2017 - Our year in review

Changemakers Lab’s vision is to establish best practices on the island of Lesvos and position Lesvos as a Global Humanitarian Tech Hub, through a network of strategic international partners.

Our mission is to create an enabling environment where social entrepreneurs and key stakeholders can co-create social impactful tech solutions that contribute to solving humanitarian challenges, stimulating local economic development across Europe and accelerating the sustainable development goals!

We are also focused on raising awareness re the refugee crisis, and inspiring civil society into impactful action.

It has been a very busy year for us, with many positive initiatives taking place, bringing diverse stakeholders together (#SDG17), inspiring positive change! 
The following were some of our key initiatives:
- Incubation program in partnership with the University of the Aegean
- Changemakers Summit and Pre Event Workshop
- The Port Hackathon (CERN)
- SAP's Train-The-Trainer workshops and the Refugee Code Week (including the Opening Event)

A very big thank you to you, our change makers and partners, for your support in making our initiatives possible! We would not be able to do this without your generosity and spirit of humanity!

What we have done

Incubation Project

CML collaborated with the University of the Aegean (Environment Department), in its 4 month Entrepreneurship course, as a strategic partner. Our team members served as mentors on the implementation and acceleration of the student’s startups, holding weekly workshops with the teams.
The incubation project inspired systemic change, as it brought locals and refugees together, to cocreate sustainable and impactful solutions. 

Through these interactions, students and university staff were invited to #KaraTepe where the refugees hosted us for a delicious lunch in their home. This was an incredible and unforgettable experience for all that attended!


CHANGEMAKERS SUMMIT took place on May 9th 2017 (Europe Day) in Mytilene.


To commemorate Europe Day, on Tuesday 9th of May, Visions2Ventures and Changemakers Lab, under the auspices of the Municipality of Lesvos and the support of the University of the Aegean, hosted Changemakers Summit": Europe Day 4.0” at the Mytilini Municipal Theatre.

The Summit gathered diverse international stakeholders to discuss how we can solve important problems through a common strategy.  The focus of the Summit was on identifying and accelerating ways in which we can empower and accelerate social tech entrepreneurs and turn a crisis into an opportunity, stimulating local economic development and integration. 

The discussions took place through four key panels, namely: Skills Development, Ecosystem Development, Access to investment and positioning Lesvos as a Global Humanitarian Tech Hub. 

The key note speakers included Riaan Conradie (CEO of LifeQ), Angeliki Kosmopoulou (Executive Director of the A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation), Andreas Troumbis (Ex Rector of the University of the Aegean) and Kostantinos Astirakakis (Vice Mayor of Lesvos).

Ting Shih (Click Medix), Annette Muller (Flexy) and Theo Anagnostopoulos (SciCo) presented their leading solutions and met with key stakeholders on discussions to implement these innovative and game changing solutions here on Lesvos. 

We are also very fortunate to have welcomed Daniel Dobos (Global Humanitarian Lab), Emanuel Musa (Babele), Boris Cheshirkov (UNHCR), Marselos Rallidis (President of IDEA), Christos Lytras and Christina Andrea (The Port) as speakers at our inspiring Summit.

Changemakers Summit is about people, as people are at the heart of everything that we do!
We were therefore also very proud to have hosted the passionate change makers, Aphrodite Varti and Zoi Livatidou, who shared their incredible and inspiring insights with us. They were followed by, arguably, the most important stakeholders: the startup presentations made by locals and refugees, who got precious feedback from several stakeholders, including impact investors, who expressed their interest to support the implementation of some of these projects.
Zoi Livatidou
Aphrodite Varti
Changemakers Lab, in partnership with The Port (CERN), the University of the Aegean and Visions2Ventures selected the R3 project as a project to be included in The Port Hackathon at Cern, and sent four students to Geneva, where the solution (Trash, we can!) was further developed with an incredible team from around the world.
We would like to sincerely and wholeheartedly thank the following partners & supporters, whom without their support, this would not be possible:
Municipality of Lesvos, University of the Aegean, A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation, The People’s Trust, Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award, G3iD, THE Port at CERN and Visions2Ventures.

Pre event workshop

Mr Jalal Barkzai, a refugee, sharing his insights with students of the University of the Aegean and mentors, namely, Ting Shih (CEO of Click Medix), Maria Chatziantoniou (University of the Aegean) and Vasili Sofiadellis (Founder of Changemakers Lab) during the four day Pre Summit Workshop.

Pre event collaborative workshops

From 5-8 May 2017, a series of collaborative workshops took place, which focused on actionable solutions regarding testing, implementing and accelerating social impactful tech solutions, which preceded the Summit.

The workshops included:

  • an acceleration bootcamp,
  • design thinking workshops / "think tanks"
    • “Market Access for innovative solutions”
    • “Futures & Foresight on Humanitarian Tech”.
Our 7 startups were further developed through our "acceleration bootcamp" under the incredible and professional guidance of Emanuele Musa (CEO & Founder of Babele) and our esteemed international guest mentors. 
The startups and findings of these interactive workshops were presented at the Changemakers Summit on 9 May 2017.

The Port Hackathon: Lesvos goes to CERN 

Changemakers Lab, in partnership with The Port (CERN), Visions2Ventures and The University of the Aegean, selected the best startup that presented at Changemakers Summit to participate in a three-day problem solving hackathon devoted to humanitarian, social and public interest challenges.
Thanasi's Koukoulis, Eirini Moriki, Eva Tsakali, Diamantina Pseftoga and Vangelis Anagnostopoulos developed an innovative solution to address the pressing problem of waste management at refugee hospitality centers.

The team was joined by a team of experts at CERN, who together worked on the the idea (Pier49: Trash, we can!) to develop a mobile application that communicates with a specially designed recycle bin. A recognition and reward system, where recycled waste is also up-cycled, will provide an easy way to promote environmental education, resulting in cleaner and sustainable camps.

The hackathon was organised by THE Port Association, hosted by CERN IdeaSquare, in Geneva, on 6-8 October 2017.

Changemakers Lab is supporting the further development of "Trash, we can!" and will be hosting a design thinking workshop on Lesvos, where the inspiring team from CERN will come together to help further develop this solution, helping to establish the first "Sustainable Green Camp" on Lesvos!
Other initiatives:

"ThinkTank": Lesvos as a Global Humanitarian Tech Hub

A "think tank", with diverse international stakeholders, was convened at Changemakers Lab on 30 June 2017.

The purpose of the meeting was to explore how to position Lesvos as a global humanitarian tech hub.

Amongst others, international stakeholders such as Jonathan Robinson (co-founder of Impact Hub), Daniel Dobos (Global Humanitarian Lab) and Annette Muller (Flexy) had come to Lesvos to participate in this initiative. 

It was a very successful and inspiring event, and resulted in the commissioning of a mapping exercise of stakeholders / initiatives that could positively contribute to positive social change on Lesvos.
The first Lesbos Dialogue was held on November 2017.

The main aim of the dialogue was to chart the field, discuss best practices and propose technological solutions, after an in-depth discussion between politicians and policy-makers, experts, NGOs, high-tech companies, and refugees.

It was dedicated to how technology can support the refugees, the host communities, and the organisations that are involved in the reception of the refugees and the function of the refugee camps.
Changemakers Lab, a strong supporter of this great initiative, supported the dialogues in the following ways:
- Vasili Sofiadellis presented on “Establishing Lesvos as a Global Humanitarian Tech Hub” 
- We identified the "changemakers", namely the refugees, that shared their insightful and inspiring stories
- We arranged a Dinner Party, that took place at the "Home of Elytis", inviting a diverse range of international speakers and stakeholders, including our special guests, the refugees, with whom we had a "conversational dinner", exchanging thoughts and ideas. 
We were extremely honored to have a Syrian chef
- We arranged a Cocktail Party where key stakeholders, inspiring local community members and refugees met  
Yes! Change is possible! Through collaboration, everything is possible, where ideas, missions and visions become a reality! 

We at Changemakers Lab will continue to drive these initiatives forward through building relationships and trust, that inspires positive and systemic change!

Refugee Code Week

Changemakers Lab along with our partners* co-ordinated the organizing of SAP’s Refugee Code Week (RCW) Train-The-Trainers events, which took place in Mytilene, Lesvos and Athens on 26-27 June, 15 & 22 September and 2 October 2017. 
This is the first time that RCW took place in Europe!

There were more than 260 registrations for Scratch and Web Programming seminars and the participants included locals, students, NGO volunteers and refugees.
The Refuge Code Week took place from 15-22 October 2017. We again partnered with SAP and trained over 150 youth on Lesvos, therefore proudly part of the team that helped SAP empower 15,000 youth across 9 countries with the coding skills they need to thrive in the digital century!

* University of Aegean, Athens University of Economics and Business, University of Piraeus, SciCo, Organization Earth and Visions2Ventures. 

We are also proud and honored that we hosted the SAP Opening Ceremony here on Lesvos on 17 October 2017, with SAP international representatives, namely Batoul Husseini and Bruno Meekel, key local stakeholders and refugees in attendance at the event held at Changemakers Lab.

#ConnectingCities: On 13 & 14 February 2018 we celebrated #TheBirds’ “birthday”. One year after the 1st The Island of Love festival, we organised an exhibition of the artwork created by the participating artists, at Alepoudellis’ House, the house where the poet Odysseas Elytis lived in Mytilene, Lesvos. The guests had a unique chance to see all The Birds together (except the one which is currently in Geneva) and visit one of the most historic mansions of Lesvos!

On February 13th there was an opening event, with Elytis’ poetry and music, where we officialy announced The Birds’ mission and also our plans for the next The Island of Love festival, which will take place next year. On February 14th dozens of people visited the open exhibition at Elytis’ home.

2018 - Upcoming events and initiatives 

We, at Changemakers Lab, believe in people. It is you that will bring the change that is required! 2017 was a truly inspirational year as we had the pleasure and honor to work with change makers from across the world!

In 2018, we again envision bringing these incredible people together from across the world, sharing their passion and vision that helps inspire positive change with our message from Lesvos to the World!

Our theme for this years #ChangemakersSummit on 9 May 2018 (#EuropeDay) is #ConnectingCities, inspired by #TheBirds:

"#THEBIRDS will become symbols of unity, solidarity, collaboration and peaceful coexistence!"

Please see link for further details regarding #TheBirds:

Innes Knapper, President of ThePort (CERN), embraces "LoveIsMulticolored", a sculpted bird made from refugee life jackets on the island of Lesvos
The following are some of the key initiatives that we will be driving:
- April 2018: Civil Society Think Tank
- 5 - 8 May 2018: mhealth and Fintech workshops
- 9 May 2018: Changemakers Summit
- October 2018: Refugee Code Week
- Acceleration of our social impactful solutions, including "TrashWeCan"
- Skills development: Coding / programming
- Monthly Diners / "ThinkTanks"  with diverse stakeholders  
Thank you once again to all those that made 2017 such an incredible year! We look forward to continue building bridges with you and all stakeholders in driving the change that we all want to see!   #EULesvos #ConnectingCities
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Changemakers Lab · Agios Isidoros · 81200 · Plomari, Northern Aegean 81200 · Greece

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