The Hitachi Center for Technology and International Affairs

Student Initiatives

The HCTIA supports several initiatives at the Fletcher School that leverage the unique experience and abilities of the student body to explore topical issues.






  • Crisis Mapping Response to Haiti Earthquake

Description: Within two hours of the earthquake in Haiti, students at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University had partnered with the Ushahidi crowd‐sourcing platform to provide a near real‐time crisis map that continues to inform humanitarian actors responding to the earthquake. Ushahidi, a non‐profit corporation based out of Kenya, aggregates information from email, SMS, Twitter, and other web‐based social networking tools to build a comprehensive picture of a chaotic situation. The Fletcher team, in collaboration with a group of organizations including InSTEDD, FrontlineSMS, and Thomson Reuters Foundation, acquired an SMS short code which allowed Haitians to contact the international community directly about their needs. These messages, which are sent in Creole, are instantaneously translated in to English by thousands of volunteers in the Haitian Diaspora.

A growing group of global volunteers, including students at Tufts University, Haitian translators organized by Mission 4636, Ushahidi staff in Kenya, and teams in Geneva, London, Montreal, Washington, DC and Portland, Oregon have continued to monitor and process all news, social media and SMS messages from the ground in near real‐time. Numerous key organizations including the Red Cross, OFDA, FEMA, US Department of State, US Coast Guard, and WFP are relying directly on Ushahidi Haiti to inform their operational responses. As the situation in Haiti transitions from emergency response to reconstruction and development, Fletcher and Ushahidi will focus on engaging vulnerable and under‐represented communities in neighbourhoods throughout Port‐au‐Prince through interactive mapping of slums. They will also partner with local NGOs and community associations through direct community outreach and the development of local information communications capacity.

The Hitachi Center for Technology and International Affairs is a proud sponsor of the Ushahidi Haiti Fletcher Team.

USIP Report

Ushahidi Haiti Site

  • Japanese Technology Transfer Conference, April 2, 2010