Aydemir, Fadime Aksoy and Asli Sebatli Refugee Integration in Turkey: A Study of Mobile Phone Data Ismail Uluturk, Ismail Uysal and Onur Varol Measuring Segregation of Syrian Refugees via Mobile Call Detail Records Fatih Uludağ, Halit Eray Çelik, Serbest Ziyanak, Murat Canayaz and Fikriye Ataman Reaching all children:A data-driven allocation strategy of educational resources for Syrian refugees. Suad Aldarra, Lorenzo Lucchini, Elisa Omodei and Laura Alessandretti Developing Integration Policy for Refugees through Mobile Phone Data Analysis: A Study on Türk Telekom Customers Ibrahim Zincir, Tohid Ahmed Rana, Ayselin Yıldız and Dilaver Arıkan Açar 14:00 - 15:00   Session 4 (Oral)
Measuring and mitigating behavioural segregation as an optimisation problem: the case of Syrian refugees in Turkey Daniel Rhoads, Javier Borge-Holthoefer and Albert Solé-Ribalta Refugee Mobility: Evidence from Phone Data in Turkey Luisito Bertinelli, Rana Comertpay, Anastasia Litina, Jean-François Maystadt, Benteng Zou and Michel Beine Mobility and Calling Behavior to Assess the Integration of Syrian Refugees in Turkey Antonio Luca Alfeo, Mario Giovanni C.A. Cimino, Bruno Lepri and Gigliola Vaglini 15:00 - 16:00   Session 5 (Oral)
Characterizing the Mobile Phone Use Patterns of Refugee Hosting Provinces in Turkey Ross Gore, Meltem Y. Sener, Christine Boshuijzen-van Burken, Erika Frydenlund, Engin Bozdag and Christa de Kock Improve Education Opportunities for Better Integration of Syrian Refugees in Turkey Marco Mamei, Seyit Cilasun, Marco Lippi, Francesca Pancotto and Semih Tumen Towards an Understanding of Refugee Segregation, Isolation, Homophily and Ultimately Integration in Turkey Using Call Detail Records Jeremy Boy, David Pastor, Marguerite Nyhan, Rebeca Moreno Jimenez, Daniel Macguire and Miguel Luengo Oroz

Targeted Outcomes

The aim of the Workshop is to disseminate the findings of the D4R Challenge to a wider public. 31 research groups will present their results in the Workshop. The group meetings will bring the Challenge participants together to initiate a recommendations document (to be completed after the Workshop). These recommendations will be compiled in a jointly-authored chapter in the forthcoming book:

Salah, A.A., A. Pentland, B. Lepri, E. Letouze, P. Vinck, Y.A. de Montjoye, X. Dong (eds.), Guide to Mobile Data Analytics in Refugee Scenarios, Springer International, forthcoming.

Furthermore, a white paper in Turkish will be edited from the Challenge outcomes to be shared with the authorities.


Scientific Committee
Albert Ali Salah, Boğaziçi University
Alex Pentland, MIT
Bruno Lepri, FBK
Emmanuel Letouze, Data-Pop Alliance
Patrick Vinck, Harvard University
Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Imperial College London
Xiaowen Dong, University of Oxford

Project Evaluation Committee
Senem Özyavuz, Turk Telekom
Iyad Rahwan, MIT
Anahi Ayala Iacucci, Internews
Bülent Sankur, Boğaziçi University
Yıldırım Bahadırlar, TUBITAK BILGEM
Alex Rutherford, MIT
Claire Melamed, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
Jean-Marie Garelli, UNHCR
Ahmad Garibeh, Istanbul & I
Geoffrey Charles Fox, Indiana University
Josephine Goube, Techfugees
Fırat Yaman Er, Turk Telekom
Phuong Pham, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Mithat Büyükhan, TC Ministry of Education
Mazen AboulHosn, IOM
Ömer Hakan Şimşek, TC Ministry of Health
Nona Zicherman, UNICEF
Manuel Garcia-Herranz, UNICEF
Vedran Sekara, UNICEF


Albert Ali Salah, salah@boun.edu.tr

Attention Please

PROJECT GROUPS SUBMIT PROPOSALS has been extended until March 23, 2018.