Connecting and Securing Syria’s Refugees


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The European refugee crisis is one of the most complex humanitarian emergencies since World War II.

NetHope, with its partners, deployed Cisco Meraki-based connectivity across 62 different locations in Europe, and have supported the connectivity needs of more than 400,000 people. This session, presented by the Cisco Tactical Operations team will discuss this deployment, focusing on how this network was designed for refugee communication, a reference network architecture, and the advanced cybersecurity protection put in place to protect refugees and humanitarian aid workers alike. 


  • Isaac Kwamy, Director, Global Programs, Humanitarian Operations, NetHope
  • Rakesh Bharania, Tactical Operations, Cisco

Rakesh Bharania is the West Coast lead for Cisco Tactical Operations (TACOPS), Cisco’s primarytechnology response team for disaster relief and humanitarian assistance. Additionally, he servesas the chairman for the Global VSAT Forum (GVF) Cybersecurity Task Force, and is a recognizedleader in the field of satellite security. Previously, he has worked as a senior information securityarchitect and helped to create and build the Cisco Information Security team.With TACOPS he is responsible for the design and implementation of secure emergencynetworks to support first responders, NGOs, government, and critical infrastructure restoration.He has over twenty years of field experience responding to disasters and humanitarian crisesthroughout the world including Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the earthquakes in Haiti andJapan, Super Typhoon Haiyan, the Ebola response in West Africa, and the Syrian Refugee Crisisin Europe.He is a Cisco representative to several industry and international forums on disaster relief and
resiliency including the United Nations and FEMA / DHS. He is currently Co-Chair of theNethope Security and Privacy Working Group.

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