The eighth Build Peace conference took place online through the week of October 18 – 24, 2021. The conference theme was “Computer Says No: reflections on digital peacebuilding in the pandemic”.
As the pandemic swept the globe, social distancing measures were introduced in many countries, and even more of our lives moved online. Even after the threat of the virus subsides, the pandemic will leave a lasting impact across many fields: health, education, science, government, and more. Peacebuilding is no different. The Build Peace community has been deep into digital adaptations for many years, so we see the effect of the pandemic on peacebuilding as an acceleration of a trend that was already there: there is no longer a ‘peacetech’ field separate from ‘traditional peacebuilding’. As conflicts become increasingly digital, as we seek to foster connection and build bridges in a digital age, the peacebuilding field must embrace digital approaches.
The acceleration of the digital peacebuilding field over the past year has brought to the forefront the full creativity and potential of digital adaptations and tools applied to peacebuilding work. It has also magnified the risks, the challenges and the dark sides of digital work. Build Peace 2021 was a space to reflect on digital adaptations, digital conflict, and the long term impacts of the pandemic on the peacebuilding field.
Build Peace 2021 was brought to you by Build Up and the Bertha Centre at the UCT Graduate School of Business
Build Peace 2021 is made possible thanks to our hosting partner.