The third Build Peace conference took place in Zürich, Switzerland on September 9, 10 & 11, 2016. The conference theme was “Peace through technology, arts & research – towards transformation” and was organized around three key topics: political transformation, socio-cultural transformation, and ethics.

Build Peace 2016 took place in Zürich (Switzerland), at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). The conference hosted 200 peacebuilders from 40 different countries who came together to answer how we can use technology, arts and research, toward transformation.

The inquiry fell into three broad themes. Political: A central question for many peacebuilders is the extent to which their work can enter politics or must remain impartial. Technology and arts affect political spaces, making this question all the more prescient for Build Peace. Socio-cultural: Creating a critical mass for peace requires shifts across a society. How can the behaviors and cultural manifestations of individuals and groups be transformed to support a new network of relationships on which peace can be built? Ethics: Whether we engage in political or socio-cultural transformation to build peace, there are a set of values that guide how we go about our work. What are the ethics of transformation through technology, arts and research?

All conference presentations can be watched on our YouTube channel. Writing on the conference theme can be found in the Build Peace 2016 publication. The conference mixtape can be accessed here.

Dialogues & Host Address

Diana Chigas & Bruno Siqueira

A conversation between Bruno Siqueira and Diana Chigas about what transformation means in peacebuilding and in technology. Bruno Siqueira is a graduate of Computer Science from Universidade Federal Fluminense and has a Master’s Degree in software engineering from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio). Diana Chigas is the Co-Director of collaborative learning at CDA and a Professor of the Practice of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Claudia Flores-Saviaga & Mariam Barandia

A conversation between Claudia Flores-Saviaga and Mariam Barandia about what peacebuilders and technologists can learn from each other about political and socio-cultural transformation. Claudia Flores-Saviaga is a researcher at West Virginia University where she works at the HCI Crowdsourcing Lab and a research collaborator at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Engr. Mariam Barandia was an integral part of setting up Kapamagogopa Inc. in 2004 and has been Executive Director ever since.

Ismal Muntaha & Fiona Mangan

A conversation between Ismal Muntaha and Fiona Mangan about what peacebuilders and artists can learn from each other about political and socio-cultural transformation. Ismal Muntaha studied journalism and communication at the Islamic University in Bandung (Indonesia). He is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher at Jatiwangi art Factory, also the founder of the Sunday Screen Video Collective in Bandung. Fiona Mangan is a senior program officer and is currently serving as USIP’s country representative in the Central African Republic.

Jonathan Stray & Diana Dajer

A conversation between Diana Dajer and Jonathan Stray about the ethics of peacetech from their perspectives from the Global North and South. Diana Dajer is a Colombian lawyer specialized in administrative law, a Build Peace 2016 Fellow, and a PhD candidate of Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford. Jonathan Stray is a data scientist and a journalist who’s written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Wired, Foreign Policy, and ProPublica. He teaches computational journalism at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University.

Dirk Helbing

In this host address, Prof. Dirk Helbing of ETH Zürich analyses conflicts from a complexity science perspective and underlines the cascading nature of conflicts. After identifying various factors triggering conflicts, new approaches to peacebuilding will be discussed. The conclusion is that we can now create a new framework for world peace, which is compatible with pluralism and diversity – important preconditions for innovation, collective intelligence, and societal resilience. These mechanisms will also reduce future resource shortages and climate change. A better future is ahead of us!


Reviving peace journalism with 21st century technologies

Facilitator: Dov Shinar (Hadassah Academic College)

Discussion of Johan Galtung’s peace journalism model, and the impact social media can have in order to improve the model and its applications.

Peace Startup

Facilitator: Julián Ballesteros (Peace Startup)

Participants will live the experience of being peace entrepreneurs and learn tools for peacebuilding through entrepreneurship.


Facilitator: Jacob Lefton (Build Up)

This game design workshop based on iterative design — a play based design process emphasizing playtesting and prototyping.

The Artist Within

Facilitator: Sibylle Stamm (Coaching for Troublemakers)

How would you design a political process if you acted with the creative confidence of an artist?

Yoga & Traum Programming

Facilitators: Samara Andrade & Emily Pantalone (Feet on the Ground)

This workshop discussed ways in which yoga and movement can be used as a complement to, and component of, existing peacebuilding programs.

Can technology enhance the quality of political negotiations?

Facilitators: PeaceNexus Foundation & Center for Humanitarian Dialogue

This workshop brought together researchers of political processes, practitioners involved in negotiations, and technologists to assess uses of technology to increase participation in political processes.

Health & Wellness for Peacebuilders

Facilitators: Samara Andrade & Emily Pantalone (Feet on the Ground)

This workshop explored how yoga can be a powerful health and wellness tool for ourselves, and programs for our staff.

Ethical Peacetech

Facilitators: Jennifer Easterday (JustPeace Labs) & Marianne Perez de Fransius (Sipala Labs)

In this interactive workshop, participants had a chance to apply a set of draft ethical guidelines specifically designed for peacebuilding practitioners who use technology in their work.

Methods of Art in Action

Facilitators: Annemarie Bucher & Dominique Lämmli, FOA-FLUX & Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) , Ismal Muntaha, Jatiwangi art Factory

What can art do to increase well-being and contribute to peacebuilding? How do artists use their skills to initiate dynamics of creation, action, identity building, and changes of existing conditions?

Find the Behavior

Facilitators: Rachel Brown & Monica Curca

Mobilizing a critical mass for peace requires strategy and tactics that bring many individuals together to act in one accord for peace. Explore social and behavioral change strategies in peacetech interventions.

Co-designing for Build Peace

Facilitators: Jacob Lefton (Build Up), Henni Abitz ( Bauhaus University, Weimar) & Kate Mytty (MIT Research Associate and Instructor)

Sharpen your design toolkit with this design workshop for peacebuilders.

Learning to Scribe

Facilitator: Claudia Meier (Global Public Policy Institute)

Learn visualization as a practical tool for low-tech/low-literacy environments and beyond.

Perceptions of Peace

Facilitator: Emmanuel Letouzé & Andrés Clavijo (Data Pop Alliance)

This training session will aim to develop participants’ understanding and practical skills across a spectrum of applications and implications of using Big Data for peacebuilding.

What roles will peacebuilding organisations play in the future?

Facilitators: PeaceNexus Foundation, the International Civil Society Centre, and Zentrum für Internationale Friedenseinsätze (ZIF)

How will geopolitical shifts, global trends and future technology affect the peacebuilding organisations of tomorrow? And how can organisations adapt to these evolutions, and prepare for the future?

Short Talks

Participatory video – mirror, magnet, lock & key

Chris Lunch, Co-director, InsightShare

Distrust and verification: considerations for peacebuilders in the information age

Chirs van der Walt, CEO, Factr

‘Streets of Belfast’ A case study in reclaiming historical narratives through app technology

Paula McFetridge, Artistic Director, Kabosh Theatre

Mobile technology as a tool for peacebuilding: a case from the Democratic Republic of Congo

Narcisse Lokwa Mbunzama, Project Coordinator, Avonax Group

Looking at Dialogue: How Dialogue Mapping can Help Build Peace

Miguel Varela, Coordinator of the Dialogue Support Platform, mediatEUr

Virtual Reality for Peacebuilding

Nino Nanitashvili, Country Manager – Georgia, Elva Community Engagement

Responding to Extremism in Online Spaces

Renee Black, Executive Director, PeaceGeeks

Artists Working Reality. Technologies.

Dominique Lämmil, Co-director, FOA-FLUX

Mobile Technology for Conflict Incidents Reporting: Data, Decisions and Response

Josiah Mukoya, Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting, Learning and Communication Team Leader, Pact Kenya

Games that bridge the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and beyond

Justin Hefter, CEO, Bandura Games

Experiences of an Activist Photography – Using Photography for Peace

Omer Malik, Founder, Tahafuz

Synchronizing for Peace

Michal Rinott, Founding Director, Kadar Center for Design and Technology

Build Peace Lab

Participatory vision of the future in Burundi – Jean Marie Ndihokubwayo, Build Peace FellowBuilding Bridges: connecting local peacebuilders in

Myanmar through technology – Maude Morrison, Build Peace Fellow

Peacebuilding game for Sudanese youth – Wigdan Seed Ahmed, Media & Marketing Director, Sudanese Knowledge Society

SOLEs to build peace in Colombia’s post-conflict – Sanjay Fernandes, Director, Fundación SOLE Colombia

Learnings from the field: how promoting bystander intervention changed a tech initiative into an educational one into a policy one – Philip Urech, Project Lead, CrowdGuardCircus for Social Change: Addressing Occupational

Deprivation in Refugee Camps in Lesvos, Greece 2016 – Jill Maglio, Occupational Therapist/Project Manager, Holistic Circus Therapy

Building Infrastructures of Peace through Technology in the North-west Pashtun areas of Pakistan – Saira Orakzai, Post-doctoral Fellow, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Peshawar

Peace Through Voting – Ed Maklouf, Founder, Gather

Fire-side Chats

Craig Zelizer (Founder / CEO, PCDNetwork) on the struggles, successes and challenges of the online community world.

Arik Segal (CEO and Founder, Segal Conflict Management) on using social media for an Israeli-Arab online dialogue project.

Meghan Brown (Interpeace) on biometric voter registration in Somaliland.

Diana Weymar (Artist) on craft-based arts and activism, interwoven spaces and stories.

Beatrice Pembroke (Director Creative Economy, British Council) on peace, digital skills and the creative economy in Syria.

Ayan Kishore (Sr. Associate, Technology for Development, Creative Associates International) on how hackathons can help to build peace.

Arts Program

Stitching Transformation

Diana Weymar presented Stitching Transformation: using craftivist methodology to meditate on the intersection of making, processing, and creating transformation around the conference themes of Ethical, Political and Socio-Cultural Transformation.

Theatre of the Oppressed

Theatre of the Oppressed (ToP) is a very popular tool from the theatre world, which has helped people to change habits and overturn stereotypes based on experience, because it offers the opportunity for a new (simulated but real) experience, in a structured and non-threatening environment. Build Peace 2016 explored the boundaries between ToP and technology, using video-taped performance of oppression to entice audience members to experience the live performance and, with the help of an MC, transform themselves from spectators to spectActors.

Build Peace mixtape 2016

The Build Peace mixtape 2016, curated by Luis Puig, is a deep dive into songs on personal and global transformation. No social change can work if it doesn’t also promote a change in people; to change the world we have to start by changing ourselves.
Revolution starts at home, and what better place than facing the image a mirror returns us, experiencing that moment of estrangement, of lucidity, where we open our mind. Read more while you listen to the mixtape here.


#peacehack is a 36-hour hackathon where developers and designers work in teams to come up with a prototype technology solution to a peacebuilding challenge. At Build Peace 2016, the Build Peace Fellows posed three challenges related to their peacebuilding work: a participatory analysis platform for Burundi, a rumor tracking smartphone app for Myanmar, and a participatory budgeting platform for Colombia.

Hacking teams presented their prototypes to a panel of judges at the end of the #peacehack, and the winners received free conference tickets and free travel to the next Build Peace conference.

#peacehack is an initiative of International Alert. Find out more here.

Technology Fair

The following organizations had a stand at the Technology Fair:

Factr— PCDN 3.0— IPEACE— Elva— Gather— CrowdGuard— Peacelogs— JustPeace Labs— ZIMARI— DME for Peace— #peacehack— PigaNduru— SafeCity